The other night we watched Bruce Wagner’s 1998 film I’m Losing You. It packs a shamanic wallop. We’re left with the emptiness of a group of characters ruthlessly chasing love amidst a harrowing set of losses, exposing the love compulsion at its most hideous. Most disturbing is the power of that compulsion to preempt a genuine participation in life and relationship. Last night we watched another movie with a similar theme, the 2011 film, The Newlyweds.
I know the world that Bruce Wagner was immersed in when he wrote the novel, in 1996, upon which the screenplay and movie I’m Losing You are based. I was totally consumed by that same world, the world of Tensegrity and Carlos Castaneda. Bruce, alias “Lorenzo Drake,” was in the inner shamanic circle, and in fact married the nagual woman Carol Tiggs. This was at the time that Carlos was mercilessly poking fun at the search for love that dominated our world. Carlos would constantly point out that we seek love, but underneath we are really merchants caught in the contract of what we are getting from, or what we are owed in, our loving interactions.
I’m Losing You glowingly highlights that even in the midst of extraordinary opportunities to avail ourselves of the shaman’s greatest wake up call—to use death as an advisor—we are trumped by the flyer’s mind that seeks refuge in a zombie-like pursuit of love.
After the movie, I dreamed of being on an old treelined parkway rest stop on Long Island in between the northbound and southbound lanes. Traffic streamed by in both directions without letup. I was crouching at the curb of the north side picking up garbage. I came across an old, well-worn, 33 RPM album entitled, “I Love You.” I picked it up, read the label, and then pushed it vertically into the mushy sod so that it stood up straight in the grass. I then walked over to the picnic area in the grassy median where two tables had been pushed together. People were anxiously awaiting their reserved time to have their children’s birthday parties there. One parent was haggling over not paying 18 dollars for an extra umbrella for the table. The sense of the scene was that it was a pedestrian, quick drive-thru birthday party factory.
My dream seemed to validate the well worn love recording at the energetic highway of our lives, with its cookie cutter rituals defining our behaviors.
Carlos stated that the Shamans of Ancient Mexico saw that love had been co-opted and corrupted by the flyer’s mind of self obsession. (See last week’s blog Don’t Ask Why.) Those shamans linked instead to affection, an independent wave of energy accessible to all, our true birthright. Once accessed, affection naturally flows through us.
To access such affection, Carlos suggested that we learn to love by giving with a blank check. That is, affection means giving without ever expecting a return on the investment: Giving without attachment to the outcome. This kind of affection takes the “me” out of the equation. You owe me nothing in return for my gesture of affection. I give it freely, no strings attached. I require not even an acknowledgement. You truly owe me nothing.
This is the true nature of affection: Selfless love, conscious acts of affection without self-reflection. I feel it; I give it; I don’t look back.