Twenty-fourth in a series [gs *]
Another pre-dawn insight – knowledge that comes from the threshold between sleep and waking. This one is not a memory.
I’ve been struggling with this lunch series. Loathing it all in certain ways, profoundly fascinated by it in others – like some sick mad scientist who believes he’s uncovered the secrets to life, frothing at the mouth over all he can do now that he holds all the keys. Struggling with the words, struggling even more with the feelings – with my willingness to own them publicly, with my deep-seated shame over my ‘anger issues’, with the conviction this whole fiasco reinvigorates, that I’m not fit for human engagement (too hostile, too wild, too unreasonable, too easily triggered, too easily sucked into another’s bullshit). Struggling to learn from it, to make the major distraction it has become worthwhile – to redeem myself in this context. To use it as lever for becoming a different person, more in line with who I feel called to be.
It may seem like there has been a lot here, but there’s been even more than I’ve told you. More TK, in which I discovered how I use shame to try to control my anger, which just makes it all the more explosive. Discussions with my husband, in our ever-deepening conversations and exploration about who we’re becoming in the world.
I certainly didn’t intend to turn lunch-guy into an archetypal antagonist through which I could discover my own unconscious habits and lenses, but that’s obviously what I did. I used him to awaken myself, to highlight the shortcomings of my own unconscious tactics.
If I choose to ignore his agency in all of this, I could see him as a victim of my own enlightenment journey – I have learned far more in the past three months than I would have without him. But I don’t believe he’s quite the infant I’ve made him out to be in my mind.
Now, having, as David Bohm says ‘go[ne] into all the pressures that are behind our assumptions. . . into the process of thought behind the assumptions, not just the assumptions themselves,’ I more than forgive the lunch-guy. I recognize the need for forgiveness myself. I not only made him into something he was not, I probably blocked him from becoming what he was trying to become, at least in relation to me. I feel compassion for us both – how well we intended, how miserably we failed, how much pain has resulted.
But beyond that, I feel like there is nothing to be forgiven – not on either side. No cause for anger. No wrongs. No offenses. Certainly none meant. Both making a good faith effort, meaning well and becoming confused. A lesson to us all, and an illustration of how our lenses create a reinforcing feedback loop that traps us and keeps us recreating realities we want no part of.
An illustration of the power of deep erotic awareness – in this instance, mis-used.
A powerful lesson all around about making assumptions. Sure, I threw lunch-guy a powerfully confusing whammy, threw him completely off track. But he could have questioned both his own assumptions and mine as well as I could have, at any time. If either of us had started doing that overtly, we’d have ended up in a different place.
I can claim responsibility for how for astray it all went, because of how I attended, but he could also have attended differently.
Now, having done what I can to make myself transparent, I offer it all up for him to use however he will – and I believe (or is it just hope?) he’ll make good use of the information.
My husband tells me this writing I’ve done is a magical gift to the lunch-guy – I guess he would know better than me, he’s transformed our lives in amazing ways, in the face of such ‘gifts’ from me. He has used my sometimes-raging honesty to help him grow up. But it doesn’t feel so magnanimous to me. It feels like revealing my deepest perp-hood. Like waving around the pus from my infections.
I can hear readers hating me at every step – for my bitchiness about spiritual paradigms, my contempt for men, my unrestrained rage, my filthy mouth. I see them growing bored with the layers, annoyed at the alternating voices, the complexity, the ridiculously excessive introspection, wondering where the hell it’s all going – if anywhere. Every day I’ve struggled with the desire to abort this project and return to my easier, entertaining, accessible memoir from which this has been an unplanned detour.
I could say I’ve done it in the name of some lofty ideal, and that wouldn’t be an abject lie. But the most real truth is that I did it so I could have some peace – whatever my ‘source’ is, wherever my muse comes from, she wasn’t going to let me be until I gave time to all my impacted inner selves out loud. I did it because the Chthonios and the Missing Voice insisted that their side of the story be told. And they said that if I didn’t go all the way through it – being open and deep and revealing in writing, I’d keep doing that inappropriately in person – I wouldn’t learn the lessons. It was the same reason, ultimately as I do anything – because I had to.
I’m tempted to defensively draw conclusions here, at the end of my story – summarize lessons learned, justify myself, convince you I’m not merely raving, highlight the lofty ideals. But if you’ve come this far, you’ve already justified your persistence for yourself and drawn from it what matters to you.
So, instead I’ll just share a few quotes (and my own brief commentary) from “Theory U” by Otto Scharmer:
It’s as if we were standing on a threshold, about to cross through a new doorway into rooms we could never before access. But something is keeping us from moving into these rooms and seeing the world from them. That hidden barrier is our blind spot, as well as our teacher.
Lunch-guy and I both wanted to enter that new room, and we both had blind spots – this has been my attempt to find my own and offer them up, as teachers.
When we change the way we attend, a different world is going to come forth.
I’m certain that as small a shift in the way I attended as turning away when my body told me to would have made a significant difference in how lunch-guy and I engaged afterward. If that’s true at that micro-micro level, how big an impact could we have when we truly live that insight at the larger levels?
And finally Scharmer quotes Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida:
Knowledge and love are the same mental activity; to know a thing we must love it, to love a thing we must know it. [Love] is the power by which we grasp ultimate reality. Love is the deepest knowledge of things.
I couldn’t agree more.
We can say that we want reunion, connection, communion, but this is my base objection to that happy sameness one-ness I talked about in ‘Terminology’ – ‘communion’ without love is simply control, ‘love’ without real knowledge is simply projection. We can’t create a functional, resilient union without true knowing. And we can’t know truly when all we see is projections. And we can’t discover our projections without comparing our own inner truth with the other’s reality.
If we don’t want to bother really knowing, then we shouldn’t aim for union. And when we’re in the Up position relative to the other, are projecting our own shadows or souls, or are dealing with someone who constellates a long-repressed archetype, trust me – we can’t instantly know that person well enough to love her or him, not without a lot of serious and skillful communication. That’s a myth. (Sure, we can sense a profound connection, and when we do, we should follow it – but with care and listening, not assuming sameness, not grabbing)
Having dug a goo-rut, this is what I could do about it.
Anyway – I’ve gone through all of this, am reaching the end, and I wake up in the wee hours one morning hearing these words out-loud, making real sound in the room – ‘It’s been a rite of passage’.
It’s been a rite of passage, my psyche says, and I lay there, contemplating how true that is. I am no longer that person I was when I walked into that lunch. Everything is different now and, as usual, I have no idea what comes next.
My part of the lunch story is done. This is what I needed to do before I was ready to deal any further with the lunch-guy. I pass the talking stick to him now, and will listen bilaterally next time, if he has anything he wants to say. I’ll let you know if there is any follow-up.
But for now, I am complete.