Sunday, January 23, 2005
similarities of being angry and being broken hearted
I intended to find a Jungian interpretation on this, but
here is what I found instead.
text from link below:
A Piece of My Heart, and Learning
It is fundamentally impossible to know what to do if you are getting in your own way. The outward obstacles are always just what they are and one may or may not have some power to alter the relationship of outer factors to choices or choices already made and how, then, events will unfold.
But the inner factors, (what I like to call hopes and hazards,) present more challenging difficulties. They are like pieces of a puzzle. Seemingly, given the usual, normal, apparent unified feel of our own personality, the piecework of the puzzle isn't easy to discriminate. In fact, it's very hard to break ourselves down, sort, and evaluate the pieces, their nature, and their effects on us. Not only this is hard. The very approach to this kind of evaluative process may be itself piecemeal and inhibited. This approach is quite normally so.
There is our normal approach. It proceeds along the lines of our strength, but as Jung first pointed out, our strength is superior and at the same time biases us in ways which are also inferior. I certainly can speak of this from my own difficult experiences. Neither my ability to feel or think is very discriminated. I've come to deeply appreciate this problem because when I sense 'I am falling to pieces' I'm nowadays aware that my inferior thinking will tend to piece me back together and my slightly better feeling will rebel and wish for me to deal with the sense and causes of disintegration. And I've learned to take heed of my heart because it provides uncompromising signals about what the body of the challenge is.
Where this is felt, here speaking of my own experience, is in a struggle between the spirited head and the soulful heart. My head in a way represents the immature status quo and my heart represents the reality principle. My superior function is intuition and so the definition of the piecemeal aspect of my own ability to discriminate and discern is the inferiority of my own sensation. The short of it is the heartfelt imperative to: sense, to sense the facts, requirements, and many times frightening necessities of the situation. The remainder of my own typology comes into view along the lines of the less developed functions. Thus, the heartfelt imperative elaborates itself in the way it compels one to grow: sense inwardly with an appropriate judgment of the actual play of inward and outward circumstance. Thus to: mitigate the habits and blindspots of the superior faculties and invoke and blossom the strengths of the no less vital inferior faculties.
Although the heart has long been a symbol and image and metaphor of both feeling and integrity, the material conceit of our age has robbed it of the attributions and notions that describe the long-standing features that are the evidence of its being an comprehensive faculty of discernment. The heart's tenderness, experienced as an ache and upwelling of emotion is, in the material (or physiological,) sense nothing more than a blast of brain chemistry deluding one to imagine the feeling is located in the heart. After all, the heart pumps blood and isn't that vital function enough?
These physiological facts about where this function is located are not essential to the point of what is our attitude toward what the heart tells us. The facts of physiology are enough on the face of it, to face the aching upwelling seemingly in our 'pump'. Furthermore, the heart sends us its message as a matter of the fact of its being in the body. It symbolizes both the facts and truth of soul, the rich actualities of living, and living is always due to life.
The meaningfulness of what our heart feels may merely be evoked by brain chemistry but the vital faculty of our heart provides us with data nonetheless. The data point is rooted, not in chemistry, but in meaningfulness. Here is where the symbol of the heart, the upsweeping trace from apex through separation back into integrity is an elegant depiction of the faculty of the heart.
The feeling of the heart allows for one to meaningfully face the facts of separation, the pieces, and, integration, the whole of the heart. This is why the poetry of feeling speaks of both broken-heartedness and whole-heartedness, of a piece of my heart, and of the entirety of my heart. Here is recognizable the difference between giving away or giving into or offering or protecting both pieces and the whole of the heart, as well as what the experience of halfhearted effort, or disobedience to the commands of the heart, is and feels like.
These commands are often most difficult: they call us to honor our problematic dissatisfactions, to sacrifice our identifications, our habits, our beliefs, etc., and go through the unpromising liminal 'borderlands' on the other side of which is many times a hard to, or impossible to, envision outcome. The going-through may in fact be the payoff, but this heartfelt call to literally and consciously travel our travail is hugely challenging and many times is frightening.
The heart, experienced as a deep faculty of sensing, is also a receptive and expressive organ. One 'takes something to heart', or 'speaks from their heart', etc. The heart is a restorative organ too. It's symbolic shape makes this obvious. The receptive, expressive, restorative heart is naturally powerful, 'large', in its function. Yet, we know too the difference between the big-hearted and the small-hearted and everybody knows immediately or as a matter of reflection when one has acted with their big or small heart.
Metaphorically the heart relates its vital material function, pump as it does our life blood, to its soul function, pump as it does the life-facts of our separation and wholeness with respect to our receptive, expressive and restorative functioning. Note the intimate connection with soul, literally the tie-that-binds us to the facts of our living incarnation in our body, a body centered and vitalized by the material function of the heart. When the heart physically stops one is no longer alive. And, when the heart's soul function is weak or disabled a different kind of vitality is weakened or deadened.
