The Tremendous Joy of Friendship

So many years ago, I read Be Here Now by Ram Das, a one-time college professor who turned “seeker” after meeting, Nim Karoli Baba, an Indian spiritual man who responded to Ram Das’s recent loss of a dying mother without hearing Ram Das speak of it. Ram Das’s heart opened then. He had a friend.

About that time, I took my first and only acid trip and saw the aura surrounding trees. Well, that did it. I had to go to India myself and find people who also see what is. Once there after looking at this and that, I had a life-changing experience in a 3rd class bus station. You never know when miracles will happen. I saw an elderly man sleeping on a mat surrounded by a handful of people sitting cross-legged around him. I went over out of curiosity and saw an unimaginably beautiful man. My befuddled brain said he looks like a movie star. Then I saw his golden aura and felt his love. It blew through me like a hurricane. I sat down with them. That experience has been my guiding star, to feel what I felt then. Love is inter-me and you as Thich Nhat Hanh says. I and you are the same.

Then recently, I was terribly upset by a boyfriend who set me up to lend him money for his project which turned out to be a lie and left me broke. I even sold my most beloved possession to help him out. Then I was visited by my long time Indian friend. He saw my suffering and got very hurt and angry I could not stop myself when the tears flowed because he shared my grief. Before my friend arrived, I told him what I had been too ashamed to tell anyone, I had huddled alone in helpless sadness.

He has a funny way of insisting on the full truth. How can you not tell? He held my shoulder and said we are friends for life. Can I believe him or is it another scam? He said when he visits me he will pay my office rent when, he uses it. He wants to evaporate my loss. He calls it “fixing your kitty.”  Not a you pay me first and then I will repay you “double” scam. I have started to breathe again.

Can someone pretend to love you? Yes. and often people do especially those with bad intentions. Some say “I love you” but do not know what love is. Love is not a shallow and passing state like drinking a Coke when you’re thirsty and needing another one soon after. True love does not go away. It is its own reward.

Do you feel manipulated by one who claims to love you? Don’t ignore it. Your heart is a compass whose needle aims at love. It is our own true north. Heart knows when love is absent, knows when there is no inter-I and you in it. Heart knows when you are being taken even if mind is confused. Do not let the frightened inner child surrender because it fears the punishing parent.

There is nothing more wonderful than love. The world opens-up and you are not alone.

 

 

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Passionate but Lonely

Dear Citizens,

Am heart driven by the plan to set up green get-togethers in every community small and large in our world, eventually to speak together and become “one.” We will share how to preserve and save and recover from the ways we have been destroying our environment. This includes chopping down all the trees which create the oxygen we breathe as well as the sea plankton which do the same, our unceasing, careless and unnecessary use of fossil fuels, and its myriad of detrimental effects, eating all the fish we don’t throw back dead, releasing foul pollutants into land and sky and water, losing topsoil to the winds of drought and the necessity for everyone to have a royal acre to create a lawn rather than preserve our relationship to Mother Earth while growing only necessary foo, giving wildlife, our brothers and sisters, a place to live.

What I want us to do is bring together people all doing the “green thing” locally and nationally, to get together and show each other our work so that we can share and do and sell and teach. The few people, the very few absorbing the entire riches of the globe, are unimaginably short-sighted since a terrible death awaits them too. No air to breath. No water to drink. No food to eat since nothing grows in such pollution. How can these one-percenters rise above this situation with a mountain of cash?

Please write me at elangolomb@gmail.com to become part of this wonderful way to share our power and wisdom, to learn and share and teach. It will be a wonderful experience of a growing bunch of friends. I feel my heart warming and expanding awaiting to hear from you.   

Disaster Is a Teacher

A very good friend read my book Unloved Again and said he did not understand what changed me after such a long life of repetitive and self-inflicted misery in the ways of love.

There is a tendency to repeat. The brain never loses the memory of our compulsive hurtful choices although we like to think that it does. We push memory of bad love experience into a dark black closet of the mind thinking nothing will open that door again.

But opening happens without our noticing. Beset by the possibility of adventuring into the new, we unknowingly cling to well-known misery and childishly believe that some kind of magical force will change the outcome. Such repetition is supported by the inner child’s need to white wash our parent’s hate. The child holds onto the idea that surely love lies behind it. It clings to the belief that this time same will lead to difference.

That is where misery can be beneficial. You have-to reach the point of total despair. You have to give up the old, to be unwilling to drag your body through the same thorny emotional bush. That our love road goes nowhere cannot be denied. We argue with ourselves. Perhaps the inadequate love we’ve always “gotten” is all that can be had. But our misery has a Stop sign! Our mind declares I prefer the howling open wastes of Nowhere-Ville to the despair of doing the same. You must reach that place where repetition becomes undoable to let go of history. You have-to be so aching for real love that you step into the space of unknowing.

Only then will a person whose loving spirit can be felt by yours. People say love at first sight is only nonsense! Yes and no to that. With false love at first sight the repetition compulsion will happen. You are trapped in loveless repetition. True love at first sight is different experience since both of you are sending messages of love.

Those who confuse true love offered from one depicted with phony gestures have not suffered enough to know the difference. Those who sufficiently recognized the source of pain will move on.

 

 

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.

Get the Losers to Fight

Political statements which support depriving middle and lower classes while holding onto wealth and power are repeated by the writing of corporate funded news. These stir up hatred by stating that one group steals the ever fewer jobs from the other. Those with their hands in the till (of our tax money and their investments) tell us that we are endangered by ….. Muslims, blacks, Jews, women, Indians trying to protect our water, ….  anyone who wants to protect those with power from being accused and punished for their life destructive incursions.

