Some of us have worked through anger and shame and sexual inhibitions in the course of growing up and were surprised at what came next. We are surprised to discover that we are more afraid of joy than we are of any of the other emotions. We are afraid of having, and then not having. The joy and celebration of freedom together that emerged when we got free from most of the minds taboos was so unfamiliar it was too much to bear.
Many of us have this built in mechanism to guard against being overwhelmed by love – being unmanned, or unwomanned and undone from our identity as survivors. Here is how the mechanism works: we fall in love and feel love for another person and for a while it is just wonderful; more wonderful than we can allow ourselves to believe and experience.
So our minds, whose duty and purpose is to make sure we are not overwhelmed by any experience, save us from that experience of love by associating the current experience of love with earlier records of having lost this same kind of love. We close down the love with anxiety, to prevent the intensity. We experience love and immediately turn it into nostalgia for lost love because we cannot bear letting love come and go. “I have lost it before, I will lose it again, better to be safe and not risk it, I must withdraw it!” our minds say, “it was terrible, don’t do it again, don’t take the risk, destroy it before it threatens to destroy me”. Our mothers and our fathers love was conditional, it was constantly being withdrawn when conditions weren’t met, attention and love was given to siblings more than us. We lost their love and it was our fault for not being good enough, for being second best. We didn’t stay in control. We must never risk losing control to loving again.
This time we will be careful – so careful that we must block the feeling of love with the memory of the loss of love. Love becomes blocked by mourned lost love and romanticised nostalgia to satisfy the mind’s need to preserve the illusion of control. It is our minds job to protect us, but it does so blindly. We think that who we are is our mind. Our parents and teachers taught us that who we are is our minds. They were dead wrong. Who we are is actually a being of love. We already knew this when we were little, but we didn’t know we knew it. In the course of growing up we got trained out of it by people who thought that developing our mind personality and identifying with that personality was of total importance, and we forgot who we were.