week of October 27, 2016
Have You Ever Been Loved?My book
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia is available at Amazon and Powells.
Below are excerpts.
Have you ever been loved? I bet you have been loved so much and so deeply that you have become blasť about the enormity of the grace it confers. So let me remind you: To be loved is a privilege and prize
equivalent to being born. If you're smart, you pause regularly to bask in the astonishing knowledge that there are many people out there who care for you and want you to thrive and hold you in their thoughts with fondness.
Animals, too: You have been the recipient of their boundless affection. The spirits of allies who've left this world continue to send their tender regards, as well. Do you "believe" in angels and other divine beings? Whether or not you do, I can assure you that there are hordes of them beaming their uncanny consecrations your way. You are awash in torrents of love.
As tremendous a gift it is to get love, giving love is an equal boon. Many scientific studies demonstrate that whenever you bestow blessings on other people, you bless yourself. Expressing practical compassion not only strengthens your immune system and bolsters your health, but also promotes self-esteem, enhances longevity, and stimulates tranquility and even euphoria. As the scientists say, we humans are hardwired to benefit from altruism. (To read more about the subject, go here: tinyurl.com/lyyd46.)
What's your position on making love? Do you regard it as one of the nicer fringe benefits of being alive? Or are you more inclined to see it as a central proof of the primal magnanimity of the universe? I'm more aligned with the latter view.
Imagine yourself in the fluidic blaze of that intimate spectacle right now. Savor the fantasy of entwining bodies and hearts and minds with an appealing partner who has the power to enchant you. What better way do you know of to dwell in sacred space while immersed in your body's delight? To commune with the Divine Wow while having fun? To tap into your own deeper knowing while at the same time gazing into the mysterious light of a fellow creature?
Visualize yourself being able to recognize the raw truth about the people you care about. Imagine that you can see how they already embody the beauty their souls' codes have promised as well as how they still fall short of embodying that beauty.
Picture yourself being able to make them feel appreciated even as you inspire them to risk changes that will activate more of their souls' codes.
MAKING A HABIT OF WAKING UP
Many of us are essentially asleep, even as we walk around in broad daylight. We're so focused on the restless narratives and repetitive fantasies unfurling in our heads that we only dimly perceive the larger story raging in all of its chaotic beauty around us.
To have any hope of permanently breaking out of our fuzzy trance, we require regular shocks. A single jolt might cause us to briefly come to attention and see the miracle of creation for what it is, but once the red alert has passed, we relax back into our fixation on the dreamy tales our mind never stops telling us.
In the course of its conspiracy to shower us with blessings, life does its best to provide us with a steady flow of healing shocks. But because it tends to err on the side of tenderness, its prods may be too gentle, allowing us to ignore them. Gradually, life will up the ante, trying to find the right mix of toughness and love, as it encourages us to WAKE UP!
But our addiction to the phantasmagoria is tenacious. The stream-of-conscious narratives and ever-bubbling fantasies, even when they're racked with torment and terror, are perversely entertaining. And so we may avoid responding to the kind shocks for so long that life finally has to resort to stronger medicine. Then we might get sick or lose our job or muck up our closest relationship.
It doesn't have to be that way. We could cultivate in ourselves a sixth sense for the wake-up calls life sends us. We might develop a knack for responding with agile grace to the early, gentler ones so that we wouldn't have to be visited by the more stringent measures.
There's also another possibility: With hungry intent, we could seek out and hunt down invigorating jolts. We wouldn't wait to have our asses kicked, but would kick our own asses -- over and over again, with a creative ingenuity.
Who knows? We might even master the art of inducing shocks that feel really good.
I invite you to act like a person who's in love. Even if you're not currently in the throes of passion for a special someone, pretend you are. Everywhere you go, exude that charismatic blend of shell-shocked contentment and blissful turmoil that comes over you when you're infatuated. Let everyone you meet soak up the delicious wisdom you exude. Dispense free blessings and extra slack like a rich saint high on natural endorphins.
Imagine that the merger of you and your best ally has created a third thing that hovers near you, protecting and guiding the two of you. Call this third thing an angel. Or call it the soul of your connection or the inspirational force of your relationship. Or call it the special work the two of you can accomplish together. And let this magical presence be the third point of your love triangle.
