"Until humankind can free itself from false identifications, from pretense and delusions of various kinds, it cannot come face to face with the eternal verity that is latent within its own self."
I have a friend who is a spiritual guide and teacher. During one of her recent courses she was confronted by a student. The incident enraged her and left her in tears. She felt rejected and judged, she felt attacked. Her experience reminded me of my own difficulties with others and I shared with her those moments when I have felt unappreciated and unloved by those "I" was trying to "help", and I remembered the intense feelings connected to not getting what I want.
Here is a part of our conversation.
I know how that goes, having an expectation of appreciation and getting rejection instead can be a real wake up call. I remember feeling the same way when that has happened for me. I've felt enraged and then hurt when I perceived or experienced rejection, especially when I felt like I should have something better. I was shocked when I noticed what came up for me when I didn't get what I wanted. I noticed that somehow I believed I deserved to be loved and appreciated, and when that love didn't come the way I wanted it, or if it didn't come at all, that it really pissed me off. I found myself actually punishing those "I loved" or "had helped" for not giving me their love and appreciation the way I wanted them to.
How strange. This has to be the farthest thing from love.
I really believed I was a person who loved, who knew what love is, it wasn't until later that I realized how conditional my love for others was. It was humbling to realize I wasn't loving them at all and that "getting what I wanted" was my agenda and my version of love.
It was hard for me to grasp at first that loving others had nothing to do with me. That loving someone isn't about "me" at all. It took a great deal of suffering and resistance on my part to finally get that loving is simply just being with a person, and sharing a space with them in a kind of open acceptance of what is.
I wasn't loved like this. I learned what love is from what I observed around me. I was taught that you go out and get what you want. I think most, if not all of us are taught that being proactive and getting what you want is the path to happiness.
"The pursuit of happiness" is written in our Constitution. It appears to be a part of our culture, but if you really feel into the pursuit part of this language one begins to experience this kind of behavior as just pure narcissism.
It was a relief to finally admit I was not capable of loving others while I was holding conditions and only thinking of myself, and it was hard to accept that I had always been like this, and that I had never loved people without expectations. It was humbling, really quite humbling to feel the loss of my Self in this way.
It took quite a beating from this conditioned part of my mind that insisted on having its own way, for my viewpoint to finally shift towards real love. There were many people who tried to love me, and one in particular who became one of my greatest teachers, but I couldn't let go, and I couldn't love without fear and the need to control.
This part of me finally crashed and I found myself shattered and lost until I finally surrendered. This surrender took the form of acceptance and a willingness to love what is, without question or resistance. From this place came a deep knowing that everything is happening in this moment, now, to wake me up to my True Nature, which is unconditional love.
So if you want, may I suggest you go (in silence) to that person who "rejected" you and thank her as your most divine Guru, consider this incident as a lesson in humility and move forward.
From here you can choose to go a little deeper and from a different viewpoint see how we have created EVERYTHING in order to experience Love with consciousness as form.
From this place nothing is wrong or broken or lost...our experience is simply seen and felt as the play of Self Remembrance. One can appreciate from a different perspective that people and situations arise to give us exactly what we need to let go of everything, and I mean everything, that we attach to.
So welcome them, they are here to liberate us from our confusion about love.
I know there is no cultural context for this, and I know how hard it is to believe that we know little or nothing of love, but there are great traditions that can lead us out of our conditioning.
The path of Advaita as it is expressed through Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is a great place to start.
Look into the great classic, " I Am That" "Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj" for guidance.
It is great to know you are out there embracing the great Reality. I am grateful to call you my friend. I'm looking forward to seeing you when I'm in Chicago this September.