Way back in the beginning, about eight weeks ago actually, I posted a bit on the conspiracy of love and started wondering about what it would mean to breathe together with love. This got me wondering about love in general--and our experience of it within colonial culture in particular.
I have only made a start and have only more questions (a good thing). What has been more colonized than our human hearts? What would be the condition of an uncolonized heart--a free and open heart? What would be the nature and quality of our relationships? What would our family structures and social structures evolve to?
My friend K. Louise Vincent has spent many years working on the concepts and practices of disarmament. How we begin to see the defendness of our hearts and learn to disarm into vulnerability. We talked about how this concept is evolving for her into one of undressing. As I understand it, the now undefended heart begins to have the capacity to release the coverings, to strip away the layers between self, world and other.
This reminded me of the work I did in University on the Descent of Inanna. A sacred story from the ancient near east, where the goddess Inanna descends to the underworld and at each gate or challenge must leave something behind. Eventually she leaves even her skin behind and passes through as pure spirit. She is recalled to Heaven by the efforts of a beloved friend.
The idea of the beloved friend had me turning to Rumi. Rumi had a series of beloved friends, beginning with Shams of Tabriz, who inspired his spiritual quest and work. To quote Coleman Barks in his translation, "Their friendship is one of the mysteries. They spent months together without any human needs, transported to a region of pure conversation." It seems as if the role of the beloved friend is at least twofold--to challenge us and prompt us to dive deep into our relationship with Spirit and to call us home to our true natures when we have journeyed far out into the darkness.
Adding to this is the work of Angeles Arrien--particularly the Four-Chambered Heart (see her Four-Fold Way, pg 50). We examine the heart to see where it is full-hearted or half-hearted, where we are open-hearted or close-hearted, where we are clear-hearted or doubting-hearted, and where we are strong-hearted or weak-hearted. The mature person is seen as one whose heart is full, open, clear and strong.
In conversation with my friend, Chris Corrigan, he shared that the nature of colonization is closing. So, if colonization acts to close our hearts, we cannot be fully mature beings until we heal from the viral effects of colonization. If my thinking is correct, most of our culturally sanctioned love-relationships are stunted and constrained to remain in a state of juvenility until we deal directly with the legacy of colonization at the heart level.
Adding to the complexity--in Joanna Macy's recent memoir, Widening Circles, she details her marriage as well as several love-relationships with others. Joanna Macy is someone who I respect immensely and whose work has been influential for me. So I am left with good deep questions when I read that one of these loves is a monk and that she chooses to respect his vows of celibacy. I am left wondering...what is the difference between his vows and hers? Or rather what is the mattering difference? I find this question compelling and I think there is an informative depth here. Don't know where it will lead...it's just interesting...
I have read some interesting recent creative work by Dave Pollard (advisory: some sexual content) that is beginning to push the boundaries in interesting ways and is at least fresh.
And bell hooks work has been recommended and is going on the list.
And if you've got this far you deserve a treat...so here's some silliness:
For those of you who have ever survived a renovation, or who are in the midst of one, you have to check out this blog...
And for those of you who love Led Zeppelin, kitties, and Vikings...you know who you are...check out this bit of nuttiness...