THE ODD SOX MYSTERY BOX
So this is where those missing socks go!
Here you’ll find all kinds of stuff that gets lost over the years, and somehow finds it’s way here.
Jumbled-up odds and ends like… quotations you don’t want to forget, pictures that just begged for a caption, bits and pieces of texts, spoofs and other lighthearted takes on things we take too seriously in life. Things like… The Case of The Missing Sock.*
But also more weighty items like articles, blog entries and other on-line resources worth digging into. (Mostly just the links for these, mind you. Don’t want to overstuff the box.)
Who knows what you’ll find here. Come back and take a look from time to time. You might even find that missing sock you’ve been looking for!
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You’ll find other boxes here in THE MYSTERY BOX as well.
If you’re in a hurry and need to solve a mystery asap, then click on one of the boxes below.
And if you’d like something to take away, there are various articles in THE CAKE BOX that you can download.
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* Want some help in solving this great mystery? Scroll down to the bottom of this webpage.
all texts © Raymond Huisman, unless otherwise noted
Maybe you don’t need a Coach – maybe you should go to THE LAUNDRY instead:
If THE LAUNDRY doesn’t get things sorted out for you, maybe you should go to a Coach.
Because you certainly don’t want this happening to your life:
Do YOU care… about Healthcare?
Raymond Huisman © 2014
If not, you should. Because if you don’t already need it, sooner or later you or someone close to you is going to need it. And you don’t want to wish that you had cared sometime sooner, when you could have done something about this. When you could have helped ensure that the care that is required, is the care that is provided. That’s why we insure ourselves, isn’t it? But we also do this to make sure that those who need that help now, not sometime in the distant future, are actually getting it. And getting the best they can.
This is not something you want to put at the bottom of your To-Do list, or ignore until this affects you directly or when later becomes sooner. You might think that this is something you don’t need to worry about, that the healthcare industry is in good hands, right? Think again. Like in any business, things are only as good as the way things are run. And things aren’t running as good as they should – and they won’t be until the elderly woman who is waiting for the home care worker to arrive, or not, doesn’t have to wait any more.
Take a few moments to read the article WHO CARES? What Really Matters in Health Care. This was written by a health care professional who not only cares about the way things are run in the field of health care, but who provides care directly to those who need it. When you want to find out how things are running in your business, you don’t want to just hear from your salesperson. You want to hear what your customers think about your products or services. If you want to hear what patients are saying about the health care industry, just turn on your TV. It’s on the news almost every night.
Why care about someone you don’t know, that elderly woman in the article? This is somebody’s mother or grandmother, a sister or an aunt, a person who herself provided care when she was raising children or being a soccer mom to all the kids on the block. Maybe she was your grade school teacher who cared enough to be tough on you, or that kind stranger who dried your tears as a child and helped you get back on your bicycle after you fell off.
This article isn’t just for healthcare professionals, professional caregivers or the agencies and organizations that provide, manage and finance care. Nor is it about a business that runs the risk of losing touch with its customer base.
If you’re human, it’s your job to care about others just as much as you care about yourself. And also to make sure that those whose job it is to provide care to those who need it, can do their job properly and not get their hands tied in red tape and politics.
If you don’t care about healthcare or the way the healthcare industry does business, you should make it your business to care. It’s part of your job description as a human being.
THE HERO’S JOURNEY
Thanks to Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist, we learned that there are predictable and inevitable phases in all of life’s great and even less than great adventures. There is, as Campbell discovered, a basic script that underlies and informs all the heroic stories in world mythology, folklore and legend. This monomyth, as he called it, is used as a template by scriptwriters for major Hollywood films like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and countless others.
Although each person has their own unique life script, based on their purpose in life, guiding principles, deepest held beliefs and other factors, there is a lot that can be learned from the Hero’s Journey. Even if you think of yourself not as a hero or even reluctant hero but simply reluctant, you’ll still recognize the parallels with your own life. And certainly when you transition through the various phases of change when overcoming difficulties and challenges in life. This cycle forms almost an overlay for the Hero’s Journey.
Where are you on the Hero’s Journey?
You might not think of yourself as being on a Hero’s Journey in life,
but every time you face up to and overcome a problem,
you’re following the same path:
FOLLOW YOUR BLISS
Bill Moyers: “Have you ever had the sense that when you are following your bliss, of being helped by invisible hands?”
Joseph Campbell: “All the time! It’s miraculous… If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you feel it, you begin to deal with the people in your field of bliss, and they open doors for you. I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
If you’re going to go on a Hero’s Journey,
then take the right suitcase:
Thanks to Carl Jung, the founding father of modern depth psychology, we have made great advances in learning to understand, and to come to terms with, the dark side of human nature: our psychological ‘shadow’. This is a term that, not surprisingly, often makes people feel uneasy or puts them on edge, as if there’s a monster under their bed. (Which is true in a way, because when we sleep at night we access our lower unconscious, that part of ourselves that is under our normal, waking level of awareness. This is where dreams often come from – and where the ‘monsters’ in our own psyche reside. Our children are right about monsters; they’re just pointing in the wrong place. These live not under their beds, but in their heads.)
“The shadow,” wrote Jung (1963), is “that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious.” Stephen Diamond, a forensic psychologist who by the nature of his work is an expert in the destructive side of human nature, writes: “The shadow is a primordial part of our human inheritance, which, try as we might, can never be eluded. The pervasive Freudian defense mechanism known as projection is how most people deny their shadow, unconsciously casting it onto others so as to avoid confronting it in oneself. Such projection of the shadow is engaged in not only by individuals but groups, cults, religions, and entire countries, and commonly occurs during wars and other contentious conflicts in which the outsider, enemy or adversary is made a scapegoat, dehumanized, and demonized. Two World Wars and the current escalation of violence testify to the terrible truth of this collective phenomenon. Since the turn of the twenty-first century we are witnessing a menacing resurgence of epidemic demonization or collective psychosis in the seemingly inevitable violent global collision between radical Islam and Judeo-Christian or secular western culture, each side projecting its collective shadow and perceiving the other as evil incarnate.
The shadow is most destructive, insidious and dangerous when habitually repressed and projected, manifesting in myriad psychological disturbances ranging from neurosis to psychosis, irrational interpersonal hostility, and even cataclysmic international clashes. Such deleterious symptoms, attitudes and behavior stem from being possessed or driven by the dissociated yet undaunted shadow. Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde can be taken as a cautionary tale par excellence: dissociation of the shadow results in a perilously lopsided development of the conscious personality and renders us susceptible to destructive possession by the disowned shadow. The excessively good (almost saintly) Dr. Henry Jekyll is at times taken over body and soul by his equally evil shadow: the depraved, nefarious, psychopathic, wicked Edward Hyde, his complete opposite. Indeed, the shadow contains all those qualities we hide from ourselves and others, but which remain active within the unconscious, forming a sort of ‘‘splinter personality’’ or complex, not unlike the relatively autonomous sub-personalities found in multiple personality (dissociative identity disorder) or in so-called demonic possession or demonism. Under stressful circumstances or in states of fatigue or intoxication, this compensatory alter ego or shadow complex can be triggered into temporarily taking total command of the conscious will. The abject negativity and destructiveness of the shadow is largely a function of the degree to which the individual neglects and refuses to take responsibility for it, only inflaming its ferocity and pernicious power. The shadow’s sometimes overwhelming strength and disturbing ability to intrude into one’s cognitions, affects and behavior has historically been experienced and misinterpreted as demonic possession, for which exorcism is believed to be the only treatment.
