Let’s face it: we all yearn to give and receive love. We want to create deeper, more intimate relationships and true community. We are dogged by a nagging sense of isolation and separateness. And yet, when we look closely, we discover that the reason we are in pain is that we have shot ourselves in the foot. We find that we, ourselves, are sabotaging the openness we want — with our own defensive conditioning, old patterns of fear, dependency, and blame. How are we to drop this rusty armor so that we may, at last, see each other clearly and hold each other closely?
Such is the challenge and the promise of spiritual friendship, the fruit of transformational community. The practice of Radical Intimacy is an interpersonal meditation-in-action, a way of using our relationships as a spiritual path, a way of changing what we had thought of as the perils and pitfalls of community into a vehicle for growth. We realize that the barriers to intimacy we have erected are also our barriers to being fully alive and free. We can use the mirror of relationship to get a good look at these walls and battlements, and we can help each other dismantle them. Properly approached, the loneliness, fear, and conflict that closeness inevitably bring to the surface become a source of creativity, a womb for the birth of a new way of being.
By practicing Radical Intimacy, we learn how to notice the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways in which we separate ourselves from others and to speak openly about what we find. By sharing ourselves with others, we reveal ourselves to ourselves. By telling the truth about our fears and resentments, our judgments and our shame, we bring what was hidden into the light of shared, compassionate awareness, where healing and deep forgiveness are possible.. Gradually (or not-so-gradually), by letting go of fearful beliefs and emotional reactivity, we find that love is effortless, our birthright, our own true nature.
About Taber Shadburne
For 20 years, Taber’s been counseling, teaching, leading workshops, and helping people transform their lives and their relationships. He facilitates bringing awareness and compassion to all the messy, juicy stuff of life: emotions, conflict, communication, sex, love and intimacy.
Taber’s work draws on his extensive background in Buddhism, mysticism, psychology, and conscious communication — disciplines he’s researched and practiced since the early 80’s. He studied comparative religion and spirituality as an undergrad, trained in a Zen center for 2 years, engaged in dozens of intensive meditation retreats, and has an M.A. in counseling psychology. He’s trained in Dreamwork, Gestalt, Hakomi, Process Work, M. Scott Peck’s Community Building, and taught nationally as the senior trainer of Radical Honesty.
Taber is the founder of the Church of Soul, a progressive spiritual community center in Oakland, and the co-author of
The Heart of Healing
. He’s currently working on another book, and on his second CD of music. Taber’s work is not a job, but a spiritual calling: he helps people get to really know and love their own insides — the light and the dark — and then to openheartedly share themselves with others… creating deep, soulful connection.