Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens – Jimi Hendrix (1942-1979)
Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens – Jimi Hendrix (1942-1979)
Live With An Open Heart Even If It Hurts
Closing down in the midst of pain is a denial of a man’s true nature. A superior man is free in feeling and action, even amidst great pain and hurt. If necessary, a man should live with a hurting heart rather than a closed one. He should learn to stay in the wound of pain and act with spontaneous skill and love even from that place. – David Deida
Oh boy! This is a head banger for me! WHAT? Are you kidding? Closing down in the midst of pain is my specialty. And why shouldn’t it be? Who wants to continue to punish themselves by subjecting themselves to further pain whether it is by way of cruelty or rejection from friends, a lover or whomever?
I read this one and had to pause. When I am confronted with these words, pain and bad taped memories rush to my mind and consciousness. It would seem the logical thing to do, the smart and intelligent thing to do, the way that leads to survival is to step away from the pain as quickly and as completely as possible. If you burn your hand on the stove do we leave it there for more? I have gotten by some 40 years by doing this – though I have been known to stand and face some hard confrontations.
I can think of times when one of my daughters seemed to act as if she wanted nothing to do with me in spite of my coming to her time and time again. I would explain possible misunderstandings to her and clear the air though I knew she was often stubborn or the recipient of bad information. After a while I would say to myself, “How many times must I come to you? You are old enough to take a step yourself. I am tired of putting myself out there to be rejected!” Sometimes those close to me would say that I should keep extending the open arms regardless. They say she will come back around and see that you were down with her all the time. Hmmm.
My spirit man understands fully the need to remain open and to love unconditionally through my pain. It recognizes that this is essential to true and authentic love being displayed. It resonates with the fact that often it takes this kind of love to break the walls of pain in the heart of others in order to heal, cleanse, and initiate the process of reconciliation. It understands fully well that this is totally necessary. And yet in my present state I have not attained. Sure there have been times where I have stepped to the plate to take some more swings during the process of spiritual and emotional battles. These are occasions when I seek that small glimmer of hope that the reaction to my attempts will be welcomed and accepted. But for the most part, I run like hell from pain. The funny part is that rarely does it ever work. If anything I can temporarily suppress it with self mediated methods. But that only last for so long.
I know that I need to grow in this area. And I believe I will. I have to learn to turn pain in to my friend and see it as a challenge that calls for my best to overcome. My mind gets it. My heart understands it. For this to become who I am however will only come by experience. And in the midst of the heat it’s hard to see the other side. Brothers and sisters I readily admit – I am not there yet. But I want to be. I will strive to be. Lord help me.
Stop Hoping for a Completion of Anything in Life
Most men make the error of thinking that one day it will be done. They think, “If I can work enough, then one day I could rest.” Or, “One day my woman will understand something and then she will stop complaining.” Or, “I’m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my life.” The masculine error is to think that eventually things will be different in some fundamental way. They won’t. It never ends. As long as life continues, the creative challenge is to tussle, play, and make love with the present moment while giving your unique gift. – David Deida
A scripture came to mind to me when I read this for the first time.
Genesis 8:22 For as long as Earth lasts, planting and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.”
This to me refers to the cycles of life. Though each day has its own special gifts and opportunities to present, there are some basic fundamentals that will never change. Planting and harvest talks about labor or putting in work, as well as receiving rewards for that work. Cold and heat are about the ups and downs we experience during this journey. Regardless of how well we lead our lives, none of us are exempt from difficulties, challenges, hurtful experiences and losses. If we hang in there we will also have our experiences of unspeakable joy as well.
As a man, I find that I enjoy doing and completing task. Completing task solves problems. And yet I find that I can complete a task and think I have graduated that particular lesson – sometimes only to battle the same things over again. Something or someone is always in some sort of need – as am I. I have often though that once I get a particular lesson everything will be ok. Once I understand and walk in a principle things will change. But as the writer says, they do not. The only thing that can change is me. I can get better, develop more understanding and attain strategies to operate more smoothly through adversity.
The issue is not solving all the problems in my life. (Though I am a problem solver by nature) The issue is to learn from the lessons and grow into a person who transcends my challenges, embracing the flow of yin and yang – understanding that some basic lessons are taught over again in varying degrees. I suppose this is what it means in understanding that life is not about the destinations but the journey. If I journey well, I will reach certain destinations. But like one of those video games the levels just keep coming and with the new levels come new degrees of difficulties. The further I go, the more “points” I can gain as my skill level increases. I become qualified for more challenges, but the game will never end.