Yet, the shadow, while very real, is not meant to be taken concretely or literally but rather, allegorically. It is not an evil entity existing apart from the person, nor an invading alien force, though it may be felt as such. The shadow is a universal (archetypal) feature of the human psyche for which we bear full responsibility to cope with as creatively as possible. But despite its well-deserved reputation for wreaking havoc and engendering widespread suffering in human affairs, the shadow – n distinction to the literal idea of the devil or demons – can be redeemed: The shadow must never be dismissed as merely evil or demonic, for it contains natural, life-giving, underdeveloped positive potentialities too. Coming to terms with the shadow and constructively accepting and assimilating it into the conscious personality is central to the process of Jungian analysis.”
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ME AND MY SHADOW:
Best Friends (Sort Of)
Raymond Huisman © 2015
You might remember that old popular song “Me And My Shadow”. Dating back to 1927, it has been recorded many times, notably by Judy Garland in the 50’s, with duets by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. in the 60’s and more recently by Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes, and Michael Ball and Antonio Banderas as well. It’s also the inspiration for the DreamWorks animated movie of the same name (see caption below). It’s one of those songs that just… never goes away.
Why not? Because, just like our psychological shadow (a term from Jungian psychology referring to the dark side of our personality), this too… never goes away. At least, not until we throw some light onto this part of ourselves and bring it into conscious awareness.
“In Jungian psychology, the shadow or ‘shadow aspect‘ may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative; or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. There are, however, positive aspects which may also remain hidden in one’s shadow (especially in people with low self-esteem). Contrary to a Freudian definition of shadow, therefore, the Jungian shadow can include everything outside the light of consciousness, and may be positive or negative. ‘Everyone carries a shadow,’ Jung wrote, ‘and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.’ It may be (in part) one’s link to more primitive animal instincts, which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.”
“According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to psychological projection, in which a perceived personal inferiority is recognised as a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections remain hidden, ‘The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object – if it has one – or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power.’ These projections insulate and harm individuals by acting as a constantly thickening veil of illusion between the ego and the real world.”
“Jung also believed that ‘in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness – or perhaps because of this – the shadow is the seat of creativity.’ So that for some, it may be, ‘the dark side of his being, his sinister shadow…represents the true spirit of life as against the arid scholar.‘ “
(for more about the Shadow, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_%28psychology%29 )
If we are to take counsel from Carl Jung, the great psychologist and father of modern depth psychology, it is crucial to our psychic health and overall sense of well-being that we integrate the shadow into our consciousness. So how can we become aware of this hidden part of ourselves? And more importantly, how can we face up to our own Shadow Self without identifying with this and running the risk of bringing out not the best in ourselves, but the worst in ourselves?
By becoming friends with your shadow. That way you are in relationship with that part of yourself, without actually becoming it – just as you don’t become the other person in a partner relationship. Do you need to become an adept in Jungian psychology to do this? Not if you accept that you are inseparable – although quite distinct – from your shadow, and you learn to not only tolerate those things you feel uncomfortable about in yourself, but also to befriend them.
Do you need to become best friends with your Shadow Self? That depends on what’s in it for both of you. If you want full access to “the seat of creativity” and “the true spirit of life” as Jung calls it, you might want to pick up a few tips from that old song “Me And My Shadow”. Take a look at some of the lyrics below (from the alternative version of this song). Better yet, watch the YouTube video of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. performing the original version. Although the original lyrics are somewhat gloomy (“Just me and my shadow, all alone and feeling blue”), Frank and Sammy give us a different take on things. This is old school popular music at its most light-hearted – and at the same time new school depth psychology at its most pragmatic.
When you can sing along happily with those last lines from the song, “Life is gonna be we-wow-whee, for my shadow and me”, then you’ve learned the first lesson in making your shadow your friend. You have overcome your resistance to acknowledging that you even have a shadow in the first place. Like the song says, you’re pretty much glued to each other, so there’s no point anyways in trying to deny your shadow. It follows you wherever you go.
There is much you can learn about yourself from getting to know this other part of yourself. You may not like what you find there, but the whole point of doing this, as Carl Jung made clear, is to become more integrated as a person. Integration leads to wholeness, and wholeness leads to fulfillment.
But you don’t need to do all of that in order to feel good about yourself right now. If you can sing those last lines from “Me And My Shadow” and feel just a little bit happy, if only for a few moments, then you and your shadow are well on your way to becoming friends. Best friends? Sort of. When you’re stuck to each other like glue, then you might as well make the best of things. You’ll become happier and more fulfilled by doing so – just like in the song.
ME AND MY SHADOW
(by Al Jolson / Dave Dreyer / Billy Rose. 1927)
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Like the wallpaper sticks to the wall
Like the seashore clings to the sea
Like you’ll never get rid of your shadow
You’ll never get rid of me.
Let all the others fight and fuss
Whatever happens, we’ve got us.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
We’re closer than pages that stick in a book
We’re closer than ripples that flow in a brook
Wherever you find him, you’ll find me, just look.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Me and my shadow
Not a soul can bust this team in two
We stick together like glue.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
They’ll need a large crowbar to break us apart
We’re alone but far from blue.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Life is gonna be we-wow-whee!
For my shadow and me!
ME AND MY SHADOW – live recording by Frank Sinatra & Sammy Davis Jr.
For the original version of this song, performed by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. – who also play each other’s shadow(!) – see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-4uKgXRnpI
For the alternative version by Sinatra and Davis, with printed lyrics, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5hXtGkzZ9k
For a live duet by Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes, with amended lyrics, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zbj8bpWxzw
ME AND MY SHADOW. Animated movie, directed by Alessandro Carloni
“Me & My Shadow reveals the once secret world of shadows and their human counterparts. Shadow Dan, our hero’s shadow, yearns for a more exciting life but happens to be stuck with Daniel Grubb, a timid guy with an extreme aversion to adventure. When a crime in the shadow world puts both of their lives in danger, Shadow Dan is forced to take control of Daniel. They go on a madcap adventure to investigate the crime and stop the shadow villain from leading a rebellion where shadows take over the human world. During this adventure, Shadow Dan empowers Daniel to let go of his fears and embrace life. Through their adventure, they both learn that one cannot be whole without a true friend.”
IS YOUR EGO A BACKSEAT DRIVER?
Raymond Huisman © 2015
If your ego is a backseat driver in your life, then you know how annoying that can be. You will also know only too well how difficult it is to get anywhere in life when the ego is constantly looking over your shoulder, providing critical commentary about every move you make and telling you where to go and why. As frustrating as that is, things could be worse. If you suddenly found yourself in the back seat and your ego behind the wheel, then who knows where you might end up in life! And because your ego doesn’t read maps and doesn’t get along with that digital voice in your car’s navigation system, then you’re pretty much in a jam. The only thing that could make your situation worse is getting caught in a traffic jam as well. Or having to suffer through more out of tune sing-alongs with that really bad music your ego selects on the car radio.
This is what happens when we step out of the driver’s seat and hand over control of our automobile to our ego: we lose our autonomy to our ego. We become the backseat driver – and then we become that critical voice at the back of our minds: judging, condemning, blaming and assigning guilt to anyone and anything that crosses our path. The road of life is littered with roadkill from thoughtless drivers who weren’t paying attention to anything except the music on their car radio – really bad music when our ego is behind the wheel. But by saying that, who do we become? Who’s the critic now?
Worse than a traffic jam, this is a double bind situation. You criticize your ego for being critical – and then you do the same as your ego. You judge your ego for being judgmental – and then you become judgmental, just like your ego. You decide to take the high road, the positive route in some situation, because you don’t want to be like your ego, who takes the low road of the negative. You think that you’re heaven-sent for going this way, while your ego is hell-bent on getting its way. And what do you become by thinking like this? Arrogant, smug, self-satisfied and self-righteous. These are pretty damning words. But there’s nothing pretty about this, because this is precisely how the ego talks.
