Thursday, January 31, 2013

Learning to love. Innocence

L´earning to  Love

Gloria Ornelas Hall

Lesson 31: Innocence

 The other day I heard a wonderful TED exposé by Mitch Resnick, where he proposes we teach children about coding.
Aside from the ingenious proposal, proved successful by his interactive web page, I was impressed by his innocence. It is not every day you see someone brilliant, highly recognized for his expertise, talk about his mother, with such love. He used her as an example of someone unaccustomed to computer technology, who found his method of learning coding, simple. But the innocence with which he opened up and shared his emotions was deeply moving. Again he manifested innocent spontaneity when he referred to a young student thanking him, for teaching him how to add variables to an improvised, interactive game he was making. How many of us value such simple gestures. That is what true teachers are made of.

I have been in education for over 30 years and I had never thought about the importance of innocence in a teacher. We become savvy and stuck-up, critical of our peers and their difficulties. We certainly need innocence as teachers to establish empathy and recognize students’ hardships in learning. But we also need innocence as lovers.
Innocence allows us to be spontaneous; to share our fears and insecurities; to ask for help. It takes innocence to be in touch with awe, enthusiasm and humor. As its etymology implies, ‘innocence’  (from lat. Absence of- Gnoscere- to know), requires setting aside assumptions, opinions, preconceptions and previous knowledge. We have to empty our arsenal of self-righteousness and obsequious attention to error, in order to open up to learning, wonder and amazement. That is the emptiness we need, to fully perceive our loved one  as he grows and changes, every day and still, be filled with renewed wonder and amazement.
Innocence requires trust, letting go, losing control and responding instinctively. Only with this innocent attitude can we admit we need someone; can we share our vulnerability; can we admit we are wrong and ask for forgiveness, in a relationship.
I thank Mitch for sharing his love for his mother openly, innocently. It speaks for his soul, and his authentic desire to reach out to others. Such daring is often met with ridicule and dismissal, when, in fact it is proof of authenticity. It is this innocence, and not humility that makes us trustworthy, as teachers and as lovers. Spontaneous anger, laughter, awe and sharing are all signs of innocence. Creativity, growth and change come with it. Perhaps this is the key to avoid relationships from going stale and to deter  us from ageing. We need innocence to believe again, not only in students who fail; but in lovers who fail us and even to believe in ourselves, again.
 (It´s a shame I have grown callous and cynical. However, if innocence is not something one looses, perhaps I still have a chance to nurture its regeneration. I´ll have to try it, though the cost of giving up my self-righteous validity will hurt!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Learning to Love. Surrender

L´earning to  Love

Gloria Ornelas Hall


 One of my big errors in loving has been- giving in, to my lover. I surrendered completely to him, delivering my personal power, as I handed him control over me. I gave him body, heart and soul with the false notion that it was a way of proving my devotion. In so doing, I lost myself and lost him, as he lost interest in me. I was left dis-empowered with no self-esteem; just shame. Myths and fairy tales are about this type of loving that erroneously values losing oneself, to the loved one. IT IS WRONG.

I was left empty, heartless and hopeless, with an after-taste of bitterness. It took me ages to ‘re-member’ who I was….as I put my broken self together again and picked the pieces of my heart up, from abandonment.

NEVER GIVE YOUR HEART AND SOUL TO ANYONE. They are yours to be treasured and cared for. They are the inner light of d’ignity and Higher Self. To do so is degradation that belittles self and he or she, whom you entrust. No, one cannot surrender and give oneself over to someone else. We are each, responsible for ourselves. Nor can we accept that someone else deliver his/her personal responsibility and dignity over to us. We cannot carry anyone other than ourselves.

Rather, we must surrender our Ego and yield unto our Higher Selves; not as defeat or failure, nor as giving up or submitting oneself to fate. It has to be done with the parallel strength of endurance. It requires inner stamina and uprightness to yield our lower, egotistical nature to our higher understanding of Love. Our lover may not like it, since it entails doing things right. It is not about pleasing our lover or submitting to his desires, but about personal adherence to everything that is good: kindness, generosity, patience, humility, temperance. It is yielding to our inner ´god-ness’.

Everyday little things can become opportunities for this type of surrender: awareness of others and their needs; a smile; a kind word to a stranger. With our lovers, it entails being True…true to ourselves and to him; true to God-ness.

To be righteous is a personal challenge and a profound responsibility that requires developing strength, courage and fortitude.  Invariably we will find opposition from others with criticism, cynicism and doubt. If your lover is worthwhile, he will value your Higher Loving. If he is egotistical he will be among those who attack you.  Leave him and stay away from those who belittle your efforts to surrender to your Higher Self.


Learning to Love. Understanding

L´earning to  Love

Gloria Ornelas Hall


Love cannot be understood. And yet, without understanding we cannot love.

‘Under-standing’ is that sustaining premise on which we ‘stand’. We take a ‘stance’ and fix a personal position, when we have a solid baseline on which to build thought-constructs and opinions.

