What Is Your True Self

We choose a president who chose a cabinet which is robbing us every single day of things which offer popular support – to give tax breaks to the obscenely rich or great profit to equally powerful corporations. Did we not know this when we voted?

I would say yes and no. We saw a scheming television personalty who promised not to take away Medicare, Medicaid, health care and on and on…. All of these now are on the chopping block. The TV stations went crazy for him because his appearance sold a lot of on-air products. They pretty much ignored everyone else, especially Bernie Sanders.

His reputation for not paying almost everyone who worked for him was not mentioned by mainstream media but seeped into the news elsewhere. Why did we choose to fall into the trip of deceit? Probably because we already were there. People most easily scammed were raised by parents who both terrified and took away their right to think for themselves. These child-minded adults saw the candidate as a powerful figure who could harm them. They chose to accept his words of self-glory as well as promises of help, jobs, etc. that he would not keep. The child within is too frightened of severe parental mistreatment to do otherwise.

But how are we who had a terrifying childhood and, as a consequence, a terrified inner child to move away from our submissive persona and become a free and  and powerful self? That is what this column is about.

I set myself to thinking about people I’ve seen who live in the adult self. I remember going to a NY library to research documentary films because I was about to film one myself on the mothering practices in the Venezuelan Amazon. To my surprise there were few of them. I guess corporations that fund television do so to sell their toothpaste, bombs and bullets through adult educational programming. They are certainly not interested in a tiny bunch of people living off the land. I saw a pygmy family, beautiful small people sitting in an igloo of leaves and branches. It was the rainy season and it sure was raining. There seemed to be some complaining and pointing to the roof until Dad went out and got a few more leaves to cover the holes. Then he sat down next to Mom, next to their older boy child, a boy and a younger child leaning against them, and began to sing to to sing. Momma sang. Daddy sang. The older boy and the baby sang, mouth wide open, not yet quite using words. The melody was beautiful. The harmony even more so- not just the music, but the family itself. Everyone unselfconsciously joined together, entranced.

I then looked at another film of a small group of people, several families on an Indonesian Island. I heard from them that the children never fight. something we in the west call normal. These people gather food from nature around them including mussels in the stream. They leave no imprint on the world.

They too sang. They sometimes sang together, sometimes alone. Even a child would sometimes sing alone. They sang on camera and the tune was beautiful. They sang to celebrate life. They asked the embarrassed and cornered anthropologist to sing. He croaked out “Old McDonald…” They smiled and made happy noises as they were a kind bunch of people.

So this is the image I use for an adult self-singing together, all included. Any “leader” who shuts out certain singers as unworthy, evil, like the Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, are Jews, women, are not singing the song of self. The true self is inclusive. Martin Luther King Jr., made that point. To love all is not to like their aggressive and destructive deeds. A true self feels unity with the living planet which that person will not and cannot despoil.

So find a group in which you can sing your song. Your music needn’t be one of sound. It can be selling solar power, teaching creating. It can be inventing, writing poetry, preserving species, leading hikes. It can be anything in which your spirit sings, so long as you sing with everyone – a beautiful harmony of the human family; more than that, the family of life.

 

 

 

Unrequited Love

While meditating, I had a moment of understanding a concept I had long ago read about. It involves the experience of the inner energy as the place of love. Love is not what we commonly call an “ego” experience, among other things, feeling frightened, aggressive and demanding. Ego is all about separation which is related to being on defense. It is about ownership rather than sharing.

Ego orientation keeps us away from our inner state. The feeling of “we are one” can only happen if ego is exiled. Some call this feeling of being so united insane, but, once you have dipped your toe in these waters of union, the aggressive, needy, protective ego state is clearly the one that is insane.

I was thinking about a man who presented himself as potential friend and lover. But I deduced from our conversation that this brilliant man lacks a connection with his inner state of mind, the energy we call spirit. He spoke of death as removing his body and since that is all there is who cares. To him, life is merely a series of experiences, a kind of living movie once seen and soon forgotten.

He wanders aimlessly from experience to experience, takes interest for a while, then gets bored and moves on. Many of us live this way.

For me, to seek the love of such a person is repeating my childhood experience with two on–the-move parents, mentally and affectionately unavailable. You find yourself always seeking what you don’t have with such a person, or clinging to the little you do have. Your mind is swept away by grief and longing. Rather than find yourself in union, you lose yourself in emptiness.

