Love and blessings and all the hugs in the world. I have only a limited amount of room to talk to you and I, like you, feel the need of talking on a deeper level than just experience. I think both of us are pretty much aware of the difference between a lot of the stuff that you take in and what’s going on in the depths of our lives. I often seem abstract but I think actually I simply pay closer attention to what’s going on inside me than most people do and respect it more, so I am going to write this letter just from my general feelings rather than responding to your letter.
I could be wrong but it seems to me that it’s the best “right use” of time. It’s something that I subscribe to wholeheartedly and as a spiritual principle and its been very intense for me lately and I’ve had a breakthrough and a realization that sometimes happens—I’m sure you’re familiar with the joys of living a life that is not necessarily going to make you happy—that’s the first thing you give up because if you want to hit joy then you’re going to have to go through some shit (pardon the language).
The material that you go through is illusory and it’s uncomfortable or it wouldn’t affect us and if you get to the point where less and less affects us we start discovering that we’ve put ourselves in the most amazing position because of our flaws.
Now, you don’t have to be losing your self confidence just because some guy was being very unromantic—that was part of the illusion. I think he’s being perfect horrid part of the time but then we all have that capacity. I think that a very [inaudible] and one that I don’t think gets enough self-respect, spiritually speaking, because we all have “low self-esteem” (pardon the truisms) but I think sometimes we have to recognize that the reason we have low self-esteem is that in the human condition it is impossible not to distort experience.
In other words, it is impossible not to sin. That is an old Latin church saying and I’m not a very good Latin student but that’s what it says: that it is impossible not to sin. I think that part of freeing yourself from yourself—freeing yourself from your own judgment and becoming a self-accepting and self-realized human being is seeing that what happen in the way light comes through experience is by casting a shadow too. And the brighter the light, the more potentially dark the shadow.
And that’s life and there are some things that we have set in motion and that we need to start embracing with all our hearts and minds and souls. To be self accepting—I’m here on the mountain top, you understand. Now remember I’ve always had experiences like this and I’ve never understood why people don’t have faith because my life has been a series of mountain top experiences and that’s worth any desert.
I think that basically both of us are over stimulated and what we have to do is find some honest way to say “damn, this hurts.” Say to the person that is giving us anguish “I’m vulnerable to you—you’re hurting me. If you don’t stop being abusive I’m just going to have a shorter life.”
I feel like we’re both in that situation and I don’t think we’d be less than doing our jobs if we didn’t address it. I think that the conventional view of virtue is that it is without stain, that it is without shadow, but that has never been my experience of life and I pay a lot more attention to my experience of life than to anybody’s, and I don’t mean to be arrogant—I bow before the Lord—I don’t think circumstances are mistakes and I embrace my destiny, but I don’t think it’s wrong to accept the shadows that my passionate woman’s heart creates.
I think it’s okay to accept those shadows. I think for both of us part of the shadow is that we are foolish hearted woman who love whether they love back or not. We basically come at the world from the heart—you have a big brain and I probably have an even bigger one—I’ve never known anyone else who took an IQ test that went off the end and couldn’t be graded, so I figured I’ve got to be a machine, okay.
But where we’re really alike is in our passionate embracing of our destiny and seeing it not as a disablement but as an enablement. And I think it’s time that we simply rested back in that and just let the rest of the world do whatever it wants, but to be able to go ahead and ask the waitress for another cup of coffee is basically a teeny weeny example of some kind of being good to yourself—you might need a second cup of coffee in order to be alert enough to do your next client your very best job.
I do it for nothing—you have to do it for some money—but that doesn’t make a single bit of difference in our reasons for doing it, it just means that Don set me up a little bit better than your husband has been able to. And he doesn’t know anything about cooperating with destiny—he’s a blusterer and he’s abusive and he’s also a very very nice man with his own rhythms and his own perfection and his own rightness. But I don’t think that either of our husbands realize what they do to us when they’re angry. I don’t think they realize that a foolish woman is indeed not a truism but the heart of being a passionately dedicated spiritual being.
We, as women, have been taught to distort that primal passion which has a narcissistic element. You want to be understood and you want instant gratification and we’ve both looked that in the face pretty fearlessly, I think, that what we’ve set up for ourselves was how do you deal with the “extra cup of coffee” syndrome—do you deny yourself? Is it some kind of test where you’re supposed to suffer as much as possible? Or do you turn and face the actual catalyst with something inner and look at the catalyst and see where it came from and look at the depth of it and forgive yourself for being such an idiot, because there’s perfectly just cause for being an idiot—we’re human.