Confused? If so, then at least be clear about one thing: you don’t want to live in a double bind any more than you want to be stuck in a traffic jam. Especially not when it’s your ego behind the wheel. (With that music! Which maybe now you’re trying to think differently about). And when the only thing worse than the smog outside is the smug attitude inside. What you want is to be behind the wheel and determine your own choices in life, freely and without force or compulsion from either external or internal influences. And most of all: with no interference from a backseat driver – your own ego in this case.
How did things gets this way? Why is there so much confusion about who’s in control, who’s the one deciding where we go to in life, how we get there and whether our lives are a bad road movie, an ill-fated joyride or a joyous journey of self-discovery and personal transformation? Why are there so many collisions and so much roadkill along the way?
You don’t have to look far to find the answer to that question. Just go to your kids’ room and take a look at what kind of video games they’re playing. Or maybe you yourself grew up playing games like the following one, called “Eat My Dust”, on your PlayStation or computer. The following description is from the supplier’s website:
“Welcome to Eat My Dust®! Feel the need for speed? Ready to thrash the competition? Park your ego behind the wheel for pulse-pounding, 3D road racing like you’ve never experienced before. Outrageous cars, crazy characters, wicked driving conditions, and low-down dirty tricks are the rules of the road. So gear up and get ready to outsmart your opponent in a mind-blowing road race. What are you waiting for? Get out there and BLOW SOMETHING UP!”
Can it get any clearer than this? Maybe it’s all part of the fun of being a kid and being able to exert some control over what is often experienced as a hostile or overly competitive environment at home or in school. But what happens when these kids grow up and hit the real roads of life? Watch out, because you’ve got trouble coming your way! If the people you encounter – or crash into, as the case may be – during your journey through life have been encouraged to “park your ego behind the wheel”, “thrash the competition”, “outsmart your opponent” etc., because “low-down dirty tricks are the rules of the road”, then you could very easily become someone else’s roadkill. Even worse: your own ego might be parked behind the wheel – and you’re out to blow something up!
So what do we do, how can we experience a healthy development of the ego during childhood and yet at the same time enjoy being a kid and make other kids ‘eat our dust’ etc., without harm to ourselves or others later in life? That depends upon what your parents or primary caregivers, teachers and other influential figures taught you about life, about the ‘rules of the road’ when you’re out there trying to get somewhere in life. If your early-life role models were victims of their own or someone else’s ego, unable to develop what is called ‘the Witness’ or ‘Witness Consciousness’, then you may have been in the very unfortunate position of being their roadkill. Alternatively, you may have found yourself having to make the very unfortunate choice of running over them yourself, in order to avoid becoming a victim like they were.
Bad choices, like that bad music our ego is fond of playing when it hijacks our autonomy and gets behind the wheel, don’t get us very far in life. We end up spinning our wheels, driving into a ditch or picking up hitchhikers who turn what might already be a bad road movie into a very scary movie – and no one is laughing about this.
What is ‘the Witness’? People often associate this term with something completely different or a very different type of movie: the whodunit “Witness for the Prosecution”, based on the Agatha Christie thriller. This is a bad choice of associations perhaps, but if you’re going down that road you might as well find out what it has to offer you. A witness for the prosecution is someone who is called to testify in front of a court by the prosecutor, as opposed to the defendant. This witness has testimony that is favourable to the prosecution and not the defendant, just as a witness for the defendant has testimony that is favourable to the defendant and not the prosecution.
If we think of the ego as something different from our true self – which in fact it is – then the kind of problems that ensue from mistaking one for the other can be as harrowing and bone-chilling as any Agatha Christie novel. In this case, it’s a case of mistaken identity, the kind of plot line that puts most people on the edge of their seats. (For more on this, see the article “ME, MYSELF AND I: a Case of Mistaken Identity” by Raymond Huisman.)
If you believe that you’re nothing but your ego or that there’s nothing else to choose between, then life might be either a road movie, a scary movie or a murder mystery like “Witness for the Prosecution”, in which you are accused of a crime you did not commit – or did you? (Watch the film if you haven’t already – don’t want to spoil the ending for you.) Living unaware of your real identity or not knowing that there is any such thing as a false self and a true self, is paramount to inviting disaster into your life. And if you think that this kind of talk is fear-mongering or meaningless psychobabble, think again – but this time with your intuitive right brain and not your rational left brain. Creativity and intuition help you get it right in life; analysis and rationality get you into trouble if you don’t know how to balance things out. (Your left brain is great, however, at explaining why things got as bad as they did!).
So what is ‘the Witness’, if not a courtroom figure? The Witness is that part of us that ‘sees all’. It is the observer function within ourselves, and is distinct and separate from our ego. It is, put simply, our ability to observe experience without becoming the experience itself. It is the non-attached and non-judgmental observation of experience. Is this definition too ‘out-there’ for you? Well, that’s actually how some people sense their own Witness. It’s not tied in with or caught up in the direct experience of something. It’s separate from this, like reading a story written in the third person (he, she) rather than the first person (I, we).
What’s good about this? For starters, it helps you to make good choices in life – conscious, well-considered ones – instead of bad choices, which are usually unconscious and happen by default, through lack of awareness of other options. When a person is too much in the experience itself, for example the emotional state of sadness, anger or apprehension, then they automatically identify with that. They say “I’m sad”, “I’m angry”, “I’m afraid” or whatever the case may be, because that is their experience.
That’s good insofar as it helps someone to understand what they’re feeling and what brought this about. But it becomes severely limiting, often debilitating, when the person reduces their whole field of awareness to just one particular emotion or the state they experience as a result of this. They lose the awareness of who they truly are, that they are more than what they are experiencing at that moment, and become whatever it is they’re identifying with. This is… a case of mistaken identity. And it gets people into serious trouble in life.
But don’t you want to fully experience emotions, both the highs and the lows, so that you’re not some cardboard figure or hollow person, devoid of any feelings? How will you know you’re alive otherwise, except by checking your pulse every few seconds? Of course you want to experience the richness of your feelings and to paint your world with both the brightest and the darkest hues. This is what gives life colour, depth and intensity.
But where do you draw the line between experiencing positive and negative emotions? Do you first have to descend into hell before realizing that you took a wrong detour a couple of miles back, when what you were looking for was the way to heaven? If you were distracted by the music playing on the car radio, that really bad music, maybe you had become your ego without even realizing it. Maybe you should have listened to the backseat driver in this case. Because that voice at the back of your mind was the voice of your true self. And the only question it was asking was: “Why go to hell when you can go to heaven?”
You have a choice – you always do, even though it may not seem so when you’re barreling down the highway with such speed that there’s no time to read the signs. And you don’t in fact actually need to worry about who’s behind the wheel, your ego or you, as long as you’re listening to the voice of your true self.
Easier said than done? Not if you learn to cultivate an awareness of the Witness in yourself. This will lead to the so-called ‘Witness Consciousness’, a state of mind that is separate from the endless chatter of the ego, the negative self-talk that doesn’t get you anywhere except straight to hell. If you’re going to identify with something in yourself – and it’s human nature to do so – then start identifying with the Witness. This will make it so much easier to hear the voice of your true self. And the only question it will ask you is: “Why listen to your ego when you can listen to me?”
Just a word of warning, however, before you get behind the wheel of your car and drive off into the sunset, thinking that things will be easygoing from here on. If you start to worry about who’s in control behind the wheel, then remember this: it’s better to have a backseat driver you can keep an eye on in your rear-view mirror, than a part of you that vanishes from sight altogether. All kinds of havoc can be wrecked, the worst of which being that your automobile gets wrecked.
