Rumi says: “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” This article is about how I have come to understand these words.
Every now and then I drop into a deep dark pit hole of complete aloneness – a portal into My Personal Hell – where it feels like there is no love for me in this universe. It actually feels like there is no love whatsoever in this universe – no one loves anyone. Universe seems to be nothing but cold, indifferent, heartless machinery.
My soul longs to connect deeply with a warm, living, feeling human being to be delivered from this isolation. It feels much like Christopher Poindexter put it: “And in the end, we were all just humans… drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” Connecting in authentic, open-hearted way soothes this longing. Each time that deep connection happens, the heartless, indifferent, unloving universe that I dread, loses its grip on me.
With an open heart we can see others for what they are. If our hearts are closed, we only see our projections in the eyes of the other; we see nothing but ourselves and gain nothing from this connection, while open heart allows the exchange of energies that is enriching for both parties. Of course nobody is obliged to provide anyone with this deep open-hearted (and heart opening) connection, unless their own soul obliges them to extend their love in this way. But we all lose if we withhold from opening up, because those are the connections that make the difference to our lives, give meaning to human interaction, they land deep in our subconscious being and mould us into more conscious men and women.
Mind – Heart Management
“Where love is present, ego is silenced.” ~ Ethel Kings
To see with the heart, the heart must be open and the mind must take a step back. The problem with the mind is that it gives us the preconditioned interpretation of reality while heart gives us the inner reflection of the outer world that is true in the now. If you see another in an obviously poor condition – perhaps your mother weeping, or a dead animal by the side of the road – it reflects in the heart as pain or sorrow. The poor condition of the other is the physical manifestation of the sorrow. But what mind does, is that it looks for reason, explanation, solution. Oftentimes what it comes up with is blaming or judging someone for the situation as if it is going to solve anything. If it cannot fix the things right away, it will probably try to escape the situation by fixating its attention on the blame or moving on to another subject.
Mind cannot manage those feelings because it sees feelings as a black hole that threatens to suck it up alive. And right it is – stepping into that hole is a kind of a death – a death of the ego that mind is determined to protect. It’s a job for the heart to deal with feelings. Mind has to surrender the lead in order for healing to become possible. The way to fix an emotional wound has to pass through being completely present to all the shades of pain the wound holds, validating all of the feelings it carries, giving them space to be seen and heard. Then the healing may occur naturally.
When I fall into my hell pit of separation, it is because the emotional state I am in is too frightening for my mind to be present to it – allowing these feelings to exist seems equal to death. That’s where the urge to run in the opposite direction comes from and so the longing for belonging turns into denial. It is an attempt to escape the emotions. Love relationships are great triggers for this kind of feelings. That is probably because we collectively carry this ideal that love is there to heal our wounds. And if it fails, if that person, who we thought we were sharing love with, fails to be there for us in the way we need in order to feel valued, we may feel betrayed. That is the feeling that I end up with. And when that happens I drop into the cold, loveless, heartless hell of mechanistic universe.
In those moments I am blind to love around me, as well as the love that is inherent in me. Paradoxically – whilst I run from it, resist it, deny it, in the same moment I crave for it more than ever. The further I stand from it, the greater my need for it. Yet in that moment of exile from the chambers of love, I will supress my need for it, since I feel betrayed by it, and that means it is not safe to show the truth of my heart to the other. So I cannot admit that I need love, that I just need to be held or even that I have human needs altogether. I become somewhat inhumane.
In that moment I close down. I blame myself or the other or both – my mind blames – while my heart pains with longing for reconciliation. As I let the mind lead, I separate. And in that separation I start idealizing love – coating it in unearthly qualities to make sure that nothing on planet earth could ever compare to the idol I’ve created, to keep me safe from further betrayal, but also separate from the love that is there. I step out of the world of human connections and into the world of ideals and ideas. From the heart into the head.
If I allow my heart to speak – mind tells me that I will lose myself, my ego shatters, a layer of armour falls away from around me and I feel naked and vulnerable and completely open. For my mind this state is just too fragile to be in. For my heart it is the expression of its innermost truth, it is putting forward the trust in humanity of another, it is a love offering, an invitation to meet each other in the space of authenticity. Only heart is capable of presence that allows the separation to melt away. For this – both hearts need to step up to that plate.
In this moment of misalignment, I desire the other to be there open-heartedly present to what I am going through, but if the other cannot and there is no kind friend of wise seer that I can turn to, I may seek help inside myself. I may seek to connect with my higher self, my spirit guide or a teacher – an entity that does not lose the clear perspective when my incarnated self falls into misalignment. A seer that I would trust and can turn to at any moment. Someone in whose loving presence I too may return to love.
