Posts Tagged love

Understanding Depression: A Letter to a Friend


Melancholy (1891) by Edward Munch

As you are well aware from all of your reading and experience with eastern teachings, we are not any thought. Rather, we are like light that shines on everything alike. However, this shining becomes obscured through its replacement by thoughts regarding our personal identity.

Thus, we are born as this light. However, shortly after birth, often in the very first days of our life, we experience a separation trauma. The effects of this trauma are extensively documented within modern anthropological observation and you can read about this documentation first-hand in Morris Berman’s outstanding book Wandering God (http://goo.gl/L89W).

While a very young baby cannot speak, he can feel and the feeling he will experience will be one with of intense, uncontrollable pain, as an inevitable result of his separation trauma. At first, the pain is incidental to the separation, but over time it becomes more constant and then generalized. With the development of language it assumes form as one of several different thoughts. They fall into such categories as I am inadequate/unlovable/insufficient. How we personally experience our inadequacy (unlovability, etc) becomes increasingly specific over time. So, it might take the form of “I am not good looking enough to be liked”, or “I am not smart enough” or “I am a slob” – it really can take any negative form – but the generalized underlying pain and suffering remains.

So the psychological self adapts to the pain by creating compensating selves. I call these selves “fear-selves” in my book, Liberation from the Lie. They are designed to negate the underlying identity. So, if you have the belief that I am ugly, you might becoming compulsively addicted to working out, cosmetics, etc. If the belief assume the form of stupidity or irrelevance, it will assume the form of becoming an expert/someone who needs to be heard. It often assumes the form of becoming “holy” and superior to those others who are consumed by the material (inferior) world. Because the main purpose of the Fear-Self is to obtain love and appreciation, it often takes the form of the persistent pleaser. It can take as many forms as there are underlying self-hating ideations.

Secondly, the underlying self-hating ideations mirror the very invalidation that we experienced so vividly in our primal separation trauma, as well as the countless experiences of hearing, first-hand how stupid and annoying we were from our otherwise, well intended parents. We learn that love is not a birth-right, instead it is earned. So we adopt behavioral modes craftily designed to obtain brownie points and the admiration of significant others. Most people live the whole of their lives this way. Often when we desperately seek to please those whose love we need the most, and when that love and appreciation is not returned in a way we want or expect, our love can turn to contempt and even hate.

Depression occurs anytime the over-lying fear-selves experience failure. Failure causes their facade to crumble and the moment that happens, we are pushed face-to-face with the fear-selves underlying construct, i.e., I am unlovable/inadequate/insufficient. I call this underlying “KING” belief, the Wound. The Wound is our principle governing principle operating in our psychological universe. So when a fear-self experiences its inevitable failure in the real world, we are thrust back into our primal world, in direct contact with our Wound. And this is extremely painful. This is the very source of suffering that drives all of our “positive” love seeking ambitions. It’s like a yo-yo where the Fear-Selves are like the spinning wheel, but the governing hand and arm are the Wound. We also realize that the Fear-Selves are inverse representations of their source Wound. In other words, it’s the self-negating belief that always wins in the long run. We have much more belief in our inadequacy that in any opposing and compensating form our psychological self may assume.

Only a fear-self would compulsively seek a “solution” to this dilemma. The search for a solution reifies the reality and truth of the underlying self-hating belief. So the search for a formula that will make it all better merely sustains the process. The ego hates hearing that, but such is life.

So the process I discuss and advocate in my book recommends that we explore an accomodation with the Wound. Instead of fleeing it in sophisticated and subtle ways via a Fear-Self, we take the brave act to just turn around and take a very careful look at the source of our suffering. I think it might be helpful to have a friend or therapist help with this part of the journey. We really need to get to know this King belief which enslaves the personality in all of its forms. We must re-visit the time and place where we first made sure agreement with our invalidators and gave birth to this vast pool of suffering which has directed our psychological lives ever since. By loving our Wound, we begin to Love our invalidated childhood self. We are acting to REVERSE the underlying process of invalidation. This is direct healing.

We also get to understand that the way we suffer as an individual, is the way everyone suffers, so we know that we are never alone with our suffering, although it might feel that way. This forms the basis for authentic compassion with everyone else and everything in our world. We begin to really appreciate this Wound and the desperate and compulsive life of fleeing it by doing ever more elaborate and sophisticated coping strategies can finally come to an end.

There is more to it than this, but that’s why I wrote the book. I hope this was helpful. This is not a simple topic and I have summarized a lot of complexity into a handful of paragraphs. If you are dealing with persistent unhappiness or depression in your life, then I really urge to take a detailed look at my book. I think you will find a new way to deal with this often overwhelming challenge. I also hope that you don’t read these words as just crass marketing on my part. I make almost no income on my book. I wrote it out of love.

