I have had a number of thoughts about love that I would like to share that are based on personal experience and observation, not to mention years of helping others with their relationship problems.
One thing that kept going around in my mind over the past couple of days was what Gurdjieff said about love:
"Conscious love evokes the same in response.
Emotional love evokes the opposite.
Physical love depends on type and polarity."
What, exactly, did he mean by these three statements?
When he said "physical love depends on type and polarity" he was probably talking about the type of individuals involved and whether or not there was a good "match" between the individuals' in terms of their type (man 1, 2, 3) and their traits (polarity) etc. In short, he seems to be suggesting that love that begins as a physical attraction MIGHT work in some cases depending on the variables involved. That's really like saying it is a crapshoot for most people, though obviously something could be made of it if the individuals (or someone) at least were able to see their type and polarity and make a "educated choice." In other words, for it to work, it almost has to move into the realm of "conscious love."
Emotional love, as his little aphorism depicts it, seems to be describing projection... we know that one pretty well. One person gets his emotions cranking, projects onto another an image of something that this other cannot (or probably cannot) ever be, and more or less makes emotional demands that cannot be met which then deteriorates into resentment and finally disunion or even hate. This can also describe “love” with a psychopath. The psychopath induces the emotions, generates the projection process, and bingo!
We've certainly had enough examples of that sort of thing to look at (not to mention, many of us experiencing it; it might be the most common type of relation that passes for "love.")
But what about conscious love that evokes the same in response? What exactly is this?
Well, I've been thinking a lot about it over the past few years, thinking about my own experiences, including my relationship with Ark, things the Cs have said, and here is what occurs to me to say:
When two individuals encounter one another there can be reactions from any one or combination, or all three, of the above "centers" - intellectual/consciousnes, emotional, moving/sex center/physical body.
If the first reaction is physical, the sex center energy can make the emotional center begin to move and this emotional and/or sex/moving cener energy can then be usurped by the intellect and the individual begins to dream and to manufacture reasons why what the body/sex center wants is good and "real love" or whatever.
As we know, this is a path full of traps and tricks and can lead to disaster. Yet it is the usual way in the world and the source of incredible misery and suffering. Most of us come from families where this was the mode of interaction between our parents, the reasons they got married. I don't think I need to give all the examples of how this works. We can see that this can create the "emotional love projection" and so on.
That's not to say that once in a while a relationship that starts this way can't work out. But if it does, it is a function of other centers taking over at the appropriate moment and the likelihood of that happening is pretty remote.
Of course, the chances of such an attraction working are greatly increased if the individuals encounter one another in particular situations. For example, if you go to a bar, you generally go to "meet people" and the people who go to bars to meet people are generally interested mainly in meeting them for sexual reasons, not intellectual or spiritual reasons (though they may lie to themselves about their reasons to make it “okay”.) The same can be true for about any venue: if you go to a chess club to meet people (rather than to play chess), you may meet a different kind of person, but you will still be going there for reasons other than chess and if you meet someone who is there to meet people too, then both of you have met for reasons other than chess and probably are lying to the self. If, on the other hand, you are going to play chess and others are going to play chess, and you meet someone and form a relationship based on your mutual interest in chess which then blossoms, there is more hope for such a relationship. That is, you are not being driven by the moving/sex center and/or emotional center which is hungry, to go to the chess club to "meet someone", even if this is veiled in excuses to the self that you are going because you like chess.
What I mean to say is if you go somewhere for a pure and true interest and you HAPPEN to meet someone else in that venue who is also there for similar honest reasons, that is, they have not come there for the express (even if hidden) purpose of "meeting someone", then at least you have the possibility of having something in common.
Hope that's clear.
Two people meet in a particular environment where they have arrived NOT for the purpose of "finding someone," but because they are there for deeper reasons. Already the odds are in their favor a LITTLE bit.