Loss of autonomy, the freedom to do what you want and go where you want to in life, is for many people their worst fear. Don’t make it yours. Don’t give yourself a reason to lose your licence for psychological and spiritual freedom because of D.U.I.: Driving Under the Influence of your ego. If you indulge in the whims of your ego just a little more than you should, hopefully that usually ‘still, small voice’ inside will shout out loudly: “Pull over ego! Let your true self drive!” Because what you don’t want happening is this:
And what’s the best thing you can do if your ego is in the back seat and is clamouring for attention like a cranky child? Just like with your psychological ‘shadow’, it’s best to become friends with your ego. (For more about this, see the article “ME AND MY SHADOW” by Raymond Huisman.) Even if you don’t always get along or there’s a falling out from time to time, you don’t want to be the cause of more roadkill because your attention was focussed on your ego rather than on the road ahead of you in life. And neither do you want to become the roadkill of someone else’s ego. When you become friends with your ego, you can expect a lot of fun times ahead. In the best of times, you might even see this from your side-view mirror:
William Hutchison Murray on the First Step in the Climbing of Mountains
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.
I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Begin it now!’
William Hutchison Murray, “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition” (1951)
“Totdat iemand een commitment aangaat, is er aarzeling, de mogelijkheid terug te trekken, altijd ineffectiviteit.
Betreffende alle daden van initiatief (en creatie), is er een elementaire waarheid, onwetendheid daarvan doodt talloze ideeën en prachtige plannen. Op het moment dat men duidelijk een commitment aangaat, dan komt de Voorzienigheid ook in beweging.
Allerlei dingen gebeuren om iemand te helpen, die anders nooit zouden zijn voorgekomen. Een hele stroom van gebeurtenissen komt voort uit dat besluit, en brengt allerlei onvoorziene gebeurtenissen en ontmoetingen en materiële hulp in iemands voordeel tot stand, waarvan niemand had kunnen dromen dat ze ooit op zijn weg zouden komen.
Ik heb diep respect gekregen voor een van Goethes verzen:
‘Wat je ook kunt doen, of droomt dat je kunt, begin eraan.
Stoutmoedigheid heeft genialiteit, kracht en magie in zich.
Begin er nu aan!’
How to Move a Mountain
When you commit to something – fully and unreservedly, without any ‘Yes, buts’, hidden agendas or illegible fine print in play – you won’t need to climb any mountains. You’ll be able to move a mountain!
Kick Your ‘Buts’… in the Butt
Don’t forget to take your vitamins today:
THE GOD BOX
The place for mysteries even bigger than missing socks
As this is a Mystery Box, it is fitting that it also contains… a mystery or two. (Or more. Who can tell? You never know what you might find here.)
Inside this box is… another box: The God Box. A box within a box, a world within a world. (Things are getting mysterious already.)
Can you put God inside a box? That depends on whether or not God exists. And that’s the reason why this is discussed in the first entry below.
Afraid of getting your Evolutionist, Creationist or Just-Don’t-Carist socks knocked off by what you might find here in The God Box? No worry, you can always find new beliefs or convictions to replace the ones you lose or those that have become threadbare over the years. That’s what happens with matters of the sole. (Bad puns, like dirty socks, somehow find their way into the God Box as well.)
And if God doesn’t exist? Well, then this God Box cannot, by definition, itself exist. That means that it will – mysteriously and in keeping with the nature of a Mystery Box – vanish before your eyes. Poof!… it’s gone.
But gone where? Maybe to… The Place Where All The Missing Socks Go.
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DOES GOD EXIST?
© Raymond Huisman, 2015
The Ultimate Mystery: does God exist? Well, this God Box exists. (Sort of, or at least in cyberspace it does. And whether or not that’s real space is a sock of a different stripe). So if there’s a God Box, then it stands to reason that there must be a God, right?
Wrong – well, at least according to science. And why shouldn’t you believe science? After all, science has provided us with answers to some very perplexing questions, such as Darwin’s theory of evolution, right? No, not if you’re a Creationist. So it keeps coming back to the most enduring question of them all, and the answer that has eluded us all since the human race came into existence (this wording should satisfy both Evolutionists and Creationists): does God exist?
Science asks us not to believe in anything until it’s been proven true. There used to be a time when ships didn’t dare sail beyond chartered waters for fear of falling off the edge of the earth. That belief didn’t get us very far, both literally and figuratively, in our understanding of the planet we live on, its inhabitants and diverse life forms. Science helps us to question our beliefs – but when we are asked to not believe in anything except science itself, then science becomes a religion. And then we’re back to square one: science versus religion. But now with a deceptive difference: science becomes the new religion.
If this is the case, then we might be better off asking ourselves if science is something we should believe in, instead of questioning the existence of something which by its very nature cannot be proven. Does that get the Creationists off the hook? No, but it does give them some time to substantiate their arguments. The Evolutionists are hot on their heels and just a few hypotheses away from overtaking them. “Show us some empirical evidence that God exists,” the Evolutionists demand, “and show it to us now. Otherwise we’ll leave you in the dust.”
That’s tough-guy talk from lab types with lots of brain but little brawn, so when push comes to shove at the finish line, the supporters might just storm the field and then all hell will break loose (for the Creationists at least; Evolutionists don’t believe in hell.)
Meanwhile, back here in the God Box, things are starting to heat up. Postulates are going ablaze and presuppositions are going up in smoke. The question raised earlier demands an answer: if there’s a God Box, then that must mean that God exists, right? No, that’s unscience. Does this mean then that God does not exist? No, that’s unscience too.
What does this mean then? The answer to that is provided by the context in which the question is being asked. You’re in the God Box, and that’s in the Mystery Box. So the answer to the question “Does God exist?” is straightfoward in this case. In fact, it’s even good science. God is… a mystery.
Before you become inflamed with frustration or annoyance and jump out of the God Box, try thinking out-of-the-box for a moment or two about this. If God is in fact a mystery, then that means that God, by definition alone, can never be proven by science. So saying that God does not exist because it cannot be proven by science is also… unscience.
So what makes for good science here? Simple logic, for a start. God is a mystery which cannot be proven by science (or at least not yet or in the foreseeable future). If you accept this premise then the only question that remains is: do you want to get to the bottom of this mystery? If so, then you’ll have to get to the bottom of your own belief system first. And from there, dig deeper until you find out what you know to be absolutely true – and not what you are asked to believe in by either science or religion.
So the most logical answer to the question “Does God exist?” is: you don’t know what you don’t know, and you can’t know what you can’t know. Very frustrating, and very annoying; answers like this only raise more questions. (You’re probably already regreting that you ever asked yourself this question in the first place.) But somewhere in the midst of all this unknowingness (which is at least better than unscience), somewhere deep inside yourself, it is possible to find an answer that makes sense to you. An answer that you will know to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt. And the only way to do this with certainty is to… find out for yourself.
How? By sailing your ship to the edge of the world as you believe it to be. Just like those ancient mariners who took a leap of faith each time they steered their ships just a little further than their maps told them was safe to do. They weren’t content with sailing around in circles and getting nowhere, like philosophers who use circular logic to arrive at foregone conclusions. These voyagers wanted to get somewhere new – and if they hadn’t had the courage to question their own beliefs, our world would still be flat.
What can happen to you when you do this? You’ll either fall off the edge of your known world (which would be a good thing because then you will have proved that your beliefs are worth holding onto), or you’ll leave those beliefs behind and sail into new and unchartered territories. And make all kinds of enlightening discoveries along the way.
If you become the Galileo of the science of consiousness, then share your discoveries with the world! In the event that the universe turn outs to be a giant God Box containing smaller God Boxes and within these ones even smaller, sub-atomic God Boxes, then the rest of the world needs to know about this – asap. This would cause a revolution that Galileo himself never could have dreamed of.