I have never had ‘common sense’ or ‘good judgment’ because it requires keeping in check with reality and factual data. It has to be proved. I prefer trying to 'understand', expanding beyond the logical methodology of ‘knowing’ and exploring underlying subjective associations. . Understanding is flexible and adapts to interaction with feelings and emotions, not just to rationale. Without this buffering, relationships would break, with the daily clashing of differing ego’s.

However, understanding is not enough. Just the other day I found my lover´s reactions difficult to accept. They seemed to me, inexplicable. It is not about ‘justifying’ what we cannot accept.  I tried blaming myself, blaming him, blaming circumstances and yet no explanations held together enough, to make sense of what I saw as ‘senseless’ behavior. That’s when loving kicks in.

Let go. Don’t try to understand. Just love, in one of its forms: mercy, compassion, patience.

Love sets us free from judging in a binary right/wrong way, allowing us to differ and even reject our lover in anger, without affecting the quality of our loving. Loving cannot be bound to facts. Otherwise, our judgmental tendencies would invariably find fault with our lovers.

 Loving is a flow that breezes past thoughts. Thoughts may ‘rustle’ and ‘bustle’ and heave ‘hustle’, but love cannot be caught. It is fresh and cleanses the mind from nagging thoughts that demand precision and control. Love cannot be evaluated, measured, contained or limited to explanations. It just is. Experiencing love sets us free from  understanding even ourselves, releasing us from self-importance and  exigent expectations. Understanding helps, in dealing with the day-to-day rut of conflicting differences, but in no way can it circumscribe our loving.

Love is a decision. I may not ‘agree’; I may not ‘accept’ and I can draw my own inferences to try to ‘understand’ my lover. However, when we don't understand the inexplicable intricacies and complications of destiny, we can decide to accept it. To love is to understand with this inner enlightenment of ‘d’dignity’ (from lat. Igneo- flame).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Learning to Love. Limits

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

Although love is everywhere, the experience of loving is individual. Rather like oxygen, spread throughout the atmosphere and yet contained in each cell. To individuate this experience we have to set boundaries with clear-cut limits, much as cell-membranes envelop and contain individuated life.
Differentiation makes every cell specialize in the functions of a specific tissue, such as muscle cells, bone cells, erythrocytes etc. People are also different, each able to develop specific capacities to benefit the whole of society. Membranes establish points of reference, contiguity, exchange, interaction and bonding between cells. Skin contains internal fluids and organs; it separates but also offers the possibility of contact and encounter. Limits trace boundaries in a relationship, establishing individuated rights and responsibilities.
Using the analogy of cell-membranes, to understand the interaction between lovers in a relationship, we find that membranes are not rigid, but flexible and permeable, open to receiving and excreting substances through pores. Relationships should, likewise allow interaction through flexibility and mutual acceptance. Giving and receiving is what allows life. Intolerance in a relationship makes us close all possibility of dialogue, exchange and growth.
Lovers open these boundaries to share an ethereal space of mutual loving (rather like the process of endocytosis in cells, where membranes open up to engulf external substances to internalize them). This fusion implies trust and responsibility. Once we have shared our lover’s intimacy and known his vulnerability, we are empowered with capacity to either help or destroy him. This is the risk of loving. This is the responsibility of choosing the right person we let into our heart’s hearth. Having someone break that trust and hurt us, impairs our integrity. The membrane is severed.

I´m sure everyone has suffered from heart-breaks that destroy innocence. We must, as cells that constantly repair and revitalize tissue, care and repair our hearts. Trust is built with generosity. We have to give loving, a second, third and chances ad-infinitum.  Anger is repaired with patience. We have to transform the ‘rage’ of having been hurt, into ‘cou-rage’ to uphold faith in our loved one’s dignity, especially when he forgets it.
Cells keep their shape through a cytoskeleton; bodies, their uprightness, with their bones. Souls are kept righteous through virtue. It takes kindness to ‘re-pair’.

In human tissues, a lesion takes time to heal, hardening through a process of scarring that renders it insensitive. The same thing happens in loving. We harden our hearts in distrust, becoming cynical and vengeful. We must, therefore, be selective, treasuring exclusivity. We must ‘adhere’ only to people who build us, constructively. We have to learn to say “No”, to say “stop”, to say “not now”. We have to establish clear rules of mutual  respect.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Learning to Love. Lovers

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

We have each other for love. The idea of God, without Love-made-manifest through Man, is an abstract. God man-ifests (and woman-ifests) His Love through Man (and Woman!). In loving Man, I love God (and I mean Man as Higher Self).

 A Lover is one who touches the Soul. It is not just anyone. We all live surrounded by people, oftentimes, alone. A Lover is that moment of awareness of HigherLove recognizing and embracing the Soul. Lovers are not bound by contract, social mores or conditioning. They give mutual, exclusive and inclusive Love, freely and freely (if not despairingly), receive it. This Love comes from passion. Chemistry recognizes it and empathy relates to it, most of the time, identifying with shared pain and dejection. If destiny has it, this Higher Loving will come from a husband and last throughout marriage. Out of marriage, psychologists call it ‘satellite relationships’. It is not about adultery, infidelity or treason. It is about Loving from the Soul.

