Read an Excerpt
Reconnecting the Love Energy
Don't By-Pass Your Heart!
By Phyllis Krystal
Samuel Weiser, Inc.Copyright © 1995 Phyllis Krystal
All rights reserved.
In order to clarify the meaning of the phrase, heart by-pass, as it is used in this book, the word heart and all that it signifies must first be examined and defined. According to Webster's dictionary, "the human heart is the seat of emotions, personality and attributes; the moral side of human nature in contradistinction to the intellect, as in 'he was all head and no heart.'" When we think of the word heart, or hear it mentioned, various qualities come to mind, such as feeling, compassion, empathy, and love, whereas we connect thinking, logic, planning, organizing, and intellect with the brain.
The heart has become synonymous with love. For instance, "he or she has no heart" implies that the person being described is incapable of expressing love, while someone who is described as having a "heart of gold" signifies that this person is considered to be very loving. We even refer to someone we love as "sweetheart."
St. Valentine's Day is celebrated each year as a day on which to send and receive love. A custom of giving cards to mark this day is very popular, especially among young people. Most of the cards display a big red heart accompanied by greetings expressing love and sometimes love poems. Unfortunately, many of these cards are extremely sentimental and saccharine sweet and express an artificial emotion rather than true love.
While driving on today's highways, it is common to see bumper stickers that carry messages such as, "I love animals," or " I love skiing," or "I love gold," etc. The word "love" is symbolized by a big heart, since a heart and love are connected in many people's minds.
When we speak of the heart by-pass, or of by-passing the heart, it means that the feeling that is connected with the word "love" is cut off, or by-passed, and cannot be expressed.
We would be well-advised to check our behavior to see whether we express kindness, affection, caring, even politeness, to others. Our lives can become so full of mechanical activities that acts of kindness that come from the heart are crowded out.
Unexpected acts of kindness and consideration can have a much more far-reaching effect than we could imagine. They can start a chain reaction by affecting not only the people to whom they are given, but also everyone the recipients come into contact with throughout the day. Because of our acts of consideration toward others, their hearts may be opened, and they may be more inclined to give those they meet a smile, a kind word or a helpful hand.
What Is Love?
Since the heart by-pass indicates that the feeling called love is blocked in some way, it is also necessary to define the word "love" so we are clear about what is being by-passed. However, in order to try to determine its true meaning, it is easier to decide what it is not and thus examine some of the false concepts that have accumulated around this much maligned word.
Sai Baba says that most human love is selfish and contracting, whereas the love he has for everyone is unselfish and expansive. It would certainly appear that the motive for most human love is selfish. "What's in it for me? How does it make me feel? How will I be benefitted if I love this person? How can I change that one to fit my needs or desires? How will a relationship with this one affect my image? What do I need to do or say to persuade this one to love me?"
Many people, and men in particular, give gifts of material objects in lieu of love. They also equate the sexual act with love. But neither of these actions expresses love from the heart. The tendency to by-pass the heart often stems from traumatic experiences in childhood involving feeling that was linked to an unhappy event, such as the death of someone close-a parent, sibling, or friend. Many children will close off the heart when feeling proved to be connected to any type of pain.
When a parent has died or deserted the family, the remaining parent often attempts to make up for this loss by trying to be both mother and father to the children. But this often results in a too possessive or smothering relationship, which can become a problem when children receive the impression that love is being used to control instead of indicating genuine caring. When love has been confused in such ways, often only a trauma or some kind of control will evoke any emotion. At the same time, there is a need to shut off the negative feeling that is causing pain. The end result is one of emotional crippling and neither genuine sadness nor true happiness can be expressed. A low self-image is a frequent result and is demonstrated either by feelings of inferiority or the reverse-an overly superior attitude. Both reactions are concerned with the person's self-image and no amount of love will satisfy this profound need. Some people may become over-achievers, either pursuing intellectual success or some kind of physical prowess to prove that they are worthwhile or better than those who caused the lack of emotional support.
In other cases, people will act out the lack of self-worth in different ways. They may descend into deep depression, become aggressive, violent, self-destructive, or they may make desperate and unreasonable demands for love and affection. Others will fall into the habit of repeating the patterns they learned from parents and, in turn, are unable to express love. They may even mimic the same negative behavior they, themselves, received as children. Thus a chain reaction is established which will continue to operate indefinitely.