Imagine the relief of – finally – finding the clear and unequivocal answer to the age-old question: “Does God exist?” And what would the proof of this be, the empirical evidence that science demands? Ourselves! We’d be, each and every one of us, walking, talking, living God Boxes.
Macro-micro-nano; there’s no arguing this. And because “there’s plenty of room at the bottom”, as physicist Richard Feynman says (referring to the enormity of space at the smallest level of the universe), that means that we have nowhere to look but inside ourselves to find the answer to our biggest question in life.
A discovery like this wouldn’t be just one more task on humanity’s To-Do list that gets checked off and forgotten about. This would completely revolutionize the way we think about ourselves and others, how we relate to one another, the way we build communities and evolve together as a species. It would make the world in which we live, well, a bit of heaven on earth (for the Creationists at least; Evolutionists don’t believe in heaven).
In the event that you or anyone else finds that missing sock, the answer to the question “Does God Exist?”, it definitely belongs here in the God Box Mystery Box!
THE LOVE BOX
The place for mysteries of the heart
Is love a mystery? Does it deserve its own special place here in the Mystery Box? If you know anything about love, then you know… that you know nothing about love. Why not? Because in the end, just as in the beginning when two people fall in love, love cannot truly be understood. That qualifies love as a mystery. And so love gets its own drop box / inspiration box / suggestion box and yes, complaint box as well, here in the Mystery Box.
What can you expect to find here? That depends on what you’re looking for. If romantic love is your thing, then maybe you’ll find an old love letter or two here. Or perhaps a faded Valentine’s card or other keepsake from way back when.
If love is more about committing yourself to a life partner relationship, then maybe a yellowed photograph of your wedding turns up here. Or the birth announcements of your children. A snapshot of a family day at the beach might be in there, with you wearing kooky sunglasses and a raggedy straw hat.
Been there, done all of that? Or didn’t want any of that to start out with? Then perhaps you’ll find something here that will help you to re-define love, or to re-vision what you consider important in a relationship at this time in your life.
So go ahead and take a peek. You may not find that missing sock of yours, but maybe you’ll find something else here that’s been missing for years. Something you didn’t even know was gone, but was once very important to you. Maybe this Love Box turns out to be a… lost-and-found box for you!
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Help! I Think I’m Falling In…
Raymond Huisman © 2015
Most people know what it means to fall in love. And what happens when that ends well, leading to a life partner relationship. But also what happens when that ends badly, leading to a broken heart and shattered dreams. Hollywood cranks out love films on a routine basis, ranging from serious dramas to frivolous comedies, from art house fare to popcorn flicks and everything in between. And if you turn on the radio, love is in the air – or it just crashed and burned.
Falling in love has gotten a bad rap, and not just lately. Love poems in ancient Rome usually dealt with the painful side or romance, while Erato (love poetry) in ancient Greece often described the plights of star-crossed lovers pleading with the gods for a happy outcome of their misfortunes in love.
But what went wrong? Why does falling in love, for better or for worse, come to an end? Is this just a trick of nature, a hormonal cocktail that makes us drunk with love to ensure propagation of the species? Or have we all been tricked into believing that something which feels so good from the start, cannot last for long? Why does something that seems so right at the beginning, often turn out so wrong in the end? Or become something that is only remembered once a year by couples, often reluctantly or just dutifully, on Valentine’s Day?
Don’t look to psychology for answers here, for you will only be disappointed or worse, disheartened. As one definition goes, falling in love is the projection of one’s idealized self-image onto another person. Simply said, you feel great when you’re in love because you’re bringing out the best in yourself. That sounds innocent enough, but psychology wouldn’t be psychology if this was not given a label or interpreted as some form of aberration or pathology.
Dissecting frogs will not explain why frogs sit on lily pads (which is not, by the way, “because they can’t stand on them” or “because they can’t afford a couch”, according to Yahoo Answers). In the same way as analysing love on the therapist’s couch will not explain why women kiss frogs in the hope of finding their prince. Or why princes turn into frogs after years of marriage.
Falling in love is not a form of inverted narcissism in which, like a mirror, a person projects their ideal image of themselves onto someone and then proceeds to love them because of what they see of themselves in the other person. And neither is projection of an idealized self-image onto the object of one’s affections something typical of manic depressives, as some sources suggest.
Even if you turn to transpersonal psychology or psychospiritual teachers such as A.H. Almaas for answers, you won’t be much the wiser for doing so. Context determines meaning, as the dictum goes, so however astute someone’s perceptions may be, their frame of reference for discussing love determines the meaning this is given. Almaas describes in the following excerpts two of several types of projection and the way these relate to falling in love:
“We see here that we not only project our superego outside, we also project our Essence. We tend to see what is best in us outside. That doesn’t happen all the time, of course, but it usually happens when you are in love… People fall in love because if they begin to expand, they start to get close to their Essence; then the unconscious, the personality, gets in the way. It is threatened by getting close to Essence. So you project your Essence outside onto someone else and fall in love with it. What this means is that you still cannot tolerate your own expansion. If you recall back to when you fell in love, it was at the height of some time of feeling good, of expansion. Suddenly, the right person shows up, and you’re in love.” (Diamond Heart Book I, p. 121)
“Positive projection happens when you start becoming more and more aware of your true nature, your Essence. Before this happens, what you know best is your personality, and that’s what you project. After a while, when you start to experience your value, your love, your essential self, your compassion, you begin to project these qualities. All kinds of issues will arise from the unconscious then, barriers against experiencing Essence, which will make you want to project it outside. It’s the same process as falling in love, except that now the expansion is coming from the intentional work.” (Diamond Heart Book I, p. 122)
But what is ‘falling in love’ exactly? And regardless of the psychodynamics involved, do we have any control over this? Do we even want… control over this? Ask any teenager who’s fallen in love for the first time and they’ll look at you completely baffled. Do you really think you can ‘talk sense’ into their heads when they’re obviously more happy than you are? And those octogenarian lovebirds who met in the nursing home and just can’t keep their hands off each other: do you really believe their behaviour is the ‘onset of dementia’? Who is happier: them or you?
Falling in love is about many things, but it is most certainly not about ‘being blind’, ‘going crazy’ or ‘losing control’. These are merely descriptors that compare the experience of being in love to our normal, everyday experience of ourselves, life and our relationships with others. But is our everyday experience the right norm against which other experiences should be measured? Is the lack of… happiness, joy, creativity, inspiration, passion, purpose and fulfilment what we really should content ourselves with? Is that what life is all about? Is that what love is really about?
When we fall in love, we do not become ‘blind’ to ordinary, everyday reality. Our eyes are opened to a fuller, much richer reality than we are normally capable of perceiving. Our hearts are filled with love, and we see the world through the eyes of love.
Ordinary reality is like watching a 3D movie but without the right glasses to experience life more fully, to engage our senses more completely and to be more present in the moment. Being in love gives us the ability to see things with greater dimensionality and depth of perception. It also gives us a heightened sense of purpose and meaning. Love does not make life less real in any way at all; it actually makes life more real. And much more pleasurable. Even the popcorn tastes better when you watch a 3D movie with the right glasses!
“Going crazy” is also a misnomer of the worst sort when used to describe the process of falling in love. The prescription for going crazy is deceptively simple, and remarkably effective at the same time: deny, disown and disconnect. Deny who and what we really are, disown ourselves from our birthright to a happy and fulfilled life, and disconnect from our potential to achieve this. Take as prescribed and voilà, we go crazy!
The question to ask ourselves is: will we become happy, by doing the above? No, most certainly not. Will we become happy by falling in love? Think back to when you were in love, or look at any couple who are radiant in each other’s presence, for the answer.