Throughout the hardest moments of my life I have always had a Lover, whether a husband or not. Through it all, there was someone to love me. It is as if Lovers were the fingers of God-ness reaching out with Love, to us. It sounds ‘X-rated’ but it’s not. Lovers continuously ratify unconditional acceptance, vindicating that we are worth being loved. In my case it was as if, having challenged God´s Love through sin, I were trying Him to see if He would still forgive me, and Love invariably, reappears in my life. Not everyone needs this sort of ‘saving hand’! However, through different moments and different people, the experience of Higher Loving seems to be the same.
Yesterday, I heard a talk show where women were sharing problems with loved ones. One said she could not relate to the husbands´ infidelity, others were complaining about. Rather, she had fallen in love with one of the other Kindergarden mothers! Much to everyone´s surprise, the expert being consulted, said that although society would certainly deem it unacceptable, she should open her heart up to the experience of receiving Love; not necessarily physically, since that would be conflicting with her religious beliefs, and certainly not openly for she would destroy her marriage and lose her children.  

Such advice shook me. I am still trying to work my opinion around it. What is certain is, that the space where Lovers relate, is not external. It is a private, intimate internal experience. Lovers share the hearth of the Soul where we interact with God. Given their sacred uniqueness, Lovers should be kept private. This inner capacity to cherish Loving, secret, makes it holy, and as such, will kindle warmth in our lives forever.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Learning to Love. Eroticism

L´earning to  Love

Gloria Ornelas Hall

“Praised be the three aims of life, virtue (Dharma), prosperity (Artha), and love (Kama)”. This is the introductory invocation in the Kamasutra. It goes on saying “Love is necessary to satisfy the mind; ethics, to satisfy the conscience; and spiritual seeking for peace of soul. Without food and clothes, the body becomes thin and weak. Without eroticism, the mind become restless and unsatisfied. Without virtue (ethics), the conscience goes astray. Without spirituality, the soul is degraded.” Thus, Master Vatsyayana describes the science of moral eroticism, leading to spiritual realization and not the sating of the passions or the encouragement of pleasure seekers.
Whether love surges from an abstract ideal or from a feeling or passion, it is manifest in the body. If there is no body there is no Eros (living vital energy). As a Science, eroticism follows natural laws; as a spiritual guideline it is a path of human development where “I”, becomes “We”. It all starts with the body and its senses.
Twitter wisdom says that without loving oneself, one cannot love another. However, it’s worse.…if I don´t like my body I will reject anyone who comes close, doubting his intentions, which I defensively see as malicious. In a society where the cult for a perfect body makes people spend fortunes for the physical torture of re-designing one’s body, it is hard to accept, much more, love one´s imperfections.
My boobs are beginning to sag and I am fatter. How can I love my body that way? (Thank goodness aging comes with losing one’s sight, so that imperfections are much less visible! ) What is heightened is sensitivity. Touch, warmth, softness, all relieve the tension of resistance that melts into the acceptance of a safe embrace. In the arms of our loved one, looks become irrelevant. It is all about feeling. Fusion begins with kissing, exchanging breath and chemical receptors in the saliva that unchain the physiological reactions of desire. In the Kinsey Institute, sexual therapy requires you to hug your partner and regulate your breathing to his or her rhythm. This allows us to develop awareness with a keener focus on our loved one. Thus we open up to a shared reality, in the here and now. Mutuality becomes commonality and the skin ceases to be a barrier. Time is suspended and the “quick of my being skips a beat”.

Learning to Love. Bonding

L´earning to  Love

Gloria Ornelas Hall


Life is bound by a meshwork of relationships. Relationships between higher and lower orders of life; chain reactions; empathy; dependence and co-dependence; homeostasis; cause and effect… Bonding is about linkage between these relationships…the contract (in small print!) that binds all life unto unity.
Bonds differ. There are tight-knit tissues in the network of the Mystical Whole. There are loose ends. There are holes and gaps; ‘see-throughs’ to nothingness.

People are the cells…relationships are the articulating construct…feelings are the receptors that bind. Like in cells, there are specific ‘gages’ that ‘engage’ with specific other cells. So, feelings link us to others, either, attracting or repelling. Some, relate in tight fitting networks; others, with laxer spacing. (Tell me, who has been married several times, bound with all sorts of different contracts).
Feelings are then basic to unify me’s into us.
Unfortunately, our society disregards educating the heart to feel with constructive bonds. Rather, we are taught to respond with feelings that destroy… such as hatred, envy, meanness. So, the social tissue of life cannot expand awareness unto another level of consciousness till we learn that I am US; that I am incomplete without you; that to know you is to love me; to know me is to love you.

