Embodied Transformation & Evolution

The Force of Wild Attraction ~ Contemplating ‘the other that brings life’

Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 1 comment

The Force of Wild Attraction ~ Contemplating ‘the other that brings life’

You take a final step and, look, suddenly
You’re there. You’ve arrived
At the one place all your drudgery was aimed for:
This common ground
Where you stretch out, pressing your cheek to sandstone.
~ David Wagoner

The force of wild attraction, the energy that carries men and women, or women and women, or men and men, beyond all reason, has always interested me. This Lifeletter is an offering into our whole relational field, with the hope that we can bring some deeper understanding and compassion to the difficult and sometimes shattering experience of infidelity. I do not want to glamourize infidelity–I just want to step inside it, with you, through the power of our empathic imagination. As we do this, our hearts get bigger– they can include more of what usually lies in the shadows of our humanity.

It’s clear that while there is a great deal of sexuality in this force of wild attraction, it is about something much deeper and more mysterious than sex. One word for this force is ‘eros’ which actually translates as ‘the other that brings life.’ Whatever we call it, the nature of this energy disrupts the structures and conventional norms of society, and turns traditional morality on its head. No-one is really immune from the power of eros; it strikes across all the boundaries of class, money and education.

In my own life, I have known of three different women who threw away a marriage, and in one case, children, for a chance to be with an Indian rickshaw driver. These are the men who operate the little three wheeled motor taxis all over India. I found myself deeply curious about what happened to these women. What is this wild force called eros, that could drive a highly privileged western woman into this kind of dangerous liaison? From my own experience of twenty five years in India, I began to contemplate this question, to see if I could unravel some of the mystery.

First of all, there is the spiritual attraction. India is a land of immense spiritual potency, where the presence of God, of the divine, of the invisible realms, are not relegated to certain discreet places and occasions. The divine is everywhere, and people engage in worship and dialogue with the various forms of God on a daily basis. Many of the rickshaw drivers speak about their own relationship with this underlying mystery, not in abstract philosophical terms, but with great passion and authority. Imagine the impact this might have on a woman coming from the spiritual wasteland of our post-modern western culture.

A rickshaw driver lives his life in the midst of great chaos. Ten minutes in the traffic of Delhi, Madras, Bombay or Calcutta will unnerve the mind of a western person quite profoundly. The rules, the order, the structures we have come to view as essential in maintaining safety, are simply not there. The rickshaw threads its way through the deafening noise of horns, past huge cows lying in the middle of the road, and beggars who lunge at any car that slows down. He shares the road with huge Tata trucks, thousands of other rickshaws, and buses completely covered with people clinging to doors, windows, and roof.

As clouds of black diesel smoke fill the air, he wends his way through the maelstrom, with courage, skill and grace. He is a small warrior, a street fighter, responding moment to moment to the flickering, undulating, unpredictable streams of traffic. He lives on an edge, risking his life many times a day.

This man, who seems to be on intimate terms with the divine, and who lives in the midst of danger and chaos, carries an aura, an energy that is charged with eros. He is the other, the mysterious other that brings life.

The Force of Wild Attraction

Add to this his apparent ease in the midst of radical financial insecurity. Unlike the men she knows back home, many of whom have a salary, a bank account, health insurance, and an upcoming pension, this man has nothing except his wits, his heart and his aliveness. He and his family live from day to day.

In the freedom of his company, past and future fall away, and the immediacy of the present moment reveals itself. He appears to her, naked, alive and unencumbered by plans and ambitions. The smell of his body, the sight of his strong arms, his flashing black eyes, become more and more alluring. He becomes for her the embodiment of eros–she wants to plunge into the ocean of wild presence that he transmits.

The house, the mortgage, the jobs, the term deposits, the schedules, the duties and obligations begin to feel like an intolerable burden. She realizes now that everything she has ever wanted can be found here, with this warm, alive, simple human being. Why did she think that all of those other things were important? This moment, this connection, this electric sense of being fully alive surpasses all of it.

How can she turn her back on this, and go back to her routine, her computer, her isolation, the deadening greyness of her affluent life?

Her driver stops the rickshaw, leans out and buys a string of marigolds, which he drops over her head. She smells the golden flowers on her breast, and she knows that God has given her the sign. She surrenders. This is her destiny. ‘Yes’ she says to him, ‘this is it, yes.’

What did you want
To be? You’ll remember soon. You feel like tinder
Under a burning glass,
A luminous point of change. The sky is pulsing
Against the cracked horizon,
Holding it firm till the arrival of stars
In time with your heartbeats.
~ David Wagoner



with love,


One Comment

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  1. Colleen Carpenter

    “She realizes now that everything she has ever wanted can be found here, with this warm, alive, simple human being”…….I believe this says it all. It is about the essence of this human which she has chosen, warm, alive, simple and connected to the Devine

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