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The Search For Wholeness

The Search For Wholeness

 

After we realise that we are a separate entity of sorts, following the awakening of infancy, we set off on a journey that lasts a lifetime. An inner angst that all is not quite right drives us along a path that searches for wholeness and completeness.

Of course our newly formed ego pulls out many tricks to try to get us there. For a young child popularity seems to be the golden chalice to return us to our original state. Yet this desire to be number one in the eyes of our playground others just initiates us into a path of conflict and competition, one that can last well into later life. No wholeness there then.

In our teenage years the wonders of sexuality and its promise of a deep union with another, preferably an attractive one, beckons. Sex is the new healer we are told by mass media and the advertising industry. Just find the right sexual partner and all will be well – a libido utopia that promises much but ultimately deceives. For in seeking an appropriate partner to complete us we are actually looking for one with the negatives and positives of our early carers, viz. our parents. Behind the hormonal urges we are looking for a replay of our early wounding and affirmation. Hoping to get it right the second time we project and transfer the memories of past events onto the one before us – our better half as we foolishly believe. Of course reality eventually kicks in and we either settle for separate lives, giving up the dream of marital wholeness, or continue on in a numbing illusion to our end of days.

Of course some of us were sold the god of a particular religion as the key to wholeness. If only we believe and receive the divinity of choice with its rules for right living then all would be well. It certainly works for a while, especially in the heady days of our 20s and 30s. Initiated into an instant family of fellow believers we once more set about the reconstruction job of our early family life. Often the leaders of our local religious brand become our parents in our dance of restitution and recovery with god smiling benignly upon our efforts. Eventually though the old sense of being half-filled returns as our projected parents let us down once more, revealing their fragile feet of clay. Indeed they too are searching for wholeness in their role of leading others. But that is a story for another day.

Of course the pharmaceutical industry jumps in to take the edge of our inner angst, this feeling of  being somehow flawed. Antidepressants, whilst initially helpful in treating our dark depressions can never take us to the place that we desire. Every alternative addiction is tried and found wanting. Initially, tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, money, career development etc all promise much but with a heavy price. We feel worse and less of a person than when we started.

So this sounds all rather depressing. Well, yes I guess it is, and yet that is our experience for much of our lives. There will be occasional highs of connectedness and well-being but generally we feel like half a person or three-quarters at best. A little hole resides deep within, one that many of us choose to ignore, for heading there only triggers past pain and rejection.

So can we find a level of wholeness. Well, I believe we can, but it takes courage and dare I say it a measure of madness, according to ego that is. For, rather than trying to move people and things into the missing jig-saw space within our sense of Self, we just let go. Finally getting the message that we just are, Something other moves in like a flood to fill our angst strewn caverns. In giving up, we find what we have always searched for, A Source Presence that holds us in the palm of its hands. The bigger picture that we’ve missed in our days of frantic search. In going through the pain of  fragmentation we come out on the Other side, the Reality behind the screen of isolation and despair. The Cosmic parent who has not cracked our sense of Self through rejection and judgement. Our carer par excellence.

The Nazarene knew what lies beyond and lies within. Our wholeness lies in the depths of spirit under the fear-fuelled world of ego and illusory relationships. It is ours to give; a gift to our space-time Self.

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Feeling Down

Feeling Down

Some days we just feel down. Within our conscious mind there doesn’t appear to be any particular reason. We just feel alone, unloved and most of all insignificant, just a collection of atoms waiting for our inevitable demise. Of course, if this goes on for any considerable length of time, we may be suffering from some form of clinical depression. However, that’s not what I wish to address in today’s wee blog. No, I just want to focus on the bog-standard,  feeling down kind of day.

May I start by suggesting that the term feeling down isn’t just a linguistic accident. It genuinely reflects how we feel. We sense that we’re at the bottom of some psycho-spiritual pile. It’s this sense that I wish to explore further.

Let’s look at this heightened feeling in terms of our dual Self , viz. psyche-soul and spirit essence. Our psyche is the part of us where we feel down. It’s not an area that’s easily understood in our day-to-day sojourn. In its fragmented and wounded state, it operates as ego, that extremely shrewd, defensive operator who seeks to protect us from further attack and rejection. It’s important to realise that ego perceives life to be a ladder. Those at the top (the winners) feel good, while those at the bottom (the losers) feel bad.

Of course, this take on reality is an illusion, but nevertheless a powerful one at that. Most of us see our relational network as this ego ladder. Everyone we meet is subconsciously slotted onto a rung by our inner desire settings. Those above us we desire to be; those beneath we shun, feeling a smug superiority that deceptively makes us feel both safe and valued. Our position on this ego ladder shifts from minute to minute – at a moment’s notice, a glance of disapproval from someone can rearrange our psyche-soul’s pecking order and its associated feelings.

The person whom we admire most on our inner ladder of self is our Model – the one we insatiably desire to be, albeit of course on a subconscious level. They appear to have the safety and power that we crave. Their desire becomes our desire as we inadvertently initiate the cloning process; allowing them into our inner world to mold us in their semi-divine image. Initially, such a possession can be exhilarating, as we perceive ourselves morphing into the one who is all that we are not. The sense of empowerment that flows from our fascination with our relational model seems to cancel out our prior feelings of inadequacy and shame.

