Tag Archives: Dante

Chapter 7: An Old Dream Revisited

Know that the impulse to love comes from the spirit.  When one is “crazy in love,” the feeling partakes more of what is within than what is without.  The person being idealized is somehow more yourself than him.  The best part is that the experience points to the Love at the center of one’s being.  At base one is seeking God, and it is not really fair to one’s beloved to make of him an idol in one’s journey back Home.

Some very idealistic people mix inappropriately the sacred with the profane.  Living out our being first of all as human may show    much about how to love God.  We can’t always repress the human, or we will be denying the very arena in which we have been placed.  And the human “ideal” may lead inexorably toward the heavenly ideal.  Much romantic love, in the beginning at least, manifests a kind of imperfect love for God that needs a concrete object.

Sometimes after a great shock (especially if high in negatives), we feel an almost supernatural calm and a certitude that all will be well.

I remember only two arguments with my college roommate in three years, probably because arguing with her was so rare as to be both shocking and threatening.

One argument ensured when she came in from class enthusing about O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh.  She argued quite energetically for the positive value of pipe dreams, “if people don’t have anything else.”  I hadn’t heard the class discussion (nor yet read the play), but I vehemently declared with all the might I could summon that people should know the “truth”!

How was I to know that the next act in my own play would be years of clinging to a pipe dream and avoiding the truth?  Of course, on some level I did know, and so when I was railing at Betty, I was actually railing against my own life script.  Be careful of overreaction; it may tell you more than you’re yet ready to know.

I think my ideal for this life was Romantic love, in the sense of medieval chivalry or the great English Nineteenth-Century Romantic poets (Keats, Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge).

But then I went on a 15-year odyssey of self-denial.  Before birth, was I influenced by the good that Dante’s love of Beatrice wrought?

For a long time, there was a split in my life—a private dream that could not be assimilated except as spiritual growth.  I have come to think that any lengthy non-resolution is an example of Rainer Maria Rilke’s oft-quoted passage:  “I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms
and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.”

We can create randomness in our personal dramas, or we can create metaphor.  The great figures of history mostly created metaphor, which is why we remember them so well—we see ourselves reflected therein.  A drama formed from Jungian archetypes is normally the best teaching tool, and we are all, as a first priority, here to learn.  Why create our own metaphors out of whole cloth when we have the better option of learning from others?

There have been three periods in my life when I was especially attractive to men.  I was functioning at a very high level each time—very “up,” not depressed at all, and quite passionate. Most of my life, though, I have repressed my feelings and attracted men who didn’t want to get serious.  It was always a mistake in those situations to let my neediness show.

From a mind slant of another time and place:  “I was a different person, at once more akin to other people and sensitive to their needs, but also caring almost not at all what they thought of me.”

How liberating!  Is it too iconoclastic for life in our time?  Or, if practiced consistently, would it be the way to true freedom?

I once went through a very strange time when I realized that it was neurotic to care so much what other people thought or to try to please them so much.

But people developed ambivalent feelings toward me because by not caring what they thought of me, I sometimes attacked them.  I could see through their ego defenses and did not have nearly enough patience with these foibles.

Yet simultaneously I was truly loving people as children of God.  It was a contradictory time.  I was ready for Awakening, but not saintly enough to sustain it.

The well-worn rejection record entitled “Abandoned by Love” plays only when you put the record on the turntable.  And you can stop going around and around like that.

Was I brought low because sometime, somewhere, I had been too proud to love?

I once knew a young woman who made virtually no decisions without consulting God first.  By nature radiating happiness, Anna appeared supremely well-adjusted, sure in her knowledge of God’s watchful care.  In her presence, my own obsessions seemed very far away and very delusional.

One who truly knows God on a day-in, day-out basis invites sanity into every interaction. Such a person serves as a conduit to God for all others who may be less sure of His actions in everyday life.  And this achieved with no preaching at all.

People often come together to work out emotional problems that are mirror images to one another.  Then they part, sometimes to reencounter again, if the matter is very central to both.  Yet there remains no true resolution if the meeting point is especially impassioned.  God’s real will is found in a peaceful ending.

Living an ideal is good for the soul, but it won’t keep your feet warm at night.