Connecting with The Holy, Step One: Getting in Touch with Our True Feelings


Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang

“Thinking noble thoughts does not connect us with the Holy; only the ability to feel love for ourselves and others does that.”
–Jean Raffa

I recently posted this quote from Healing the Sacred Divide on Twitter and received the following comment from Amrita.  “Yes, over the years of introspection, I have [come to understand] that in order to know the whole one needs to know the dark as well…to know positive , one must be aware of the negative and one must not act negative as it would amount to bad karma.  The whole self-help industry talks about being positive but it doesn’t explain all the mysteries. Do explain it in your blog…”
There are so many dimensions to this issue that I could write books about it. But I’ll try to distill it into two posts by going straight to the core (or coeur) of the matter: the heart.  I’m reminded of the saying, “You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up.”  The mysteries are not about pretending to love and care:  they’re about feeling and manifesting love and care. Feeling and being are key.
Humanity has always intuited that the mysteries revolve around love. Loving feelings are prayers from which everything good flows. Tenderness, kindness, healing, peace. Compassion. Choices to forgive, set aside hurt and anger, sacrifice our ego’s need for revenge so others won’t get hurt: these are choices to love.
Using self-discipline, will power and positive affirmations and intentions to be more loving is, of course, a step in the right direction. But mental activity without physical and emotional participation is not enough. Sometimes it’s just a band-aid the ego sticks on the surface of a wound to avoid dealing with deeper, more painful realities. Every ego experiences wounding, and we all try to protect ourselves by repressing, disowning, ignoring or escaping. But until our psychic wounds are addressed and healed, the pain always oozes back into our awareness.  Sometimes it’s so overwhelming that our mental discipline crumbles and our positive affirmations have no effect at all.

“In the realm of feeling…Western man is apt to be the puppet of his unconscious moods.”
–M. Esther Harding

We tell ourselves to blow off someone’s unkind words, but our vulnerable, innocent child within thinks, “What did I do?” and we start feeling hurt and sad.  If we don’t catch those feelings right away, we move on to feeling wronged and resentful.  We think, “I don’t deserve to be treated this way!” and now we’re really angry.  Saying we love the person who elicited this response doesn’t make the anger go away and they can feel it whether we admit to it or not.  If we’re not feeling love and they’re not feeling lovable, no one is convinced.
Or we knock ourselves out trying to look fabulous and act adorable and pleasing so we’ll be loveable and loved. But this takes a lot of work that uses up a psychological energy. When there’s no energy left we let down our guard; then the least little thing sets us off.  Resentment and pettiness and self-loathing creep in, and the attitudes and actions that spew out into the world have nothing to do with love.
Unloving feelings that destroy our resolve to love are aspects of the unhealed and disowned parts of ourselves we call our dark shadow. When the shadow walks in the door, positive thoughts and will power fly out the window and the results are utterly predictable.  Toxic feelings from unhealed wounds birth toxic behaviors.  That’s just the way we’re made.
This is why getting in touch with our true feelings is the first step to connecting with the Holy.  I’ll discuss the second step next time.
You can find Healing the Sacred Divide at this Amazon link and at Larson Publications, Inc.

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18 Responses

  1. It’s so good to see you back, Jeanne. Your post is such a synchronicity. This is the subject for our dream group today, and your comments will be so appreciated.

  2. You articulate this clearly and beautifully, Jeanie. I look at it this way: While we’re on this earth, we live in the realm of opposites and it’s our work to find the light within the dark and the dark within the light. This brings me to the book that helped Vic and me during his illness and dying more than any other: John Tarrant’s, ‘The Light Inside the Dark.’ He is a Zen master who writes about soul and a psychotherapist who writes about the nondual. His wisdom helped us find the spiritual light in the worst of times and helped us accept the value of the messy, dark confusion of the psyche’s experience of suffering. If you haven’t read this book you’ll love it. (Apologizes if I’ve recommended it before. I’m sharing this lovely piece on FB. Thanks, Jeanie.

    1. You did recommend it to me but it’s worth mentioning again. I bought it and read a few pages and was enchanted, but then Anne Baring’s The Soul of the Cosmos arrived and I’ve been enmeshed in her magnificent web ever since! I look forward to returning to Tarrant very soon! Yes, finding the light within the dark and the dark within the light sums it up beautifully! Thank you, Elaine.

      1. Oh, I forgot you could actually do it. I was thinking delete it mentally. Thanks for the quick edit. You starred in a recent dream, Jeanie, and I spoke about it today with my dream therapist. You’re even a teacher in my dreams. Not keeping it secret, but need to wind down from a long day, so will send an email soon.

