Relationship Heartbreaks - Part One of Two

The rapture of first love is a tremendously powerful experience that affects us biologically, psychologically, and spiritually. Robert Johnson writes of love in We, Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, as an initiation into a state of higher consciousness. It seems no less, but we receive this initiation at such a young age that usually we are without the life experiences that instruct us in the management of the powerful force that love is. In the 1960s, Dr. Jerry Stern gave a lecture on the poet William Blake, explaining the importance of having a lived experience. To represent the innocent phase, Blake wrote about little lambs and the world of the child. In the experience phase, Blake shows that we must deal with our fears and "face the tigers" of life as we interact with the real world and make our inevitable mistakes. Finally, Blake uses innocence and experience to transform life and take it to the next stage. To get there, we must first traverse jungle and desert. Relationships might be compared to a tropical jungle, lush and exciting but also perilous and frightening. The powerful forces in that jungle are neither good nor bad; they are part of a natural environment with cycles and forces that can be understood and accepted. Exciting, beautiful, and powerful, the tiger personifies those forces. If ignored, the tiger can also be destructive. Just as tigers prefer to sneak up behind their prey to attack, these forces are dangerous when your back is turned to them. A poignant example of this is found in the jungles of India and Pakistan, where woodcutters and fishermen are regularly killed and eaten by tigers. However, the people who live there accept the environment and all it holds, harvesting the bounty of their rich land while understanding its perils. Their awareness of this dynamic is represented by an incredibly symbolic technique, described earlier: when moving through the jungle they tie masks to the back of their heads, giving a stalking tiger the impression that they are watching it from behind. As tigers prefer stalking those who are unaware of their presence, the cats will seek less threatening prey. Similarly, if we are aware of and take responsibility for facing the tigers in our own lives, they will be far less likely to pursue us. Copyright 2005 Linda Miles Ph.D