Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Awakening, intimacy, and a holding environment of love



There is a tendency to look to our intimate and love relationships to make us feel better – as if this was their primary purpose. This of course is an old template that lives within us from the earliest hours, days, weeks, and months of our lives; when we intelligently looked to our caregivers to metabolize our emotional experience for us, to empathically attune to our developing nervous systems, and to hold and contain the wide-open vulnerability found inside our little hearts.

We can also see how we use our spiritualities – especially those based around being blasted into some “high” state of consciousness without doing any of the real work that is required to mature as human beings – in this same way, to make us feel better. It is so natural, developmentally speaking, to look toward both relationship and spirituality to provide us with those thoughts, feelings, emotions, and states of consciousness which we so desire, which are safe, which feel nice, while simultaneously hoping they will remove from our experience those others which we just do not want to feel – which point to the uncertain, unknown, groundless dimension of love and its movement. It’s just too much exposure, we’re too naked, no room here for the confirmation of our personal identity project. Where did our specialness go? What about me and my stories, me and my shifts? “I made it!” Really, I did! (wanna hear about it?)

But is this the ultimate purpose of our intimate relationships – or for any sort of spiritual path that claims an interest in “awakening?” We so badly want to feel better about ourselves, about our lives – to somehow make contact with this deeply rooted belief and fear that we are ultimately unlovable, unworthy of love; that we’re not fully okay as we are. Deep within, under our stories of spirituality, intimacy, and awakening, there is a life-or-death need for the other to confirm us – whether that other be our intimate partner, our guru, our parents, our children, or our friends on the path. Am I awakened? Do you love me? How do I need to change so that you will see that I am special and worthy? Will you declare me awakened? Please? I’ll pay anything. I’ll believe anything. I’ll take on any new magical superstitious mumbo-jumbo belief system. Really, I’ll believe *anything*. I’ll do anything to be seen, to be held, to be validated, to be recognized, to be confirmed, to be declared – just let me know what I need to do. Please help me heal the wound of unlove.

As we inquire into our hearts and minds, these sorts of thoughts and motivations may not be so obvious at first, or readily apparent on the surface of our daily experience. But if we chisel in a bit and follow our experience of suffering down a bit deeper, we might be surprised to discover who is actually steering the ship that guides us away from clear seeing, and into the fog of unexamined illusion.  Once again, upon closer examination, we see the name "Maya" painted on the side of the ship. The SS Maya – ship of fools.

In my conversations with many of you over these last few months, we have seen a lot of this together; how we’ve subtly and unconsciously asked our intimate partners, our love relationships, and our spiritualities to make us feel better. What a gift to be able to see this, despite the shame, the vulnerability, the anger, the frustration that seems to inevitably accompany such seeing. We’ve seen that holding these realizations in an enormous space of lovingkindness provides the fuel and the courage we need to keep moving forward, to not become caught up in self-denigration, self-hatred, and other ways of being aggressive toward our lived experience. We see that these defensive strategies and developmental needs arose out of an intelligence, a creativity, a clarity when we were little, during a time when our precious nervous systems were not able to fully digest our experience, not quite able to fully metabolize the lack of empathic, attuned validation which inevitably occurred in our families of origin.

Can we create a loving, holding environment in which we can see ourselves as we are? To engage with this gorgeous sensual reality as it is, setting aside our fables of awakening and specialness? Can we somehow make a commitment, that no matter what, we will be kind to ourselves – that we will stay close to our embodied immediate experience as it is? For it is only in such a loving space that healing can pour into and through our lives, out into the hearts of others, and only then can we see clearly what is truly driving and motivating us – both in our intimate love relationships and in our spirituality projects. 

The half-baked (if that) “awakening” that is being peddled in the fast-food, just-sit-back-and-let-the-2012-avataric-grace-take-you-over consumerist culture that we live in may not be the holding environment your true heart yearns for. Many of you are discovering this, what is obvious to those who stand outside of it – you are seeing that it is Maya who remains in control here; it is her agenda which is being moved forward and advanced. Never bet against her. But only you can discover this on your own. Please be willing, friends, to use your discernment, to use your intelligence, your heart, and your intuition. Learn to trust yourselves. Cultivate the sincerity, the authenticity, the curiosity, the care to see what is there. And to have the courage to stand in it.
                                                           
And in this holding environment – designed out of the cells of your very own heart, out of the light-strands of your most precious DNA - we can finally come to some rest, to allow love to lead the way, to take us on its journey. We start to see that who we are *is* love, and that we need not frenetically or desperately seek it from another or from our fantasies of awakening or from our dreams of intimacy and what these will give us. These pathways were never designed to make us feel better, to reinforce our specialness, or to somehow compensate for our wounds of unlove; they are much more precious than that. For they are doorways into the center of your heart, waiting patiently for you to trust yourself enough, to love yourself enough, to be kind enough to yourself, so that you can step through, and somehow allow love to have you, to have its way with you, revealing its mysteries in each and every moment of this life as it is. And then it is only love that will show you the way home. 


2 comments:

  1. Thank you again, Matt, this is exactly what I am experiencing at the moment... siting with my fear of being unloved and unwanted, allowing my dependency and neediness to be fully felt, coming to see, that I don´t need anything from those I love, and that when I feel insecure, miserable or left out, it is not because there isn´t love flowing towards me... it is because I am cutting off from love, not letting it in or out - and even that is ok, even that is embraced by Love.

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    1. Thank you, Agnete, for sharing your heart here. Yes, let us be willing to touch and meet directly this wound of unlove - finally to stop running from it and see what is has to share with us. In my experience - and in working with others - this wound is one of the most profound doorways/ invitations into discovering who we truly are. Yes, all is welcome here - the insecurity, the feeling of miserableness, the being left out. Let us somehow have the courage, the curiosity, the care, to turn toward this wounding, this pain, not so it will go away or transform into something else, but because it is a part of us. Let us hold this wounding, finally, and allow it to reveal itself to us all the way through...

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