Tag Archives: impersonal

Chuck’s Place: Programmed For Love

We arrive in this world fully programed to receive the love, attention, and nurturance that will support the unfolding and maturation of our human selves. We are preprogrammed to bond with our primary caretakers, the parents entrusted and programmed to respond with loving nurturance to our deepest needs for safety, food, and emotional affirmations.

Those archetypes... about as solid as stone... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Those archetypes… about as solid as stone…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

These preexistent programs are what Jung called archetypes, nature’s tried and true wisdom encoded in instinctual patterns to ensure the survival and thriving of a human life. Despite the robustness of nature’s guiding archetypal programs, something has to happen to turn them on. With infants, a simply smile is often sufficient enough to trigger deep emotional bonding with adults. Humans, however, are fallible. We left the archetypal Garden long ago and often find ourselves deeply estranged from reading the environmental clues that activate nature’s bonding program. Winnicott, the English psychiatrist/pediatrician, softened the blow of this reality by stating that parents only had to be “good enough” for these innate growth programs to be activated in children.

The important detail to be gleaned from this powerful interaction between parents and children is its impersonal nature. Innate programs are not personal, they are the same for our entire species. We are all born with them. When caretakers respond to our archetypal programs we attach and love them. This has nothing to do with who personally our parents are, it has to do with how well our programs line up with each other.

When they align we experience deep love, but again, that love is impersonal. It’s the running of nature’s program and the powerful energetic and emotional response we have to it. Again, this powerful emotional response is not because of who the parent is, but only because of their ability to engage in an archetypal drama being activated between child and parent, a drama in which they both have starring roles.

The same kind of impersonal archetypal “love” ignites in adult romantic relationships. Nowadays, with the advent of instant connection between romantically inclined adults through internet dating sites, we can observe the rapid activation of innate mating programs running full cycle over the course of just one day.

Saying the right words, paying attention at the right moment can activate the most powerful feelings of ultimate soulmate through cyberspace. A hit on a dating site in the morning could result in a phone call at noon, a shared evening dinner, and a night of ecstasy. Of course, by the next morning, the personal reality of who this other being is begins to appear under the brightening light of the rising sun. One begins to face the power of having been swept away by an instinctual archetypal pattern to merge and mate. The being before us is truly a personal mystery, the depth of our emotional and ecstatic experience the result of having performed in an archetypal drama, of having participated in a deep mystery of nature, summoned from the hidden depths of our being.

However, if we are completely honest with ourselves, there is nothing personal in the relationship. In fact, we’d be hard pressed to call it a relationship at all if we define relationship as being truly consciously related to another. To be truly connected to another we must truly know them as people beyond the archetypal projections that ruled the night. However instinctually satisfying the encounter may have been, we can hardly call it a real relationship.

Conscious relationships require time and true knowing and acceptance of another as they truly are. Though our archetypal blueprint predisposes and pressures us to partake in powerful dramas to truly feel alive, needed, and loved, the paradox remains: deep, instinctual bonding and love is not in the least bit personal love.

It is our human challenge to reconcile instinctual and personal love. Our evolutionary trajectory is pressuring us to find instinctual satisfaction in a consciously related personal relationship.

All too frequently, that which draws us instinctively is completely opposite to what we feel consciously companionable to. That is our current cross to bear as a species. At present, we are a civilization struggling with the old archetypal patterns of blind tribalism and loyalty of blood and action vs a consciously related world that puts the true needs of the world over the self interest of the archetypally bound tribe.

In our most basic relationships, where impersonal love and obligation bind us, we must ask ourselves whether the actual relationships we are in, even with our most intimates, are in fact personal relationships at all. Sometimes primal relationships must end. They may have served their primal need, nature’s imperative, but they may never have taken root in a personal way, which is the only way we can grow and fulfill our modern evolutionary imperative: the reconciliation of nature and consciousness, animal and spirit, the full truth of who we are.

We are programmed for love, but are we truly able to advance that program with consciousness?




Chuck’s Place: The Shamanic Journey of Innocence

We are beings who enter this world needing personal attachment in order for life to take root and grow. Failure to experience personal love and care at a basic level results in a failure to thrive, leading to death. Less fatal woundings with our primary attachments can severely compromise our ability to love and receive love throughout our lives.

The strange twist of personal love in this world is that, even under the best of circumstances, it is ultimately unsustainable. Everything personal comes to an end. Early in life we can be shielded from this fact through the veil of a world without death, however, like Siddhartha, someday, we all must stray beyond the walls of this illusion and confront the truth of impermanence.

To encounter impermanence is to brush up against the impersonal, the coldness of that which is not a person, that which is not of this personal world. Where we came from, before we came into this world, and where we will go, when we leave this world, is in the realm of the impersonal: beyond the person we are while in this world.

Reconciling our personal life in this world with both our impersonal underpinnings and ultimate destination, is the core challenge of life. Foundational to this challenge is the ability to give and receive love in full awareness of the personal and impersonal dimensions of our reality. So challenging is this task that many would prefer death itself to the vulnerability that full openness to love requires.

To love, we must access our pure innocence. This is the innocence that, in its infancy, entered this world with the blind trust that it would be welcomed and cherished. This early stage of innocence inevitably suffers the fall of disappointment. However, innocence, with its tenacious need for love, remains quite resilient. These early woundings in our personal lives are encounters with the impersonal, encounters that shake us out of our tender narcissistic shells.

Then may come more serious brushes with the impersonal: deep disappointment, neglect, loss, or downright abuse. Some of these encounters are brushes with pure evil, a cold predatory energy that mercilessly feasts upon innocence, completely smashing our shells of safety.

Under these crushing blows, and for pure survival, our innocence fragments and takes refuge deep within, seeking protection in the body. This is a wise strategy for survival, but a major freeze to the challenge of giving and receiving love.

Strangely though, it is the shattering of our secure personal world that pushes us into the non-personal dimension of reality. This shattering mimics all shamanic journeys, where ritualized woundings push the initiate beyond the personal into the infinite. These may be journeys beyond the body, or some form of dissociated experience. In traumatic experiences we dissociate to protect our precious innocence.

The resulting fragmentation, caused by dissociation, may be necessary to maintain for decades, as we plunge into life with our lost innocence buried beneath causes, careers, and relationships of discontent. We might even convince ourselves of our unique ability not to ever need love in this life.

Eventually, however, our triggers and seasons of discontent overwhelm us, as we are ushered to awaken to the fullness of our journeys already taken, as well as the need for completion in our continued journey. Thus we begin the recapitulation journey where we reconstruct and relive the full truth of our lives.

Recapitulation restores our connection to our lost innocence, as it is freed from old beliefs, confusions, and blame. The adult self, that we have accrued through our other journeys, is the traveling companion that helps our innocence withstand the full truth as it emerges during our recapitulation.

Our innocence matures through this process and is now challenged to reenter life from this new mature, knowing place. Here, innocence sheds its earliest illusions and needs for personal protection. Rejections, endings, and woundings no longer result in dissociation and a retreat from life as innocence has moved beyond the personal and embraces the full impersonality of life; the shamanic initiation complete.

From here, we are poised for fulfillment in this life. We can know that we have loved before; that we have completed many lives; and that we will leave this life and go into new life where everything will be different. We can love with total openness in human form, without needing to possess or hold onto anything. At this point, our innocence is open to experiencing the relativity of our personal life and equally open to the journey in infinity. Perhaps even open enough to experience that infinity now!

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Until we meet again,