Love at first touch

Advance manual storytelling 04: Love at first touch

Treya’s life is full of risk. When she was young, when girls were talking about what kinds of boys they found attractive, Treya got interested in a totally different topic: why we are here, what is the purpose of human’s life?

A bicycle trip took Treya to a 3-year spiritual living in Scotland. During that period, Treya read lots of books written by a leading theorist in transpersonal psychology, named Ken Wilber. She always remembers liking the picture on the back of one book, it showed an elegant looking, shaving-headed man with glasses – an intense, concentrated look, the background is a solid wall of books. She would never imagine how her life would lay out for her in the next few years.

Treya went back to Colorado after 3-year truth seeking journey in Scotland. In the summer of 1983, Treya went to the annual transpersonal psychology conference and heard that Ken was there. Treya saw Ken from a distance for a few times, it was very hard to miss a six-foot-four and bald slim guy, surrounded by fans.  Another time, Treya saw Ken sprawled by himself on a couch, looking lonely. Treya did not talk to ken in the conference. She didn’t think much for having a connection with Ken, actually, she thought she would never get married in her life. Because in Treya’s past dating experiences with men, the sweet ones weren’t brilliant and the brilliant ones were definitely not sweet. She always wants both.

Some weeks later, a friend called her and invited she to have a dinner with Ken. This first meeting is unusual. They two barely had a chance to say hello, when two of their common friends began to bring up some very deep problems in their relationship. Ken was asked to be therapist for the night. The next three hours were spent dealing with their issues. Treya could tell that this wasn’t exactly how Ken had wanted to spend the night. But he stayed present on working with the deep and difficult issues in their relationship.

During the therapy process, Treya didn’t get a chance to talk to Ken. most of the time, Treya tried to get used to his shaved head, which was very distracting to most of people. Treya loved the way he looked from the front, but the side view…well that would take some getting used to. At one point during the break, they all went into the kitchen for some tea. They just said hi to each other, without even had a formal conversation, Ken, surprisingly, put his arm around Treya. Treya felt a little uncomfortable since she hardly knew him, but magically, a strong power made Treya slowly put her arm around him. and something moved Treya closed her eyes. Something indescribable happened at that moment – A warmth, a kind of merging, a sense of fitting together, of blending, of being completely one. Treya did not know how long the hug lasted, but when she opened her eyes, her girl friend was looking straight at her with a mystical smile.

What had just happened? Treya asked herself. She felt that she belonged in some almost transcendental sense in Ken’s arms. It had nothing to do with how many words they two had shared. When Treya finally left at 4 am, Ken held her again before she got in her car. “I was surprised. I felt like he never wanted to let you go.” That was just how Treya felt. But she did not respond to Ken’s words. Just to make sure it is clear, they had not slept together. They had not even talked beyond five words, they had simply put their arms around each other. Treya got back home and lay in bed, she could still feel subtle energy currents running through her body. That is love at first touch.


After the first touch, Treya convinced herself not to put too much expectations on Ken. Treya and Ken didn’t see each other for a week. He went to LA and when he came back, they had our first real date. They never once talked about marriage, it seemed unnecessary to either of them. It seems to both of them, they were already married. And all that was required was to let people know about it. It was simply going to be. Two weeks of that first meeting, Ken asked Treya to marry him. Treya said “yes, and if you don’t ask me, I am gonna ask you”. They got married.

That evening they went for some quiet time alone to a little cabin in the forest. The cabin blends so naturally into its surroundings. They stayed alone in front of the fire place. Fire blazing against the cool night, the electricity in the house was not working. “Right there, in your right shoulder” Treya said, “can you see it?” “see what?” “Death, it’s right there, on your right shoulder. But I don’t know what it means.”

A few months later, right before they scheduled their honeymoon trip, Treya was diagnosed breast cancer. She would never know she only had five year life living with Ken. This couple spent the next five years fighting against Treya’s cancer. In the winter of 1988, Treya decided to die peacefully. At her last night, Ken hugged her and told her “If it is time to go, then it’s time to go. Don’t worry. I found you before, I promise I will find you again”.

“Punishment is not a punishment, death is not a failure, life is not a reward.”- Treya

Please refer to Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber, by Ken Wilber.




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