What are you to do if your mind raises its arms in helplessness, over your compulsion to find and hold onto such people? The Buddhists call the mind the sixth sense, a great distraction. Rather than an ego product to get/hold/impress/conquer…, love needs to be the center of your life. Another’s love not given to you need not be your problem. Do not plead for love. Do not twist yourself into a hopefully pleasing pretzel to seduce for it.

Be your loving self and if another responds with love, you will know/feel it, something to be shared as the loving energy of spirit rather than two competing egos. If love is not reciprocated, move on.

Torn Heart and the Bad Child

I’m in New Delhi, visiting with my Indian friends, Ansh and Pooja, to their friends. We’re sitting in their small front room. I’m sitting in front of the heating unit, warding off unexpected frostbite. It is winter here in houses that lack heating. I’m wearing a heavy sweater, buttoned.  Dad is sitting cross-legged on the floor fanning a layer of coal briquettes on a metal grill, wanting to cook some chicken. He is having a hard time getting it started. After a bunch of unsuccessful minutes, he and my friend Ansh exited to the front yard where they could stimulate the flames without endangering our feet. Cooking the food here, is a social engagement, all of us cheering the chef with a certain amount of teasing.

There was something wonderful about it, so unlike what I have so often experienced in which there is food delivered and a hired person to cook and serve it. The delivered food is bland but looks good. It lacks a collective spirit. The New Delhi group later spoke about arranged marriages and why there are so few of them. I said the problem is the bride price. Ansh said that they had to pay the girl’s family of the bride to get her to marry him. We all laughed at this, including the cook. No hurt feelings here.

On the couch next to me is a rumpled tan blanket. When I see it move, I think my eyes are fooling me. Then I learn that their son, a 6-year old who had not been feeling well lay beneath. I thought he was in his bedroom at the far end of the house but no, he wanted to be part of the crowd. He lay there like a butterfly in its cocoon.

Kids usually like to be in the middle of things. A sad and anxious kid who fears to be abandoned stays close to the crowd in order to keep an eye on Mom and Dad. A kid who feels close to his parents, liking to share their collective vibe. I remember seeing this boy come up to his mother and kiss her cheek. She then gently took his arm and kissed his hand. No words were spoken. Love does not need words to be received.

He further established his good kid position with me after all the English speakers had said hello and made one or two comments, then returning to their comfortable and colloquial Hindi. He came over and sat next to me. With a smiling face, he asked, “beautiful lady, can we speak English?” “Absolutely,” I said. I loved my 6-year old (A+ student) swain who saved me from my designated social isolation. It’s funny how people comfortable in their language.

The kid knew that he was generally welcomed. His mother put out the welcome mat to him, no and or buts about it. He did not need to surrender to his parent’s desires and opinions, an attitude which contains inherent ambivalence. Later, he joined us at the table for what was a second meal, this time one of mutton. I couldn’t believe how much and how often we were eating. I took smaller portions even though as a guest, I was requested to take more. Mom brought over a plate of mutton to her son. He said no to it and she said some more words to convince him but the kid asserted “no.” She walked away with the dish. No bad feelings. Life went on.

What makes it hard for the parent to accommodate a child’s not acceding to their wishes often happens with parents whose own parents were punishing and rejecting. The now grown child has a conflicted identity, that of a helpless failing child and of an attacking parent. Parental hatred travels through the generations.

In each generation, the child who does not feel welcomed grows up to become an ambivalent parent. Take my good friend in the Southern United States who was mostly used, rejected, punished, put-down and ignored by Mom and Dad who hated each other as well. They demanded perfection in all she did without appreciation it. Only the child’s failures were noticed. Her parents had been similarly rejected by their parents.

My friend was an angry and guilt-ridden parent, swinging from one extreme to the other. She spent a lot of time smoking pot and retreating into the fun of partying. Her child looked on her emotionally absent parent and felt rejected. She learned to get attention by being faulty, careless, greedy. She lied and demanded money. She did not do her homework. She did not keep her word. Her room was a mess. When she came to a party her mother was giving, she drew the plug from the wall which silenced the music. Her mother flew at her in a fury. Being scolded, hit, rejected was the parent’s language which the child learned to speak.  She was a bad child. Had no choice but that.

To further harden the bad child stance, her attacking Mom became guilty. She remembered her own early rejection and gave unreasonable gifts and privileges. Mom’s post rejecting catering gave her child a sense of power. She became a lawless and destructive, acting bad to justify her mother’s abuse. The child’s behavior makes the parent seem ok. The child enacts her parent-assigned position as a lawless loser. The parent’s hate is justified by the bad child’s deliberate failures.

