Why are we here?
On this planet.
I don’t know, but it seems that there is a natural progression in the journey of a human life. We're conceived when a sperm meets an egg. That's two separate entities. Then we grow inside a womb. That's two separate entities, fetus and womb inside Mom (for now, some day it may be womb inside machine). At this point in our journey, we receive all nourishment and sustenance with no effort on our part (as far as we can tell). Then biological birth occurs, and we spring into the world, finally, biologically and physically separate.
In broad strokes, the childhood progression is one of separation with return for nourishment and sustenance. Now, we scoot away from our mothers, then we crawl, then we totter, then we walk … finally, we run (hopefully). It seems that “good-enough” child-rearing is a kind that allows us to feel secure enough to set off and explore the world on our own. Developing this inner sense of security seems to involve a freedom to return to Mom/safety when things get too scary and overwhelming, perhaps too dangerous.
What a perfect segue to my most favorite mystical poem ever by Kahlil Gibran!
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
As the dwarves tended Una, three events unfolded in the Whole.
Somewhere between Azyllai and the borders of Una’s dark and light, a new world dawned. Born of pure energy and imagination, the Realm of Faerie came into being. Faeries, elves, pixies and brownies drew their first breaths.
The bounty of Isolt’s waters overflowed from her mother’s world into the Realm of Faerie, binding the worlds in symbiotic union.
This was the first thing that happened.
As Isolt’s waters spread, the love of all creation grew for her.
Resentment eructed within her mother’s depths. Una could never know the flowing grace that was Isolt’s essence. It is said she wished her daughter limited and contained, as she was. Envy’s long shadow darkened Una’s heart.
One day Una asked this question of the god Vulcan: “My daughter, Isolt, do you find her attractive?”
“She’s a great beauty,” he acknowledged.
“I would offer you her hand in marriage as repayment of my debt.She would be honored to be your queen.”
“I shall be honored then, to take her as my bride,” Vulcan answered Una.
An obedient daughter, Isolt stood with the crippled god at the grand wedding ceremony. However, their sterile union, born from a mother’s envy, was the second thing that happened in the Whole. It is said it marked the end of Una’s glory. For our children are not our possessions, and Isolt was never hers to give away...—Isolt's Enchantment, Daughter of Light
Okay, back to: There is nothing in the natural progression of our early years that seems to set us up for a biological re-union with another human being … Oh, except for sex. That’s as close as we’re going to get post-birth.
I want to share an interesting quote from the book Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel:
"The self-absorption inherent in sexual excitement obliterates the other in a way that collides with the ideal of intimacy. Such people find they can be safely lustful and intemperate only with people they don’t know well, or care about as much. Recreational sex, pornography, and cybersex all share an element of distance, even anonymity, that avoids the burden of intimacy and makes sexual excitement possible ... Being with an unavailable partner provides a protective limit—if you can’t get too close to a person, you need not fear entrapment or loss of self."
Hmmm … kind of interesting. To experience sexual orgasm we need to “be” separate—inside our own bodies—while we merge with the other.
Oh, I think a lot.
On the material level—body existing in externality—the Self merges with the Other to achieve sexual orgasm (among other things.) (BTW could the drive toward pornography, bondage and submission, etc. simply be an expression of the unindividuated Self? Like there is not enough YOU to really enter the SEX ACT so you need an artificial stage, so to speak, in which to play-act at being someone else? Someone else being: A Separate Self? An Other Self?)
And on the inward (mystical) level—psyche, spirit, essence, what have you—the Self reveals itself in some kind of union with the Divine—God, Source, Tao, Unified Field, whatever you want to call it.
There does seem to be this theme going on. Separateness and union ... separateness and union ... separateness and union ...
Separateness and union seems to be THE Cosmic Dance.
So does that mean a fully realized adult human being needs boundaries, separateness, after all? The ability to say “no” and the ability to say “yes” to the many many many things that we must say “no” and “yes” to to create, fulfill, navigate a meaningful life? With no core Self to radiate outward into our beliefs, our commitments, our passions, our values—what do we really have to offer the world? I mean if you’re basically a pastiche of your church’s your parents’ your friends’ your partner’s beliefs, if they’re defining your commitments, and presenting obstacles to your passions, and putting the kibosh on your values, things are going to feel pretty out-of-sync.
I'm not sure that means we should try HARDER at fitting in, following the myriad rules humans have created over the centuries (and there are so many external human authorities to choose from!), pretend we are all ONE (and the world would be an oh-so-much better place if we would just get that through our thick [separate] skulls!) (Oh, and one of my favorites: If we don't realize we're all ONE THE WORLD IS GOING TO END ... Sorry, but every spiritual guru uses this as the final fulcrum to push you into their worldview. If you don't see things my way ... OH, THE WORLD IS GOING TO END! The good news is: There's been so many documented false alarms it is safe to say there is a higher broader intelligence that mysteriously keeps the world from: ENDING. Oh, so you think you're God and the only outcome you can see is The Apocalypse? Hmmm ... I think the Creative is just so much savvier and smarter than that ... at least, so far, history backs me up on this one!)
See, the paradox is we're here to be our brilliant Selves among the billions of other brilliant Selves on the planet. (I'll refer you back to one of my first Sunburned posts: Is Being Spiritual Being Weird?) We’re not here to merge, we’re here to emerge. But to really allow each other the freedom to do that, well, it seems to be quite a challenge for all of us! I mean what is war but trying to force everyone to be on the same page?
So if our family our clique our politics our religion is all about convincing the other girl/guy to be like us, believe like us, it’s quite retrogressive. It’s like we can’t stand someone else being fully who they are, because we haven’t quite mastered, solidified, been given permission to be who we truly are. We spend so much time corralling THE GROUP, when we could just be blissfully exploring our own selves and realities ... which THE COSMOS seems so elegantly equipped to handle ... maybe even designed to handle ...
So, in the end, for me, it’s all about surfing, riding that inner wave and experiencing, feeling how that aligns with the world around me, all the while appreciating the marvel of everything that is out there that is not me.
It’s kind of ecstatic.
Sunshine without the sunburn.
Much better than chocolate.
Happy Valentine’s Day.