Earlier today, I took a walk around Walden Pond and was thinking of some warmer days when I would meet up with friends for a swim au natural, which had to be done on the sly. So whenever I walk around Walden, I am reminded of the euphoria that comes with a naked swim and the special connection with nature it gives us. As happy and healthy as those memories are, the prohibitions against nudity cast a dark shadow.
When I hear the term au natural, mostly I think of it as being naked. But then I started thinking about touch and just how natural it is for us to want to reach out and connect with others through our skin. Certainly, I am against unwanted touch, but even when it is desired by both parties there are hurdles to overcome. As a believer in evolution, I can understand and accept that such impulses are not all that different from other animals that greet each other with a sniff and a lick of the genitals. Nevertheless, I am choosy and want to select the people I let into my magic kingdom and for whom I toss off the fig leaf.
The practice of Sacred Intimacy is one of mindfulness and concentration on the power of touch. Given the societal and religious restrictions around the level of intimacy through touch, we need to approach it deliberately. Just as Thoreau went to Walden to live deliberately, we too can enter a Sacred Intimate state through a deliberate, or mindful, attitude. It is not with every one, nor should it be, that we want to explore erotic intimacy.
Because SI gives us a platform for stepping outside the regulations society and religion have imposed on intimate touch, it is all the more important for us to clarify our intentions, desires, and limitations. Intimacy has so many nuances of meaning that for an SI relationship to succeed both parties need to be clear with themselves and to communicate their feelings with each other.
Through my own SI practice, I have had some of the tenderest and most loving connections with other men. Many have transcended the boundaries of sexual identity. All of the successful ones have required a degree of work on the part of both parties as we delved into finding a ground upon which to open ourselves intimately to each other. When this works, we are in the realm of something beyond our bodies and identities, even though we are connecting through our physical selves. At some level, being naked and at one with another person opens us to the mystery that flows through all of us, this thing called life.