We have to learn to master our reactions to feelings.
Now, feelings are not emotions. Feelings are the reactive response of sentiment to what we feel on the outside.
Emotions, as their Latin etymology implies, are the motor of passion within.

The first, respond to external stimuli. The latter, respond from the soul, within.
Feelings then, are a response set off by external stimulus. They are basic for survival. They are the body´s language that responds and alerts us to external conditions. We decide how to interpret, and respond to these stimuli.
Emotions are what moves us from within. They come from passion, not from reason. They are borne of the soul, not of the mind.
Virtues are the muscles of the spirit that willfully control response. They are the response to reason.

All feelings are immature forms of love. They are determined by our perception, rather like colors through a prism. Therefore bonding with feelings, may make our links to other people, weak and unstable, though with time and consistent usage, bonds will grow stronger.
Emotions are our unconscious response to CONFLICT. They are the filters of the passion that moves us from the soul.
Will is reasoning controlled by decision-making, from the mind.
Virtue is inductive bonding of the spirit..

PD- Did you know that oxytocin, a peptide that stimulates uterine contraction, is called the ‘monogamy molecule’ because its sensitivity to ‘touch’ stimulates mating, grooming and cuddling in both sexes?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Learing to Love. Reparation

L´earning to  Love

Gloria Ornelas Hall

Lesson 24: Reparation

Man has always punished vice, crime and sin, be it as retaliation from he who was wronged, as correction from the family, as justice from the State, or as penance from the Church. However, underlying excessive punishment is always vengeance and retrieval.

With the New testament, the old Mosaic injunction “thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” was reverted with a new law, the law of forgiveness. In His sermon on the mount Christ said, “Ye shall resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also”. The new law is about loving and forgiving our enemies. Princess Mary says to Prince Andrew in War and Peace, “Forget it and forgive! We have no right to punish”.

Saint Augustine said that God rightly punished the sins he committed for “every disorder in the soul is its own punishment”. Hobbes describes it with a theory that “intemperance is naturally punished with dis-ease; injustice with the violence on enemies; cowardice with oppression”. Freud said that seeking punishment was the psyche´s way to find relief from guilt.

In an unjust society, we may have to bear the injustice of punishment for resisting the state, in refusing to obey laws that go against our conscience as did Socrates, Gandhi, Thoreau, Oscar Wilde and so many self-governing leaders.

My plight with sin, whether real, fancied, or karmic, lead me to the Monastery, a sinner in penance; to becoming a social fighter, for meritorious indulgence; to co-dependent relationships, for joint reparation. This self-assigned injunction from love, held me restrained from inner joy. Here, the underlying wrong was the pride of making my sin larger that God´s forgiveness and rejecting Love. With the recent avowal of love from my fiancé 30 years ago, I vindicated my innocence and my right to accept love and for the first time experienced inner joy. It took me almost 60 years!

Reparation (from the Latin re-parare- standing up again) is not only for the wrong-doer but for he who allowed it. It is about conscious awareness of wrong-doing and the conscious decision to re-dignify our Higher Selves. We have to repair the damage done, not to benefit others, but to get ourselves back on our feet and hold our heads up high.

When I was young one of my teachers slapped me in front of the class. Smugly, I turned the other cheek and she hit me again!!!! My classmates were shocked and called me ‘stupid’ for my reaction and for letting it go without sanction. Forty years later, out of the blue, she contacted me and after exchanging life experiences, she said she was sorry.
What other way of loving is there?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Learning to Love. Stillness

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
Without inner silence you cannot hear the rustling in the trees. To know where the winds are coming from, we must first hush inner turmoil. ‘Anguish’ (from the lat.: angst-narrow) is the distress that suffocates us when in stress. ‘Anxiety’ is inner confusion that blinds the soul. Both come from fear. Uncertainty leaves us grappling aimlessly with no leverage or control. This helplessness renders us fearfully dependent upon destiny.
All we can do is trUSt. We have each other to hold on to.
How can we deal with this tension?
Breathe in, inhale deeply and exhale slowly, releasing the tension. Be here and now. Don´t fuss about where it´s coming from or where it is going. Let it go and be still. Don´t follow thoughts that fly across your mind. Like birds passing by, be aware of them but don´t get hung up; let them go. Don´t think. Don´t feel. Just breathe; rhythmically, slowly, deeply, and be still. It is when you are ill (dis-ease) that you must be still (and take it easy).
A peaceful mirror of water comes to mind, when the dregs of confusion have settled. If ‘sticks and stones’ aimed at you, stir that peace, don´t fuss. You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. You are not what others see of you or how you are described. You are not your actions or your mistakes. Center within, and anchor deep into your Higher Self. That is when you gain consciousness of your true immanence. Everything else can wait.
It is within this stillness that we can truly listen. Music is made from such silence. Such perception allows us to know the Truth. An example comes to mind, from one of my patients who couldn´t stop hating herself for not having heeded to her son’s cry for help, before he committed suicide. We often hear what we chose to believe, minimizing dangers and blowing up self-justification. It happens in love. We see and hear what we want to believe in our lover, often overlooking alarming signs of trouble. It is often easier, requiring little effort or personal risk. If we are still, our perception is cleaner and clearer, with greater fidelity. Free from wishful thoughts and judgments; from feelings of fear or desire, we are open to receive others as they are. Loving them thusly, is accepting them unconditionally. We must first empty self from ego.
Now that I know the stillness of the heart, I can hear my heart leap and skip a beat when it falls in love. I wouldn´t miss it for anything. It is the rhythm of life.

