adventures of a fearless (mostly) globe trotting seeker...
wondering, wandering, barefoot, nomadess

Friday, April 15, 2011

i come with a sword...healing abuse with anger

maybe this post has nothing to do with you, maybe you have no history of abuse. but the longer i teach, the more i see a lot of the reaching for love and light we are doing comes from abuse that needs healing.
who is the abuser and who is the abused? don't we all have to learn to love each other to heal, to see we are all one?

i have run into two camps, one that focuses on victimhood and blame and one that focuses on forgiveness.

the one focusing on victimhood and blame doesn't see a true transformation of pain is possible.

the one that focuses on forgiveness is often trying to take a spiritual bypass and whitewash the issues to move straight from the suppression to forgiveness.

i received this email recently,

I've got to tell you that I think it's the biggest fallacy in spiritual teachings that we've got to love our abusers; especially when the abuser is a parent. "Honor thy Father and Mother?" That's the first lesson in perpetuating abuse to the next generation.

I think that we don't begin to release the repressed feelings trapped inside us until we learn to DIS-honor the people who abused us. Otherwise, our unconscious minds won't let us access those repressed feelings in a meaningful way.

After that, we can work on healing the damage the abuse did to our neurology.

After that, we can love the abusers.

After we can express and integrate the repressed feelings of shame, anger, rage and grief, then we can reach a true kind of love, not a spiritual bypass.

This reminds me of a teaching of Jesus when he said,

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--your enemies will be in your own household."

a great deal of physical, mental and emotional abuse comes from our own families. it is a hard thing to understand being angry at the people you love. sometimes these relationships get worse before they can heal. the psychologist carl jung described this process as individuation. learning to separate yourself from your family, culture, society, to become self aware. in tantra, the healthy ego center is manipura, in the belly and solar plexus, in your guts. the element of this center is fire.

what place does a sword have in healing? sometimes a wound must be cut open to air and find healing.

Jesus also said, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword".

so jesus contradicted himself, as all great spiritual teachers do. truth doesn't fit into neat categories. this life and the spiritual path is a sloppy human interaction of fumbling towards love and forgiveness through human relationships.

anger is a double edged sword, it can be used to slice through and transform, or we can get stuck in the habit of anger and bitterness without the transformation. anger is strong medicine, but it should not be avoided on the spiritual path for fear of it's power. anger is an emotion close to the surface, grief lies sleeping deep below in our subconscious. anger can make us aware, if we are able to follow the reaction to it's source. anger always stems from an unfulfilled desire. the way of healing, letting and moving on is to grieve our unfulfilled desires, not suppress them. without fire, there is no transformation. my guru says, "keep the power in your heart, otherwise it can be cruel".

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