Glass Half… What?

[2 minute read]

A dear old friend asked how I am these days. “Glass half empty or glass half full?”

The friend knew me well. Knows me well?

The friend likely knows my favorite response of yore:

The glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Hey Smiley:) How am I these days? Wondering why we use that metaphor for the dynamics of the human soul:)

There’s evaporation even during stillness.

Unless we cover the glass. Not very natural. What’s the point of having liquid in the glass when it’s covered. That’s what bottles and containers are for.

Spigots refill it unexpectedly.

Welcomed faucets hitherto unrecognized as fountains. Unwelcome ones too.

Sometimes I guzzle the glass’ contents, ravenously thirsty.

Sometimes I guzzle its contents, not out of thirst, but more out of curiosity.

Is the drink still cold and refreshing, or strangely warm, yet wet?

Were the contents meant even to be drunk? Or merely beheld?

The glass and its contents intrigue me because they have a strange and interesting relationship.

A static container for a fluid fluid.

I can relocate the glass, and the carried fluid changes location too, but remains contained just the same.

I tote the glass to keep with me the promise inside it.

Different fluids come and go.

The same fluid can change while it rests within it. To the eye, statically contained, but undergoing dynamics not seen with that eye, known only by the product washing past my nose and tongue.

This glass and fluid have an interesting relationship.

Static. Dynamic.
Moved as one.

One consumed — replaceable but satisfying, only because it’s consumable; or only because it is consumed; or both, consumable *and* consumed.
The other durably enduring its changeable content.

Is my ego a glass container? Are my feelings and states and thoughts fluid? Is the larger ‘me’ the glass and fluid? Half… what? The other half… what else? Empty? Full? Twice as big as needed?

We like and use metaphors for things too boundless for expression within word’s limits. Even thought’s boundaries. Like you, old friend. Like me…

We each are a fluid glass.






Neil D. 2020-05-11

Related: The glass-half-full metaphor

Love Is Not a Noun (1), like Judgment

By no reputable wisdom tradition has any prophet ever revealed a higher power who demands that we judge our selves or anyone else.


Oh, to be sure, there are many traditions involving judgment. But they are not wise if they prescribe it instead of proscribing it.

Didn’t Yeshua explicitly chastise the hypocritical Pharisees as judges? (my answer)

Judgment is an action of the human ego, and it seems one of the ego’s purposes is to deeply teach us the futile absurdity of judgment. Deeply. Not superficially. Not consciously. For that is not deeply. We must “learn” the futility of judgment with every fiber of our being, at our deepest depth. That is why judgment hurts so very deeply.

Right and wrong are “written on our HEARTS,” not on our minds. Ultimately, our ego minds always get right wrong.

The “voice of conscience” is always an inner voice. There is no external collective conscience. Codifying into law the fullness of who we are is folly. Those are just fun intellectual exercises of the ego intellect. The most perilous of fun. They put the F U in fun.

Though Love came to fulfill the Law, not abolish the Law, we ourselves have not been created to fulfill it by perfecting our compliance. We are created to turn the Law on its head by Love. Only Love leads to compliance; compliance does not lead to love.

Compliance flows FROM love. Compliance does not, cannot, lead TO love.

Only Love is active fulfillment. And fulfillment is not an end, not an achievement or task to be completed or finished. That makes “fulfillment” a difficult word.

If you seek to live by your fullest nature, seek to act always from the place of love.

Simple does not mean easy. Authentic simplicity, in fact, NEVER means easy. If it did, things would not be complicated!

Continued in Love Is Not a Noun (2). What IS Love?


Neil D. 2020-05-10

The Power of YOU. To Hell with Comparison

[3 minute read]

Why is it so important to learn who you are, then be who you are?

You cannot BE who you are until you KNOW who you are, so must *know* your self before you can *be* your self.

Why is it essential to pay attention to — and know — your feelings, in the process of knowing your self?

Because, that is your power.

YOUR feelings are YOUR power.

And “your” is the only absolutely exclusive, existential experience of you as an individual person.

Exclusive, because it is unique.

No one else is you.

This seems pedantic, but it’s profound. A newborn was presented to an assembly: “This is Teresa. Unique in all of creation. Never has there been, nor will there ever be, another Teresa.”

Unique in all of creation. Never has there been, nor will there ever be, another…

This is true of YOU.

No one else has the experience of being YOU.

You might be conditioned to think that it’s not a big deal. You are just one of many billions alive today. And many more billions to live in the past, and future. But none of those billions and billions are, or have been, or will be, YOU.

Your power is unique. Your truth is unique.

Uniqueness is accompanied by feelings of isolation and loneliness. The thinkers who wrestled with this profundity were called existentialists. Why are those feelings so hard? Because what we seek above all else in human experience is connection.

We seek to be known. “Belonging.”

For an interesting trick, separate that word into two:

BE longing.

Your BEing is someone who longs. And the isolation of uniqueness counters that impulse: If no one else is me, how can anyone know me? Why do I long so deeply to be known?

If no one else has ever been, or will ever be, me, that is isolating.

Uniqueness is isolation.

That is one expression of the human experience.

But your unique feelings and experience are where your power lies. Power shared by no one else. Yours uniquely. If you squander it, there is no power that will fill that vacuum. That is an overwhelming responsibility.


When you subscribe to a political tribe, gang, group, or religion, that’s fear of your overwhelming responsibility. Being “like this” or “like that” are likenesses. Our impulse against loneliness. Our longing to be-long. Our impulse to be known.

But groupings and likenesses are artificial. Not authentic reality. What’s real is only you, me, and every person. We like to speak about common interests. But interests are not real either. They are only interesting.

You are naked.

You are alone in being you, so you are alone in *being*, per se.

In a certain sense, that is the only thing you have in common with others. Isolation.

