Friday, June 06, 2014

Journey to the Heart of Darkness - Stop 1: Energy

Self-knowledge requires accepting and integrating all aspects of the self. There is no way around getting into our innermost dark places. And our first encounter in this journey is with "energy/intent". Energy is beyond good and bad, and that's why it is so frightening. Here is a story from Richard Strozzi Heckler's ``The Anatomy of Change'' that captures the encounter very well. It's long but worth reading:

… until we identify, accept, and integrate our own feelings of aggression, all of the political and social processes, however sophisticated, will be inadequate in dealing with the human dilemma of life on planet earth.

A friend had an experience that relates directly to this issue. It was at a time when he was a single parent for about five weeks while his wife was away on a business trip. During this period, he grew much closer to his children, and his relationship with his thirteen-year-old daughter particularly became more intimate. One evening they stayed up late talking, and when it came time to go to bed the daughter, as he told it, ``looked directly in my eyes and said in both total innocence and with the voice of the eternal woman, 'Papa, can I sleep with you tonight?' '' My friend recounted at that point ``a huge wave of energy rushed through my body. I suddenly didn't know who I was or how to respond. There was so much heat in me that I felt like I was on fire. I was both confused and turned on. I then became angry that I was turned on and made so vulnerable. At that moment I understood, in a flash of clarity and insight, why so many fathers begin to distance themselves from their daughters. I understood that a tremendous amount of child abuse and sexual molestation in our society comes from the father's inability to identify and deal with the energy that arises out of his attraction to his daughter. In the moment that I felt `wrong' about my feelings, I could feel how I wanted to lash out at my daughter.

The taboo against incest is such a strong ``no'' that most fathers feel that something must be wrong with them when these rushes of energy and attraction arise. Not knowing how to face this charged situation, they project their confusion and anger outward. Not taking responsibility for their own feelings and energetic streaming, they make the daughter wrong for their experience. Misunderstanding and unable to tolerate this level of bodily aliveness, and having no tools for being centered and grounded in the experience, they try to rid themselves of these feelings, emotions, and thoughts by blaming the child. ---p. 132, The Anatomy of Change

A key phrase here is ``unable to tolerate this level of bodily aliveness.''

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