Learning to Love. Timing

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
Eternity is unconceivable without time. Our understanding of time is linear, based on past events, through the present, on to an envisioned future. This thought process allows us to understand ‘cause and effect’, and anchor our perceived reality to factual evidence. However, the subjective experience of ‘depth, breadth and height’, which is the way love is measured according to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, is a vertical thought process.

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Time is determined by Einstein's theory of relativity, where mass and time are interconnected, affecting planets and their orbits. It is also determined by the cultural impact their measurements and equivalences have on calendars. In the Chinese lunar/sun calendar, the year 2013 is 4709, the Year of the Dragon and will end on February 9th. For the Ethiopians we are in 2005, since their calendar is made up of 13 months starting from the Annunciation of the birth of Christ, and will change on September 12th. For the Hebrews, this 5773 started on the sunset of the 16th of September 2012. In the Buddist Thai calendar we are in 2556. For the Burmese we are in 1375. For the Hindu calendar we have to add 3102 years to 2013- 5115. The Islamic year 1434 started on the 14th of November. For the Tibetans this is a feminine year related to Water and the Snake. Our Gregorian calendar, most widely used, was set by decree in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, based on vernal equinoxes which lose 11 minutes every year, restored by  leaping’ a day every 4th  year, in February. In all cases time is relative.
We each have a personal timing for development, maturation and death. Our internal clocks are not only set by diurnal or nocturnal variations but by the seasons, the lunar changes and our own internal unraveling. Take me, for example, with a fiancé I rebuffed thirty years ago, who has now re-appeared in my life. I had pending dues with destiny, then. Now, my timing is right.
Decisive events in our lives set individual parameters to measure the impact of pain and success. Fate takes no notice of time. Life would be unbearable if it were not broken down into minutes and seconds. Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) said “It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”
Loving makes time bearable and eternal. Its memory prolongs the joy of youth and the hope of innocence. It´s never too early and never too late to love.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Learning to LOve. Cherish

L´earning to  Love

Gloria Ornelas Hall

‘Cherish’ is a word introduced into the English language during the Middle Ages, from the French, meaning cheri- dear. This lovely word of ‘endearment’ evokes the sweetness of cherries, the tenderness of fondness and that romantic song the 60’s
When I sit in silence with my chest of memories evoking images that I can feel, smell and taste all over again, I have to go through them and throw away the ones that hurt, before being able to cherish them. It’s a process, similar to that of cleaning out the memory in my computer. It is as simple as ‘deleting’; much easier said than done. ‘Letting go’ to ‘forget’ requires detachment and re-engineering of the wiring in meanings.

I’ll give an example from one of my patients, a young woman repeatedly punishing herself with the painful reminder of a past abortion. She couldn’t accept it or get it out of her mind. We went over the many ways that decision had changed her life, rescuing the alter benefits she had had, such as her career and financial success. She had in fact, married a wonderful man with a son from another marriage. Trying to piece the synchronicity of her life ‘re-member-ing’ isolated events and re-engineering new meanings into the flow of events, we realized that her step-son was engendered around the date of her failed pregnancy. She came to terms with that amazing coincidence giving significance to the possibility of destiny playing a role in her life as a mother. She chose to believe that perhaps it was the same ‘soul’. It didn’t matter if it was true or not, or if it made any sense to those around her. It made her feel better with herself and that made all the difference. She could let go of her self-destructive remorse and love again.
The word ‘memory’ comes from the lat. -mem- which is a unit of stored information. Electric impulses literally form DNA with the protein coding of our ‘memories’, in neurons of the human cortex. These are stored as disarticulate ‘bits’ of information. When we retrieve a memory we ‘re-member’ the isolated parts of the input and give it a personal subjective meaning. This pattern of inter-connected neurons can be rearranged by will, through conscious decision-making and cropping. This is the principle behind neuro- linguistic programming. We decide what we think. We create our own meanings.
Now, the axons and dendrites leading to these memory-neurons are activated from the skin, with muscular and skeletal response related to them. We can release the energy trapped in pain through touch and movement. Massage, dancing, love-making all give relief, through release.

After choosing to let go of the memories that hurt, I can focus on those that make me re-live moments of love. This endearing re-experiencing generates new love which can be channeled to emanate good-will and direct well-wishing to our loved ones. This type of envisioning can envelop our cherished ones, through time and distance, with re-kindled, unconditional love.

