When thinking back on my time in Australia 2006, I remember another incident which I would like to tell you about. It is about intimacy, privacy and some morals of the therapeutic profession.
I had a week’s program in a town and, as usual, there were some workshops and meditations in the evenings. As it often happens, I saw a few faces several times, not only in one of those programs, and many of them also came to individual sessions. One of them was a lady of about my age. I had seen her in the programs but not interacted much, as there had always been many people around. We had exchanged a few words but not more and after some days she was finally there, sitting in front of me in the room where I gave the individual sessions.
It was a counselling session in which we talked quite deeply about her own mental state, as she had come to me with family issues. We discussed a different point of view, how she could handle the problems more easily and how she could not be affected from all of this as much as she was now. It helped her.
After this talk however, she started another topic. She told me, in a very straight-forward way, that she had a crush on me. She found me attractive and nice and would love to explore this attraction a bit further. Quoting my own words of one of my lectures, she told me that there should be nothing wrong when two people, who were not engaged in a relationship and had not committed to anybody else, had some intimacy with each other. After all, I had told I was not a believer in celibacy, so why not? She would come to pick me up and we could go somewhere together, maybe even to her home.
She was a beautiful and very kind woman and the way that she said these words was in no way vulgar. I kind of liked this open approach and I could fully agree to the fact that she and I were single and could thus, in general, enjoy some private time together, too. Yes, had there not been one more feeling and thought: I couldn’t go out with someone whom I had just counselled, with whom I had just had a therapeutic session.
It took me just a few moments to actually put this feeling into words. I could not, I told her, because of the channel how we had got to know each other. Maybe, if that had been different, I would have accepted her offer. In this situation however, I did not feel like it and could not.
We parted as friends.
For me it was nice to see that even though this encounter could have ended differently, even though it could have led to having sex and it didn’t, there were no hard feelings. She could have been very disappointed or feel rejected and be angry, which I have experienced before, too, but as open as she was with her proposal, as fine she was when I denied. And that, I believe, is as it should be.