Love and hate are emotional rivers. Were you raised in a river of hate or love? Either river will determine how you treat your children, then how they will treat their spouse and child. Can you jump from a river of hate into one of love? Yes. But first, you must know the river you are in and come to know that you don’t need it. Most difficult of all,  you must leave the river of hate which connects you to your hating parent. This separation is hurtful and frightening to the inner child. Know your experience as a loss which leads to gain. The bad child is contained by hate. The good child is free to love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Stop Loving Those Who Can Not Love

You Have to Molt

In arthropods, such as arachnids and crustaceans, molting is the shedding of the exoskeleton (which is often called a shell), to let the organism grow. The butterfly, for example, emerges from its  chrysalis, its wings kept close to its body until it recovers from the effort of its a transformation.  It then spreads its wings and begins to fly not very well at first. Flying is a learning process not unlike the metamorphosis of a human being into a new way of feeling and relating. I use a caterpillar changing into a butterfly as an example because of its  ultimate beauty. Also the caterpillar molts from the head down the same way we need to change our minds.

Those raised in an  emotional/psychological hell, develop a psychological shell which is felt to be protective. It incorporates all that the child learns to get along with or to seek forgiveness from  the powerful figures in his life. It incorporates a lot of guilt and whitewashing if not worship of the abuser. Molting exemplifies the necessity  of total change. Changing a little of this or that in your appearance or demeanor to get an unloving person to love you is no change at all. To change yourself from being attracted to those who can’t love or for you to be unloving, your childhood thinking has to be surrendered by it’s “not me.”

Children  whose parents are welcoming and loving develop a psychological persona, not a shell. Their way of relating is roomy and ready to be traded for some new kind of love interaction even on an experimental basis. They have no fear of falling into an emotional abyss. They know from relating to parents who do not claim perfection, that a wrong choice can be easily given up. No problem. There is a sense of freedom.

It is fear of giving up the childhood shell of imagined protection which keeps the adult who had a damaging childhood, seeking love from the same type of person as the parent. That adult feels frozen like a deer caught in the headlights because it exists in the terrified child brain which sees no other possibility. The child’s brain says if you try to change the one who attacks you, it can only get worse. The adult may scream and weep about his miserable love life but his childhood mind says stay here.

People suffering from the repetition compulsion endlessly fall in love with those who cannot love them. They replay a childhood wish that finally the parent will love them. The child also clings to repetition as a superstitious act which believes that doing the same thing wards off greater danger.

I got to the place where I molted out of my containing child’s view of love, by suffering.  I failed and failed again to get love from the same kind of unloving person. I suffered  to the point where I knew that I did not know who or how to  love.  I threw in the towel of repetition, was desperately lonely and unhappy. Being in that empty space was a huge step forward. I had  no shell. The childhood shell which rationalized life with attacking and rejecting parents kept me as an adult from feeling love when it was offered. A shell misshapes your view of reality. It turns present into the past you have always known.

So it was when I was in an exceedingly lonely state  I met the man who was to be my husband. Lacking my  screen to distort receptivity, I immediately felt him a kind, intelligent and caring man who did not lie. Coming from a rejecting childhood, he did not think I meant it when I gave him my phone number. Heartbroken, I waited for his call. We ran into each other on Main street a year later when he was driven to put aside his shy demeanor and try to pick me up. I slowly recognized him, had a brief careful talk, said goodbye and went into the supermarket. He called me up that night. Had my phone number written on his wall by the phone. We met for a date at a macrobiotic restaurant. Liked the food. Happily and instantly we became a couple He put no barrier between us. I felt so much love from and for him,  was constantly close to tears. I had molted out of the miserable “known” into wonderful emptiness. This made room for him to get close to me, which he did. And I did to him.

Get my book Unloved Again today! Email me directly at elangolomb@gmail.com in order to get your signed copy. Hardcover ($25 including shipping) and Paperback ($16 Squareup.com/store/elangolomb.

Whether We Go Up Or Down

I was thinking out of fear of losing the little we hold onto, we become fearful and aggressive. Fear is a terrible quandary, an impossible way to think your way out of a problem. I should add that those 1 % forces which are scarfing down all available comestibles including our pensions, social security (hoped for), money for schools and hospitals and health care and bridges and roads and forests and …. you get the idea, that these needy gazillionaires need an image to hide behind since the ordinary citizen wonders why they need so much. Incidentally, they need so much because they have an addition to getting. Those with the getting addiction only need one thing. They need more.