The above examples indicate selfishness and an overriding desire to own other people just as though people are possessions. It is based on "what I want, what is good for me or will satisfy my desires," with no consideration for the welfare of the so-called loved ones.
Some people profess love toward another person with a view to gaining a servant who will do their bidding and provide for all their needs. Both men and women may enter a relationship with this goal as their main motive.
A woman will look for a successful man who can provide her with security, social status, all the possessions she craves, the overseas travel she thinks will be so exciting, a good education for any children they may have, and, in addition, will shower her with love and affection. When any of these expected benefits are not forthcoming, she is bitterly disappointed and will often search for another man whom she hopes will satisfy her demands.
A man will seek an attractive woman with a pleasing personality who will enhance his own image, especially in connection with his occupation or profession. She should be a good hostess, a good mother to their children, be not merely good, but always available sexually, though not too demanding of his time or attention.
But where does the partner's needs enter into such a formula? And even more importantly, do these formulae have anything to do with love, which involves giving love and affection as distinct from needing or demanding it? Whenever we think we need something or someone to make us happy or satisfied, we immediately become a slave to that person, object, place, or idea.
Many relationships do not allow the partners the freedom to express themselves or to live according to who they are; these relationships require one partner to live at the other's bidding.
Then there is the kind of love that is actually more like an obsession, or addiction, and has little to do with real love. It has as its basis an exaggerated need for what the other person is expected to supply and is just as hard to break as any other addiction.
Con men pretend to love their chosen victims. They often seek out lonely older widows who are vulnerable to their protestations of love and who confuse it with real emotion.
These unsuspecting women are devastated when their knights in shining armor abandon them, taking all their money, jewels, and other valuable assets, which were the reason these men professed love in the first place.
But it is not only men who indulge in such deceitful and hurtful behavior. Some women also are con artists and take advantage of an unsuspecting man by "taking him for all he is worth."
The pretence of love, with the hidden motive of lining one's own nest at the emotional as well as at the financial expense of another human being, has nothing to do with "love." It is selfishness expanded to a most cruel degree.
Baba has said that much of the love people express is really lust and not true love at all. Lust is an inordinate craving for something or someone. It is desire carried to an extreme. Love is letting go and lightly flowing, whereas lust is holding on and tightly grabbing.
I recall one time, when my husband and I were in India, Baba invited us to attend an evening of bhajan singing by his college boys, during which Baba delivered short discourses and stories. This particular evening he demonstrated the meaning of lust by acting out the way a student might catch sight of a juicy apple, grab it, and immediately start to devour it greedily, with undisguised relish, until it was all eaten. This action, Baba averred, was an example of lust. By a person's lust for it, the fruit becomes rajasic and inflames, arouses and intoxicates rather than remaining sathwic and conducive to equanimity, which is the true nature of an apple. Instead of remaining centered, we reach out too far, from too much desire for something, and lose our balance. This is also true of lust for another person. Physical lust is not love, but a determination to possess another and use control with the intent to bend that person to our will.
Sexual lust is one of the bodily appetites that arises from a physical urge to gratify the senses. It is essentially selfish since the needs or desires of the other person are ignored. It appears to be more easily aroused in men, and when uncontrolled can lead to extreme acts of violence, such as child abuse, rape, mayhem and even murder.
Sexual harassment and date rape are terms that have finally been brought to our attention by being widely publicized in the media. However, the media are also responsible for arousing lust in those who are exposed to the various forms of pornography and exploitation which present people as sex objects rather than as loving human beings.
Lust leads directly to the heart by-pass because it relates entirely to the physical body and its appetites and excludes love, affection, kindness, and consideration for the partner. The heart of the sexual aggressor is closed to the other's needs, and the victim's heart is also closed as protection against assault.
Learning How to Love
When contemplating on how and where to start to remedy the global heart by-pass, it became obvious that its influence is so pervasive that every aspect of human life needs to be inspected. That includes our lack of true feeling and its ultimate effect in every sphere of life.
Everything in life involves some kind of relationship, either with other people, objects, places, memories, experiences, and habits. We cannot live in a vacuum, even if we strive to reduce our connections or attachments to a bare minimum. Even in solitary confinement, or during an experiment with sensory deprivation, the participant relates to the jailor or facilitator, the cell, cage, or tank in which he or she is enclosed, as well as to every facet of daily experience and any reactions to them.
