Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, April 6, 2012

BREAKING OPEN/BREAKING APART


CONFRONTING BROKENESS WHEN IT STILL REMAINS HIDDEN TO THE VESSEL

 byMusicgurl1388




I HAD THE DIFFICULT TASK THIS WEEK OF 

CONFRONTING SOMEONE CLOSE TO ME ABOUT THEIR 

TOXIC BEHAVIOR. 


IT WAS NOT AN ACT OF POWER ON 

MY PART. IT WAS AN ACT OF FINALLY DOING WHAT 

WAS RIGHT, EVEN WHEN I KNEW IT WOULD CREATE 

CONFLICT, PAIN AND CONFUSION AND EVEN CHAOS IN 

THIS PERSON’S LIFE. 


SOMETIMES BEFORE WE CAN 

SEE WHAT NEEDS REPAIRING, WE NEED TO BE BROKEN 

OPEN, SO WE CAN SEE ALL THE PARTS IN A DIFFERENT WAY.
PARKER PALMER TALKS ABOUT BEING BROKEN OPEN VERSUS BREAKING APART.
“I argue there are two ways for the heart to break: APART into many shards like a fragment grenade, or OPEN into a greater capacity so we can hold life’s inevitable tensions creatively, not destructively.”
Parker Palmer
FOR ME, I WONDER IF WE CAN CHOOSE WHETHER THE HEART IS BROKEN APART OR BROKEN OPEN.


MAYBE THAT DEPENDS ON WHETHER WE REACT TO THE EXPERIENCE OR WHETHER WE RESPOND.
THE PROBLEM IN THIS CASE IS THAT I DON’T KNOW IF 
THIS PERSON WILL TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK 
INSIDE, HOLDING TENSIONS TOGETHER, I’M AFRAID THIS 
PERSON WILL CONTINUE TO LOOK OUT AND POINT AT 
OTHERS, BLAMING THEM. 


I FEEL SURE THAT THIS 
PERSON IS METAPHORICALLY ON THEIR KNEES 
LOOKING AT ALL THE SHARDS FROM THIS 
INTERACTION, FEELING BROKEN APART, NOT BROKEN OPEN.
I CAN’T BEGIN TO TELL YOU HOW DISTURBING THIS 

WAS FOR ME. 


BUT ONE THING I HAVE NOTICED AS I 

HAVE SAT WITH MY WORDS SPOKEN TO THIS PERSON 

AND SAT WITH THAT PERSON'S WORDS SPOKEN BACK TO ME: 


FOR THE FIRST TIME THERE IS A SADDNESS, NOT JUST ANGER.
SOMETHING DIED IN THIS EXCHANGE BUT IT WAS 

SOMETHING THAT HAS NEEDED TO DIE FOR A LONG TIME. 


DEATH IS NECESSARY IF THERE IS TO BE ANY HOPE FOR RESURRECTION.


MAYBE SOME OF MY ANGER DIED. TIME WILL TELL. 

  THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TOO, 

NOT KNOWN BY ME OR THIS PERSON, I’M SURE.


I’M WRITING ALL THIS NOW, HOPING TO HAVE A BETTER 

UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT ALL THIS MEANS. 


MY WRITING CLARIFIES THINGS FOR ME AND IS ONE OF MY MOST TREASURED SPIRITUAL PRACTICES.


I SPEAK OF DEATH IN THIS INTERACTION AS A "LETTING 

GO" OF THINGS AS THEY HAVE BEEN AND NOT LETTING 

THOSE DEMONS RAISE THEIR UGLY HEADS AGAIN OR AT LEAST NAMING THEM WHEN THEY DO.


HOW THIS OTHER PERSON IS EXPERIENCING THIS 

DEATH, I DO NOT KNOW. 


MY GUESS WOULD BE AS A 

VICTIM. 


IT’S QUITE  POSSIBLE THAT THIS PERSON WILL TRULY DIE JUST THAT WAY, A VICTIM.
I CANNOT RAISE THIS PERSON UP FROM THIS DEATH. 

THIS PERSON WILL HAVE TO GO DEEP INTO 

THEMSELVES AND LOOK FOR THAT POWER WITHIN. 

THIS PERSON WILL NEED A GUIDE FOR SUCH A 

JOURNEY BUT I DON'T HOLD OUT ANY HOPE THAT THIS PERSON WILL SEEK SUCH A GUIDE.


UNTIL THE “BREAKING APART” BECOMES A “BROKEN OPEN”, IT WILL REMAIN CHAOS FOR THIS PERSON.


MY FEAR IS THIS PERSON WILL PUT ALL THESE PARTS BACK TOGETHER JUST AS THEY WERE BEFORE.

THERE IS AN OLD ETHIOPIAN PROVERB WHICH SAYS:

“HE WHO CONCEALS HIS DISEASE WILL NEVER HEAL.”

THIS IS MY FEAR FOR THIS PERSON.



AM I INNOCENT IN ALL THIS?
NO!

I HAVE SPENT MANY YEARS JUST BEING PASSIVE 
AGGRESSIVE INSTEAD OF JUST STRAIGHT FORWARD AND HONEST. 


THAT HAS CREATED A LOT OF UNECESSARY PAIN FOR BOTH OF US.

I AM JUST GLAD I FINALLY DECIDED TO STOP!

WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE?

I JUST SIT WITH WHAT IS.

I CONINTUE TO REFLECT,
WAITING (HOPING) FOR SOMETHING NEW TO BE BORN.

BUT MY GUESS IS THAT THIS WILL BE A LONG LABOR.


I have asked this question before - 
What does this have to do with practice?
Everything, of course!


Bows To Another Teacher
Alan

1 comment:

Mystic Meandering said...

Alan, My heart goes out to you, and I appreciate this post so much, because I find myself in a similar situation with a "toxic" person. It's really a tough one - confronting, not confronting, and what the fall out will be - broken hearts or open hearts, as you point out. In my case confronting the situation will mean putting another at risk, creating a crisis situation. Believe me I would love to confront - to get her to see what she is doing... But like you said, I too doubt that she has the reflective ability to look within.

It's amazing how the "victim mentality" holds so much false power that they try to wield over others,managing to keep everyone walking on egg shells, afraid of their false power - afraid to confront them.

And how hard it is sometimes to see through the "prickly personality" and the pathology to the pain in their hearts; to understand that their false power comes from a place of fear and wanting desperately to be loved - no matter how much they push away - hidden behind a mask of anger and even hatred.

So for now I practice equanimity, trying to meet her where she is, waiting for the "right" opportunity, although I'm not sure that will come. She's pretty ensconced in her pathology. AT some point though I will need to stand in the Truth, like you. You are brave to do so. It's not easy...

I know this was a long comment, but it seemed important. Use your own discretion in posting it or not.

Heart Bows to you...
Christine