  3. 🙂 Elaine, even with all this distance and time since we met I feel such affection for you. Maybe that’s why I was in your dream. Somehow we are connecting at a soul level neither of us quite understands. I look forward to hearing all about your dream, my soul friend. Jeanie

  4. Dear Jeanie,
    As always there is much wisdom and insight to be found in your words.
    I feel becoming resentful or upset over others’ acts of unkindness is a natural response, yet with time (and it’s much shorter for me these days!) it often becomes evident that their unkindness has nothing to do with you on a personal level, their ‘trouble’ (for want of a better word) has usually been with them for quite some time….I think on a deep level we mostly know this and in that moment when compassion for self and other is felt, the living waters of healing are realeased.
    ‘…the mysteries revolve around love’ – I love that, and looking forward to Part Two!
    So glad you’re enjoying ‘The Dream of The Cosmos’, it’s a dream of a book which led me to write my first ever amazon (uk) review, my pen name is ‘Deep in the JUNG-le’.
    Deborah x

  5. Thank you, Deborah. I find your comments about turning resentment into compassion to be likewise wise and insightful. That’s it exactly: Our unkind behavior is always about us, just as others’ unkind behavior is always about them, and feeling compassion for both is what heals. I look forward to reading your amazon review! Blessings, Jeanie

  6. Hi Jean –
    I’m struggling with the dark shadow now; dealing with the loss of a loving partner, my father’s dementia, living in a city that is tense with politics, a health care system rife with incompetence… I feel I am self aware, open about my emotions, yet constantly struggling with anger. The question becomes – what does one do with the angry energy? I know that anger is always self-directed (in other words, if you follow it to its true source, it’s essentially a disappointment in oneself, even if it involves someone else) and that laying blame is pointless. However, we do have a societal obligation, I think, to inform each other as members of a community. If the boss doesn’t know his employee is unhappy (to use a simple analogy), then perhaps the dynamic perpetuates. There is, no doubt, a fine balance of communications and compassion that makes up the right approach. But that doesn’t address the leftover anger. I look forward to the next step.

    1. In my experience, the only thing that can heal a powerful feeling like anger is to work with it in creative and meaningful ways. When my anger is overwhelming I usually dream about being in close proximity to a dangerous animal. Once a snarling panther was riding in the backseat of my car. I knew it was mine, but I was afraid of it and had to be very careful around it. Another time a wild bear was in my house trying to get into my bedroom. Since the bear was a particularly captivating symbol for me I worked with it in myriad ways. I collected images of bears, bought books about them, wrote stories about them, and had imaginary dialogues with them. If you’re artistic you could create your own images of what your anger looks like. Your dreams will show you. Give it a name. Talk to it. Ask it questions and listen when it answers. Imaginative work is profoundly powerful healer that can help dissipate leftover anger. Physical activity can also be helpful.
      Of course, as you say, some anger is healthy and calls us to address the situation or person that aroused it directly. I find this works best when I can be honest about being angry while remaining calm and non-threatening. Angry actions and attitudes create so much discomfort for others that they usually stop listening and either shut down or start defending themselves. Then our anger is totally wasted.
      You probably know all this; hopefully it helps a little to be reminded. But again, what works best is creative inner work which, coincidentally, is the subject of my next post!

      1. Of course it helps to be reminded – evolving souls attempting to soar always benefit from a tug on the rope. A reminder that the ground and gravity both exist. Thanks, Jean. I agree that remaining calm and non-threatening is the only way to communicate anger effectively. I’m puzzled at the amount of respect that people get, though, when they scream and shout. Perhaps “respect” is the wrong word; but angry people get noticed, that’s certain. The squeaky wheel does get the grease. The crowd does scatter before the shouting tyrant. Rage does give us strength, in some situations. I love your idea of drawing my anger and giving it a face. I immediately envisioned a frothy sloth. In my dreams lately, I’ve been very, very busy organizing masses of people every night. I wake up exhausted at the energy I show throughout the night. No animals in sight! Just a lot of tasks to complete.

  7. I’m still chuckling over your frothy sloth!!! What a great image! Someday I’d love to hear what you learn from him/her!
    Your descriptions of the power of rage are so apt. I think “intimidated” might be closer to the truth than “respected.” I saw a show on the history channel the other night that depicted the so-called “trials” of several people involved in a failed plot to kill Hitler.(Of course they were all hung afterwards.) It was shocking to hear the judge, a screaming, shouting tyrant, and to know that this kind of behavior was tolerated in courtrooms of the world not so long ago. And we still see some of that on TV from political extremists. Ouch! We have a long way to go.
    It sounds like you have an inordinate amount of stressors in your waking life these days! Hoping things calm down for you soon!

    1. Thank you, Skip. It can take a while to get just how valuable these images from the unconscious are, can’t it? And as you pointed out in a recent post, not just dream images, but ones that arise when we’re awake too. And songs too. And, of course, feelings. It’s all from us. It’s all telling us something. It’s all good.

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