Try it!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Learning to Love. Touch

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
One of the questions I have no clear answer for, is ‘when to speak up’?
Having studied Communications I know that we are each responsible for the effects that our words unchain. The Bible warns us that ‘all evil comes from the mouth’ and that the big challenge, in loving, is to curb destructive words before we say them.
In this new age of communication where technology spurs messages exponentially, the risk of wrong-doing is even greater. Gossip has become a widespread sport, spreading criticism, back-stabbing, cynicism and defamation. This dissipation fills the media promoting superficiality, vanity, ego-trips and doubt. No one believes in anything or anyone anymore. Instead of a spontaneous, uninhibited, authentic response, we react defensively attacking, before even giving relationships, a chance.
The axiom of old that admonished ‘never to speak, unless spoken to’ has a point. Not as repression, but as self-restraint, suggesting we take time before speaking, so as to think out and filter our words. I know in politics it works: ‘don´t give your opinion, unless asked for ’. People in power, bosses and supervisors hate to be told off. When in doubt, ‘shut up’.

Stages of personal development would have us first, learn to be quiet; then, practice speaking the Truth (not necessarily subjective reality) with courage enough to speak out in indignation; and finally, chose to speak only ‘kindness’.

I find touch is truer to its message. It is more reliable to trust what you feel. When there are no words for pain, touch the “ouch!” The soothing reassurance of a hand on the shoulder, unravels meanings unknown to words. Healing touch has been a mother’s way of caressing a child’s wound, better; a chaman’s way of cleansing the spirit in a body; a lover’s way of saying ‘I love you’. No strings attached, no conditions, just the soft, reassuring warmth of love. Music can do it too. Meaning then, has a chance to be jointly enhanced, both by the sender and the receiver.

Just the other day, while in bed with a stomach ache, my cat crawled on top of me, laying instinctively exactly where it hurt, seemingly absorbing the pain. I immediately felt better. I knew Egyptians kept cats as healers, assisting priests when curing an illness, but had never believed it. Perhaps I too, can touch someone, better and avoid the risk of hurting others with my words.
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P.D. Writing love letters is another way of being True to Love.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Learning to Love: Patience

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
We have eternity to ‘get it right’!
 But that´s a long time…so brace your ‘horses’ and work on your patience to accept not only your flaws, but the recurrent errors of others.
Now, patience is not tolerance. It is not about accepting wrong-doings, over and over again, but of correcting them and trying to get them right. That is where patience comes in. Exigency makes for excellence, but not everyone develops at the same pace. Evaluation or judgment is difficult, precisely because some have come a long way, having started at the bottom, and though it barely shows, are trying. Others, blessed from birth with added social, economic and physical attributions, seem to go further with an important head start. We have to be patient with everyone. This is one of love´s most difficult qualities (for me, at least).
When I get impatient, I try to imagine the patience needed to love from afar, be it beyond death (as a spirit?), or as a ‘guardian angel?’, or that serene ‘Loving Company’ we sense when we are in need. That is the loving patience we must develop with children who make mistakes, over and over again; or a loved one who loses focus on what he wants and wanders away. We must be patient and continue loving. The challenge is to love, anyway!!!! That is unconditional love.
‘I don´t only love you when you love me back; I don´t only love you, as a condition for a specific response; I love because, though you don´t love me, I do’.
Loving from being true to oneself allows you the freedom to get mad, when hurt; to want to avoid and have time-out from the love one, and still love. You are not dependent on re-assurance from the loved one, because your assurance comes from your own internal loving. Time and distance will give us the serenity and understanding to accept the ‘unacceptable’, from a loved one, to return and walk with him/her, with patient company. This is loving unseen.
I often get that feeling. I seem to be there for everyone, and yet I don´t feel that they care for me. Retribution is nice, but it should not be a condition to love. It is rather, about loving those who need it. We all have to learn to love, but for some, it is easier. We have to get over the ego-self that wants to feel loved. It´s about loving without being loved. We have to get over the pain of feeling rejected. We have to love, and be patient.
That is why we have eternity.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Learning to Love. Equity

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

Gender is ‘social sexuality’; the socio-cultural conditions that determine, what we consider ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ (not ‘male’ or female- which is physiology).
Although as far as 450BC, Plato described three sexes (male, female and androgynous), cultural and religious bias officially accept only two. In fact, up until 1986, when  ‘homosexuality’ was removed from the Diagnostic Psychiatric Manual of Mental Health (DSM III), it was considered a psychiatric pathology.

Freud, among others, believed man/woman were intrinsically bisexual. He wasn´t too far off, for during our embryonic development we have both, female and male reproductive potential: women develop internal genitalia from their Mullerian conduct, cancelling out their male Wolff conduct; while men develop external  genitalia from their Wolff conduct and cancel their Mullerian one. Magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) has allowed us to identify the parts of the brain that are activated during emotional and rational involvement. From these, left-hemisphere reactions have been described as being more rational and logical with linear thought formation, relating it to masculinity; and right-hemisphere reactions, are related to femininity, with imagination, creativity, flexibility and holistic thought integration. In autopsies, homosexuals prove greater activity in the corpus callosum, which is the neural bridge between both right and left hemispheres, suggesting greater use of both.

