Mindfulness with Psyche and Eros
When we choose to attune to loving consciousness, to look at life through loving eyes, we experience deeper Faith and know that just about anything is possible. The roses bloom brighter, the conversations grow deeper and energy flows unendingly within. When we choose to look at life through fearful eyes, life wilts, becomes increasingly smaller, suspicious, and in extreme cases, paranoid, violent and even deadly.
In the Myth of Eros and Psyche, the two are attuned to a loving consciousness- they hold a great love perception and share, albeit an unusual, but happy relationship. The loving consciousness they share is what makes their relationship peaceful, supportive and life giving to both of them. In fact, it is Psyche's love perception that allows her to accept and trust the darkened, hidden and literally shadowed Eros without fear. There is a faith in the unknown and a love for what yet to be revealed and intimately known. When doubt and fear later creep into Psyche's mind, this Faith vanishes. Psyche's sisters come to visit her and discover her comfortable life, obvious happiness and good fortune, and they become deeply envious. They question her marriage, her husband and Psyche's unusual marital relationship to a man she never sees in the light! The questioning plants a tiny seed of doubt in Psyche, and the consciousness of fear takes root as she begins to worry about her sisters words, and over time, replaying the doubts in her mind, Fear grows in Psyche. She increasingly perceives Eros with more suspicion and mistrust, and increasingly fears what he is not sharing with her. Her imagination runs wild. She devises a plan to get reveal his secrets and relieve her anxious mind. One night while Eros is sleeping she acts on her fears, shining a light on him, spelling wax on his beautiful sleeping body, not a monster at all, but waking him from his love dream and breaking his heart. Eros then reacts in a fear infused fit of Rage, leaving Psyche with a broken heart and despairing over the loss of her husband and loving consciousness....this break from love to fear destroys them.
As we know, this Myth is a common to many, many love stories. The chosen perception shifts. One or both partners stop consciously attuning to and seeing through the eyes of Love.
Do you choose fear or love? Which one do you attune to?
I purposefully inserted the word "choose" because attunement and identification with a general style of seeing (a filter or schema)- whether it be with love or with fear-- is a choice. However, it only becomes a choice if we can first learn to see the filter. With Mindfulness based psychotherapy, we learn and practice skills for "clear seeing". We learn to observe sensation, deeply participate in and witness sensed experience. The mindfulness skill, "Describe" employs a nonjudgmental distilling of self, world and other which discerns thoughts from facts. Psyche could have benefited from practicing this mindfulness skill to gain clarity, describing from a state of centeredness the observable objective facts of the situation separate what was coming from her mind: thoughts/judgments/feelings/worries. Mindfulness skills and practices like these foster what Eckart Tolle terms "presence" and what Mindfulness based psychotherapy (DBT) terms "Wise Mind"; the experience of stillness, centeredness and clarity. Clear Seeing.
From clear seeing comes Choice. Only you can free yourself from the consciousness of fear and anger. The first step in this freedom is Mindfulness, non-judgmental awareness of what is. How do you know if you are in a fear consciousness? By developing somatic awareness of bodily sensations we can increase our emotional intelligence, practice attuning to and being with different felt senses in the body (Also note thinking patterns and related feeling states). For example, The fear vibration speaks cognitively in disorganization, ruminative problem solving, and worrying. Fear often speaks through our body as erratic movements, rapid pulse, high sympathetic tone, tight shoulder muscles, clenched jaw, or in the other extreme: fogginess, collapsed body posture, muscle weakness and lethargy.
"Worry is a prayer for chaos"
~ Gabriella Bernstein
I have come to know that pain is a signifier that I am being invited to grow. Especially in those "unsolvable situations", life is asking for us for more presence, more wise mind and heart breaking surrender. Buddhist Psychologist Jack Kornfield said,"In the end, just three things matter, How well we have lived, How well we have loved and How well we have learned to let go".
Freedom is always available to us - in every moment, presence is only and always a breath away. However, when faced with a situation we cannot control and especially one involving great loss and pain, we do struggle to remain mindful; this is actually very human and very normal to want to avoid pain. With the practice of mindfulness skills we find the safe, centered space, the home base that is our nature, the wise mind within. We learn we can shuttle back and forth from this safe place and experience somatic mindfulness of pain, feeling and sensation. Presence heals. Love returns.
So we learn to accept the invitation to become present and practice the mindfulness skill of self-compassion: We lovingly say to ourselves, "This hurts. This is a moment of suffering, all beings suffer sometimes, it is part of our common humanity, a part of being human, you are not alone, I love you, may you be happy, may you be home. Everything is going to be OK. In fact, it already is" (adapted in part from Dr. Kristen Neff's psychological research on Self-Compassion).
We think loving-peace exists outside of us. It doesn't. It never has and it never will. It doesn't come in a box, a bank account, a loved one or even a valentine. It exists inside of each and every one of us. We are the birthcenter of love. When we tune into the endless love inside, we see it in others, we experience in relationship to others and we forgive ourselves for forgetting. We forgive others for forgetting and laugh out loud when we experience it again.
It's always there waiting for us, to remember again, just like home...
There is no where to go. There is nothing to do or nothing to get. Love is already here. It exists deep down within each one of us. We simply have to slow down enough to feel it, listen to it and vibrate to it's sweet melody.
Everything begins with this relationship to ourselves. Our power lies in our presence to ourselves and that spills out into our relationship with everything else. Self-compassion is the key to settling into this peace.
You are perfect.
You are love.
You are whole and You are forgiven.