Falling in love is the exact opposite of “going crazy” as described above. We accept who and what we are deep within ourselves, rather than denying this. We claim our birthright to happiness, instead of disowning this. And we connect with our inner resources in order to realize the life we want, rather than disconnecting from this. “Crazy”? This is the most sane and sensible thing we could ever do in life!
Falling in love cannot be made to happen, however. There is no prescription for this, no Love Potion Number 9 or secret code to be cracked, unlocking the vault to happiness, success and fulfillment in love. Beware of the Madame Rue’s and success guru’s of this world who would have you believe otherwise!
And at a very high price for something that is, in fact, a gift. A benefaction, a blessing, a bounty given freely and meant to be shared freely. The gift of love comes packaged in ribbons and bows, and if you are fortunate enough to be the receiver of this gift, the sender remains unknown, however. Similar to an anonymous Valentine’s card, but in this case a love that is infinitely greater, more powerful and enduring than anything you could expect from your not-so-secret admirer.
It is only by opening this gift and allowing ourselves to experience the different phases and stages of love, starting with the ribbons and bows, with falling in love, that we get a glimpse of the sender. And this is not your partner or companion in love. And neither is it a projection from you or the other person, or some other mere psychological mechanism. Open the present and you’ll find out for yourself. You might be thrown for a loop or two in the beginning, but you’ll bounce back soon enough if you keep your heart open. And the box as well.
If things are sounding too mysterious at this point, or if this is too much hearts and flowers for your taste, remember that being in love, especially during the first few months, is all about romance, courtship, wooing and being wooed. Tripping over your heels while walking down the red carpet of love, or falling off your white horse while slaying a dragon or two comes later. For the time being, the sun shines brightly, magic is afoot and mischief waits its turn, hiding in the shadows of our unconscious.
So why does all of that change? What happened to endlessly staring into each other’s eyes over candlelight dinner while the food got cold? To talking until deep into the night about everything and nothing, sharing life experiences, dreams for the future, fantasies, secrets and fears? And sometimes tears – not from sadness, but from joy and an overwhelming sense of gratefulness for the deep connection experienced. Two lovers locked in each other’s embrace, becoming one. Two hearts, beating as one. Two souls, united as one.
What happened was… we fell in love and became one. Or so it seemed at the time. We fell all the way up to cloud nine, and besides the breathtaking view we had from there, we were very much into each other. But when things got a little too close for comfort, when our cloud became a little too fluffy and was in danger of breaking up, we fell back down to earth and… broke up. Or we agreed that being in love was great while it lasted, but now it was time to… grow up. Mature adults don’t kiss and hold hands all the time, right? Enough pie-in-the-sky, it’s time to settle down now, don’t you think?
Whether we decide to break up or to grow up, in both cases it’s the death knell of romantic love as we knew it. Just as the marriage bell rings in a deeper level of commitment but rings out the end of romance if we are not careful. Common law marriage or cohabitation of any sort can do the same; taking vows during a civil or church wedding makes no difference in this respect. A licence is not required to kill romance. Too much familiarity, like too little personal space in a relationship, can accomplish this with deadly accuracy.
What happens when we fall out of love with another person is that we didn’t fall high enough in love in the first place. Things got too comfy on cloud nine, too familiar, and when it became time to take things to the next level, we fell off instead. Cloud nine, as it turns out, was not high enough to escape the pull of earth’s gravity – our own ego.
We could have gone higher, but that would have meant getting closer to our Essence. Like the sun in the solar system and the earth at its core, our Essence is the center of our being. It is our own core. And things get very hot close to the sun and at the center of the earth. Just as it does for our ego, the more aware we become of our core and the closer we move toward it.
As A.H. Almaas pointed out, the ego is threatened by this and will do everything in its power to prevent us from discovering our true nature. How? Through fear. It’s safe to dream about flying, but what will happen to us if we build ourselves a set of wings and jump off a cliff? Even if we don’t plummet straightway to the rocks below, won’t we burn our wings when we get too close to the sun, like Icarus, and go down in flames? Love tells us something very different: Jump off the cliff… you will grow wings on the way down.
Falling in love with another person is a dangerous proposition for our ego; hence the frenzied efforts of the ego to resist opening ourselves up to love. Merging with another person, the process of becoming one by giving ourselves up to love, is an even deadlier proposal for our ego. Two lovers becoming one, hearts uniting in love etc. makes for good poetry, but it makes for bad drama if we give in to fear and allow our resistance to get in the way. Merging with our own core is the most frightening prospect of all for our ego; count on stormy weather ahead.
Why does our ego put up such a battle? Wouldn’t you, if your life was at stake? Thank God you are not your ego! And if case you haven’t realized this yet, it’s time you did. This can mean the difference between a lifetime of struggling to overcome your false concepts of self, and a life in which you realize who you truly are and are living the life you are meant to live.
An acronym for the ego that is worth remembering is the following:
EGO: Edging God Out
This is as good a job description as you will find, describing what the ego actually does and how it goes about doing this. We need to make sure, however, that our ego does not succeed in accomplishing this. Even if you don’t believe in God, the prospect of the ego being in charge is, at best, your worst nightmare. Don’t let this happen to you!
Knowing your true nature makes the difference between living in fear and living in love. Between living in the dark, interpreting shadows through the dark glasses of the ego, and living in the light, seeing things as they truly are through the eyes of love. How would you rather live?
It’s not difficult to fall in love with someone and experience an expanded state of awareness for a while, or a deep sense of connection with another person when you’re in love. And it’s temptingly easy to move away from our core when the ego is pulling us back outwards, fighting for its survival.
What is challenging, and what requires our ongoing and focused attention, is allowing love to merge us with our own core, and not doing this by proxy through the other person. That never works and only causes the relationship to prematurely end.
What does that mean in actual practice? Open yourself as fully as you can to love – but do not lose yourself to fear. Be mindful of what is going on inside you, and be especially aware of the way in which the ego attempts to close your heart and abort the process. Stay focused, fully engaged and present to the experience of love.
Why is this so important? Because your ego will come up with all kinds of defensive manoeuvres, any number of arguments, reasons and rationalizations, in an attempt to make you believe that it would be better to put an end to things. Fear speaks to us in the language of logic and reason. Listen instead to the ‘still, small voice’ within your own heart. And most importantly: follow the guidance you are given, no matter how big a storm your ego might brew up.
Carl Jung reminds us: “What you resist, persists. What you fight, you get more of.” Putting the principle of non-resistance into practice will help you not only weather the worst of storms, but also experience a sense of calm abiding, equilibrium and peace within yourself. With enough practice, this can be found in the eye of the storm itself.
By opening yourself up to love, you are letting love take you deep inside yourself, moving beyond the defence mechanisms of your ego, the layers of resistance surrounding your core, into an awareness of yourself as pure love. This is who and what you are at the center of your being. If you want to bring out the best in both yourself and the other person, then the best thing you can do is: relate to the other person from that awareness, from that sense of oneness with love.
When you do this, the experience of love is not anymore about you. Nor is it about the other person either. In fact, there is no longer any awareness of a giver or a receiver of love. There is only… love, One Love. Any sense of duality or perception of yourself or the other person as separate or distinct from this experience of oneness, does not occur at the core of your being. There is no “you” observing this, no “I” or “them” experiencing this. There is just… love, Pure Love. You have merged with your core and become one with love.
NON-DUAL LOVE is the term used to define this. However, this cannot be properly described because language and concepts are based on duality, on normal reality as we know it: a world of opposites and polarities, light and dark, positive and negative, etc. etc. Words and concepts, like the thinking processes involved, only make sense within a dualistic framework. This means that it is possible to experience non-dual love, but that it is not possible to understand this with our rational mind. A more inclusive, more integral way of representing the experience is required.