Whether embryologic, cerebral, or psychological, men and women have more in common than rigid, western societies care to admit. Among their similarities we find: both men and women have testosterone and estrogen. Women in power, prove to have higher levels of testosterone, with greater aggressiveness and control. Men who help women with their babies have higher estrogen levels, becoming emotional caretakers. Men can even be induced to produce breast-milk with hormonal stimulation, which proves similar physiologic responses.

Differences however include those discovered by NASA that prove women are more resistant to death-threatening conditions, while men are stronger. The Kinsey Institute proved women and men respond differently to sexual stimulation, involving different areas of the brain during orgasm. Women take longer than men for desire and erotic stimulation to prepare them for orgasm. They are more sexually stimulated by audition than sight, which stimulates men, more.

Whatever our differences and similarities, men have potential to develop their femininity and women, their masculinity to be whole. For that, we have each other.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Learning to Love. Sex

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

Lesson 17: Sex
Hands come together, in prayer. Bodies come together in Love. We need two hands to pray; two wings to fly; two bodies to make one soul.
The etymology of the word “sex”, from the latin: seco/secare-cut in half or division, may refer to the split which cut man in half according to Aristophanes in Plato´s dialogue “The Symposium”.  Plato describes man, as originally having had four arms and four legs, with a single head and two faces. He goes on to say that man´s pride was such, that he was daring the gods. Such insubordination obliged Zeus to split him in two, breaking his power in half and duplicating the number of people that would give him tribute. Since then, man yearns for his/her other half, longing to make his soul whole, again. Theosofists like Edgar Cayce, believe that when karma is paid, man will again be rejoined with woman and be whole again.

It wasn´t till the early 1900’s that the word ‘sex’, was openly related with ‘sexual intercourse’, as used in D.H. Lawrence’s controversial book “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”.  In it he also talks of the division between man and woman but in this case, separated by social class. The book explores different types of love: a cold relationship between husband and wife; an abusive relationship and the passion between a high class aristocrat and a low-class gamekeeper. It seems to question the split between body and mind, so rigorously severed for religious and puritanical beliefs, releasing the passion of sex.

In Book 4 of the Republic, Plato says that the soul is divided into three parts: the appetitive (responding to physical cravings); the rational (or logos, from the mind or intellect) and the spirited (desiring honor and love). In fact, sex can be experienced physically, as a natural response of heightened erogenous arousal; sentimentally, as a subjective interpretation of sensorial romance; rationally, as a relationship taken by decision and free choice; and spiritually, as the bond of love. The challenge is to integrate this diverse experience into one integral response. Love comes from this ‘integrity’.

 “Marriages are made in heaven” is a Yiddish proverb that relates love, to fate and destiny. Jewish tradition holds it, that love is predestined to a divinely fore-ordained spouse or ‘soul-mate’. This idea of completion, reached only when we are with our true ‘loved one’, is also subscribed in predestined karma. It seems to be the soul that recognizes our “complementing other half”, and not our body. Such sexual attraction gives unconscious, instinctive, intuitive, inspirational, libidinal enlightened bliss. This is what the Kamasutra is about. It is not a manual of ‘sexual postures’ but a holy guide written in Sanskrit between 400 and 200BC, describing the virtuous and gracious art of loving.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

L'earning to Love. Forgiveness

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

Lesson Forgiveness
To forgive is to love, anyway. Through forgiveness we love over and beyond the pain and damage others may have caused.
Before giving, we have to ‘fore-give’, let go, so as to open up again, to the flow of love. It comes from the humility of recognizing we are just as capable of wrong-doing as those who hurt us. Forgiving is taking in the pain, as described before, and making it sacred through ‘sacrifice’. It is not about vengeance, forgetting, or denying the damage done. Rather, forgiving requires reparation and rectification from the perpetrator, to enable him to re-establish his personal dignity and self-worth.

Before forgiving others, we have to forgive ourselves. It took me a long time to feel the pain of regret for my wrong-doing. I had effaced all restrictions that limited my rights and feelings from those that bound others. My compass had gone hay-wire unable to recognize love itself. I had mistaken love for sin, avoiding it at all cost. My ego-centric self-justification had wrapped me up in self-deluded self-worth. I became the lie I believed and hurt those around me, trying to love me. The first one I required forgiveness from was myself. I had wronged my Higher Self, by rejecting Love.
The aggrandizement of my pride had blown my sins up to the point of believing they were ‘un-forgivable’. My sins became greater that God’s mercy!!! I went around moping for being ‘un-lovable’, ‘un-worthy’, ‘miserere’- miserable. Such was my lamentation and self-commiseration that I closed down all possibility of loving; both giving and receiving love. My pride had elevated me to such subjective heights, that I my fall was devastating. Once fallen, I was stepped upon by those still running the ‘fast-track’ to reach the finish line. Face-down I knew humility (lat: ‘humus’ – soil)…and for the first time, I observed and admired a growing flower. I turned around and saw the sky. I had shifted my axis 180°, from linear cause-and–effect, to the depth and breadth of a new vertical perspective of life. It took my touching bottom, for me to crack my egocentric heart and let God´s loving in. Forgiveness engulfed me, healing my self-inflicted wounds with overflowing Love.