I wish you the very best.

Eric

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about a pretty subtle part of this problem. Stay tuned.

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Liberation – the Next Step – Celebrate the Outcast


open-outcast-the-hidden-gate_1.jpg

The spiritual philosophy content of this site is now finished. I’ve said all that I can say. It’s now time to usher in the new age of authentic liberation.

We have seen how the whole of the “deficient” self is an inevitable outcome of the system’s requirement to debase the child and re-create him as a compliant, fearful human being designed to take orders and do what he is told. We have seen how the child is debased by the family and how the systems of formal education continue their essential mission to further weaken us through a war of fear and the demand for obdience.

We are told, right from the get go, that if we fail to do what we are told, that we will fail in life, and that if we fail in school, we will become outcasts. I say celebrate the outcast. The truly liberated person is an outcast. It is she who has seen through the many veils of fear. Let’s become outcasts together!

It is time to come alive to who we are – whether it be a dancer, a scientist, or a revolutionary. This is the liberation of love for if I love the body and what the body can do, then I might want to dance, if I love the complex interplay of energy and matter, then I might become a scientist, and if I love the planet as a living organism, then I might want to foment revolution.

Ultimately, our liberation is living our love – being completely true to ourselves.

In this journey we must never loose touch with the light heart. Yes there are times for grave seriousness, but there are also times to sometimes just see the absurdity of the linear type of mind that believes that if we only do this, then we will have finally arrived.

All of this is the playful and serious interplay of energy. Getting a feel for the current, knowing when to surrender to the flow, knowing when to make waves – are all a part of the game.

If it were anything different, it wouldn’t be liberation.

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The Path to Awakening and Disney's "UP"


Last evening I saw Disney and Pixar’s new hit movie “Up” in 3D and realized about the middle of the way in that I was watching a story of full awakening; enlightenment for kids AND their parents.
First I want to warn any readers that this review may contain details about the film that you may not want to know prior to your own viewing of it – so please know that you have been “officially” warned!
Up is the story of Carl Fredrickson (Ed Asner’s voice). The movie begins in his quaint hometown. He is a lover of adventure, although there is no real adventure in his life. Instead, he projects his love for exploration onto the flashy explorer Charles Muntz who is featured heroically on the movie shorts popularly in the 1930s. We can think of Muntz as Carl’s guru, his spiritual guide. To Carl’s alarm, Muntz is accused of fakery when his partial skeleton of an unknown species of bird is judged as fake. This foreshadows Carl’s need to fall out of love with sources of power external to himself.
Carls falls in love with Ellie, a dynamic tomboy. They share their thrill of adventure and make plans to venture to a mysterious and vast waterfall in the heart of Venezuela. Ellie (sluggish Carl’s dynamic alter ego) bestows on Carl her official medal that he too is an adventurer. The only problem is that the thrill of exploration is the one thing that our rather stodgy Carl doesn’t engage in. Like all seekers, Carl lives in the dream of exploration and not in its living essence. Ellie and Carl get married and live in quiet bliss, and unadventurous love. The years pass and eventually, Ellie dies peacefully. Their dream of trekking to the great waterfall remains a dream (for this is Carl’s journey to make). Their relationship is told in a most poignant and heartfelt way and is one of the great strengths of this movie.

