I believe that everyone in a relationship would like to share love, joy, peace, and truth through its unfolding. These are the things I experience as the essences of higher vibration, or spiritual awareness (those things deriving from love, joy, peace, and truth). We may not always think of our relationship goals and dreams in this way, but I believe this is what we are all ultimately seeking through the sharing of real, or heart-centered love. Heart-centered love comes from the Fourth Chakra, the Heart Chakra; and is spiritual in its vibration. Other forms of “love” derive from the Second Chakra, the Spleen Chakra; and are based on emotions and sex. They do not involve real love; and are physical in their vibration.
Even in the most amazing of heart-centered love relationships, we can develop destructive habits and patterns. We can become sensitized or conditioned to perceive our partner based on painful situations from our past (before we met them), or previous experiences we have shared with them. When this occurs, we may begin reacting to the patterns (our expectations based on what has already happened) rather than what is happening right now. We may become unable to separate the past from the present. If this occurs, we may become incapable of offering our sweetheart the compassion, patience, and forgiveness they deserve, and that we would usually extend to them in abundance. This is not because we love them any less, have fallen out of love with them, or because they have suddenly turned into a dark, destructive force. It is because we have become conditioned to respond to them in patterned ways based on the stress or pain we experienced either in our past or while interacting with them earlier in our relationship.
To prevent this, we need to master the art of mindful differentiation (being able to experience the present moment for what it actually is, apart from all other experiences). This will allow us to continue being ourselves regardless of the circumstance (e.g. calm, peaceful, loving), and also to treat those we love based on who they are right now, rather than who they may have been before, or what we suffered in our past.
When we experience something often enough, or painfully enough, we may begin to believe that this is what will happen under the same or similar circumstances. These conditioned beliefs, or experientially-based expectations, exist subconsciously and physically. We may or may not be aware of them consciously. Nonetheless, when triggered, they will influence our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions; often in extreme and harmful ways. The trigger memories are stored in the emotions and the body, through the limbic system and brain stem, respectively. When such conditioning is the result of repeated experiences of conflict or pain, its triggers create stress in the form of anger or fear, which shifts the brain into Survival Mode (fight or flight response).
Fight or Flight
While trapped in the fight or flight response, the range of our thoughts, perceived possibilities, and courses of action is limited to those associated with fighting against or escaping from a threat. When caught within this limiting loop, nothing else matters. We are focused on the threat, the anger or fear it generates, and the ways we can escape to safety. All we can think about or do relates to variations on a fight or flight theme. Such variations might include arguing, yelling, or physically assaulting (fight response), or withdrawing, tuning out, or physically running away (flight response). In the moment, because we are stuck in Survival Mode, these thoughts and actions seem justified, and we have no awareness of the broader truth that would help us understand what is really going on.
Negative emotions narrow our minds in order to limit our options to only those that will help us survive. They focus our attention on making it happen. They block out all other possibilities and courses of action. Did you know that sustaining life during a time of crisis is the only intended purpose of negative emotions? How often are we really faced with life threatening situations? Yet how often do we feel negative emotions?
Although invaluable in an emergency, we are rarely confronted by such things in our day-to-day lives. But our brain is still programmed to respond to negative emotions as if there is an eminent threat before us, limiting our options and calling us to action. For example, imagine that you get into a doozy of an argument with your honey, that you are blinded by rage or paralyzed with fear, and all you can think about is what you can do to hurt them back or get away. These represent the fight and flight responses, respectively. They explode into action, limit our perceived possibilities, and yank us out of our usual calm, peaceful, loving style. In the absence of a real threat, there is no reason for us to act this way, but in the moment it sure feels like there is. This is because we are in Survival Mode, and our brain is limiting the range of our thoughts in order to help us stay alive (or so it thinks).
Because of this, if a relationship is the cause of repeated conflict or extreme pain (real or perceived), we may develop a zero tolerance for any and all forms of discomfort — including those that are normal and unavoidable. So we need to learn how to mindfully differentiate the past from the present moment, in order to break the chains of these conditioned beliefs and allow ourselves to freely give and receive heart-centered love.
Such zero tolerance can result in impatience, over-reactions, and poor judgement. It can cause angry outbursts, rudeness, and unfair interpretations and reactions to situations. It can cause us to trigger into our ego, supporting its issues and defenses. Such issues could include inadequacy, loss of control, victimization, and trust; and their defenses know-it-all syndrome, control, self righteous indignation, and distrust. When triggered by, and based on the perceptual limitations of the fight or flight response, these issues and defenses are unfounded. They are causing us to misperceive our partner, misunderstand the situation, justify our irrational positions, and reinforce the distorted perceptions generated by the fight or flight response (the belief that we are under threat and must fight or run away). Basically, our brain is generating anger or fear to prompt us to push the threat away. But if there is no threat, and if this alleged threat is really someone we love; then we are doing the opposite of what we would do if we could see and know the truth.
Stress can trigger us into a fight or flight response, distorting our perceptions, and plunging us into a perceived struggle for survival. The best way I have found to combat this is to create and maintain a state of calmness. This may seem overly simplistic, or just common sense; but it usually works better than complicated methods or medication. When we are calm, our brain believes we are safe. When our brain believes we are safe, it does not shift us into Survival Mode. Or if we are already in it, when we become calm it shifts us out of it, back into Safe Mode, where we can again perceive the full range of thoughts, possibilities, and courses of action. My article Stress No More outlines a variety of ways we can learn to release tension and remain calm. These methods include, but are not limited to meditation, exercise, yoga, nature, sex, essential oils, and music.
Our Love Will Find A Way
As an alternative healer whose first license was that of a music therapist, mirroring the 5,000 year old traditions of the sacred Vedic texts; song and dance continue to be primary among my vibrational healing methods. I personally write, record, and play music; and dance as ways to promote health, happiness, and spiritual expression.
My most recent recording is Our Love Will Find A Way, under my artist name “Fire Prince.” It was officially released on October 31, 2016, and is now available on iTunes, amazon digital music, CD Baby, and more. It is a true story of a great love spanning lifetimes, challenging traditions, and changing lives. It is over there in the music player, for those of you reading this from the Alternative Shrink site. For the rest of you, here is an iTunes link, where you can either listen to, or purchase this powerful single. My hope is that its energy and passion will inspire you to pursue, develop, and hold on to real love!
Remember, we need to learn how to mindfully differentiate between the past and the present moment! So let’s get into a calm, peaceful place, and focus on the truth of our lives! Forget about the ego. Face the truth, take responsibility, realize our spirit, and share real love! Fight the urges to be right, prove something, to be a know-it-all, to justify ego-based actions, to defend, to play the victim, to control, and to seek attention from others at the expense of the spirit! Our love will find a way!