[6 minute read]
The prior article concluded with:
We become more conscious of reality when we learn to be comfortable with the messy mixture of who we really are… Real love has to come from a place of comfort if it is to be real.
And one must face reality to learn how to be comfortable within it. Step one: Face the real you. To do so demands that you learn about your inner self, and *seek* exposition of your darkest flaws.
Real fun, real happiness, honesty… They don’t exist in a vacuum free from hardship, suffering, and brokenness. Pretending that they can or do is pretending. Not reality. Not full consciousness.
If you think Yeshua was fully conscious, ask yourself whether his life was free from hardship and suffering? That is why the Incarnation is Good News. Real joy is mixed into the reality that includes real suffering. That is where real love is to be found. That is a full vision of reality. Yeshua was not pretending to suffer.
Are you pretending that getting hurt and hurting others is not a reality?
Can you expect to affect that without first transforming your own self?
You are part of the world and you are part of reality. That means you are not immune from causing hurt. It’s as absolutely certain as the reality that you will feel it.
Let’s pretend for a moment that you are/have been the morally superior partner in a relationship. If you believe this, you likely make it known — in ways explicit and implicit — to your partner. If that’s too much for you to believe right now, then OK… Let’s instead simply say that somehow your partner knows that you are morally superior. This is not a trivial distinction, but you will need some time to realize you are guilty of this abject lack of humility. Nevertheless, let’s proceed…
Now, if you think you possess empathy in abundance, put yourself in that partner’s shoes. And if you don’t think you’re very empathic, do it anyway. Ask yourself what life must be like for a person in an intimate relationship who senses the moral superiority of their partner often. Seriously. This is not a small question.
A relationship becomes competitive. The competition is dark—most of all, because you do not recognize it.
When your partner apologizes for an infraction, and you ostensibly forgive with phrases like, “That’s OK…,” do you think that is humble forgiveness? Reconsider. You did not complete the sentence.
“That’s OK because you are a loser.” That’s OK because you are morally inferior. That’s OK because I am morally superior. That’s OK because it lets me retain my sense of moral superiority. Yeah, I know you think it’s because you are trying not to make a big deal of something. Dig deeper. Why would you try to do that?
Earlier in your relationship when you were under the spell of romantic love’s neurochemistry, you usually completed those sentences with something like, “That’s OK. I do that all the time.” (I too, like you, am imperfect, and am happy to overlook those imperfections as inevitable parts of being human, and being in intimate relationships of true love.)
“That’s OK; it says nothing about your loving me less. It’s just that you have shortcomings like I do, and I don’t want you to think I love you less when I fail.”
Those were the times love wasn’t so conditional. That is the love all of us seek. True and unconditional. In any and every relationship, it flounders and may pass completely. Our species has evolved unconscious neuro-hormonal biology that enables us to overlook and tolerate the flaws in ourselves and our mates. Otherwise, fears and insecurity would make those existential terrors impossible to the propagation of our species. Our obsession with the inaccessible ideal of positive thinking is an expression of how much we long for the feelings we experienced in moments of love without conditions!
How did Yeshua exert his moral superiority? Whom did he chastise openly? The known sinners with whom he associated openly (prostitutes, addicts, tax collectors)? No. The religious leaders and Pharisees who were hypocrites. The ones who were, ostensibly, morally superior, but who were secretly hypocrites.
It doesn’t require God’s x-ray vision to see the hidden hypocrisy of others. We know it’s there because WE have it within our own selves!
Hypocrisy occupies an exclusive and special place in the gospel accounts. It is to me really the only sin which is explicitly condemned. It is so vehemently condemned because it so vehemently and insidiously judges others. These judges march us into the self-death spiral of shame.
What sorts of words express our relationship to our moral superiors? We “look up” to them. From beneath them. We are condemned by our lower status. We aspire to be like them, and we are aware that we “fall short.” That shortcoming is precisely what psychology calls “shame.”
And what verb do we use to talk about coming under the spell of unconditional love’s neurochemistry? Well, look at that phrase you just read. “Under.” We use the expression “falling in love.” Falling.
True love is a low place, not a high place.
This also means that you do not love your self unless you “fall” into your self. Fall from the lofty heights of idealism and moral superiority into the depths of humility.
If your relationship is a competition, you and your partner are scrambling to be king of the moral mountain. The one who stands a top that pinnacle is very lonely. From its apex, its conqueror casts nothing but shadows on all below. Love is never a shadow.
The sin most often explicitly condemned in the gospels is that of hypocrisy and its dishonest judgment of fellow human beings. Your partner’s transgressions against you are absolutely no justification for retaliation by you. That mortally ill logic is the negative energy that sustains the dynamic spiral.
This dysfunctional tango takes two, and is a twisted distortion of the golden rule: You are doing onto others as you force them to do unto you. Force? Yes. Hypocrisy is the greatest of forces. It is the judgmentalism that cultivates shame—indisputably humanity’s most potent but necessary frailty, evolutionarily and psychologically.
When you judge, you force others to judge. When you judge yourself, you force your self to judge you, when your self wants to love you without conditions. When you judge another self, you force them to judge their selves, and, inevitably, you. Do you want to be loved. They want to be loved. By you, and by their own selves. You are hypocritical, even to your own self.
You cannot fail at loving your enemies, or you will fail at loving your most intimate loved ones. And, your very own self.
Now, I ask you, as you extol the value of honesty, no drama, positive thinking, the golden rule, your moral superiority… Are you a Pharisee?
Neil D. 2020-05-07
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