The 1 percent goes up and the 99 percent goes down, down, down. Let us look at Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who has zero experience, understanding and interest in public schools. She said that public education “is a poor investment.” Part of her family’s great wealth comes from collecting student loans. She stated that she wants to offer vouchers to poor people so that their children can go to the assumed superior charter schools. This stated intention is a scam. After receiving the voucher, poor people still cannot afford to send their child to a charter school so the child does not attend. Children in charter schools are there from the start because their parents have money to pay. Voucher money is taken from the public school kitty for the sole goal of impoverishing it. Look where the money goes when assigning responsibility.

The Trump group is talking about closing the Department of Education (i.e. public schools) in 2018.  Education when effective, creates a thinking person. DeVos has stated her intention is to have the schools endorse religious principles. She called it God’s Kingdom, presumably a Christian enclave. Remember the separation of church and state? Now forget it. Such restricted schooling gets students to submit to the propaganda of millionaires and billionaires who enhance their wealth by getting rid of public services; to end Medicare and Medicaid; to privatize the Social Security they call an “entitlement, a misnomer which is a euphemism for a lie. Social Security is a lifetime investment taken from your “pay check”; Teachers increasingly “teach to the exam” which means suppressing thought. The controlling 1 percent has got its claws in creative teaching. Passing a test does not mean you can think.

We are inundated with the false understanding about what threaten us instead of how we are actually being robbed. Panicked by an imagined history, we ignore the threat of EOs (Executive Orders) one after the other. Recently an EO proposed to end the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) which reveals money-making environmental damage, the EO canceling the CPB (Committee for Public Broadcasting) which supports air time for small and public supported voices. Day after day, on and on and on. All the basic stuff of life is being turned into money. They are pulling up the sidewalks.

I was quite depressed and fearful last night, even of the consequences of my being noticed for writing this. Then I had this dream.

I saw a group of children, perhaps about 50 of them standing together and not of the “same” racial group. One of them did or was said to have said something negative against another. It was stated by the teacher as if being a criminal act. The teacher asked, “…who did it” to the crowd. Asked them to expose that child so that the others would get angry and attack. “Speak up. Talk. What is your reaction to this behavior?” But no one spoke. She tried to up the ante by characterizing the unknown child as “a bad one.” But still, there was no speech. The teacher could not stir up fear and hatred. She was defeated, silenced.

At the end of my dream, there was happiness in the children’s eyes. Also in my own eyes as I awakened. I felt the spirit of love shared by all the children. Love sustains life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signs that Your Parents Were Narcissistic and Unloving

If this discussion interests you, please read my book Unloved Again.

Your narcissist does not feel empathy. If anything helps you decide whether your parent is a narcissist, this is guidepost number one. Although many of our cultural values are narcissistic: “look at me… at my car… my possessions… where I vacation, etc., these are superficial attention getters. The heart of the show-off may still beat in tune with yours.

The narcissist suffers from a far more serious mental absence. Their attention is encased in a psychological hall of mirrors, wrapped up  in “it’s all about me.” As a result, the narcissistic parent cannot know you, their child (or friend or lover).  One has to feel the “other” person to know them. The narcissist may speak words of caring if they have caught onto saying these as a required social image but their heart is not in it.

You, their child feel that emptiness until you start pulling the wool over your own eyes. The child of a narcissist usually falls in line with their parent illusory need to be seen as loving. The child does this in hope of one day receiving the parent’s real love. The child imagines the parent is capable of feeling love but is withholding it because, you, their child are faulty. The child cannot stand the grief of knowing they have a  forever love-deficient parent. Instead, they take the blame. The notion of courting a love-withholding person guides their love-life ever after.

The narcissistic parent may utter words of sympathy when their child has suffered some kind of injury, for which they congratulate themselves on acting caring but words said do not mean that they feel your pain. Every word uttered reflects on their need for glory. In like manner, they attack their child for failing to be perfect at something because it casts a negative light on them or, even after they scold the child, are secretly exulted since their child’s failure puts them on a higher plane. I am above you because I lack that fault. Whether praising or attacking, all felt and done is self-referential. You do not exist for them in your own right.

Narcissistic parents are fakes who make their child into a fake.  They put a false image onto themselves with which the child must fit. The child initially knows that it is only a “pretense” like pretending to be a ghost at Halloween, but over time, the child loses awareness of it as an act, forgets how to find/be/know their own true self. A feeling of emptiness follows. A child needs its parent’s accurate (and loving reflection) to develop a sense of self.

Your narcissistic parent revels in vanity as do all children in their early years. All children need to be seen as great at least during the terrible two’s until reality cuts it down to an acceptable self-image.  The narcissist never leaves this stage of self-adulation. It is his shelter and defense against knowing himself to be a hollow man or woman.

The narcissist’s feelings are easily wounded. You, their child are expected to applaud, to build them up and support them. Once grown, the only way out of this un-loved affair is to leave it. You will be met with a barrage of objections, called selfish and self-centered after all “I have done for you.’ You need to take a gigantic step of not accepting the parent’s accusation that you are abandoning them since in the narcissistic parent’s unconscious mind, they remain your child.

The “sponge self” you developed under their barrage of projection and need has to be recognized and discarded. A sponge cannot say here I am and here I am not, regardless of what you say about me. The sponge self automatically agrees with the narcissist’s idealization or denigration. The narcissistic parent will never stop asking you for more. Do not fight with them to see you as you are since they can’t do it. Fighting is a form of attachment. It is a demand the parent set you free rather than you freeing yourself. Gracefully as possible move into the wonderful confusion of owning your own life.