Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Childlike not childish........

The words for the title of this blog entry came to me in the early hours of the morning. They seemed important and my urgent inner voice gave me no rest until I got up. What is the distinction between childlike and childish. For me, childlike is the free flowing expression of energy, there is a wide-eyed wonder at the world. In a childlike state there is a fascination and an absorption with everything. In the childlike state language has no place. This is significant because it is language that gives us our world. Where I work there is a committee that deals with nanotechnologies. If this word hadn't come into being there would be no world around it. The word has created around it a whole range of ideas and innovation. Take away the word and the world of nanotechnology wouldn't exist. This can be applied to almost everything and is how our world evolves.

Childish on the other hand is to do with immediate ego gratification. Indulging the ego will never lead to the profound shift of consciousness that characterises living from an enlightened state. First the ego has to be disciplined and then transcended. However the ego is never truly vanquished nor should it be because it forms the boundary between fantasy and reality and is necessary for functioning in the world. Ego transcension does not mean the end of the ego, it is a shift from the ego working for the mind to the ego working for the soul. It occurs when grace enables the consciousness to shift. This comes after a time of working on ourselves and developing integrity.

I want to make it clear that by integrity I don't mean right and wrong. Integrity for me is simply about whether or not something will work. On a purely human front I am being challenged at the moment by having feelings for a married man. I knew this man before he was married. I have written about the possibility that I may be on the extremely mild side of Asperger's syndrome. One of the symptoms of this syndrome which is a mild form of autism is a difficulty with intimacy. This is something I have struggled with all of my life. I was 35 before I understood what it meant when someone said they 'fancied' someone. I had no concept of what that was like. I had boyfriends but none before the age of 35 meant anything. As a result my longest relationship to date has been 3 months. This never bothered me because I was far more content pursuing Buddhism and spending my time thinking high and lofty thoughts! However, the cost of this was to result in delayed emotional development which I recognise now.

To return to this married man. I knew him before he got married. He was one of those boyfriends before the age of 35 for whom I felt nothing but went through the motions of a relationship because I thought that was what I should be doing. It ended after a couple of months and he went off and got married. He called me to tell me that he was getting married, and I congratulated him without any feelings of 'that might have been me'. He called me when his son was born. I congratulated him without any feelings of 'that might have been me'. Then there was a couple of years of a gap when I never heard from him. One evening I was in at home and he called distraught. He had had an affair and it hadn't worked out and he wanted me to help him! I thought to myself 'this is God's idea of a joke. Me who hasn't been able to hold down a relationship for more than 3 months and he wants my help! I tried to put him off by suggesting a psychiatrist but he was adamant. He came over for a couple of weeks but when I saw him again I felt nothing but what I had felt towards him in the past. I didn't know that there was any other way to feel.

He left and returned to his wife. But he kept in touch and gradually we became good friends. In 2004 I received what I can only call a spiritual shock. I had had a profound experience while on a meditation retreat in Southern England. As a result and unknown to me my ego had inflated and I had cut myself off from the world reading books and building up this image of me as special. All of that came crashing down when a possible reason for this experience was given to me most harshly by someone who had a doctorate in philosophy. As a result my spiritual world came crashing down. It was shortly after that that I went on the Landmark Forum weekend. What I saw so clearly was that I was using the spiritual path to cover up emotional pain from my childhood that I hadn't wanted to see. The spiritual path cannot be used like a plaster to cover up emotional pain. It can for a while but there comes a point when there can be nothing false or dishonest about one's reasons for why this path is being pursued. On this weekend I saw that I grabbed onto the idea of Buddhism because it doesn't concern itself with the past. My focus was on the future and enlightenment. I didn't want to go back into my past. What I saw on that weekend was that my refusal to accept my past was blocking any further spiritual progress. This is why my ego inflated bubble had burst. I also thought that the spiritual bubble had burst because I had come as far as I could for this lifetime.

After the weekend I found I had a love and joy of life that I hadn't had for a long time. This married man and I continued to be friends. He called me one evening and told me that his friend had spoken to him about Landmark Education and had I heard of it. This was amazing. Even more amazing was that he ended up doing the weekend with the same seminar leader so we had even more in common. We met a couple of times but from my side there was no attraction, again I didn't know what this energy was.

Then November 2007 I was in the middle of the relationship seminar and I created the possibility of enjoyable intimacy without any physical or emotional pain. This married man called out of the blue and was going to be in London and asked if he could visit. I agreed. The minute I saw him I felt something that I had in truth never felt in my life before. I had felt a glimpse of it when I was 35 but nothing in the intervening 9 years. It was the ease and grace and lightness that I had with him. In the past we would argue but suddenly there was no need to argue, there didn't seem to be any issues. What was this? I was so amazed and I know that he was too. I've known this guy for almost 16 years how is this possible. What I have seen is that I am at least 20 years emotionally delayed. Is this the result of being wholly committed to the spiritual path which I have been since I was 9 on and off. Or is it the result of being willing to accept and free up all of the trapped energy there was around my past. By accepting and forgiving what happened energy was available for me to understand the energy that ties people in relationship. It is this energy that marks the difference between a friend and a lover.

So now my dilemma, he is still married, unhappily he tells me. As I have known him for so long and have never found him out in a lie I believe him. However me becoming involved with him has no integrity. This is not saying that it's wrong. But it has no integrity in the light of his already existing agreement, i,e his marriage. This is the toughest test for me to have such strong feelings and not give into them by having an affair. What is quite amazing since I finally discovered what it is to fancy someone is that out of the blue his wife asked him for a divorce. It's like finally the timing is right. He had to hang around in the background until the time was right. Asking for a divorce and it actually happening are worlds away, I know that. I also know that this test that I am going through at the moment is a spiritual test for me. Will I give into my ego desire or will I maintain my integrity. My resolve is to maintain my integrity. It is integrity that gives a life that works and is at the source of all power.....

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