Carl and Russell

Carl and Russell

The waterfall is Carl’s projected visualization of enlightenment. This is the place that could have given Ellie and he happiness and it remains unattained.
Carl lives his life as an old grump alone in the house that Ellie and he built long ago. Meanwhile, a great city has grown up around them and the corporate developers need to have Carl and the house removed. Carl as grouch strikes one of the developers on the head and is forced to go to court where he it is ordered that Carl must vacate his home (his unawakened self) and to be placed into a generic retirement home, the very fate the quietly still seeking Carl fears the most. This fear is the fear of being just one of the many; ordinary and unawakened, dying alone with this dream unrealized.
Meanwhile, Carl is pestered by a young boy scout named Russell who has targeting Carl as his ticket to getting his final merit badge; namely helping the elderly. Carl, of course, shoes him away with angry irritation.
Carl evades the courts and the deathly retirement home by attaching a vast flotilla of helium balloons to his home. His plan is to steer the magically floating house to mysterious South America where he can finally realize his dream of adventureand discovery. But to his considerable consternation, Russell has snuck onto his porch and the two adversaries are forced together on the adventure.
As they rise into the clouds they leave the land of the predictable and humdrum and enter the world of mystery and transformation. The floating house represents Carl’s unmooring from this well established roots. He is now set afloat in the uncertain and unknown. This is the journey of awakening where the ties to the material life need, at some point, to be severed.
But on many levels Carl is still tied to his old, stodgy and sentimental life. His home is full of mementoes from his time with his beloved Ellie. These objects of his past are very dear to him and how they are arranged and honored in his home is very important to him.
I don’t want to tell the whole story, but Carl and Russell make it to near his dreamed of waterfall. A long trek, full of obstacles still confronts them. Here in this unearthly place, Carl is unexpectedly reunited with this projected guru Muntz and needs to learn the very harsh lesson that Muntz is nothing but pure ego in love with only himself and willing to kill and destroy anything that comes between him and his goal; that of re-establishing the adoring admiration he once possessed. Carl also needs to cut the remainder of his ties to his old stodgy life and is compelled to throw away with all of the symbols that connected him with that life.
He must find himself and that is exactly what he does. His fearfulness becomes fearlessness. His thinking about life, becomes immediate and decisive action in life. His self-styled isolation blossoms into connection with all of life. His journey in the mysterious lands around the waterfall shows him the falseness of putting idols on pedestals. Instead of just discovering exotic lands, he discovers the love that binds all of life together. Where he was once only capable of loving Ellie, he now can see beauty everywhere. Even the revered waterfall becomes something irrelevant – all that matters is his own unforced and unplanned awakening to fullness of being that he ultimately achieves. Near the end of the film, even Ellie’s ancient medal of honor must be given away to his beloved Russell (perhaps the child he never had).
“Up” is a funny, fascinating, and ultimately, beautiful film. And, I didn’t mention the best part – the language of dogs – it’s hysterical.
See the trailer by clicking on this line.


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The Path to Awakening and Disney’s “UP”


Last evening I saw Disney and Pixar’s new hit movie “Up” in 3D and realized about the middle of the way in that I was watching a story of full awakening; enlightenment for kids AND their parents.
First I want to warn any readers that this review may contain details about the film that you may not want to know prior to your own viewing of it – so please know that you have been “officially” warned!
Up is the story of Carl Fredrickson (Ed Asner’s voice). The movie begins in his quaint hometown. He is a lover of adventure, although there is no real adventure in his life. Instead, he projects his love for exploration onto the flashy explorer Charles Muntz who is featured heroically on the movie shorts popularly in the 1930s. We can think of Muntz as Carl’s guru, his spiritual guide. To Carl’s alarm, Muntz is accused of fakery when his partial skeleton of an unknown species of bird is judged as fake. This foreshadows Carl’s need to fall out of love with sources of power external to himself.
Carls falls in love with Ellie, a dynamic tomboy. They share their thrill of adventure and make plans to venture to a mysterious and vast waterfall in the heart of Venezuela. Ellie (sluggish Carl’s dynamic alter ego) bestows on Carl her official medal that he too is an adventurer. The only problem is that the thrill of exploration is the one thing that our rather stodgy Carl doesn’t engage in. Like all seekers, Carl lives in the dream of exploration and not in its living essence. Ellie and Carl get married and live in quiet bliss, and unadventurous love. The years pass and eventually, Ellie dies peacefully. Their dream of trekking to the great waterfall remains a dream (for this is Carl’s journey to make). Their relationship is told in a most poignant and heartfelt way and is one of the great strengths of this movie.