Being able to be there for yourself – lovingly – is the bases for being able to receive that gift from another when it is offered. There is much to be said about the immense importance of being able to satisfy our longings by ourselves. Having said this I must state that the synergy that happens when we truly connect with another, as well as the depth of awareness we gain in conscious interaction, evade us in our separation. There are joys that just cannot be had without another and plains of consciousness we cannot reach on our own. Yet we must understand that no one else can give us the love we long, if we deny it within ourselves. So first of all we may want to look at healing our relationship to ourselves. Do we embrace all of ourselves or do me still reject aspects of ourselves? It is easy to see considering that we are capable of loving ourselves to the extent that we dare to love another, for another is a mirror of us and what we resist in the other, we resist in ourselves. The outer world is the physical manifestation of our inner plains and vice versa.
Either I long for something or I resist it (either I idealize it or deny) – both indicate a barrier. Longing for connection indicates my incapability to be aware of its presence, so I perceive the lack instead. Perhaps because deceit has shadowed my perception of human connection. Resistance to connect indicates an incapability to bear its presence, just as well – possibly out of fear of deceit. Both are projections of our own conditioning and have but little to do with situation at hand. But they have a power to steer the situation towards what we project upon it.
My personal longing is rooted in the lack of connection I experienced as a child. Hence I tend to have an idealized view of love and do not always see what is there for real. Another with similar experience might have decided that connection is something unreliable and keep rejecting it instead. Both sprout from the same root and block us from seeing the reality at hand. Our ability to see the love in our life is limited by all these barriers that we entertain. The stronger we idealize or resist love in our life, the harder it is for love to reach us since we are able to receive it only if it comes in accordance to our rigid beliefs about it. If we wish to heal that tendency, we need to bring awareness into our limiting beliefs, let go of what no longer serves us and allow the reality to weave its own magic.
Perhaps there is a deep wound that has moulded those beliefs, a loss that has not been grieved, a pain that we have not allowed ourselves to feel. Then the medicine lies within the wound – if we wish to heal, we better move towards it, not away from it. Just by allowing ourselves to feel that pain, by being with it, without trying to fix it, the hellish flavour of pain might turn in time into a sweet scent instead. We may start by asking ourselves: why are those beliefs there – probably to protect us from something. Then we may ask – what are they protecting us from – and the answer may be – from pain, failure, ridicule, etc. And then we may ask – is it really true? By using resources like Byron Katie’s process, The Work, we may shine some healing light upon these beliefs that do not serve us any longer and choose the ones that do.
As an artist I like to use artistic forms of expression also for shining the light on my issues. I have painted series I call Love on Canvas to anchor the sense of deep connection with another human being within these paintings, so looking at them; I would remember how it feels. Interestingly enough – in the state of separation I actually don’t even notice these paintings, unless I consciously decide to plug into that loving space. That shows clearly how our channels of receiving love are conditioned according to the states of mind we are in – on a regular day I am aware of having these paintings in my room, on a bad day, they don’t exist even they are there just the same.
On those days I need to be gentle to myself to allow love back into my field of perception. First of all by coming into the presence with myself and what I am feeling, out of the head and into the heart. Witnessing the tantrums inside me, validating all of my feelings, fulfilling the needs I have in that moment, bringing awareness to every aspect of what I am experiencing, loving away any barriers that I still hold on to. Perhaps I need to work on my beliefs, weep over an old loss, create another work of art to process the pain, or just hear it out till it has nothing more to say. And, when I long no more, nor am in any kind of denial, when I reach the open-hearted, all-inclusive state of acceptance of all that is, with no rush nor judgement, I am there – in the state of no barriers, where the love can flow freely – I am the embodiment of it. And I can tap into that space each time I choose conscious loving presence over escapist tendencies.
“When there is no more resistance and no more desire, I surrender completely to All That Is. I become you and the air we breathe, and the birds and the trees. I become this moment in time and eternity — all that ever was and will be.” ~ Ethel Kings
Original artwork courtesy of Ethel’s Arts.
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About the author:
Ethel Kings, born in Estonia in 1979, is a spiritually oriented self-taught artist, writer and photographer based between Estonia and Indonesia. Her works aim at bringing subconscious matters into consciousness. Kings has a degree in Theology and is trained and certified pastoral councellor. During Master Studies in Anthropology of Religions she started feeling resistance towards academic ways. In 2010 she moved to Indonesia and in 2014 her first novel was published. From thereon she continued on the path of inspiration, practicing personal growth through creativity, spirituality and awareness modalities.