Taken from a first draft text from the forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, this series elaborates on a critical advancement of the Unique Self Dharma that Dr. Marc has developed after Your Unique Self was published.
The Law of Feeling and Healing
The Law of Feeling and Healing, while simple in explanation, is quite profound. As the gateway to a seemingly impossible evolutionary shift, this law is our access to the divinity and untold amounts of love, joy, and connection.
Fifty years ago, God was experienced by the great realizers and religions as both all knowing and all potent and powerful. Only God knew of the immense pain in the world. Today, boundaries around knowledge cease to exist and images of unbearable suffering penetrate our hearts, bodies and minds hourly. Consequently, there is an enormous amount of Promethean talk about humans becoming God-like with the power we wield. Ignoring the fact that such talk does not take into account the infinite power of cosmos, these erroneous conversations forget divinity is not merely the infinity of power but also the infinity of pain. As our power of knowledge increases so does our awareness of the depth of suffering. In one way, we are potent like gods; we have the never previously known ability to acquire depths of understanding and graphic detail about the horrific pain happening across the planet. Yet, while we know an enormous amount about the reality of suffering around the globe, we experience ourselves as impotent. We feel powerless. Unlike the gods, we are rendered powerless to heal the hurt surrounding us. For most of us, the only way we are capable of responding is to close our hearts.
The Gap Between Feeling and Healing
Enlightenment teachers of all stripes say the reason we close our hearts is because our coiled ego clenches in a self-centered contraction. I don’t think so. We do not close our hearts—at least not primarily—because we are bad, asleep or narcissistic. We close our hearts because the gap between our ability to feel and our ability to heal is simply too great to bear. It is so hard to open our hearts when they have been broken so many times.
These broken hearts of ours hold outrageous pain. When our hearts break we become wounded and contracted. It becomes exceedingly scary to open our hearts again. We are afraid it will bring a pain that we simply cannot bear. Our wounds are further funded by the essential contraction of being a limited, fragile and mortal being. Our mortality itself is enough to break any awake heart. But the grief is not merely from our personal heartaches. We have more direct access to pain through unmediated images of horror and information about mass suffering than any previous generation in history. Our hearts are broken exponentially every time we log in. Facebook and Twitter offer us instant updates on happenings in every nook and cranny of the world. The moment we turn on CNN we see sickening videos from Syria, Congo and so many other crisis points. When we connect we feel utterly devastated. We also feel utterly helpless. We have never seen so much suffering and been so unable to heal it.
The feeling of impotency in the face of overwhelming need is catastrophic to not only our hearts but also our psyches. Apathy corrodes our soul. The gap between our ability to feel the pain and our ability to heal the hurt is unbearable. When we see so much outrageous pain in the world that we cannot heal, it becomes too difficult to allow ourselves to fully feel the wound. It simply hurts too much. In the canyon of the gap, love seems like too big a risk. It seems if we allowed ourselves to feel what is right and natural we would become dysfunctional, or worse. Because the pain hurts so much we cannot bear to feel the agony if we do not believe that we have at least some capacity to heal the injuries. And, it is in this gap between our ability to feel and our ability to heal that our emotions shut us down. Our impotence in the face of outrageous pain causes us to unconsciously close our hearts. When we close our hearts we become truly impotent.
When our hearts close we lose access to the power of outrageous love, and our life force begins to shut down. It requires a great expending of energy to live in denial of suffering and lock the gateway to our emotions. When we close our hearts again and again in face of misery, something breaks in our inner core. Our generation is exposed to vast levels of grief, and because the gap between the ability to feel and heal is so great, that blocking the pain requires a more deliberate and full closing of the heart than ever before. The direct result is a level of depression, anxiety, mental illness, addiction, autoimmune diseases and breakdown the likes of which has never been seen in recorded history. Trying to maintain the impossible denial of a closed heart physically exhausts people.
The even deeper problem, however, is that we only have one heart. Since we only have one heart, closing our heart in the face of outrageous pain radically undermines our capacity for love and intimacy in every dimension of our lives. There is only one heart and one love. One heart, one love, outrageous love. That one heart lives in you as your heart. When you close your heart you lose consciousness. You fall asleep and lose your access to the power of one heart and one love. You cannot block the pathway in your heart in response to suffering and expect to retain access to it in your personal life and relationships. You cannot alienate yourself from the feeling of the world but remain intimate with your beloved. The contradicting actions simply cannot coexist. If you close your heart to outrageous pain in one part of your life then you cut off access to outrageous love in every part of your life. This is not just your trauma, but also a collective trauma, the great heart attack of our generation.