In terms of dealing with the woman who complains or doesn’t seem to ever understand me, Deida says it best:
The feminine always seems chaotic and complicated from the perspective of the masculine. The next time you notice yourself trying to fix your woman so that she will no longer __________ (fill in the blank), relax and give her love by touching her and telling her that you love her when she is this way. (whatever you filled in the blank with) Embrace her or wrestle with her, or scream and yell for the heck of it, but make no effort to bring an end to that which pisses you off. Practice love instead of trying to bring an end to the quality that bothers you. You can’t escape the tussle with the feminine. Learn to find the humor in the unending emotional drama the feminine seems to enjoy so much. The love that you magnify may realign her behavior, but your effort to fix her and your frustration never will.
Can the church say Amen?
By the way, I decided to roll with this topic every weekday till it’s done. If I decide to write about something else as well – I will. But for me this is what is hot. So I will ride it out.
Tomorrow, “Live With An Open Heart, Even If It Hurts.”
Folks, it has finally happened. I read a lot of books. Some of them are very good. Practically, I used to buy them all and then I got hip to this little known gem called the library where I can read them for free. J Some books aren’t available at the library. However, some that are are so good that even after I’ve read them, I still had to purchase it to preserve my own copy. The book I am about to introduce is such a book. As a matter of fact, this book (though I have not completed it yet) is so significant that I plan to always have it close to my person to remind me of its many principles. Some of them I have read repeatedly and yet it seems as if I get something fresh each time.
MEMO TO MEN: If you are 100% the total man not lacking in any areas of understanding, disregard the rest of this post. Otherwise if you are like me working towards attaining total manhood get this book in your hands.
The book is called, “The Way of the Superior Man,” A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire. Written by, David Deida, it has spoken more to my core than any piece of literature I have come across. It speaks towards my life and purpose as it relates to a level of manhood I truly desire for myself. I have already recommended it to a good friend, and will give it out as gifts to other men. I cannot say I subscribe to every single principle in the book, (Everything will not apply to everyone.) I see the totality of the work as significant and vital to being the man I would admire and respect the most. It’s so challenging that some of it I just laughed at knowing it was right but that I was far from it. This work is a life changer. Once read all the rules change. I am hooked.
I am not sure how often I will do this- perhaps once a week I will share a challenge in the book and when applicable relate an example to my own life. If you are a man or a woman, feel free to comment on some of these principles. Tell us if you agree or not. When it speaks of things related to the interactions of women and men, a woman’s point of view is definitely welcome. More and more I am finding that women are hard to understand. Sometimes it seems impossible. But indeed it’s very possible to learn to manage a level of resonating and acceptance based on her gifts and ways of thinking. My whole educational process on the matter is being totally revamped. And I can see where I have been banging my head to no end.
Let’s start to review some principles tomorrow. After that I will decide how often and what days we can discuss the principles. In the meantime, as I said earlier I suggest picking up a copy whether through the library or your local bookstore. I warn you though – be ready to re-think some things. And regardless of how much you buy into personally, the wisdom in this book will not allow you to remain the same. Here’s to growth!
I remember being in a Christian men’s meeting – and we were discussing God’s ways and what we know to be His will. The leader spoke of how some things are just givens that we can know for sure when it comes to what He wants from us. Like for instance we know God’s will is not for us to kill anyone. I having the inquisitive mind that I have – being the antagonist for deeper through - I posed a question as to how are we to really know that to be His will in every situation. I mean after all we know that one of the Ten Commandments talk about not killing or murdering anyone – and yet according to scripture many times God endorsed and even ordered the killings of tens of thousands – many including women, children and animals. As a matter of fact, King Saul was demoted from his throne in lieu of David because he did not kill everything he was supposed to – and yet David was NOT demoted after he took Uriah’s wife and had the man intentionally killed as a way to cover up her pregnancy. This is not to say that David didn’t suffer - as he lost the son who was conceived. But then he had another one named Solomon – who built the temple that David was not allowed to build because of the blood on his hands.
Notice that Solomon had several hundred wives and concubines – God never said a word to him about it. Instead he warned him against marrying women who had other gods not associated with the God David taught him about. In this case the issue in the scripture is not the amount of wives or concubines – it was their religious preference that God called into question. Many men had multiple wives and according to the scriptures God found these things perfectly acceptable. When I posed this question about how we now tout God’s will about marriage being one man and one woman – how God ordered hits against the enemies of Israel including children – the answer I was given was that, “That was the old testament.” I asked for an explanation seeing that the bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever – the moral dilemma even for the old testament seems antithetical to anything we know of today. If David were King of Israel today and the news of he and Bathsheba hit CNN – any preacher, priest or rabbi would be hard pressed to accept his moral failings, or invite him to speak as God’s representative. As a matter of fact they would seek to have him ousted – and yet not only did God keep him on the throne, there is a scripture that says David was a man after God’s own heart. We Christians love David because he was quick to repent and he gives us hope within our own moral downfalls – and yet the same Christians wanted to stone Bill Clinton and toss his behind clean out of the White House for the same thing – minus the pregnancy and murder.
