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