You understand that you can never own love, right? No matter how much someone adores you today, no matter how much you adore someone, you can't force that unique state of grace to keep its shape forever. It will inevitably evolve or mutate, perhaps into a different version of tender caring, but maybe not.
From there it will continue to change, into either yet another version of interesting affection, or who knows what else?
Are you making any progress in getting the hang of this tricky wisdom?
"For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining."
- James Hillman
Gertrude Stein defined love as "the skillful audacity required to share an inner life." It suggests that expressing the truth about who you are is not something that amateurs do very well. Practice and ingenuity are required.
It also implies that courage is an essential element of successful intimacy. You've got to be adventurous if you want to weave your life together with another's.
"You are my inspiration and my folly. You are my light across the sea, my million nameless joys, and my day's wage. You are my divinity, my madness, my selfishness, my transfiguration and purification. You are my rapscallionly fellow vagabond, my tempter and star. I want you."
- George Bernard Shaw
Whenever I write about romance and togetherness, I attract a storm of complaints from readers who are solitary. "How dare you imply that everyone has or should have a partner!?" is a typical protest. "I'm quite content being alone!" is another.
Let it be known that I do not believe your happiness depends on having a spouse or lover. What I do suspect, though, is that your soul needs some sacred relationship in order to thrive, whether it's with a good friend, a beloved animal, a beautiful patch of earth, the Divine Wow, or anything that's not you.
Whenever I invite you to seek deeper, wilder communion, feel free to interpret it as a call to explore any kind of intimacy that draws you closer to the secret heart of the world.
I want to call your attention to one of the few NC-17-rated pieces in the book. It's called THE ORGASMIC ROOTS OF PRONOIA
NSFW! PROCEED WITH CAUTION! This material has graphic references to love, lust, tenderness, bliss, and rapture.
I invite you to meditate on the relentlessness of your yearning for love. Recognize the fact that your eternal longing will never leave you in peace. Accept that it will forever delight you, torment you, inspire you, and bewilder you -- whether you are alone or in the throes of a complicated relationship.
Understand that your desire for love will just keep coming and coming and coming, keeping you slightly off-balance and pushing you to constantly revise your ideas about who you are.
Now read this declaration from the poet Rilke and claim it as your own: "My blood is alive with many voices that tell me I am made of longing."
There are thousand of things in the world that provide you with only mediocre nourishment; the influences that deeply enrich you with their blessings are much smaller in number.
To say it another way: You derive a bare amount of inspiration and teaching from the great majority of people, songs, images, words, stories, environments, and sights; whereas you draw life-sustaining illumination and spirit-ennobling motivation from just a precious few.
I invite you to identify that special minority, and take aggressive steps to be in ongoing communion with it.
Feel free to steal all or parts of this personal ad for your own purposes:
SACRED AGENT SEEKS FREAKY CONSORT
Tired of both boringly nice goodie-goodies and menacing lunatics trying to pass off their pathologies as "sexy"? I'm the happy medium: a straddler of the mysterious edge where bliss and struggle overlap, where the difference between light and dark just ain't that simple. I feel too deeply to pretend that every question has a correct answer. I cry too easily and love too much.
And you? Are you smart enough to be guided by your sacred dreams of transgression? Are you free enough to surrender over and over again to the waters of life? If you've got the courage, I've got the secrets. I'll be your wild-eyed, smart-mouthed, spread-eagled muse if you'll be mine.
Here's another personal ad for you:
MY EYES REMIND YOU WHERE YOU CAME FROM.
Uncork me, angel. Unfurl me. Release me and restore me and unleash me. Not because I can't do it myself. Not because I'm just another narcissism-addict jonesing for a quick fix.
On the contrary. I'm the most self-sufficient self-starter I've ever met. It's from my position of strength that I aspire to whip up spectacular synergies in tandem with your holy rolling reverberations.
So keep in mind that I'm here to uncork you and unfurl you and release you and restore you and unleash you, too. That's the art of the game that stretches out before us in all directions. That's the beauty of the gritty reality that's disguised as a glittery fantasy. As you bless my risks and massage my unconsciousness and save my soul, I'll always vice your versa.
P.S. My last fortune cookie said, "You need nothing and want everything."
© 1995-2013 -- Rob Brezsny. All rights reserved