Dr. Dean Ornish answered:
Any action has the potential to lead us toward more intimacy or more isolation - at every moment of the day. It s not only what we're doing, it's how we approach what we're doing that determines if we end up feeling more connected to others or more alone. Some actions are more intensely charged than others and so have more energy to push us in either direction.
Sex is one example: When two people are deeply in love and feel safe with each other, making love can be a transcendent and ecstatic experience. The lovers lose themselves in each other as the boundaries that separate them begin to fall away. On the other end of the spectrum, rape is perhaps one of the most isolating and destructive experiences. Survivors of rape often experience profound feelings of isolation and report great difficulty in being able to trust again.
I have found similar descriptions in my work with dying patients. Death can be viewed as going into a dark little room, all alone, forever - the ultimate isolating experience. Or it can be a transcendent experience: a return to the source, a return to the light, a raindrop becoming part of the ocean, a soul becoming one with God. This experience is described more fully in the chapter 9 of the book Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.
How we approach other people each day in less extreme situations can determine whether we experience isolation, chronic stress, suffering, and illness, or intimacy, relaxation, joy, and health. Of course, touching, hugging, and massage are ways of increasing intimacy. In the chapter 7 of the book Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, I describe three powerful techniques that can help us to feel more connected to others and to transcend our sense of separateness instead of feeling alone and isolated:
Find out more about this book: Dr. Dean Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease: The Only System Scie...Any action has the potential to lead us toward more intimacy or more isolation - at every moment of the day. It s not only what we're doing, it's how we approach what we're doing that determines if we end up feeling more connected to others or more... More
- Communication skills
- Altruism, compassion, and forgiveness
- Group support and sharing secrets