However, over time our inner promotion on the relational ladder only leads to further problems. For, as we attach ourselves to the desired persona, our Model begins to sense the vampire-like approach of our life-sucking desire. This usually results in a dramatic shutting off of the emotional pipeline running from our desired hero to our cloned sense of self. Somehow they suddenly perceive us as a threat to their own sense of self, an invading psycho-spiritual cuckoo who wants to take over the nest of their individual being.

Of course, this break in affection hits us for six as we frantically redouble our efforts to share our Model’s elevated rung. Once more, we are pushed back, demoted down the ego ladder to a much safer position for our Model idol. And so our hyper-sensitivity to rejection is further heightened, landing us in a lower position on our ladder self than we initially occupied. Our Model has now become our Model Obstacle, the one to blame for our lowly position. In this way our emotional world quickly shrinks into a frantic battle for approval, a much sought after authentication from our now wary Model. The one we worshiped has morphed into our enemy, a love-hate relationship having been established.

Of course there’s an answer to these ego games, viz. the discovery of our other, authentic spirit Self, that inner Divine spark of inestimable value and worth. Once we willingly detach from ego’s psychic vampire hunt for the blood of approval, we discover another Self within. The Source of All resides within the dark, inner spirit chambers of our being. There the embrace and transfer of Divine affection takes place without rivalry and conflict. We have returned home to find a psycho-spiritual freedom in the embrace and welcome of Divine Love.

So, if you’re feeling a wee bit down today just look within and see if you’re climbing on the old ego ladder of relational desire. It might just be the key to stepping out from under the heavy burden of a Model Obstacle. By letting our Model Obstacle play their own ego games, and walking away, One will draw close to validate and authenticate us. Our spirit Self will be touched by Divine Love, the One without rivalry, the One we call God.

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Angry Birds

Angry Birds

Let me start by making two bold assertions.

1) Many of us on the spiritual Journey are, at times, sanctified, little versions of Angry Birds.

2) Anger is a valid and extremely useful emotion for all who seek to walk in Love.

I’d better explain.

Anger is a primeval facility wired within our central nervous system whereby we regain our inner space once it has been crossed by an unwelcome other. It is the alarm bell and emergency response to a psycho-spiritual incursion all rolled into one.

Without anger there’s nothing to stop another soul from encroaching upon our inner holy of holies without repercussions. It’s our first line of defense in letting another know that we’re not happy bunnies, those willing to lie down and let an intruder take something precious that belongs to us.

Anger is designed to be a short, sharp defensive measure, a self-regulating one that ought to get the message across without permanent or lasting emotional damage. Once our other gets the message a more satisfactory re-establishment of boundaries may be negotiated.

So how come we religio-spiritual types are often little, Angry Birds?

Well, I believe that below the beatific smiles of our public, spiritual persona there lies trapped emotions and energies, one of which is often anger. Such energies require expression and release. They need to complete the journey plotted out for them by our internal powers of recovery. If they can’t be freed from the cellar of our lower unconscious they’ll manifest in other more demanding ways viz depression and physical illness, particularly muscular, tendon or nerve related pain.

Anger is one of our normal human emotions often frozen by the adoption of our spiritual stance subsequent to a conversion or enlightenment experience. In such a dramatic change of Self perception we often get a glimpse of the real us, that spirit spark placed within by Divine Love. Such a radical change of perception can keep us going for a while along the newly travelled spiritual path but eventually our inner world of the lower unconscious will need examination and airing. Thankfully Spirit Breath gives us time to settle into our new way of life before the Divine Spring-cleaning begins in earnest.

Much of our trapped anger was cut short and frozen in childhood or infancy. A slap across the thighs in the isle of a supermarket by our frustrated and indeed angry mother may have shocked us into a state of emotional paralysis. Years later, this cut short anger, lies dormant in the freezer of our  inner self.

Other frozen angers have their origin within the religious or spiritual life. In the intense cauldron of faith or spiritual communities many lines are regularly crossed. In some cases this in done intentionally, as in abusive groups, in others it is as a result of a false interpretation of the family of God. In religious or spiritual mindsets, where our oneness is overemphasized, to the detriment of our unique sense of Self, many inter-personal infringements can occur that automatically trigger our psychological defense mechanisms.

Our conscious mind, not wanting to appear disruptive or even more unacceptable, unloving, shuts down the outward expression of our psychic response force. Locked away and repressed in the lower unconscious, misinterpreted as a sin of the flesh, our far from dead anger begins to find an alternative route of expression and escape. The intense energy has to go somewhere and often does.

By definition most faith or spiritual mindsets rule out a valid and controlled channel for the resolution of psychic or indeed physical boundary incidents. The holy writings of many groups suggest practical ways to address such issues but in practice the pressure to conform and be a loving member who doesn’t rock the boat, takes psychic precedence.

In other words I’m suggesting that we spiritual types may be a lot angrier than we realise; we’re good at smothering our inner vexation by appearing to detach from our animal hard-wiring and going into freeze mode.

In my next post I’ll look at how leaving a faith or spiritually community can open our personal can of angry worms.

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