‘There is an Indian belief that everyone is a house of four rooms: a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual room.
Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete’. Rumer Godden
I was reminded of this piece of ancient wisdom just the other week. It was in the context of helping couples to think about their relationship and how much they inhabit these different rooms in that relationship. But before we think about these different rooms as they affect couples, let’s focus back on the individual.
As the belief states, human life has different aspects and in order for us to feel whole and balanced, finding contentment in our lives, we need to have these different aspects in balance.
Physical – we need our bodies to go about our daily lives – to work, eat, sleep and survive in the world. But how much care do we take of our body? How well do we feed it, enjoy exercise, or enjoy our sexuality?
Mental – our intellect is our ability to think and reason. We need it to think clearly and to be open-minded as that helps us to build up knowledge and develop skills. It can lead us to a place of profound understanding where as a mis-aligned intellect can be the source of terrible confusion.
Emotional – this is about our ability to experience the world and what drives us to seek connections with others. Are we able to feel the full range of feelings – anger, love, hate, disappointment… but also to set boundaries for ourselves.
Spiritual – this is about our soul – our inner being – perhaps a feeling of belonging to the universe. It doesn’t have to mean a religious belief but perhaps how we make meaning of our lives.
If we then broaden this notion of the four rooms to think about our couple relationship the same questions can be asked – how much time as a couple do we spend inhabiting each of these rooms? Which do we inhabit more frequently and which rarely gets even an airing?
According to Wikipedia ‘Intimacy generally refers to the feeling of being in a close personal association and belonging together’. Closing down any room or never really looking in there, will inevitably limit intimacy between partners. To really experience a deep and meaningful intimacy will mean connecting to all four rooms in our own house and then to those of our partners.
Ask yourself and your partner these questions..
1. Which room am I/we most comfortable in?
2. Which room do I/we tend to neglect?
3. How can we begin to live a more balanced life as individuals and as a couple?