The heart is reflective. It sees who we are, where we are, and what is. This seems paradoxical. It isn't. Just as blood flows in and out of the heart, the heart's knowing flows outward to be sensed and our living flows inward to be sensed by the heart. Again, this dual and sublime faculty is aptly symbolized by the flow of the image, rejoining itself in the inward converse apex. The heart receives and expresses. Albeit sublime, the heart is completely practical for it reflects the facts and may often do so unsparingly.
The symbol of the heart is a deep image. To the western imagination it is essential, and is the western equivalent of the oriental yin and yang. The heart expresses the symmetry of the spirit and soul flowing from source through separation back to unity. Conjoined by the process of making whole again, the heart symbolizes inward and outward marriage. This process is alchemical; not surprisingly the language of alchemy speaks in the language of the blood and heart.
Separated from the functioning of the heart, one is not truly themselves. This is most familiar to many in the circumstance of being separated from love, the lover, the beloved. The broken heart feels alone, lonely, aloneness. It's ache is raw and often overwhelming. The heart in separation is made tender and, far from being powerful, feels vulnerable and miserable and terribly isolated.
This is not a welcome prospect when it happens. 'How can I get over this feeling?' This is a very strong and natural attitude. Misery may love company but the aching heart presents us with only the company of our self. The marriage is broken down, we are broken away from love, the course of of our being is thrown into the two tracks, one winding away from and the other winding toward what has been lost.
A suggestion has been made about this painful situation: that the heart rise above this circumstance. This is the "should of" of spirit, to go above and beyond the facts of the soulful actuality. 'I should be over this broken heart!', 'My mourning has gone on too long.', 'I cannot stand my broken heart.'. At times like this it is tempting and natural to enforce the higher mind of the spirit by force of the will. It can be done and often is done and may seem necessary to do so.
What do we do when we do this? Above all we will ourselves to turn away from the feeling. And so it is we also turn away, face the "other" way, from the receptive, expressive, restorative, reflective faculties of the heart. At this point one might state clearly this decision,"I can no longer see myself this way,". At first this is hard to do and there is a kind of estrangement but then slowly one has risen above and beyond the painful moment. Life begins anew. The heart's restorative powers are noble in this way: as much as one turns away, the heart continues to do it's job.
Of course there is another way to deal with the heart's message. It is to approach the fullness of the heart with one's own fullness. Just as the heart is noble, it is possible to approach the heart with our own magnanimity, which is to suggest that one sincerely looks into one's own heart and asks it, or, what the wish is to be. The heart calls us to honestly look inside, to contemplate and introspect upon the truth of the matter at hand.
What is often passed over is the fact of feeling, a fact which when felt with one's own receptivity, makes clear the heart's apparent smallness in times of separation is in fact a huge and great, and, yes, terrible, tenderness. It is completely natural and normal to shy away from, turn away from, the overwhelming sore, tender spot of the heart. Yet, the very overwhelming and powerful sensations are the very evidence of the natural bigness and strength of our own hearts. Yes, it is a paradox: the broken heart is for most of us unwelcome experience and yet is to-be-welcomed evidence of the largesse of our hearts.
The union of mindfulness and heartfulness is not easy or even obvious. But the symbol of the heart remains the symbolization of being married lovingly to loss and separation. The graceful sweep of the image of the heart depicts the way it holds one in its loving arms, and, how we can possibly also hold the beloved in our own arms. The heart provides us with the faculty of love and lovingness. At the most truly terrible times of loss and separation, it's wish is to complete the cycle of embrace and to restore one to wholeness.
The symbol of the heart makes secret the symbol of wholeness, the circle. Look at the symbol and transform it into a circle, or, better, transform a circle into the shape of a heart and transform the shape of the heart into a circle. This is no where more obvious than in its physical function as the pump that circulates the lifeblood, the pump able to separate and cleanse and recirculate the blood in the life-giving flow of blood from bottom to top, all the way through our body, day in and day out, from close to conception to moments after death.
Our own openness to the opened heart is the key. The restorative power of the heart is a matter of allowing its receptive, expressive, reflective functions to fully function. In a way it knows us better than we know ourselves. As receptive organ it receives and embraces who we really are. As expressive organ it circulates the real energies-in-motion. As mirror, it reflects our reality back to us. It's messages of feeling state in unequivocal terms: this is the real fact of the matter. So, to look into our own hearts is to see clearly the situation. Finally, as restorative organ, it brings the separate into it's healing and transformative pumphouse, seat of our soul, and cleanses and purifies and recirculates and reinvigorates our vitality.
The heart's embrace is fundamental. In the various modes of contemplation and meditation, though the mind itself might ultimately obtain quietude, the heart continues its rhythmic song, and its life-embracing function. Nor can you by will alone stop your own heart.
