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Showing posts from October, 2009
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“Desire is man’s very essence”
Benedictus de Spinoza (Ethics III, proposition 95)
Contemporary neuroscientific findings confirm both that we are hard-wired like other animals to attach to and care for other members of our species, and that the foundation of human empathy resides in early attachment relationships. Simply put, a child who is held and loved by a mother whose heart connects to his will grow a heart able to connect with others’. He will have also developed, within his brain, the capacity to know another as a real and vital complement to himself. His emotions will reflect this inner wealth and he will seek the world as a place to be nurtured and a place to nurture others.

These findings echo what Spinoza observed three hundred and fifty years ago in his famous Ethics: human beings are naturally inclined toward society and to becoming virtuous citizens[i].

It is not against self-interest, but through our very desire for attachment to others, that we cultivate the emotions that …
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As awake compassion, you experience no separation. You know that the apparent division of experience between "I" and "the world" is a misperception and that even the subtlest sense of superiority is a further delusion.
Ken McLeod

Compassion arises in a context of non-attachment, when we have no expectations of reciprocity and it is not about me. As a therapist, as a mother, or even with a total stranger on the street, it is relatively easy to be compassionate in this way. I have all the power, and nothing is at stake for me personally[1].

But when I am in a friendship or love relationship, there is a me and there is a you. Necessarily, there is duality, because we are rooted in a personal connection. Naturally, these relationships activate attachment needs and all the other stuff that goes along with wanting to transcend separation in an embodied way. This is not to say that each person cannot be compassionately awake to the other; separation need not imply falling as…
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What is it to fall in love?A delusion of attachment?The ego grasping like a babe from the womb, reaching out anxiously primed by the presence of the other beyond knowing, activating the life-sustaining startle and arch of human biology.The Moro reflex and will to live.A spiritual connection?The stirring of the immortal soul implanted in the body’s fertile ground that, upon finding the sun and rain in the face of another, dares to live as a tender shoot in the empirical world.Self-transcendence?The grace of compassion, the heart of hearts abiding in every man standing at the threshold of emptiness, our sacred inheritance when the space between subject and object collapses into nothing.And what then, of love?The reflex calls for maternal care.The connection dissolves into knowing.The transcendence cannot sustain itself and loses itself to find itself again and again, as simply nothing.
Qu’est-ce que tomber amoureux?
Un délire d’attachement? L’ego comme un nouveau-né sorti du ventre de sa …