Thursday, May 29, 2008

Relationship Thursdays [The Wounded Heart]

¡Hola! Everybody,
I’m gone all day, as is usual for me on Thursdays. Hope everyone is doing well, AmyRae: get a miniskirt and we’ll date. LOL! Latina: open up your fuckin QCs, dammit. I don’t care if Joe “Kneckbone” Loser is the jealous type. Emily? When the fuck are you coming back?!!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a repost but 90% of you ma’fuccas don’t read my shit anyway, so it’s new. LOL

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-=[ Why I Love Fragmented People ]=-
(or: The Wounded Heart)

“The heart is itself its own medicine. The heart all its own wounds heals.”
-- Hazrat Inayat Khan

You are loved… period.

Just as you are, right now, this very moment, you are perfectly lovable.

In fact, you are love itself.

When I exhort you not to complain, I’m actually trying to focus your attention on that which you are most committed to. Make a list of your major complaints over the span of several days and in that list you will find a pattern composed of what you are most committed to in life.

Some people mistake my issue with complaints. Most people assume I’m asking them to disassociate from their complaints and that is exactly what I’m trying to tell you not to do. What I am asking is that you look deep into your complaints, maybe even stop the habit of complaining for one fucking day.

One fuckin’ day!

Dissociation, like all other defense mechanisms, serves an important function. It’s our mind’s way of saying no to and turning away from our pain, our need for love, and our anger about not getting enough of it. It’s also a way of turning away from our body, where feelings reside. Sometimes, especially as children, we need to disassociate in order to protect our psyches. It is one of the most effective of all defense strategies in a child’s arsenal.

However, it has a major drawback: it shuts us off from access to two main areas of our body. It shuts us off from the vital center in the belly – the source of desire, Eros, vital power, and instinctual understanding – and it shuts us off from our heart center – where we respond to love and feel things most deeply.

In protecting ourselves from the feeling of being unloved, we block the passages through which love flows through the body and we deprive ourselves of the very sustenance needed for our life to flourish. We wind up cutting ourselves off to our connection to life itself.

This leaves us in a strange place – a painful space. On the one hand, we all hunger for love – we cannot help that, it’s how we’re wired as mammals. At the same time, however, we also avoid it and refuse to open to it because we don’t trust in it. We all have been burned too many times and we seem determined it won't happen again!

This is what one some psychologists call the wound of the heart, or the primal wound. This whole pattern – not knowing we’re loved as we are, then numbing our heart to ward off the pain and in the process shutting down the pathways through which love can flow – this is the wound of the heart. Although this wound has some of its origin in our childhood conditioning, it becomes fixated and grows into a larger spiritual problem: the disconnect from the loving openness that is our true nature.

It’s a universal wound that shows up in the body as emptiness, anxiety, trauma, or depression. In relationships, it manifests itself as the feeling being unloved, with all the insecurity, guardedness, mistrust, and resentment that feeling entails, as well as all the relationship problems that flow from there.

No matter how powerfully we fall in love with someone, we rarely dare to soar above our fear and distrust for very long. It seems that we’ve internalized the story of Daedalus, who perished when he flew too close to the sun and his wings melted. Indeed, the more brightly another person lights us up, the more it activates our wound and brings it to the foreground. Sure enough, as soon as conflict and disappointment arise, the old insecurities emerge from the darkness. Our ego -- what I call the The Mini Me -- pops up whispering, “You see, you’re not really loved at all!”

I believe all the beauty and horrors of the world originate from the same root: the presence or absence of love. Internalizing the feeling of not being loved (or lovable) is the only wound there is. It makes emotional cripples of us, shriveling us in the process. This is why I would say that, apart from the few biochemical imbalances and neurological disorders, the DSM (the diagnostic manual for psychological afflictions) should begin thus:

Contained within these pages are descriptions of all the miserable ways people feel and behave when they do not feel they are loved.

When people do not know they are loved, a cold black hole forms in the psyche, where the beliefs of personal insignificance, unimportance, lack of beauty and goodness have their root. This icy landscape of fear is what causes the emotional storms that rage within us and in our relationships.

The only way we can wipe out this cross-generational plague of feeling unloved is by healing the wound of the heart. Many religions and spiritual traditions have understood the importance of love in eradicating alienation from love. They admonish us to love more, to give more generously. The way to love, they seem to say, is to love first. This truth is, of course, profound, but there is another truth just as profound: we cannot give what we cannot receive.

I think it was in an Y360 blast where I first saw it, but the quote from the poet Rilke is eye opening here: “To love is to cast light,” he writes, while “to be loved means to be ablaze.” The question begging to be asked here is how can we cast light if we are not ablaze? It follows then that the key to loving is to become more receptive to being loved, to let it all in. Even if we believe that God is love, such a belief will have little effect if we are shut down or obstructed, preventing Great love from flowing freely.

Maybe what we need is a teaching that helps us focus on our capacity to receive love and how to develop that capacity. Perhaps such a teaching would integrate a psychology as well as a spiritual component. Conceivably such a teaching would include concrete, practical exercises aimed at developing our capacity to accept love. Because I know this much, it is often scarier to allow ourselves to be loved than it is to love.

May you find, through knowing that you are held in love, the boundless source of joy within yourself and share it with the world around us. My hope is that you realize your true nature as a blissful, radiant love, and that you are truly loved.



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