I’m now in the midst of a battle raging between the unfriendly and friendly parts of me.
The part that is unfriendly towards others – which I think of as protecting my space – feels badly about it and the part that wants to be friendly doesn’t know how.
I said earlier that I wake up in a bad mood, saying to myself, “Oh, no, not another day in this life.” That reflected my repugnance of growing up under my Dad’s … I was going to say, “protection.”
I’m now arguing with myself that being friendly with others means overlooking my own needs for privacy and space.
So I have to add to my resolve to be friendly with others a resolve to be kind to myself and respect my own needs for privacy and space. Both need to be in place.
I now see the place for affirmations in life. They remind me of what my resolve is. In this case, it’s: I am friendly to others and kind to myself.
I take a second look to see what the impact of this affirmation is on my internal space.
Keeping in mind my belief that what’s most important to us is the way we feel, I see that I don’t feel greatly different. I still feel this dismay at feeling unfriendly towards others. So I resolve to experience it through to completion.
I open to the feeling of unfriendliness, which is a vasana or core issue.
I see myself sitting at the kitchen table. Dad has just kicked me under the table. I am amazed and —> dismayed <— because there’s no way I can see an attack coming from underneath the table. I resolve at that moment to always keep my distance from my Dad.
Keep my distance…..
If I’m not to keep myself miserable for the rest of my life, I need to forgive Dad for his unfortunate ways.
It isn’t possible to recover the memory of why he kicked me under the table. I have to let it go without knowing the issue, as one writer said, “not necessarily because [he] deserve[s] it, but because I deserve to be free of the attachment.” (1) I deserve to grant myself peace.
It was a stupid and thoughtless act: Dad could be that way.
But then I also know that he was only a few years home from a war in which he risked his life every day. They had no means in those days of addressing their trauma. Even pill-prescribing psychoanalysis was too new for Dad to try.
He was full of trauma from a lifetime of being abused himself. Maybe I was lucky I just got off with a few outrageously-violent acts. (2)
The truth of any vasana will set us free from it. (3) If we keep that in mind, then we can use it to see how we’re doing in processing the original incident.
If we feel free-er, if we feel relief or release, then we’re moving in the right direction. If we feel more bound and burdened, we’re moving in the wrong direction.
As it happens in seeing the incident at the breakfast table, I do feel more release and relief so I must be looking in the right place.
Yet I don’t feel total release so I ask the mind again to shoot up another originating incident.
I see myself at a beach with four adults – Mom and Dad and their friends, Alec and Marilyn Cook. They think I’m playing quietly by myself but I feel terrifically abandoned.
“Children are to be seen and not heard,” I hear. I feel lonely. I don’t trust adults. “They don’t care for kids,” I hear myself saying. “They just want to enjoy themselves.”
I feel more release.
But there’s still a certain flatness to my experience and I want it all gone so I ask the mind to shoot up whatever incident remains and causes my emotional flatness.
I hear myself saying, “You can’t trust Dad. Except to always do the wrong thing.” I realize that I gave up on my Dad at some point and simply resolved to stay out of his way as much as I could. Well, it was that day at the breakfast table. Now I not only know the incident but I know the conclusion and decision I reached as a result of it as well.
The flatness now disappears. I am now returned to feeling … normal.
The implication is that how I’ve been feeling all these years, which I regarded as normal, was not normal. By “normal” I mean a neutral frame of feeling, not outrageously bad but not outrageously good either. Just the balance point, “0” on the scale.
But within this overall feeling of normality, bliss can arise, whereas it could not while I felt dismayed.
I notice I feel stress from just the decisions that I face every day in life but none of that is traceable to this vasana. The stress is another story and I feel happy right now just having released myself from the constant background noise of dismay.
(1) Tamara Rant, “How to Give (And Forgive) From the Heart,” July 3, 2018, Conscious Life News, at https://consciouslifenews.com/give-forgive-heart/11120038/.
(2) The worst was when he shouted at me from a few inches from my face and I dissociated and remained so for several decades.
(3) Either completely free or else free to a degree and then we need to repeat the “treatment” – viz., name the feeling, ask the mind to send up a picture or word that identifies the original traumatic incident, and then experience the memory of that incident through to completion.