Fourth in a series [gs *]
Let’s examine the lunch-guy’s story and how ‘present’ I was able to be with it.
By the evidence he gave, he had a secure, conventional, stable (perhaps overly-mothered) middle-class (or better) upbringing – complete with youthful overwrought sexual fixation (a fixation, he alludes, that never passed – he implies online sex here, I don’t probe for details) resulting in a typical masculine lack of connection to his heart. Life continued into adulthood in the stereotypical manner – he’s rational, successful, has a traditional marriage (good domestic stay-at-home wife), kids.
Then suddenly a confluence of wondrous occurrences and Boom! His heart is broken open. The rush of tears, the days of cancelled meetings, the release of rage at mother and the phone call to pronounce he’s forgiven her (which freaks her out a little) and now he’s a new man. And isn’t it amazing that we’ve found one another, that we can see into each other, how rare it is that someone can look you right in the eyes, and so on and so forth, and his wife is having a hard time accepting his transformation.
He says how profoundly he was impacted by my disclosure in that meeting, it was this wonderful heart thing, but it also resonated for him on a physical level and he hopes I don’t mind him saying, but he got an erection, and it was all this great big wonderful discovery. I’m glowing, and pure love is pouring out of me and so on and so forth some more.
Now, he and I are having very different experiences sitting here together, but that possibility seems beyond his capacity to comprehend right now, and I’m having a hard time finding the proper, kind words with which to enlighten him. I think my challenge is in the gap in our respective awareness of what’s possible right now.
He’s talking to me as though what he’s feeling is what I’m feeling. As though what’s amazing and newsworthy to him is amazing and newsworthy to me. The possibility that might not be true does not seem to dawn on him. I’m just a mirror, reflecting back what he believe’s he’s experiencing. Clearly, for him, this is big stuff he’s sharing, and I want to honor that. It’s been a very long time since someone has burped up on me like this (my secret prompts that – a good reason not to share), but it’s not for me to go all jaded and squash this new experience of his. How do I know how he’s supposed to unravel? You know, I’m trying to practice beginner’s mind and all that.
But still, developing males and their spiritual struggles with the heart, the feminine, and the erotic – with chakras and transcendence and the effort to simultaneously satisfy and overcome the dick, and throw in the deadly mind and the heart-cracking-open and the now-I’m-a-new-man proclamation. . . These are old, old news to me. About this genre I would love to hear a new story, but no new twist is developing here, not yet, not for awhile by my estimate. And really – the part that I would find fascinating is years, or more likely, decades away. This story will have meaning to me when an old man has distilled it, not as a young man is just (breathlessly) beginning to live it. It’s not only uninteresting to me at this point, I don’t want to be sucked into any part of that story. But in this instance, that’s exactly what is occurring.
I need to shift his perception of me as a mirror of his exuberance, and I’m trying. I am. But he’s not taking subtle clues or gentle nudges, and I seem to prefer imagining myself gently emerging, gracefully three dimensional and autonomous, from the mirror I’m trapped in – I’m unable to shatter the glass.
And though I do know exactly what he’s referring to, and I recognize the layers of truth in his words, his words are not the ones I’d use to describe my side of the equation if he asked me. He’s utterly enveloped in a view that, in spite it’s familiarity, I really don’t share.
The world is filling up, lately, with recovering head-guys who have suddenly discovered they have hearts, which to them means they’ve hacked the code to the female universe. They’ve calculated the formula and are now qualified to tell women how to love, or communicate, or feel, or intuit, or fuck, or connect, or any of the things which were once the female’s sole province. Which bugs me, because they’ve only barely gotten a whiff. It’s just a new twist on the same old shit. There is no formula and these are living forces they’re imagining they’re bossing around, as though they could control them with their zeros and ones.
Even that might be acceptable, it’s a step in the right direction I guess. But when they proclaim their new discoveries as the absolute truth, and shut their ears to anything deeper, all they’re doing is maintaining their position on top. Their heads are so damned accustomed to being the expert, that once they catch on that we bleed, they’ll even tell us how to menstruate. Anyway, even if it’s a small step in the right direction for them, it’s a huge leap in the wrong direction for me.
As he talks, I’m sensing a little mis-reading, and in an effort to be authentic and honest here, I say, “I hear you saying that, but if that’s what it is’ (pure love, pouring out of me) ‘I can’t tell.” He looks confused and asks “what are you feeling right now?”. And I say “this feels normal to me, just like, whatever you’re seeing, that’s my everyday self.”