We’re going to get tired, we’re going to get discouraged and we’re going to spend a lot of time doing the wrong thing. We’re not gods and goddesses, we’re humans and we’re destined to hope for the best and to fail and to love all the wrong people. I think my wisdom I share with you is a real spiritual point and at this point my own husband is of the absolute opposite opinion so I’m here to tell you I’m probably in some way, shape, or form, incorrect in this because I trust Jim’s judgment so much.
But to me it feels like what I’ve discovered is that men are free birds—that doesn’t mean that they’re going to go out and be sexually unfaithful—that’s not the way mature men express themselves, they don’t want the trouble. At least I feel that’s what my husband is like—he really wouldn’t want the grief, he doesn’t like being with just about anybody and we are both having the best sexual relationship of our lives and it’s better now than it was at the beginning of our relationship—it seems like we’re on a roll as far as that goes in our incarnation—we’ve got it locked, you know, it’s just wonderful, it’s a kind of eucharist and sacrament, it’s a very big positive thing, but I think that part of Jim’s ability to feel that way has to do with a very masculine expression, a very yang, very spiky kind of behavior pattern where he just sometimes has to strike out.
I think your husband is the same kind of very polarized male and you are the same kind of foolish hearted woman whose basic approach to life, although informed certainly by a great intelligence—I don’t short either one of us there, I think we’re both as intelligent as any man. I really do not feel unliberated, I just feel that most people think that liberation is imitation and I’m not interested in imitating anyone.
I am a person who would love to live the life of a saint—I would love to get it right, I’d love to paint the picture I see in my head of living in total acceptance and love of everybody at all times and I feel that part of it is turning first to yourself and realizing that you accept the other people only as you accept yourself.
Jesus said it very tersely: “Love the Lord thy God with all they heart, with all the soul, with all thy might and all thy strength and love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” You have to love yourself first and as far as I’m concerned we all have shadow because of our virtue. If we don’t have any virtue then we don’t have a shadow. We’re not in the—I started to say “game” and I’m pretty prejudiced against the violence in games, but I think this is the only game in town. It’s called “Let’s polarize.” I think part of polarizing is accepting the shadows in yourself and loving them and accepting them and not being attached to being different than you are but rejoicing—there’s absolutely no reason to judge ourselves, we’re okay. We’re trying the best we can—I’d like to know what else we can do. I think it’s okay to ask for another cup of coffee.
Barbara, my sister, I am incarnationally comforted and strengthened by your very presence on the earth. I feel that I am talking to myself in my heart when I talk to you. I feel something very deep has been connected that we both live relatively interiorized lives. Both of us have been led to that from an extremely active former existence where things were not that difficult and where everything was pretty well easily conquered. I think in your case, you’re experiencing some feelings of guilt about John which are absolutely foundationless.
You are bound to have a knee-jerk sexual reaction to the man. I did with Don. He didn’t want to be lovers; I went further than you did, I’m afraid, I let him fall off his own pedestal that he had put himself on. I didn’t understand it. He didn’t tell me that he wasn’t active sexually and of course you could have fooled me. As a matter of fact, he did fool me for the first six months of our relationship until I finally started putting together some things and instead of taking them personally and spending the time hurt I figured out that the man was in a whole lot of pain and I asked him why he found this so difficult and he confessed to me that three years previously (1955) he had taken a vow not to make love any more.
This was a kind of a vocational thing with him—he never offered any explanation which meant that he considered it important. Don was stingy that way, he didn’t want to give away any kind of catalyst that he was working on so I accepted that. But I started out with a very difficult reaction—basically a suicidal desire because I didn’t have a husband—he was my primary relationship and he had taken his own kind of religious vow—his only authority was himself, he never listened to the opinion of another person and it was his final undoing as well as his grandness as a person.
I loved him to death and I discovered that when I accepted myself that I accepted everybody else too because it’s difficult to accept yourself—we’ve got this shadow and what we want to see is the great stuff but no reflection. What a person in general that’s on the spiritual path wants is to maximize experience and what I’m saying is the realization that you sort of do a double time before you get a good start in this incarnation. You’ve got to be self-confident, you’ve got to be moving confidently and without fear or you won’t be observing, accepting in a backwards kind of way like for instance, your feelings about John will die down naturally—your animal just likes his animal. It’s like having pets that like each other, only those pets happen to be the temple in one of the most incredible [inaudible] non-concept of man, and that is a mystery called infinity.