Now, suppose that in this encounter, rather quickly, the moving/sex center feels a physical attraction and kicks the emotional center and the sex and emotional energy suffuses the intellect. Well, that can really complicate things as we have observed, but still, there is a chance that once this sort of energy has burned off that there is something fundamental there to work with in terms of real love. It can take time and it can involve suffering – even a LOT of suffering - but there is that one factor that the two individuals at least encountered one another in a particular context that did NOT include being driven by the moving/sex center.
Of course, it is possible for the moving/sex center to drive a person to do certain things because that energy is being consumed by other centers. If a person joins a chess club because their sex center energy makes them fanatical about chess, a sort of chess revolutionary, then there can be problems. If a person joins a church because their sex center energy is driving them to religious fanaticism, same thing... Gurdjieff talks about this as "the abuse of sex." That really amounts to lying to the self about why you do things.
But anyway, getting back to our theoretical situations: two people meet in a particular context that gives some positive environmental factors to their meeting even if they have some problems with emotional center management. All kinds of pain and lessons can ensue from this even if there is good reason to think that the two individuals are good or right for each other! After all, they met NOT because they were out there "hunting for sex" or hunting to feed their false personality - but because they had a sincere interest in the context which brought them together.
It is also possible that two such people can do irreparable damage to each other even if they are right for each other (indicated by the context in which they met) because the sex center and emotional center energy starts flooding their systems and causing them to lie to each other and to themselves, or at least, to not be completely sincere and externally considerate of one another.
So, how to proceed?
Remember this from Gurdjieff:
"The chief means of happiness in this life is the ability to consider externally always, internally never."
And, generally, when one is considering relationships between people who are wounded, where the centers are not balanced, this is a very difficult objective to attain.
The Knightly ideal seems to be a good model: There are dragons imprisoning the princess in the tower and the knight must slay them, but he needs SOME help from the Princess who must give him certain information to help him. Then, once he has freed her from the tower, she must help him rest and recover or even heal wounds received in the battle with HER dragon.
That's the metaphor for dealing with emotional programs and discombobulated (that's a technical term) relationships of centers.
What does it mean in practical terms?
Well, it will be different for different relationships because of the individual differences in nature and polarities and so on. Here's where Gurdjieff's remark about physical love also comes into play.
In general, we have observed that MOST of the time, the man plays the knightly role (we are talking about people working on themselves, not people “out there” who have no knowledge of The Work) but it does happen that this can shift back and forth depending on the issue at hand. SOMEtimes, the woman can be the symbolic knight and slay a dragon plaguing the man - but that is not very common. Usually, the dynamic follows the metaphor pretty closely.
How does this "dragon slaying" play out in practical terms?
It involves knowledge and elimination of barriers to intimacy. After all, the knight and the princess in the tower actually represent the two soul essences that wish to unite and become one.
Because of our life experiences, our dragons are programs (buffers in Gudjieffspeak) that form in our natures - our false personality, so to say - as a means of dealing with what amounts to crazy-making environments usually created by parents who married for the wrong reasons and live out their lives in dysfunctional situations that turn them into narcissists and vampires in respect of each other, their children, everyone they know to one degree or another.
When, as children, our expectations or trust has been repeatedly damaged in small and not so small ways, we become tense and suspicious and defensive. When we are tense and suspicious and defensive, we stop communicating openly. Our communication becomes "formulaic" - what we believe we can safely say without getting hurt - and narrow, what we think the other person wants to hear. This is a major dragon that must be slain.
Because if there is no true and honest, essence to essence communication, there is NO intimacy.
The most important thing about a relationship is that the two people share CLEAR and HONEST information about each other. And this means not just what the false personality judges to be clear and honest according to the emotional energy that can start running the show, but objectively clear and honest.
If information is shared that is cloudy or mystifying or confusing, intimacy is not possible.
Our wounded emotions will tend to make us hear and see only what we want to see and hear. We cherry pick info from our environment as "evidence" of what we want to be true. And very often, what we want to be true is that we want to replicate the environment in which we grew up where we were trying so desperately to get real love and attention. We want to replicate this old and dysfunctional environment because we want to "fix it." This is generally a function of the physical attraction which seeks to replicate that old dynamic ...
