*Holding Hands..., H. Art, Flickr
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Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds' wings.
54[Jesus] came to his home town and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? 55Is not this the carpenter’s [Joseph's] son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?" 57And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them, "Prophets are not without honour except in their own country and in their own house." 58And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.
*Christian New Testament. Matthew 13 (NRSV).
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Since the nature of Love is Connection, and our essential Self is Love, then most deeply we desire Connection. Indeed, I mean by "Love" and "Connection" the same Reality; we could say I mean "God." Our native Connection in some sense reaches out to connect. This is what I called, in the last presentation here, Love Loving.
Then, it follows, that we can find ourselves feeling varied feelings regarding the connection or lack thereof that we receive and give. Part of the spiritual Life is connecting beyond feelings. This is a challenge, for we have been shaped to equate connection with an emotion. We have often not been taught well about Love, or Connection, prior to feelings. We have not been trained in how to come to know absence of feeling-of-Connection as Connection. We have not been socialized in the difference between a feeling of connection and the sense of Connection.
Contemplative practice teaches this. How? Partly by the oft-experience of absence, even loneliness in the Silence, during set times of prayer. Through feeling non-judgmentally this feeling-of-absence, even what some could term the absence of God, we learn a new experience of Love-as-Connection. This opens to deeper realization of Love.
We desire rightly to have feelings of connection embodied, not merely Love affirmed as belief, or life philosophy. Possibly, we are content not to feel this Communion with most persons. Yet, to open to the feeling of connection with another and be unable to connect can be frustrating, even painful.
I knew this in a relationship, about seven years ago. I had waited and prayed for a healthy relationship with a woman for many years, while living single and dating little. I found myself frustrated repeatedly, wanting to nurture and connect with the person, and finding no way for that to be possible - at least, in looking back I have come to this conclusion, after much processing and seeking counseling and spiritual guidance, and felt it when in the relationship.
When deeply wounded by the past, we may be unable to offer connection or receive it consistently. That the connection does occur, at times, heightens the frustration and creates a double-bind. This is like a lovely Sunshine coming from behind clouds, but suddenly, inexplicably disappearing. The response can be befuddlement and deep hurt, more deep for knowing intuitively the potential of the sharing. That was my experience, as I can best discern it, looking back.
I do not see that the affirmation of Love can preclude from the humanness of feeling hurt, frustrated, even angry - and other feelings - that might arise from the recognition of disconnect. We, then, find a way to honor the offer and lack of receptivity. Simply to move on with life is a denial and a lack of honoring what happened. On the other hand, over-processing or clinging to the experience is not helpful in our moving on with life.
Our practice entails to see the feelings, affirm the Connection - literally, "see into" the disconnect and recognize the Connection present (to many this would be to "see" God present in the other and yourself, regardless of our experience with the person). Likewise, the practice entails accepting graciously that sometimes the feeling of Connection is not going to be possible, that sometimes felt-disconnect is the reality to accept prayerfully. Being with the feeling of the disconnect, without blaming the other or oneself, gives inner space for the sense of Love for and Gratitude for the other to arise, a sense not dependent on the past and what you might call personal experience. The Divine is prior to and beyond that personal, which arises from the sense of individuality.
Practice affirming that your Presence speaks more lovingly than you know. We have been taught to act, and justify our performance by action. This prejudice to action is pervasive in most of religion, at least in the West. We can reframe the place of Presence and action in our lives, which means challenging assumptions of the larger society, including our family background, and religious or spiritual group.
The grief of disconnect, when pure, is a reflection of the Love within you and your kind desire to share embodied Grace with others. The grief, and other feelings, are present for Love is present. That is good news. Affirm that and accept your limitations in loving others. By doing this, you may discover that your Presence is more appreciated than you thought.
There is a Mystery of Love living inside you, far more powerful and beautiful than you likely realize. Open to That, call That what you will. Even as a Jesus being not received, not connected with by those he had grown up among, did not limit in any way the Glory and Beauty of such Presence, the same is true of you.
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*Christ the Redeemer in Rio..., Carlos Eduardo, Flickr
* * * CLOSING BLESSING * * *
Grace and Peace to All
The Sacred in Me bows to the Sacred in You
*You are welcome to contact Brian at email@example.com .
The presentations at this site cover a long time period. Each one represents part of an on-going Pilgrimage, and the writer's ideas, practices, and experience have changed over time. This change is the quality of any living Journey. Please read with this in mind, allowing the inner Teacher to speak to you as you need at this particular time in your own living Journey. Thanks!