Monday, April 17, 2017

A late night insight

I read an Oscar Wilde poem as a young adult that I didn't understand. It was titled "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" and its refrain went like this:

Each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

I couldn't understand it at all. Why would anyone kill the thing they loved? What a nonsensical thing to say!

Then I grew up. Life happened. And I killed the thing I loved. We all do this in various ways big or small through life, don't we? And then I understood.

You kill the thing you love when fear and unworthiness loom larger over your consciousness than the whispers of your heart. The heart will always follow its bliss. The heart will always love what it loves. But the head - ah, the head is into self-preservation at all costs. If something seems threatening to its current level of understanding of life, it will annihilate that possibility rather than explore it with openness and curiosity. Being open and willing to follow the bliss will mean stepping into the unknown and the ego detests that. Control, self-preservation and preserving status quo at any cost are its motto. Even if has to self-sabotage to achieve its perceived security.

A Course in Miracles says there are only two primary states of being - love and fear. If you are caught in the frequency of fear, there's nothing to do but kill the thing you love.

Then comes the realization of what you've done. The regret, the pain. As Kahlil Gibran says, pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. When that shell of ego breaks open, you realize who you truly are. That the essence of who you truly are is love.

You had to kill the thing you love in order to awaken to love. How's that for paradox?
As Parker Palmer writes, "Paradox is a way of being that’s key to wholeness, which does not mean perfection: it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life. For me, the ability to hold life paradoxically became a life-saver."

You become aware of your true self, and therefore of the false self also. Your journey now is to embody more and more of your authentic self and lead life according to the true compass within you rather than external influences including that of the false self. You no longer implicitly believe every thought you think because you realize that most of those thoughts are generated by unconscious patterns of past conditioning - childhood, parental, ancestral, societal, cultural, and the general experience of being human. You start to step out of the matrix, healing old inherited beliefs and arising new judgements layer by layer with the touchstone of your own living divine truth. You weave the darkness and the light within you into wholeness.

David Richo writes in "When Love Meets Fear":
"The resolution of fear is part of our journey toward wholeness, a wholeness that wants to happen. As Emma Jung said: 'An inner wholeness presses its still unfulfilled claims upon us.' Could it be that all those people and events that scare us are thereby actually working in service of our inner wholeness, making us confront our core fears? Is this how wholeness presents its bill? Can this be the ultimate and most terrifying and most liberating synchronicity of all: everything happening to me is aimed at exposing and healing my core fears? (...)The work goes on day and night, by our effort and by the grace of assisting forces."

So you start the hero's journey. You learn to detach from outcomes and soften into vulnerability. You learn to be happy no matter what. Because your sense of self lies in the expression and intent, never in the result. As Mary Oliver poignantly describes in one of her poems,

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice –

Being authentic calls for jumping off cliffs constantly. You unzip the armour of the false self and jump off the cliff of imagined security. Over and over. Until you become the love you are.