Really. How the fuck do I know?? I live my life, I’m human. I don’t know what the hell ‘pure love’ is. I’m not even sure I’m all that much in my body right now. All this energy is up in my eyes, and they are telling me way more about him than about me, and at any rate – I just feel normal. Or even shifting into a vague dizziness that comes from being too ungrounded for too long. And why would eye-contact mean any one particular thing? I feel like he’s a toddler with his one new word, practicing it on everything he sees.
Sure, sometimes people tell me I’m glowing, or light is pouring out of my eyes, or I twinkle, or whatever. I don’t deny there’s a way I am that sometimes has this effect on people. Then again, sometimes people hate me. I get plenty of both. And, yes, sometimes I feel like there’s this way to be truly present, and yes, it feels pretty cool when I’m in it. I certainly hear more reports about glowing when I’m in that cool space than otherwise. It’s not like I don’t get what he’s referring to.
But I have known a lot of people chasing after enlightenment. I’ve heard a shitload of enlightenment-moment stories – there was this (whatever), and I felt this (whatever), and suddenly boom! my heart (whatever), broke open, shot up to heaven, dissolved into pure light – whatever. And now everyone must follow the same path I’m on and have a similar event and understand things exactly the way I do, otherwise I’m more spiritually evolved than they are. Can you hear me sighing, wearily?
I’m not saying those moments aren’t real & I’m not saying they’re insignificant. I’m saying I’ve seen enough clinging to those moments, long after they’re over, and enough toxic judgments pouring from those moments, and enough ugly ego and spiritual pride, and just enough attendant human aftermath crap that I decided a very long time ago not to get too attached to any of it. Plus it all still exists in a civilized paradigm of power, patriarchy, hostility toward matter and the body, and mistrust of (and efforts to control) the unconscious and the feminine – there’s no way it doesn’t end up warped in very predictable ways – which is where the real practice starts, not before. I’m not interested in the labels, the interpretations, the expectations of what that all means.
I try to listen, I try to pay attention. I don’t try to codify it. I try not to get caught up.
I try to live my life right now, and the rest is water under a bridge – except that where it’s gunked up I have to take some time to thrash about and swear and loosen the muck in order to get things moving again.
So now this guy is sitting there proclaiming he’s seeing pure love in my eyes (but I’m doubting that his interpretation is current, because what I’m feeling in the moment is more akin to willed patience), and I’m starting to sense that we’re nudging up against some old muck and I might be on the verge of thrashing.
It’s true that part of my intent these days is to surface exactly these madonna/whore, mind/heart/body, spirit/matter muddles. Part of my (Daimon-driven) role is to lure these things out from the cement slabs they hide under, to put those confusions on the table so we can all look at them together. Because, as it is, they are destroying us. So I don’t mind the projections as much as I’m just wishing he had just a little bit more other-awareness. He is so lost in imagining one-ness, in the froth of finding his fantasy sitting there warm and breathing in front of him that I’m finding it difficult to ground either of us. He’s a slightly bigger challenge than I’d anticipated. Utterly oblivious to what I’m trying to do. He seems to think this has something personal to do with him.
And, he tells me, his wife wouldn’t understand any of this, she’d be upset if she knew he was having lunch with me, especially if she knew I used to be a prostitute. He giggles, and I feel a little sick to my stomach.
People tell me all the time how expressive my face is. I don’t have any idea what it looks like but I do generally know what it’s saying, because it’s usually saying what I’m feeling. Hiding my true response takes a lot of concentration and is only moderately successful – I’m a phenomenally bad liar. So I’m certain that all this mono-emotion he’s perceiving in my eyes is actually a very complex storm of a whole lot of things. Therefore, I’m certain he’s not actually aware of anything that is really going on in this moment, and unfortunately, I’m only somewhat more so. I can see it happening, but I can’t seem to respond appropriately.
Because the more gooey and frothy he grows, the more careful I am with my face, forcing smiles that I’m sure look more concerned and cringy than like pure-lovingness. I’m not trying to be inauthentic here. He just seems to be in a very open and vulnerable space, and I’m honored by that. I feel like it would be cruel (and frighteningly easy) to drop the full weight of my jaded maturity on his head. This is a fragile moment, and I don’t want to hurt him. I’m aiming at careful, not care-taking. But in this instance, I don’t really have a handle on the difference.
When I asked about his ideas (for manifesting one-ness), and he gushed about wanting to be like a little boy clinging to his momma’s knees, following me around and hugging me as often as he possibly could – that was breathtakingly vulnerable for an adult man to say, and understanding the importance of that, I wanted to honor it. At the same time, I could feel a pained expression crunch up around my eyes – the mere words brought on a sense of suffocation.
Well, you can see how it happens. This getting sucked too far in. And now he wants to hold hands.