Why are judgmentalism and hypocrisy so insidious to human persons that God became man to remind us that human uniqueness is our greatest power as creatures, and each child’s power can be fully actualized only when love prevails?

You and your judge are unique. Is it not, then, obvious that your standards differ? You cannot know the experience of being someone else, so you cannot judge the extent to which they are free or not. And so it is with you.

In fact, you are an unfair judge even of your self. It’s not given to us to “know” the totality of our experiences consciously at once. And we have so many survival instincts in the form of psychological defenses that keep us unconscious of who we truly are and what we’ve experienced. Even when you judge your own self, you cannot be impartial! You’ve got a lotta damn nerve judging others!

Comparison is a curse of radical freedom that mortally neglects your exclusive, unique power, and that of others. Try to stop. Homogenization is ne’er a cause for celebration. Love is. Love uniqueness.

You are love-worthy because you are different, not because you are similar to anyone else. Ever.

Neil D. 2020-05-09

There’s only 1 real sin? (HONESTY part 5 of 5)

[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

Index of this 5-part series HONESTY

Subparts will be added periodically.

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The ‘Egology’ of Relationships (HONESTY part 4 of 5)

[4 minute read]

Earlier in this series:

“People who hurt you deserve blame for hurting you, but they do NOT deserve blame for causing you to hurt them back.” [2]

“It’s not even necessarily that I see it and deny seeing it, it’s that my mechanisms for protecting myself from seeing certain aspects of myself are so effective that I’m blind to them.” [3]

You have already grown weary of telling your loved one(s) that they are hurting you, and they keep doing it anyway. It seems pointlessly exhausting for you to keep telling them, and the natural human fear of vulnerability becomes too much to bear. So you retaliate in secretive and/or manipulative ways, because your vocalized defenses, protests, and even retaliations are fruitless. In fact, one form of these retaliations is withdrawal from relating to your loved ones. Distancing. Protection.

They repeatedly hurt you, so the protection must get stronger. It cannot be your fault that they repeatedly hurt you, so you blame them, justifiably. But you cannot blame *them* for dragging *you* down to their level. That descent is not something you do involuntarily. You stoop to that level purposely.

Besides your repeated offender, is anyone else hurting you?

Are you hurting your own self by scoring secret retaliations?

Your psyche flees from that question. That is a very deep dive into your own imperfect heart and soul. It is not something done easily or quickly. Many never do it in a lifetime. Sadly, you know this unconsciously. You do. It is certain. That knowledge emerges from the junction where full self-awareness meets your subconscious. This junction is the battlefield within you where you feel the value of honesty missing in relationships, and inside your own self. It’s the interface of your ego and soul, and its width measures shame.

A loved one hurts you, so you hurt them back because you feel powerless to otherwise stop them from hurting you. You have become a hypocrite in its darkest sense. In desperation, an eye for an eye is the only answer—-and we desperately need an answer. The answer cannot be that everyone hurts everyone, and everyone is hurt by everyone. We can’t stomach the answer that bidirectional hurt is absolutely and undeniably inevitable. That reality is too dark to abide.

Repetitive secret retaliation is how resentment and contempt take root and evolve, in the tragic ecosystem (egosystem) of shame.

This seeming complexity is why loving your enemy (anyone who hurts you) — not performing loving actions toward your enemies — seems like such an intractable ideal [To believe you are a loving person (HONESTY part 1 of 5)]. I believe very deeply that the only classroom for John Doe to learn these lessons is exclusively inside the soul of John Doe.

John can easily live a lifetime of delusion if he thinks that a merely cerebral understanding of these things is sufficient. John has a monumental library of textbooks on all of these topics. But he keeps it behind a monumental wall, opens the door occasionally, looks inside, thinks about stepping over that threshold, has gotten help from a therapist to do that, but everything about that metaphor will fail to fulfill John.

By this metaphor, John must not only step into that library; he must demolish the wall.

Do I think it impossible for imperfect mortals to be ever-conscious of their potential to hurt another? Yes. I do.

John Doe wants and needs a stark answer to the question of what he wants “done unto himself.”

  • When he is an enemy, he wants to be loved.
  • When he hurts another, he wants to be lovingly forgiven.
  • When he hurts himself, he wants to lovingly forgive himself.

There is no other doorway to love: John cannot forgive himself if John cannot confess his transgressions to himself. The more he does that, the more porous the junction, the interface, the barrier between awareness and the unconscious. The more honest Self-talk flows from the soul to comfort the ego without threat, without triggering defenses like dishonesty, denial, suppresssion.

Like every mortal, when he peers into his unconscious, he will find a mixture. In that mix is certainly darkness, his own imperfection, hypocrisy, mountains of secrets, shame, and resentment. He must face that mixture if he is to see within it his true self. Raw reality. Not as he wishes it to be, but as it is. He cannot avert his eyes.

We all hold real love in high esteem, so why don’t we consider it — readily EXPECT it to be — enormously difficult? Have you heard the aphorisms about courage not being the suspension or absence of fear, but acting in the full light of one’s fear? What can possibly require more courage than looking honestly at the person we know best?

This is NOT a place of psychic comfort! We are most conscious and aware of realities with which we have become comfortable. Psychotherapy and psyche-ology are therapies for the soul, not the ego; therapy NEVER makes you comfortable at first. It if one’s ego doesn’t let its soul love it, the Self never feels comfortable, ever. We become more aware of real reality — the home of the True Self — 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. From the full true self, not a dishonest persona. The unmasked ego must stand naked, in its soul’s embrace.

Index of this 5-part HONESTY series

Next: There’s only 1 real sin? (HONESTY part 5 of 5). Preview:

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…Whom did Yeshua chastise openly? The ones who were, ostensibly, morally superior, but who were secretly hypocrites.