When, in a relationship, a person is blocked by either their own programs, (buffers) or by the behavior of the other person (their programs/buffers), from giving clear information and having that information received and understood, it feels like an invasion of our sanity. That is "crazy-making." It can be as crazy-making as not getting clear information from the other person. And it is particularly bad when it concerns our emotions.
The fear of communicating directly and the fear of receiving direct and honest communication is equally bad... and can destroy a relationship even between two people who are "right" for each other.
The fear of saying what we feel can result in us shutting down our feelings altogether!!! We begin to censor not only externally, but internally. We get caught in a trap of denying to others AND TO OURSELVES, what we really feel.
We all have the right to our feelings. But, as children, the actions begin that shut those feelings down, stunt them, freeze them at an infantile state of development. When our parents try to impose THEIR views on us, to convince us that we do not feel the way we do, that we must feel the way THEY do, we also become angry. And the feeling of anger, not being acceptable, is also suppressed. We may get angry at our parent and they then switch into "victim" or "martyr" mode, and we feel guilty for our feelings of aggression, so we sacrifice our feelings for peace and goodwill.
All of these programs are dragons that must be slain so that the knight and princess can come together.
Good mental health and good physical health requires that we perceive the realities of our lives as clearly and accurately as possible.
A good relationship requires that we can share these perceptions honestly and openly and even find resonance in our partner.
When the other person constantly forces us (by subtle or not-so-subtle means) to constantly deny or suppress reality as we perceive it because THEY have some kind of program running, when we must deny what we see, hear and feel for the sake of "peace and goodwill," life and the relationship is deteriorating and out of control.
In the mind of the individual who is thinking with emotional energy or sexual/moving center energy, the person who is running false personality programs and so on, there is the conviction that what they are doing is being "right" and "good" and "doing their duty as they perceive it" and so on. But essentially, they are only trying to cope with their own lack of inner control (unable to resist the negative introject that runs their life also known as programs/buffers) by trying to control another.
Recognizing these dynamics is "seeing the dragon."
Okay, I'm not going to talk about this so much in terms of pathology in this post because that is not what we are dealing with right here. We are talking about people who at least "see the dragon" and know that they must deal with it.
So, we come back to honest communication, external considering ever and internal considering never.
Isn't that something of a contradiction?
Not really. If BOTH partners are equally sincere in their efforts to see that the dragons are slain, the external considering of one will act FOR the other. It will become a sort of objective internal considering. Get that? It's subtle and tricky, but important.
Okay, so the two people are embarked on engaging intellectually to really get to know one another. If they can go a certain distance and realize that they really want to become more intellectually intimate, this is what leads to emotional engagement and the desire and ability to help one another slay dragons, etc.
So, the minds join (and this may be a function of the context of meeting assuming that both are equally sincere in their reason for being present in the context) and THEN the emotions begin to engage... and here is where the battles with dragons are fought.
The energy goes from the head to the heart, so to say.
It is after the period of engagement with the dragons and bringing the emotional natures together that one can then consider it appropriate to "commit/marry".
Keep in mind that sex is a bonding experience on many levels. It is not always true, but MOST often, problems arise because the proper order is not followed. If sex comes first, you end up bonding in a way that is not healthy. Or you bond with someone that you ought not to bond with, only you don't figure this out for a long time - when the "glue" of the bond wears off by the agitation of the unbonded (and unbondable) emotional and intellectual centers. I’ll have more to say about this in relation to psychopathy in another post.
So, to recap: one soul meets another, the two souls make themselves known to one another via true communication and this creates a REAL emotional bond, and from there, the energy spreads and the body can be properly set on fire for the fusion of true love where the two people grow together day by day until they are no longer two, but one.
Becoming one is not just self-integration... it can be the union of souls where the communication is the means of the completion - communication on ALL levels: intellectual, emotional, physical which then leads to the birth of the spiritual One.
As the Cs described it: "I am become One, Creator of Worlds."