But they know better than to advertise this problem which has a hold on them so they use a ruse of terror. We have to be made afraid of this and that, of them and those…. whatever is the boogie man or woman of the day, to take our money and invest it in killer toys for which sale they make a profit. And so violence goes on and on.

But if we recognize that there is no happiness in our terror; if we recognize that only peace brings peace; if we recognize that helping others makes friends who help us back; if we realize that loving, to love and be loved is the best experience of all, then the way to go ahead is clear.

We do the thing we love best. We give and sometimes receive. We are joyous to see another’s pleasure after our being useful. We are astonished and ecstatic when someone gives us the perfect gift, the thing that we (never mentioned) but need most. They know us! Imagine that.

We need to follow the path of love and peace in order to have it. We need to say, forget it when someone or something tries to arouse our rage. One way to know if we are doing it right this time, is to see if we are having fun. Love and fun (even with tears of happiness or relief) are marching hand in hand.

A Dog Is God Joking (Good Humored, Of Course)

Do you notice how dogs stretch your sense of humor, doing something wrong they know full well but enjoy enflaming your passions with few consequences.  I remember Effie, my beloved German Shepherd doing what she always did which got me to shriek at her while remaining stricken in place lest I cause a great disaster. Wow, that really got her off.

I had a huge fake Chinese Wedgewood blue and white vase painted with a mill scene. It was placed close to the living room wall but not against it. This very graceful but big dog which rarely missed her step would walk behind the vase instead of walking past it, clearly and totally unnecessary to get where she wanted to go – let’s face it behind the vase was where she wanted to go and with a purpose.

The vase shook on its base, a little back and forth like a shiver, not falling not standing, that indeterminate phase which causes an immediate heart to stand still in the watcher. Oh no. Can’t stop her, can’t catch it, can only watch. I scream “fuck you” to the dog which seems to grin my way and I mean grin. You know when your dog is smiling.

Then the vase settles in its place and the dog has already marched on. You curse your dog with a smile and even laugh, ”Ha ha ha.”You did it again you rascal. Your dog looks very innocent but you are not fooled. A dog who practically speaks English cannot learn that she is not to walk behind the vase. Nobody’s fool, that dog.

Do you love the dog better or worse for doing it? What a question. Come on, admit it. You love it better. The dog does not have the subservience to the one it loves as you had with your parents. The dog knows I love her but dislikes the part of me which identified with those bullies. It frequently and readily puts us in our disempowered place.

Part of me identifies with the dog. If a dog can do it, so can I. Thanks to Effie my canine alter ego.

Friendship is Supported by Staying Open and Above All Being Honest

Her friend is in a cautious state of mind which keeps the walls up. She doesn’t speak to her friend about it because she is nervous about making it worse. However, not speaking about it makes the matter worse. The tone  between them was unfriendly, careful speech, the spaces of silence where before there never had been any.

It started when her friend felt jealous because she had described to her a moment of enlightenment during yoga, something her meditating friend had not yet experienced. She did not know her friend saw her as a rival. Before they had always shared each other’s achievements with great pleasure. Instead, her  friend argued that she used the wrong technique which invalidated the experience. She spoke to her friend about this. Her friend argued until she saw part of the truth, but not her jealousy, so friendship was almost restored. Full intimacy takes full acknowledgment, as much as you have to that point.

The second break occurred when her friend spoke about vaccinating her grandchildren against measles, mumps, whooping cough and on and on. She responded that doing that was dangerous. She  said that inoculation weakens your immune system, that you can get the  inoculated disease later and much worse, that you are a carrier after inoculation  with live viruses who passes the disease to those not inoculated, that you can get autism.

She thought her friend would be interested in hearing this helpful information. But no, her friend withdrew in horror saying,  “You’re anti vax?” She answered yes and explained that the pharmaceutical industry is treating measles, mumps and chicken pox like a plague. When she was a child, mothers brought their children to the sick one to pass it on. Her friend raved on about the  danger of measles until they fell into silence. End of discussion.

Since then, things have not been the same. There is a lack of trust. Her friend wants to be secure with the values she has acquired.  Don’t we all?  No new ones, please. But what if these values have been proven false and do us harm?  She wants the friend back with whom she could discuss anything? How do you from here?