With such overwhelming Love how could I not forgive others?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

L'earning to Love. Trust

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

Lesson Trust
People are mean. But people are also kind. The human heart holds both. We each decide. We have to know them, both to develop discernment, which is the capacity to sift through life and identify right from wrong.
The word mean, can ‘mean’ so many things.. ‘purpose or intention’;  ‘miserly or stingy’; a ‘mathematically average’; or ‘cruel and spiteful’…Rounding them all: it is somebody miserly with the intention of responding spitefully when a fair average has been abused. Whatever the justification, it is wrong. We respond with hatred and destruction, when wronged, going against people who are ‘in the light’; much as turning jealousy into envy. In jealousy we desire that, which someone else has, working for and protecting it. In envy, one desires what someone else has, but thinking oneself undeserving, we chose to destroy those who do have it. Meanness turns evil when we destroy happiness in others.

Meanness, hatred, evil and destruction all start from anger, gone rotten from repression and resentment. ‘Angrrrr’ is an emotional response of defense and protection. It may be a response against something that wrongs us from without, or from within. We can be angry with ourselves or with others. Repressed anger churns bile, vile. We replay the same memory of injustice and pain, hurting more and more, with growing ‘re-sentiment’. Cowardice makes us weak and secretly vengeful. So we weave stories that justify our feelings in self-delusion, lying to ourselves and others, till we believe them. We seek the company of those who become accomplices, believing and sharing our lies, while we shun those who question us. That is when we lose the guiding compass that identifies right from wrong. Internalized pain makes us mean, defensively attacking those that seem to menace our self-righteous façade with righteousness. We ‘harden’ our hearts and become insensitive to others, while developing hypersensitivity of our own internalized suffering.

Righteous anger channels that same energy constructively, developing the ‘cou-rage’ and fortitude, needed to confront that, which is damaging. We must resist meanness in our own heart and avoid evil, manifest. It is foolish not to recognize that evil can destroy our ‘god-ness’.

We need evil to know kindness, much as we need darkness to identify light. Perhaps the human saga is about neutralizing both opposites to find a happy medium that integrates them both. That is Love. It can only happen opening the heart and trusting we can love someone who wrongs us despite the pain; trusting that beneath the evil façade is kindness, wronged; trusting that behind the black clouds of a storm is the Sun.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Léarning to Love. Prayer

L´earning to  Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall

To pray is to ‘ray’ Love. One does not p-RAY from the head, but from the heart. It cannot be put into verbal-though formation or pictures of that which is desired. It is a sigh from the Soul, yearning for the Loved One(s).
Early Christian monks used to train the heart to pray, by repeating mantras in time with the heart-beat. They did it till every breath inhaled and exhaled Love…becoming a living continual prayer, themselves.
We cannot pray for something specific since that would limit destiny to our will; limit it to that which we know.  Chaos and Harmony are themselves, the ebbing and flowing of ‘Cosmic Breath’. Everything is OK. It’s about letting go, trusting and letting it Be.

It´s hard to talk about prayer, in an age where science and technology have overthrown belief in God. As a woman I find it easy to grasp, not necessarily understanding it, but just allowing myself to love freely. My ex-husband (one of them, anyway) thinks I´m crazy. It’s ‘New Age crap’ he says. However, even before the New Age came into vogue, I had already been a postulant and novice at a Carmelite Monastery living a contemplative life with vows of silence and obedience. So it isn´t just superficial well-wishing. I was trained that the Universe is as the Body of Christ, and we were a house of prayer, and, much as a heart to the body, we generated prayers (or good vibes) into the flow of life. No questions asked. No conditions. No control or proof necessary. Free, gracious loving.
Now, it’s easy to be good when you are cloistered. No temptations. Out here, it’s hell! Just trying to bring my daughter up as a believer, respecting her father´s right to be agnostic, was hard. I tried explaining that women find it easier to tap into the heart and trust. Men´s left-hemisphere thinking requires tangible proof to believe.
 “Man has evolved from the ape!!” he would argue…
“And I am a fallen angel, who met you half-way” I would answer. “Don’t try to understand me; just love me”.

Women I believe, walk the multi-coloured way of the rainbow that bridges reality and Truth. We lead the way for men. The Greeks made all the virtues feminine. Women were idealized for man to live-up to them. Unfortunately equality has leveled what were once stages of development. Still, if women look up to God, upon looking at a women’s eyes man can see God.