Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thought and Feeling

Nothing so disturbs thinking as feeling, and nothing so disturbs feeling as thought. Either one leads home. Some favor the heart, and theirs will be broken. Some favor the mind, and it will crack. Either way the end is surrender. I don't judge either way as superior, I just find some teachers helpful, and some not.

I come by this understanding by way of my home life and conditioning. As a child I had many of the men that worked with my father, take me aside and tell me that my father was the smartest man they had ever met. Let's say it happened more than a few times.

Now this might have made me very happy if I had been pleased with my father, but I wasn't. I knew there was something missing and intelligence didn't make up for it. Like all children, I compared him to my mother. She was quiet, passive, and yet very strong. Her love was unconditional. My father, on the other hand, wanted to control my every move and every thought.

My father was a soul killer, and my mother was a savior. I wouldn't have survived without her. Now, granted, I am just talking about surviving, not thriving! I was an extremely introverted child and extremely sensitive. Believe me, a sensitive child gets deeply hurt, and that fuels tremendous anger. I had to stuff that anger to survive. By the time I left home I was seething. Full of self loathing and I projected that loathing everywhere.

I had my mother's intuition and my father's intellect.My intuition saved me. But intuition wasn't enough to get all the way to freedom. A strong mind needs its satisfaction too. And that would come years later.

Intuition told me that my father was wrong. A child knows in its heart what it needs from its parents, and if it does not get it, it knows the loss deeply. That loss is mostly unconscious, as to know it fully would kill a child. My intuition didn't know the answer, or where to look, but it confidently drove me to search. I looked everywhere with existenial passion, from self help, to psychology, to therapy, and thousands of books.

Advaita says that you need to be qualified for enlightenment. I agree. Basically, this means the personality has to be healthy enough, and strong enough to survive true searching. A strong ego needs to be there to be able to take on the work of looking at itself. And the mind needs to work until it gets clean too, by taking on its own conditioning. Many years of Gestalt therapy cleaned out my repressed emotion, and full blown primal screams dredged up what was left.

Before therapy I tried to outrun my painful feelings with thinking. My mind thought I could reason my way out of them. Alas, I could not. Feeling the feelings is what lets them drop away!There is NO WAY around them. After all the release, my mind quieted down to a level that allowed me to contemplate. There were no longer overwhelming feelings I was trying to run away from.

After the cleansing of repressed feelings the mind needed cleansing too. All of its conditioning needed to be questioned. That took a long time. Projections had to be taken back, and owned. Deconditioning moved slowly as I read my way through self help, psychology, and philosophy. When these failed to bring down the final curtain, the only thing left was spirituality. I read it all. Eastern Hindu traditions were the most revealing. Advaita Vedanta is where I found the depth of understanding that would heal my mind.

The bottom line is, the heart needs to be felt, and the mind needs understanding. At the end of the mind, and the bottom of the heart is silence. The silence comes with complete acceptance of everything as it is, whether I like it or not. The silence knows that all is well. 

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