The heart is essentially practical in that it makes to us, and for us to recognize, simple necessary wishes. Recognized as such, it is also the organ to which our own wishes may be addressed. It asks us to embrace its wishes just as it embraces our own wishes. However, whereas our own wishes may be impractical, the heart's wishes are principled by reality and are completely practical. This practicality may be obscured by our own attachments. The heart's wishes are practical but such wishes can seem impractical and very very challenging. The import of what our hearts wish for us is this: to go all the way through a thing. This can mean all the way through a cycle or all the way through the refusal of a cycle.
The heart symbolizes wholeness. More deeply it symbolizes the sometimes formidable reality of going through the complete cycle, step by step. It's function allows for this kind of tenacity. The heart is always there, doing its central job, functioning as the faculty of discrimination (evaluation,) and discernment (necessity). It tells us instantly, if we look into it, what is right for us and what is wrong for us.
Have you ever felt surely one way and also thought you'd be better off to feel, or, that you should feel another way? Even over small things, the heart aches should you suggest to your self it might be better to turn away or indulge in the 'should of'. This is obvious evidence of the reality principle behind the heart's sensing faculty. It is impossible to make the heart feel differently than it must feel. The heart's message is just what it is and it points in necessary direction. The heart doesn't make mistakes although it is common to call other sensings the work of the heart, and just as common to ignore what the heart states or wishes.
The heart embraces from the front. It reflects your face, your facing it, your facing up to its messages and wishes. The heart evaluates your intuition clearly and expresses your expressiveness without judgment. The heart recognizes the most simple facts about its own context. One profound fact is: in every other person the heart beats and functions. Furthermore, it directly receives the facts of all of life's ongoing creation.
Does the heart faculty constantly tug at our shirtsleeves? My experience is no, it does not. It's signal is warmth and joy and sometimes sadness. The heart is said to feel like a knot. I'd call this sensation it's pulse; like a phone it rings you up! It makes its wishes known about what really matters.
The heart makes its demand lovingly. However, there are times when its loving demand seems to us terrible, especially when its ache requires one to love the facts of reality, or a predicament, or a challenge and requires us to also love the difficult process of sacrifice, uncertainty, and rebirth.
Finally, the heart cannot go it alone. The heart requires relationship to function fully. Literally, the heart's noble embrace wishes for this: to receive the embrace of the person the heart is inside of, and as it is the home of some of a person's most profound faculties, so it is required that the person make a home for the heart. There can be no 'circle-ulation' otherwise.
The heart is itself symbolic of the heartfelt spiral of growth. It's wishes extend to deeper realms, for its function elaborates itself throughout the process of recognitions about our life, relationships, and the refined concentration of our awareness in the realm of cosmic, divine facts. So it is the heart may offer up symbols, images, metaphors, tastes, sounds to be worked with and through. Yet always the heart's pull effects integration with life, the facts as they are and must be, and, the harmonization of incarnated soul with spiritual essence.
The heart does not take heaven by storm, nor is it a one-sided mystic faculty. In fact, it may issue a mighty ache should it yearn for us to return our 'feet to our shoes', our body to the facts of the matter. The heart subjects us, with unsparing love, to the objective requirements of our life. And it opens us to the reciprocal flow of love throughout life's most challenging circumstances.
Learning. Much of my work today has to do with aiding people to discover their own purpose. I'm not surprised it has worked out this way. Almost everything I know about exploration, discovery, learning and transformation, is based in my own experience. Much of this experience has to do with figuring out how my own heart functions. I am vastly experienced at making the mistake of turning away, ignoring my heart, trying to will myself beyond its cry, attempts to get over it. My own heart all the time delivers its message: 'Do this!, 'not that! and I still at times ignore it. My own insecurities, compulsions, habits aren't quite more than a match for my heart's imperatives, but they put up a good battle. Yet, nowadays, as opposed to farawaydays, I have a -usually- instant valid recognition of my mistakes, so, I at least have learned not to let the heart-phone be off the hook.
In the exploratory learning process I have come to understand that I'm holding and aiding two primary kinds of fields. One field is the thinking field and the other is the feeling field. This said, when my work is aimed to regard the learner's sense of their own purpose, I become very tuned in to the movement from the thinking side of their consideration over (or under!) to the feeling side of their consideration.
Why? Because I'm looking to hold and support the upwelling of data from the learner's heart. In other words, underneath the data field and mapping of the thoughtful, rational data is the data field of the feelingful, rational heart. As far as purpose must go, I hope in my work to support insights which make clear what necessary purpose is proposed or right at hand.
I have asked individuals "what does your heart want?" This is usually not the way I proceed. But, if the situation suggests the heart has something to say, I may well cue the question. Other times I might more gently focus the inquiry on the heart by creating boundaries to keep the learner's attention on their own feeling, where it is, what it looks, tastes, and sounds like. And, I also will try to gently derail the habitual attempts (very familiar to me from my own experience,) to turn away, indulge in "should of feel another way," ignore or bury the feelings in stuff like rationales and abstractions and mental stories.
My approach intends to be loving. My own heart helped me to discover this: the facilitator holds the field with their own heart.