I try to keep this life principle from the Tao as a refuge: anything you can hold on to, you can also lose. Nothing remains the same. We are a part of this dance of emptiness and form. This profound truth also comes to sit with us in the midst of our togetherness. In looking closely at relationships, if we follow the wisdom of the Tao, perhaps keeping the space as empty as possible offers a key for the most intimate connectedness between us. In all of the theories about this subject, are we not searching to find the most skillful way to stay in the dance, to be fluid together?
Sometimes we become willing to shine the light on our denied, disowned, and lost shadow selves, to empty these out so that our true essence can pour into the space. With the same willingness we can also illuminate all our preconceived ideas, beliefs, emotional expectations and assumptions, all of the shadow forms of relationship. This could offer us a very different vision of our union with another.
If relationship, for you, is filled with so many rules, so many voices of should and should not, do and don’t, then the canvas for intimacy is already limited. If, however, relationship is ever changing, free flowing, dynamic with the vital force of presence, then the result is a spacious potential that can evolve with its own vital spirit.
This is the “play” ground of relationship that is magical. But how does the social mind relationship model measure up to this? Let’s trim our sails and set out again to explore deeper into the experience of sailing on the SM Relation-Ship. Let’s get very clear about how our Ship navigates these seas. What are the belief riggings that protect our insecurities, as we skim the waves? What kind of life rafts do we insist are necessary for the survival of this Ship?
No doubt the years of structured rules about relation-shipping can give us a sense of guidance, however, “living to conserve the rules” is a far cry “living to liberate the spirit”. And in order to discern between these two relationship experiences, we have to examine our own indoctrination.
As we move into the heart of this inquiry, simply begin to notice where your attention is when you ponder about relationship in your life.
* Is it on a need to hold on to things or someone?
* Is it on building some structure to insulate the sense of uncertainty?
* Is the Relation-Ship form a part of this security structure? (see previous postings on this subject: Sailing on the Relation-Ship & Heartbreak on the Relation-Ship)
* Is your attention on monitoring your partner?
Human interaction, layered with all its fears, anger, frustration, sadness, jealousy, judgment and manipulation, is viewed by the social mind as normal. When these "normal" reactions become extreme, the psychological community applies labels such as borderline personality, paranoia, disassociation, psychosis, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. However, this "normal reactive behavior" is the creation of a very sophisticated mind and its protection system.
In this complex denial we begin with our own self-deception, lie to ourselves and then to each other. This necessitates the stories and belief systems that justify the deception played out by the multiple characters we create to defend and protect our wounded Shadow. All of these reactive responses are strategies designed to soothe our pain. In this consuming effort of denial we create a personal mythology of Imaginary Identities or Characters. These Imaginary Identities begin to weave the tales that uphold our false self. A whole limited inner landscape emerges, as well as the outer landscape we now call reality. And the society’s mind is created by the collective consciousness of all the Imaginary Identities that operate within it. An entangled mythology develops.
This vast collective ego-consciousness dictates the rules of our society. It also projects its expectations. The dynamics of projection, which are involved in the social mind, are exactly the same as those that apply to us as individuals. The external focus of attention creates the story that locks the gateway to the heart and obstructs access to Who We Really Are. We stand locked out of our organic garden, the garden of radiant love and light.
So, how is the social mind involved in the capture of our attention and the creation of Imaginary Identities?
The education of an Imaginary Character begins with behavior modification. It is accomplished by the same methods as any organized propaganda program and follows the same rules of indoctrination: repetition, punishment and reward. This happens in our homes, our schools, our churches and finally within our own minds. The path is always one of fear in which love gets shut out, awareness closes, and stillness disappears.
Consider the following steps; Are these not the consistent progression we experience in our educational systems and all of our institutions?
· The fear of punishment
· Followed by the fear of no reward
· Thus, the fear of rejection arises
· In turn leads to the concept of being somehow deficient or incapable
· Now, a need steps forward, the need to be accepted
· Suddenly, other people's opinions are more important than our own opinions
· The creation of the Image is now complete
We are educated into pretending to be Who We Are Not.
The Imaginary Identity crystallizes. The landscape of beliefs and strategies goes to work to protect our experience of unwholeness. Do we not habitually medicate this sense of unwholeness with the acquisition of emotional support, recognition and acceptance by others in the external world? In this external world, do the social mind programs that have all been developed by countless Imaginary Characters and their institutions not seduce us?
We have programs that tell us to be famous, be powerful, be rich, be gorgeous, be a winner, be productive and perform well. This becomes the personal landscape, which we believe is real. However, this landscape is out of touch with reality. Isn’t it fascinating that our definition of insanity is "being out of touch with reality"?
These are the programs that are “hijack our attention”, draining the life energy out of our circuit. They are passed on from one generation to the next, like a debilitating print on the genetic memory
Once our attention is caught we have no more power of our own. We disappear under the repetition, and are tamed by punishment and reward. The need for acceptance and the fear of rejection are now our primary experience. The opinion of others is the focus. Image ripens like collective fruit on a tree. The Imaginary Identity takes over to accommodate the expectations of others in our life.
Relationships multiply all these dynamics. Not only do we struggle with our own Image, we now interact with the Image we have of our partner, often trying to persuade or manipulate him/her into our expected costume. Our own layers of indoctrination and that of the social mind have constructed an enormously slippery deck.
To keep the Ship well tended, that is, to preserve it, becomes the primary focus of our attention and interaction. The dynamic result is a tremendous accumulation of energy; this vital energy now charges the sailing vessel. We have become generators for the Ship instead of our own being.
Cracking the complex puzzle of relationships requires an examination through many layers of complex design.
As we look closely, might we see that we imprison one another in multiple cages in the name of love? Let’s examine how we negotiate for time, attention, and sex. We might become shockingly aware of the ownership model we participate in on the Ship.
Stay tuned for a peek into the complex sailing maneuver we call “negotiating on board the Ship”.