Tuesday, June 17, 2008 10:53 PM
The Relationship Repair Kit ��� Part I
Last week we explored how we break the connection and stop the energy flowing freely and truly in the four directions of our relationships ��� with nature, with other people, with the self, and with the source (in whatever way you conceive him/her/it to be). The presence of any stress, conflict or disharmony means the connection is either damaged or broken. Repairs are required. Just as the electrician reconnects a broken wire so that electricity can flow again so we have some wires to reconnect. But with which level of relationship do we start? The obvious one is with our self as everything flows from there.
"How are you getting on with so and so", is a frequent question as we enquire into others relationships. It is seldom a question we ask our self? So how are you getting on with your self? Though it doesn't sound quite right there are times when we think to ourselves. "I am being hard on my self���I am giving myself a difficult time". But it seems we are not quite sure why! And how can the self have a relationship with the self?
While 'relationship' implies two entities connecting and interacting, the sign that our relationship with our self is OK is the presence of harmony within, a sense of wholeness, completeness or the 'oneness' of the self. There is obviously only 'one self' but it is the loss of this sense of oneness or wholeness which is then replaced by a sense of twoness, which will then expand into the feeling there are many faces within the self. The attempt to split the self begins and goes unnoticed at an early age in the process of socialization. This is when we are taught to create a self-image and identify with that image. Most frequently this is based on our physical form (he's a handsome little boy and isn't she a pretty little girl) and not long after many of us will aspire to have the 'perfect form' or at least a 'good looking' form. And so we create an image of what we should/could look like and begin resisting the image of what our body actually does looks like, unaware that 'the self' is neither! Alongside this common pattern we also learn to identify with many other things like objects, places, positions, our family, other people, ideas and beliefs etc. And when the self identifies with anything other than the self it is the self unknowingly attempting to divide the self. It is these 'apparent' divisions within the self that lie at the heart of all internal conflict, discomfort, disharmony, inadequacy, confusion and ���stress. But they are false divisions and therefore illusions. We can only ever be our self, and the self can only ever be complete.
Once again this is not easy to see as no one teaches us or encourages us to be self-aware. Few are able to show us how to be aware of how we create many 'I's based on images that we create in our own mind. It's as if each 'I' has its own story, all neatly recorded and archived within our consciousness. There is our childhood story ('I' as the child) our job story ('I' as our position or profession) our family story ('I' as a member of a family) our belief story ('I' as our belief system, or just one belief in the moment we start an argument!) And within almost every relationship we create a slightly different 'I' within the story of that relationship. This is how we fragment our identity, our sense of self. And as we flit across many stories we identify with the character we create for ourselves within each story. Each character is slightly different and sometimes a lot different for the other/s. While this seems natural and normal, while it appears to be what everyone is doing and how everyone seems to live, it results in the feeling of internal fragmentation. Over time it can be very tiring. For some it can also become confusing, as they are not aware of what can be a subtle inner habit/process. For others it may expand into a full blown identity crisis. And for many it may lead to that moment where that question "Who am I���exactly" just becomes too loud in their head and they have to stop, take it seriously, and start searching for answers in earnest.
However it seems the vast majority of us will struggle through life coping but not fully aware that this internal fragmentation or misplaced identity will be at the root of any personal unhappiness (which we often learn to disguise as we wear a 'brave face') and any inabilities to relate fully, openly, warmly, honestly, harmoniously with others.
In truth the repairing of ones relationship with ones self is not so much to do with reconnecting a broken connection but more to do with dissolving all the many 'I's that we create around the 'idea of the self'. Only then can the energy that we are freely radiate outwards and flow into all our other relationships without blockage or distortion. When the repairing is done, when the false 'I's are seen through and dissolved, the result is a feeling of being whole. There is a sense of completeness. Our integrity or 'integratedness' is restored. We feel we are at one with our self simply because we are once again only ONE and not many. In truth we were never anything other than one self, it's just that we learned to identify with what was not the self, and so temporarily lost our awareness of our wholeness, our completeness.
It is in the mistaking of our self for what we are not that the ego is born. And from this mistake all fear comes. Fear is the 'symptom' of division, separation and conflict both within our self and between ourselves and others. And this is why there are a variety of inner tools in the Relationship Repair Kit for the self.
Awareness is necessary to see how frequently and how subtly we lose our self in what we are not. Self-awareness is not a search for the self, it is not an unhealthy obsession with the self and it is not the self avoiding the world. It is the self being aware of how it creates images of things, people, memories etc. on the screen of the mind and then identifies itself with the image. It is the self seeing how this habit lies at the heart of the loss of inner peace and stability, the loss of the ability to give authentic love and be genuinely joyful. It is the self seeing how it sabotages its own self-respect and self-confidence. It is the self seeing it is responsible for all thoughts and feelings at all times and it is the self seeing, becoming aware, when it has forgotten!
Learned early in life, the habit of losing our true self-awareness is so deep that healing the habit requires many gentle but regular reminders to ourselves. Reminders to remember what we are, a conscious being not a material form. An unlimited being, and not defined by some small, narrow limited concept or image. Any disharmony within is a signal we have just forgotten���again! Any internal conflicts or tensions are signs that we are attempting to make ourselves small and limited. We are absent from our self, and like a child leaves home to play in the woods eventually gets tired and lost in the woods, we leave our centre, our true self awareness, and wander into the jungle of images we create and start mistaking the images for our self. The moment we realize what we are doing and see it as just a 'pretence' we return home to our self!
That said it is so easy to be drawn out of our central awareness of our whole self. It's a lifetime habit. So when we do, self forgiveness is required, simply because no one else makes us do this. If we do not forgive our self and move on we create yet another image that we wrongly identify with i.e. I am a bad self, I am incapable of being a self-aware ���self! It's subtle!
And forgiveness begins with acceptance and the ability to say, "Well it's now in the past", (even though it was only 30 seconds ago) and here 'I am' again��� now. Here 'I am' in my wholeness and completeness���in my ONE self���now.
Hence the reason patience is required. Being patient with ones self is like saying don't force the pace. One of the greatest errors on the return journey to the restoration of true self-awareness is the attempt to quicken the speed. But it's impossible and only creates further delay. This is because 'the self' is ultimately beyond clock and corporeal time, even beyond psychological time. And as soon as there is the impulse to increase the speed it just means the self is still creating an image of self as someone who is subject to 'time'. Not an easy self perception to break as the world around us seems to confirm the importance of time ���almost all the time!
And so infinite patience becomes a necessary intention in the healing of our habits of attempted self-fragmentation! And as we restore our state of oneness, one being, one self, without fragmentation, all thoughts towards others and even about the self become unnecessary. They drop away and as they do all the barriers we constructed between our self and others, between our self and the world, dissolve.
Question: Which mental images do you most frequently identify with, lose your self in, define your self by?
Reflection: Why is reflection such a necessary tool in the Relationship Repair Kit?
Action: Select three relationships in which you seem to become a different person and then explore to see what image you are identifying with in that relationship