Viktor Frankel, in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, wrote that during his incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp, he came to realize that there was only one freedom left to him. It was the freedom to choose the attitude he should adopt toward everything that happened, and to those with whom he was involved, both guards and other prisoners.
He proved by his own personal experience that we are all free to choose how we react to external stimuli, both events and the various people with whom we interact.
In the reverie work, we have been instructed by the Hi C that everyone and everything in our lives can provide an opportunity to learn. If we are willing to stop blaming life, fate, God, or other people for our problems and ask what each person or experience can teach us, we can reap the benefit hidden within each day's challenges. We can choose to accept the teachings thus offered, or resist them and build up resentment. We can decide to be critical and judgmental, or loving and understanding. The choice is always our's, though many people are completely unaware of this fact. To understand it and put it into daily practice is to be free.
Many people repeatedly ask me how they can re-connect their hearts and learn to be more loving. They say that they do not know how, because they did not receive love from their parents. They were not shown either how to receive love or how to express it.
The young of all species learn by mimicking the behavior and actions of their parents. Human children have an additional ability not shared by other creatures, for humans can choose their reactions to outer stimuli. If children observe that their parents' behavior has a positive effect, they will copy it. But if the opposite appears to be the case, they will rebel against it, either overtly or inwardly. These early reactions can and often do determine adult behavior.
If children have been exposed to loving care by their parents, they will have learned from that positive early experience how to receive love, and can also be taught how to give it to others. In this way a habit or pattern is started in infancy that continues into adult life in the many different relationships that will be formed.
Unfortunately, many children lacked this early conditioning and grew to adulthood emotionally crippled and unable to give or receive love. Fortunately, no one needs to be permanently locked into this condition. A remedy was demonstrated to me in a very unexpected and dramatic way many years ago when my husband and I were flying from Bombay to London on a plane that was taken over by hijackers during the flight.
We learned much later that two Palestinians had boarded the plane in Beirut, where it landed briefly for refueling. They had bribed the food handlers, who were delivering the food, to hide guns and ammunition in one of the containers of food and place it beneath the seats reserved for them.
Of course none of the passengers or members of the crew were aware of this arrangement. Shortly after the flight attendants had served a meal and removed the trays, the two Palestinians entered the cockpit and took over the plane. One of them remained with the copilot, to supervise the flight from then on, while the pilot and all the first class passengers were told to move back into the tourist section where we were sitting. As they were passing us, my husband asked the pilot what was happening. He grimly answered that we would soon find out. As soon as they had all found seats, these two fierce-looking men appeared and asked if any of the passengers spoke both Arabic and English. One man raised his hand and in halting English translated what they were saying to him in Arabic. He reported that the plane was being hijacked and that no one was to move or talk and that if anyone needed to use the toilets, one of the flight attendants must be in attendance.
They then collected all the passports, handbags, and carry-on luggage. They leafed through the passports, and emptied the contents of the small bags, filled them with dynamite and placed them outside the toilets and at other strategic sites throughout the plane, with the intention of eventually setting fire to them.
As soon as all this started to unfold, I immediately called to Baba, urgently requesting him to help, and repeating his name and directing my pleas to the room in the building where he was staying, which we had just so recently left behind in Bombay.
As I continued my silent cries for help, I heard his voice in my head telling me to send love to the hijackers. As I looked at their exultant faces, which showed that they were obviously gloating over the terror they were causing their victims, I mentally answered, "I can't."
Instantly, another thought entered my mind. "I can't send them love, but you can, for you are the only one who is always able to see the God-self in everyone, even in men like these two. You can love them, but I can't. So if you will send your love to me I will be willing to direct it to them."
From then on I concentrated on breathing in Baba's love and directing it to those two frightening looking men. I could actually feel it flowing into me. No, I personally could not love them, and in any case, my limited personal love would not have been as effective as the much more powerful love from Baba.
I was fascinated as I watched them become perceptibly more and more nervous. One of them was busily occupied in breaking all the bottles of liquor and perfume from the duty-free store and emptying the contents in the aisles to make it easier to set fire to the plane. As I continued to send him Baba's love, his hands started to shake so much that he cut his hand on the broken glass and had to stop to bandage it with a handkerchief.
Excerpted from Reconnecting the Love Energy by Phyllis Krystal. Copyright © 1995 Phyllis Krystal. Excerpted by permission of Samuel Weiser, Inc..
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