And further than that the concept that somehow by faith we can live much more beautiful lives than the unassisted human self can. And although we should be merry about it on a daily basis and have a good time and all and have a ball as Don said—he was full of wisdom—the poor man just did not have the kind of personal compassion it took to live with somebody else—he had just been right all his life and that’s what got him. He thought he was sick so he got sick—he stopped eating and he died of starvation basically, I know he died to a bullet to the head, but that was basically a blessing. The poor man hadn’t eaten in so long that when they did his autopsy that said he was “[inaudible]” and when I looked that up what it meant was that he couldn’t have gotten any better—he would have died very slowly of organ failure due to starvation.
So, in fact, we did do something that was merciful on his behalf if you want to look at it in a relativistic way which I don’t want to take the chance of doing as far as eternal choices are concerned—I think that the prudent thing was to do something that was in the Christ mythology but I think that it’s extremely valid and that is as you approach the social memory complex level you get to the point where you can get on the cross for somebody and you can finish the job of suffering, not just for one of you but for both of you. I think that’s what happened with Don and me and I think it was a particularly beautiful thing though it’s extremely bittersweet because I lost this wonderful adoring relationship and now my relationship is very earthy.
And I think it’s time to pay attention to this incarnation and to our own shadows and to focus enough on self-acceptance that we can maximize our usefulness. I think it’s okay to ask for the extra cup of coffee, I think it’s okay to say, hey, treat me better. I’ll set you free. And when you’re angry I want you to go into the forest all by yourself and I want you to stay there and not come home to me until you’ve given the Great Healer, Mother Earth, your pain—taken it out and left with it. Your anger is not my problem and my anger is not your problem.
We think we’re being on the fast track spiritually by heading into the storm and taking upon ourselves the continuing and frankly fairly boring and repetitive catalyst—it doesn’t have to be catalyst, we can accept that if we just speak up. I don’t think that we have to be right at all, I think that we don’t have to be a certain kind of strong that’s part of being a woman. We do have a great asset, an enormous virtue—both of us are totally ready to do anything it takes to nurture the man we married. Not only on the level of acting for ourselves, or acting on behalf of our marriage, but in case we ever get famous I think we’re both in a really strange position and I think we have to have the kind of stewardship towards it that the position asks us to have.
There is a possibility depending on how much we can bring through that’s useful to the planet after we die because I think it’s going to get worse for a while before it gets better. I think that’s why people like A are taking such pains with you in this incarnation. I think it’s why I was forced to quit acting in the outer world to focus on my vocation, the ministry.
Now it’s a lay ministry; I could have at several different times in my life gotten a uniform on—either a doctor...
I don’t know where I stopped but I went off the tape so I’m back and I’m very interested in how you’re doing and we’re going to have to get together but our mutual difficulties are making it really hard to communicate and this is undoubtedly the only letter that Jim will have time to type before the holidays are over.
I want you to know that I am absolutely totally behind the project and if we don’t do the project I’m committed to being with you and spending time with you and this is important and it’s not selfish and I know that if you put it to your husband with the kind of conviction in your own right to have blemishes and he has a right to his and we need to work it out with ourselves—not just rubbing off of each other, but coming to terms with who we are and the situations we have in life and really realizing the wonder of all that.
I love you so much and can hardly wait to be spending time with you in person—you won’t have much trouble understanding me because people tell me I speak very well and I imagine that once you get used to the change in the way I shape accents because I’m southern and speak with a southern accent and the I’s have more of a spread to it and is likely to be more closed mouthed, but I think other than that I have good natural diction and tend to speak in complete sentences and I can speak slowly and I don’t have to yell to do that because I have some problems with deafness myself and I’m trying to learn how to lip read myself.
So, just from me to you from the mountain top, you’re going to be there next [inaudible] along the road and we’ll both rejoice in our hearts which are one and I really send my love also to A who is a marvelous friend and J will go through his stuff on that so I just want to send this message from my heart so you can feel it with your whole being.
Love yourself and then you can love the world. Be good to yourself Barbara and know that I love you. God Bless and you take care of yourself.