When we experience this kind of openness and warmth coming from another, it provides essential nourishment: It helps us experience our own warmth and openness, allowing us to recognise the beauty and goodness at the core of our nature. The light of unconditional love awakens the dormant seed potentials of the soul, helping them ripen, blossom, and bear fruit, allowing us to bring forth the unique gifts that are ours to offer in this life. Receiving pure love, caring, and recognition from another confers a great blessing: It affirms us in being who we are, allowing us to say yes to ourselves.
Think about it for a minute. You knock yourself out trying to win approval, and when you finally get it, you experience your heart opening and expanding. Even though you’re focused on obtaining something from outside you, it’s that inner experience that makes you feel good. So it seems like what you really most want is to feel your own heart.
Absolute love is not something that we have to-do that we even can-concoct or fabricate. It is what comes through us naturally when we fully open up-to another person, to ourselves, or to life. In relation to another, it manifests as selfless caring. In relation to ourselves, it shows up as inner confidence and self-acceptance that warms us from within. And in relation to life, it manifests as a sense of well-being, appreciation and joie de vivre.
Dissociation is our mind’s way of saying no to and turning away from our pain, our sensitivity, our need for love, our grief and anger about not getting enough of it, and from our body as well, where these feelings reside. This is one of the most basic and effective of all defence strategies in the child’s repertoire. Yet it’s also a major downside: It constructs or shuts off access to two main areas of our body: the vital centre in the belly-the source of desire energy, eros, vital power, and instinctual knowing-and the heart center-where we respond to love and feel things most deeply. In saying no to the pain of unlove, we block the pathways through which love flows in the body and thus deprive ourselves of the very nutrient that would allow our whole life to flourish. And so we wind up severing our connection to life itself.
Love and the wound of the heart always seem to go hand in hand, like light and shadow. No matter how powerfully we fall in love with someone, we rarely soar above our fear and distrust for very long. Indeed, the more brightly another person lights us up, the more this activates the shadow of our wounding and brings it to the fore. As soon as conflict, misunderstanding, and disappointment arise, a certain insecurity wells up from the dark recesses of the mind, whispering, “See, you’re not really loved after all.”
Ofcourse, feeling unloved is usually the last thing we want to experience, because we associate it with deficiency: isolation, emptiness, shame, or inadequacy. Why on earth, you may wonder, would you want to let yourself feel unloved.? Yet if this feeling is there, there are only two choices: Avoiding and denying it or facing it directly.
If you flee from the wound, you only give it more power over you. Eventually your emotional body becomes like an abandoned, haunted house. The more you flee the pain of unlove, the more it festers in the dark and the more haunted your house becomes. And the more haunted it becomes, the more it terrifies you. This is the viscous circle that keeps you cut off from and afraid of yourself.
But when you can meet yourself in the place of unlove, this starts to open doors and windows of the haunted house, letting in sunlight and fresh air. Gradually the house becomes more livable. Through learning to tolerate painful and vulnerable feelings, you develop a new muscle. With your growing capacity to handle your pain, the wound that once seemed so huge, so monstrous, so overwhelming, becomes tolerable. By meeting yourself in the place where you feel unmet, something new and powerful happens. Something so simple yet so radical: You start to inhabit yourself. You reinhabit your lonely heart and bring it back to life.