Speaking of David – the bible says that he and Saul’s son Jonathan shared a love that was deeper than that of a love between a man and a woman. What is that about? Did David have a little sugar in his tank too? Did he and Jonathan practice a little bow and arrow in the wilderness while getting to know one another? Who knows? I certainly don’t… and the truth is nobody does. Republicans love Abraham Lincoln and say that they are “The Party of Lincoln.” And yet a simple study will find that Lincoln slept with a man nightly. This is not a commentary regarding an opinion of homosexuality – these are just questions I asked in a bible study class. I didn’t profess to have the answers – and I didn’t suspect any of the committed Christian men in the meeting could produce them either. But what was most sad, is that they were so closed minded and fearful of their theology being shot to hell in a hand basket – they would not even discuss the issues. I felt to grapple with these matters would create stimulating discussion and debate – which stimulate the mind to learn and get a bit closer to what the truth may be in these matters – regardless of whether we actually got the answers as gospel.
So where does that lead us? As much as I search for the highest form of truth – I understand and acknowledge as the scripture says – I know in part – I understand in part. What I know about my Creator is in part. I have lived 41 1/2 years - I can’t make one tree – one bird etc. I can’t explain the universe or how the human body and spirit live together. The world functioned before I showed up and I suspect it will go on without me. And even what I feel I know now is subject to modification.
Even if we were to get the whole truth from our Creator who formed the entire universe – who is to say we could comprehend or understand it? Puuuulease! There is not that much intellect in the world – for intellect is limited and some things are caught and not taught. AND we are created beings – we have creative ability but to brag that we are carriers of the complete and divine understanding on par with an everlasting spiritual greatness we have come to understand as God is tremendously short-sighted, arrogant and plain stupid at best.
That’s my take – what’s yours?
Growing up in the Christian faith community “confession” was a prevalent teaching among the congregations I associated with. The faith movement was based highly on words – ala God created the Heavens and Earth with words… Jesus is called The Living Word – There are scriptures that say life and death are in the power of the tongue – and that those of the faith should call things that be not as though they were and so forth. Today many Christians are very careful about what they say. They do not want to claim negativity. I recall seeing people appear to have a cold, and as he/she coughs and sneeze say in the next breath – “I’m not going to claim sickness. I am perfectly fine.”
I can understand the thinking – I do believe the mind is one of the most powerful forces in the universe and the words we say on an ongoing basis make a difference in our state of being. However, sometimes I think we take it too far. In other words there is a difference between faith and denial. One does not have to deny facts to in order to seek out and confess a higher truth. For there is a difference in facts and truth. I would define it this way. Dictionary.com says of a fact in short;
Fact – Knowledge or information based on real occurrences
But truth is as I define it for the purposes of this post…
Truth – the highest form of reality – an ultimate universal treaty
Truth would not deny a fact but would supersede it. So for a person was sick or depressed and yet understand that their ultimate state should not be sickness or depression – it would not be best to deny what is evident. But yet what is evident is not necessarily the last word. Facts are outside manifestations, but truth is ultimate destination. So one could admit to the fact that he/she is afflicted with sickness, and yet not deny the ultimate purpose and destination of wellness. Facts are temporary and yet if to US those facts become truth – then they become one in the same.
Ultimately people live by and make decisions based on the truth as they know it – not the facts. For example, I recall driving my car and running out of gas with money in my pocket before. Well I knew by intellect or ‘fact’ that the car could indeed run out of gas – and yet the ‘truth’ is I didn’t really believe it or else I would have stopped and added gas to the car before it happened. As the hand slipped to the left of the ‘E’ I thought I had more and more time. Well once that happened to me once – it has never happened again. The potential for walking because a reality to me – especially cause it was like 15 degrees below zero that night.
Simple as it may seem we all live by the truth that we know in our hearts – not the facts that we learn. Or else we all by way of knowledge would live and do everything we know to do. We wouldn’t abuse our bodies with alcohol and drugs. We wouldn’t eat the wrong things if we really “knew” that those things were killing us. Obviously knowledge is not what we lack. Our personal realization of “truth” is what guides us in the long run.
I submit that our task is to recognize and acknowledge the obvious. We have needs, we are faulty, we have potential to be great and regardless there will be the best and worst of times. At the same time we should strive to learn that which is true – that which surpasses facts for it is by those principles that we are led most.
Part 2 Next…. “Absolute Truth” – fact or fiction
1. As a nation we are still far away from having an honest discussion regarding race.
2. As parents, we are stewards of our children, not owners.
3. I love my momma!
4. Knowledge is power, but love is the most powerful force in the universe.
5. God is sovereign – not dogmatic.
6. Senator Barack Obama got pissed and threw Rev. Jeremiah Wright under the bus!
7. Children are our most precious resource.
8. Truth is ever-unfolding, and we can only know and understand in part.
9. There is nothing like the love between a man and a woman.
10. Americans by in large are gullible, simple-minded, and easily seduced and deceived.