Carl and Russell

Carl and Russell

The waterfall is Carl’s projected visualization of enlightenment. This is the place that could have given Ellie and he happiness and it remains unattained.
Carl lives his life as an old grump alone in the house that Ellie and he built long ago. Meanwhile, a great city has grown up around them and the corporate developers need to have Carl and the house removed. Carl as grouch strikes one of the developers on the head and is forced to go to court where he it is ordered that Carl must vacate his home (his unawakened self) and to be placed into a generic retirement home, the very fate the quietly still seeking Carl fears the most. This fear is the fear of being just one of the many; ordinary and unawakened, dying alone with this dream unrealized.
Meanwhile, Carl is pestered by a young boy scout named Russell who has targeting Carl as his ticket to getting his final merit badge; namely helping the elderly. Carl, of course, shoes him away with angry irritation.
Carl evades the courts and the deathly retirement home by attaching a vast flotilla of helium balloons to his home. His plan is to steer the magically floating house to mysterious South America where he can finally realize his dream of adventureand discovery. But to his considerable consternation, Russell has snuck onto his porch and the two adversaries are forced together on the adventure.
As they rise into the clouds they leave the land of the predictable and humdrum and enter the world of mystery and transformation. The floating house represents Carl’s unmooring from this well established roots. He is now set afloat in the uncertain and unknown. This is the journey of awakening where the ties to the material life need, at some point, to be severed.
But on many levels Carl is still tied to his old, stodgy and sentimental life. His home is full of mementoes from his time with his beloved Ellie. These objects of his past are very dear to him and how they are arranged and honored in his home is very important to him.
I don’t want to tell the whole story, but Carl and Russell make it to near his dreamed of waterfall. A long trek, full of obstacles still confronts them. Here in this unearthly place, Carl is unexpectedly reunited with this projected guru Muntz and needs to learn the very harsh lesson that Muntz is nothing but pure ego in love with only himself and willing to kill and destroy anything that comes between him and his goal; that of re-establishing the adoring admiration he once possessed. Carl also needs to cut the remainder of his ties to his old stodgy life and is compelled to throw away with all of the symbols that connected him with that life.
He must find himself and that is exactly what he does. His fearfulness becomes fearlessness. His thinking about life, becomes immediate and decisive action in life. His self-styled isolation blossoms into connection with all of life. His journey in the mysterious lands around the waterfall shows him the falseness of putting idols on pedestals. Instead of just discovering exotic lands, he discovers the love that binds all of life together. Where he was once only capable of loving Ellie, he now can see beauty everywhere. Even the revered waterfall becomes something irrelevant – all that matters is his own unforced and unplanned awakening to fullness of being that he ultimately achieves. Near the end of the film, even Ellie’s ancient medal of honor must be given away to his beloved Russell (perhaps the child he never had).
“Up” is a funny, fascinating, and ultimately, beautiful film. And, I didn’t mention the best part – the language of dogs – it’s hysterical.
See the trailer by clicking on this line.


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4 Comments

The Purpose of This Life


Ultimately, the purpose of our life is to love. But our love, that is innate to who we are, will be blocked by some personality cluster that is, to some extent, bounded by a fear impulse.
I can only speak from my own experience.
I needed to understand. That is neither good or bad. It just is. While a mixture of ingredients went into this “need”, one of the ingredients was fear. I needed to be heard. I needed to be respected. I needed to be thought of as wise. From my own fear-based perspective, I believed that my exploration would enable me to (ironically) better control my fears and doubts.
This was the ONLY journey I needed to take. The journey you are on is the ONLY journey you need to take. That journey is the treasure for the shore to which it leads, is that of love.
Today I saw through understanding and entered the world of life and love. I feel its tentativeness. I feel the draw to continue the intellectualization of experience. But I also feel the love that undergirds everything and is the light of awareness in this moment.

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The Difference between Ego and Wisdom


Wisdom is connection.

Ego is separation.

Let’s take a look at the difference.

I see that cars contribute to the deterioration of the planet. I see and smell their exhaust. I see the roads that cover the planet, the vast expanses of parking lots, the oil industry, its ships, its derricks, its smoke. I can see and understand the impacts it makes on the overall well being of the earth.

So, I chose to walk or bike instead of drive whenever possible. This is immediate action in service to awareness. I enjoy the feel of my body as it moves.

This is wisdom.

Now I start disliking people who drive all the time. I start feeling superior to these unevolved people. I continue doing errands on foot or by bike, but I know that I am better than these ignorant people.

This is ego.

We can apply this to all of life.

What do we do when we see separation in ourselves (as we will). We see it. This is the GREAT LEVELER. We see it in ourselves and we feel a smile on our face.

This is connection.

Now, where does this seeing take you?

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The Power of Memory Unleashed!


I was reminded of the fantastic power of memory to open us to feelings that are essential to finding the majestic power of life.

It was a cool, gently rainy morning and I was taking my dog Shadow out for her morning walk. She is always the same. When she sees me reach for the leash, she can barely contain her 13 year old self with the excitement to be alive and sniff the earth. She takes a huge stretch and then, with all of the self-control she can muster, sits to allow me to attach the leash. She can barely contain herself.

Shadow - Always One Ear Up

Shadow - Always One Ear Up

She enters the world aglow with happiness and curiosity. Watching her brought back memories of the other dogs I have lived with. I remember their loving eyes, their boundless enthusiasm when they spotted the tennis ball in my hands. Omigod, can there be anything more wonderful than chasing and retrieving a thrown ball? When I remember them, I am filled with immense joy. This is the power of memory to open us to just being alive in the moment. How grateful I am for the power of feeling.

My Daughter and Her "Rez" Dog

My Daughter and Her "Rez" Dog

Memory connects with the vast sweep of time and the preciousness of life. It takes us out of our heads and into our hearts.

As I removed the leash from Shadow’s neck when the walk was done, I felt my own heartfelt self unleashed and tears of gratitude filled my eyes.

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