by Jonathan Robinson: In my book The Little Book of Big Questions I have a chapter called “The Spiritual Intimacy Experience.”
It consists of fifteen questions partners can ask each other in order to develop a deeper connection. I received many letters from people stating that answering these questions with their mate led to the most profound experience of intimacy they had ever had. In workshops I lead, I’ve seen that even when complete strangers openly share their responses to these questions with each other, a beautiful sense of bonding is created.
To enjoy the fruits of the “spiritual intimacy” experience, all you need is a willing partner, about 45 minutes of time, and a somewhat quiet and private location. You can do this exercise with a lover, parent, child, friend, co-worker, or new acquaintance. Yet, since it leads to a deep level of sharing, make sure you do it with someone you’d like to be closer to. Below, you will find the instructions and the fifteen questions. Before you begin the process, make sure you have plenty of time, and are in the mood to fully open and connect with another human being.
You are about to begin an extended sharing experience. Really getting to know another person involves a learnable set of skills and attitudes, risk taking, trust, and acceptance. The following questions are designed to assist you in getting to know another person on a fairly intimate level. They can be answered to whatever degree of self-disclosure you wish. Take as long as you like to answer each question. Once you’re done, ask the same question of your partner, and let him or her respond while you carefully listen. When you’re the one asking the question, feel free to ask related questions that might further clarify or expand upon your partner’s initial response. If a conversation naturally unfolds from your partner’s response, that’s perfectly all right as well. Once both of you have answered the first question, proceed to the next. If you give this exercise enough time and sincerity, I think you’ll find it to be a very satisfying and powerful experience.
- When are you the happiest?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- What was the most difficult time in your life?
- What is extremely important to you?
- When do you feel most affectionate?
- What are you avoiding right now?
- What helps you to feel really loved?
- What is the thing you most regret having done?
- How do you think I see you?
- What is your heart longing for?
- What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
- What was your first impression of me?
- What do you like best about me?
- What kind of person have you dreamed of becoming?
Besides being a great way to get to know someone at a deeper level, this exercise also demonstrates a process by which relationships can become more intimate. When we ask a friend or partner meaningful questions, it opens the door for a more profound level of connection with him or her. Most people hunger to talk about important topics such as the ones represented by these questions. Asking “big questions” is a simple and effective way to know the soul of another person—and experience your own essence as well. Yet, asking good questions is only half the story. The depth to which you can truly listen to your partner in a non-judgmental manner will determine the experience you have in this exercise. Try to listen with an open heart and a quiet mind.
If you enjoy this exercise, feel free to make-up your own questions. As long as you create an atmosphere of safety and warmth, people appreciate the opportunity to talk about themselves. In our fast paced world of gadgets and hype, the spiritual intimacy experience can be a great way to share the wonders of being human with someone you care about.
Jonathan Robinson is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of 12 books, and a professional speaker from Northern California. Mr. Robinson has made numerous appearances on the Oprah show, as well as many other national TV talk shows, and articles about him have appeared in USA Today, Newsweek and The Los Angeles Times. For the past 30 years he has spoken to dozens of Fortune 500 companies including Google, Microsoft, Dell Computer, Coca-Cola, and Fed-Ex.
Jonathan has written several bestseller books including, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Awakening Your Spirituality;” “The Experience of God,” “The Little Book of Big Questions;” and “Communication Miracles for Couples.” His latest book is called, “More Love, Less Conflict.” Jonathan also co-hosts the podcast “Awareness Explorers” with author Brian Tom O’Connor. This podcast focuses on revealing the easiest and most powerful practices for directly awakening to one’s true nature.
Through TV, live lectures and radio, Mr. Robinson has reached over 100 million people around the world. He is known for providing his audiences with immediately useful information presented in a fun and entertaining manner.