That’s where the language of dreams, images and symbols comes in. And that’s why the greatest wisdom teachings from the world’s religious and spiritual traditions make use of metaphors, parables and stories to get their message across. And why art, music, poetry and other forms of creative expression help us not to understand profound truths, but to experience them at a deeper level of our being. Great art, like great religion and great spirituality, all serve the same purpose: to roll back the curtain on the universe and reveal what’s really going on.
Trying to understand the experience of oneness – whether that be with the person you are in love with or love itself, with nature or the universe itself, with an object of devotion or the Divine itself – is like peering over the edge of the rabbit hole and wondering what you’ll find down there. The only way to find out what Wonderland is like is to take the plunge yourself. If you do, you may discover, like Alice, that nothing is at it seems to be.
Falling in love can be like that. We find ourselves attracted to someone, start opening ourselves up to them, draw closer to them, want to find out what they are like, etc. And then all of a sudden… we fall for them. Head over heels, we fall at a dizzying speed into something we have no idea what will do to us (like the magical substances Alice ingests, one making her smaller and one making her taller), or how we will come out in the end – if indeed we come out at all.
Have we gone mad for doing so? No, Alice is quite sane and remains so throughout her adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter and his curious cohorts are of course a different story. Sitting down with them at their very odd tea party can make us question our own sanity, but soon enough we learn how to handle ourselves in the world of non-ordinary reality.
Non-dual love is as non-ordinary as it gets – but madness it is definitely not. What do great mystics and great romantics have in common? They both have surrendered themselves, fully and completely, to love. The difference is that mystics offer themselves up to the Divine, while romantics give themselves up to the loving embrace of their partner.
But what happens when we open ourselves, fully and completely, to the Divine in our partner? You guessed it: Divine Love… embodied. The experience of oneness with love becomes palpable. It is now tangible, tactile, and most importantly: touchable. We can reach out with our arms and embrace it.
Non-dual love is as great as it gets – but ego-centered it is definitely not. Becoming one with love only happens when we are centered in our own core, our Essence. And all of this starts with: falling in love. But all of this ends with: falling out of love.
What started out so great has now crashed on the rocks. We jumped off the cliff, but the wings we harnessed ourselves into were too heavy and we fell. And not only did our wings get broken, our hearts did as well – and with it all of our hopes and dreams.
No-one had told us that if we believed enough in love, that if we opened our hearts even more to love, we wouldn’t need wings when we jumped. That it was actually a leap of faith. And that if we stood at the edge of the precipice looking up and not down, if we trusted and dared to let go, we would… grow wings on the way down.
How do people fall out of love? The same way they fell in love, only now by reversing the process. Instead of opening themselves to love, they start closing down. The degree to which they do this depends on whether they choose for separation or for maturation – to break up or to grow up, as discussed above.
This is usually not a conscious or a deliberate decision, however. It is normally done by default, as a reaction to the resistance their ego experiences. When wonder gives place to familiarity, romance goes out the window. And when love gives way to fear, the relationship goes in the trash. (‘Dumping’ someone is a crude but accurate description of the value placed on the other person as a potential life partner.)
Falling in love has the potential to transform us in a way that nothing else can. Transformation, however, can only occur when we move out of the comfort zone of our ego. People start falling out of love when they start feeling too uncomfortable with the new situation. Our ego wants things to stay the same, the way they were before love came in and rearranged the furniture. We miss that very worn but very comfy easy chair we had grown so attached to.
Too attached – which is the reason why love gets called in to do a makeover. And a good thing at that! Because if we sit too long in the seat of our ego, we become almost a part of it, forgetting who we truly are. And all too soon, the possibility of being transformed by love and the hope we once had of finding true love, becomes a distant memory, a yellowed love poem or pressed flower in the book of our lives.
The two basic forces governing our existence as human beings are: love and fear. And the means by which these occur are: expansion and contraction. (These are also fundamental laws of physics, determining the way in which the universe works.) Love happens through expansion and fear through contraction. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that both cannot happen at the same time. If they did, the universe as we know it would come to an end. But this is precisely what happens when love as we know it during the phase of romantic love comes to an end.
By opening ourselves to love, we expand our awareness of what is possible in life. We get an acute sense of our potential for happiness and fulfilment, our ability to live with passion, purpose and power, in a way nothing else can possibly do for us. No amount of career success, financial prosperity or good health can give us this. And no amount of striving for happiness will ever bring us closer to experiencing this in our lives. As the saying goes, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” The same can be said about love.
Our ego lives in fear, believing that it will cease to exist when we open ourselves fully to love. This is not the case, however. It is a false presumption by the ego and a survival mechanism that kicks into play when we expand our awareness beyond the domain of the ego. This is like asking our ego to not only give up its favourite chair, but to move out of its comfort zone altogether. How would you react to such a proposition? Your answer depends on whether you believe you are more than just your ego.
And whether you believe in love or not. Not just falling in love and enjoying the romance for as long as it lasts, but taking things to the next level. Falling off cloud nine is easy to do and requires no effort on our part. What is demanding, is overcoming resistance and falling upwards even more, moving beyond the gravitational pull of our ego and coming home to our true self, our Essence. And that is love, not fear.
Although our ego lives in fear and resists any attempt to change things, the truth is that there is actually nothing to fear at all. Love is not out to ‘destroy’ the ego. On the contrary, love welcomes the ego with open arms. Why should the ego not be afraid? Because love is an inclusive experience – it does not ban or exclude anything from itself. Love includes the ego in its experience; it does not deny or turn the ego down in any way. Just as light does not exclude darkness but rather contains within itself the absence of light – which we think of and refer to as darkness.
How can such a seeming paradox be understood? Not with the mind of logic and reason, and only partly through paradoxical thinking. More is required for this than duality consciousness, our normal, day-to-day way of thinking and perceiving reality. This can be thought of as the operating system of the ego. It does what it’s been programmed to do, but it is incapable of making sense of non-dual reality or anything more complex than its own way of functioning.
Duality consciousness, for this reason, is what allows fear to keep running in the background of our awareness, like malware on a computer. We can attempt to remove our fearful thoughts or replace them with more positive ones, but we can’t let our guard down for a minute knowing that another attack may be imminent. What we need is a different operating system, one that allows us to relax and open ourselves fully to love. That’s what non-dual consciousness does for us.
Is our ego some kind of evil programmer that we need to live in fear of? No, not at all. Seen from a more non-dual perspective, our ego is a useful and necessary instrument which enables us to catch a fly or two while we’re sitting on our lily pads, basking in the light. Would you really want to be enlightened, to trade in your lily pad for a lotus blossom and miss out on all the fun of being – well, not a frog, but – human?
In our case, we don’t need to be afraid of turning up on a menu in a restaurant somewhere. So are our fears well-founded, or are we exaggerating matters? Maybe we’re just afraid of fear itself. Or maybe we’re just afraid of being fully human, of acknowledging our own incompleteness, our vulnerability and impermanence. That’s what falling in love with another person can do to us. And that’s why our ego works so frantically to make us fall out of love – the sooner the better as far as our ego is concerned.
Opening ourselves to love is the best thing we can ever do in our lives. Whether that be with someone you’ve just met or someone you’ve been involved with for many years, love is the gift that keeps on giving – both to you and the one you love. But the gift needs to be opened in order to discover its contents. Impatiently tearing off the wrapping, not allowing yourself to fully enjoy the process of falling in love in a rush to assess the other person’s worth as a potential life partner, is depriving yourself of much joy, shared adventure and happy memories for the future.
And not digging deeper into the parcel to find out what love gives you at a deeper level of your being when you’ve been with someone for years, is depriving both yourself and your partner of the kind of total and uncompromising fulfillment that can come with the years. But which only comes when two persons open themselves wholly and completely, unconditionally and unreservedly, to both love and to each other.
The gift of love is unwrapped layer for layer, phase for phase during the course of the relationship, each time a couple commits themselves anew to sharing not only their lives together, but the deepest part of themselves with each other. And in the end, when it appears that the parcel is empty and there is nothing left to unpack, love gifts itself in the greatest way imaginable: we experience unconditional love. And now we ourselves become… the gift of love.
A gift that is meant to be shared, freely and generously, with others. If you have been fortunate enough to be the recipient of unconditional love, whether that be from a parent, a partner, a child, a dear friend or whoever, this gift resides in your own heart and is always available, both to you and to others as well. And if you have been even more fortunate and have experienced non-dual love yourself, then shout it out and let the world know that such a thing is possible! Something as profound and life changing as this should not be kept a secret.
A word to the wise: when you open yourself fully to love, it doesn’t just rain, it pours. Better get yourself an umbrella. And if you want to find out what non-dual love is all about, stop looking for “the One” or asking yourself if your partner fits the bill. Start by asking yourself the right question: “Am I opening myself, fully and completely, to love? Am I allowing myself the experience of… One Love?” When you do this, your present relationship just might improve dramatically.
Much can be said about non-dual love, but as the saying goes, “Nothing can be said that can do more for enlightenment than what a finger pointing at the moon can do for seeing the moon”. Non-dual love is something that needs to be experienced personally and directly. If you have experienced this yourself, you may not be able to describe this, but you will not be able to forget this either. Getting a glimpse into divinity is not something one easily forgets.
And if you have not experienced non-dual love, then maybe you will – if you open the gift of love and fully unpack its contents whenever this shows up in your life. When love gifts itself to you, you may decide not to open the present, which of course is your free will as a human being. However, the parcel cannot be marked “return to sender” because you don’t know where it came from or who the sender is. And that is not, as already mentioned, the person you are involved with or who you may be interested in. You are also free to say “No” to the person who delivers the package. But realize before doing so that you have already said “Yes” at some level of your being, to receiving love into your life – otherwise you would never have received this gift.
No discussion of something as serious as non-duality and matters of the heart should end on a serious note, however. So just what is the reason that frogs sit on lily pads? Well, they would look really silly standing on them, right? Kind of like the way we would look, standing in non-dual space:
THE CAKE BOX
The place for free takeaways
If your appetite has been whetted by what you’ve seen and you’d like something to take away for later, help yourself to the articles by Raymond Huisman listed below.
For people with a sweet tooth for life who don’t want to miss out on things, “ME AND MY SHADOW”, “IS YOUR EGO A BACKSEAT DRIVER?” and “ME, MYSELF AND I” will help to enjoy life without counting calories.
If you’ve got a sweetheart you don’t want to lose, then try “HELP! I THINK I’M FALLING IN… NON-DUAL LOVE” and “I’VE GOT MY ‘I’ ON YOU”. Like a detox cake with honey and chamomile, these articles will help you and that special person in your life cleanse your relationship of toxic ego projections. And with no bitter aftertase.
If sweets are not your thing and you prefer something more savoury and serious, “WHO CARES? What Really Matters in Health Care”, “I’M NOT HAPPY – What’s Wrong With Me?” and “DOES GOD EXIST?” should hit the spot.
Whatever you choose, why not take something to share with someone else? A gift from a friend could be exactly what that person needs today. Like the saying goes, “There’s nothing a cupcake and coffee can’t solve.”
Come back soon and see what’s new here in the Cake Box. There are goodies coming out of our kitchen you won’t want to miss!
• ME, MYSELF AND I: a Case of Mistaken Identity • Available Soon!
• I’VE GOT MY ‘I’ ON YOU: Why Things Go Wrong in Relationships • Available Soon!
• DOES GOD EXIST? •
The Case of The Missing Sock
Don’t worry, you can hire Inspector Lint Eastwood to cast some light on this mystery:
“Inspector Lint Eastwood and The Case of the Missing Sock is an animated film noir comedy short about a sock, Jessica, who goes missing in the dryer. Gary, a plain, but sweet sock, hires Inspector Lint Eastwood to find the whereabouts of his lost love. The Inspector is a salty sock, who has been out of the game for a while, but decides this case is too important to pass up. He makes it his mission to solve the case of the missing sock. He interrogates some suspicious threads along the way, including Pam, a sexy panty hose of the night, and Arnold, a jock sock who is always getting dirty. Was Jessica really kidnapped? Or was she just sweating up the hamper with another sock?” http://www.missingsockmovie.com/
The Place Where All The Missing Socks Go
If you take your missing socks seriously, then you might want to give this matter more serious consideration. Thankfully, there has been extensive scientific inquiry into Sock Theory, the Sock-Time Continuum, etc., explaining where socks go to when they disappear. Even more importantly, how they disappeared in the first place. Find out for yourself:
“The Place Where all the Missing Socks Go or PWMSG is a small Microcosm hypothetically measuring at one billionth the size of ours which contains much of the lost content from your dryer. The concept of this unreachable plane of reality was created originally by hung over Druids to explain the phenomenon of disappearing laundry, and still stands as today’s standard model for the Interuniversal workings of Sock Theory.
Between the world we live in and the things we fear there are dryers. When they are turned on, portals to coexisting worlds appear, and nightmares become reality.
Socks contain an unknown kind of Dark Matter within them. Socks are the only kind of clothing that possess this property. The reason socks are the only clothing that can possess Dark Matter is that, unlike other clothing, socks are worn on feet. This phenomenon is unique to foot-worn garments because of the weight that is constantly applied to them, causing an unusual amount of pressure to be exerted on the sole of the sock, which stretches the elastic in the material. Due to this stretching of elastic, socks develop an unusually low density. This low density allows dark matter to form in the toe area of the sock. There is no scientific evidence of how this matter forms, but several underground studies have suggested that the Dark Matter comes from drying socks in a dryer. When the dryer heats up to a certain level, Dark Matter will slip into the dryer through a parallel dimension. Dark Matter begins to build up in the sock, and that matter stays there until it is used. Once there is enough Dark Matter in the dryer, for a split second, the dryer implodes into a space-time continuum, sending all socks into a new dimension. A split second later, the dryer returns to its normal state and life goes on as before.
The Sock-Time continuum
Socks are actually never truly defined in their discovery, due to the fact that scientists just don’t care. But they do recognize that there is a very important role socks play in holding our existence together. Since humans lose most body heat out of their extremities it can be sapped away into the atmosphere and heat the planet. But, we wear socks to prevent losing such heat. Due to the fact that if people continue to heat the Earth to higher levels it can cause disturbances in atmospheric weather, thus affecting pressure, temperature, and humidity. This would be fine, except for the fact that this heat, if allowed to go unchecked, can soon cause massive electrical storms and imbalances in the magnetic fields and cause extra solar radiation to leak into the polar regions of earth…then causing imbalances in the quantum level and causing a singularity in the Sock-Time Continuum and rip the fabric of space apart, suddenly ripping socks out of existence and causing the problem to advance uncontrollably. This singularity will warp us to another dimension where the only kind of internet possible would be 56k and nothing but Jenny Jones would be on TV…otherwise known as Hell. But, thanks to great men like Al Gore, we are all well aware of the true effect we have on the Earth’s environment. But, we are still on a difficult balance, since, the Manbearpigs are threatening to wipe Al Gore from existence, and causing us to never become aware of the effect our barefootedness has.”
Do we have more stuff in store for you here in The Mystery Box? You bet!
Come back again soon and find out what’s waiting te be unpacked …