Disappointment -- No soul? LO11988

Thu, 16 Jan 1997 09:22:23 -0500 (EST)

Replying to LO11961 --

Ian expressed how he find it difficult to move between his heart and his
head. He said,

>>Rol outlined a sort of sequence heart to head and back to heart.

>>I find it is difficult to return to the heart part. I acknowledge that as
>>children we seemed able to be open, caring, angry etc all in very quick
>>succession and that growing up tempers this often making us work more from
>>the head

I think the heart and the head are really complimentary. For instance, I
have a good friend who is a best selling author of romance novels. She and
I have had many interesting convresations about both the content of her
novels and the purpose they fill in people's lives.

One night she said, "Ben, you're so intellectual how could you ever
possibly be romantic?" I assured her I had deeply embedded romantic
inclinations, and that I had eve conciously created a theory of romantic
love. "What? You've created a theory of romantic love? Why would you think
a theory necessary?" My reply was simple, "To help explain the phenomenon
to me, and provide a framework within which I can function and hopefully
provide my wife with a fulfilling romantic relationship."

She wanted me to write my theory down so she could read it and see if it
was all "head" and no "heart." I accepted her request, and include it in
this message. I think it is a very good demonstration of how I thought
with both my heart and my mind simultaneously. I think without both the
head and the heart my views of romantic love would be far different and
far less effective.

--- Ben's view of romantic love ---

Romance is much more than a mythical kind of emotion. It is has a very
practical side. Once discovered it requires constant work to keep alive.
Like all forms of love, romantic love must be nurtured. It could be said,
that romantic love is a culmination of many forms of love. Here's how I
see it.

Romantic feelings emerge between two people who have formed a
psychologically safe relationship where deeply felt emotions can be freely
expressed. As they're able to reveal things normally concealed to each
other, they begin to fall in love. This "release" of emotion brings a
feeling of freshness, a sensation that one's load has been lifted. On a
deeper level, however, this sharing allows each person to feel that they
are able to be loved and to give love. As the emotional closeness of the
relationship increases, the stronger the sensation of "falling in love."

Marriage is a testament of the compelling nature of these emotions.
Marriage, by itself, does nothing to ensure the romantic feelings
continue. Sending flowers, sharing gifts, and going on romantic excursions
is inspired by the emotional closeness and the desire to share each other
in the most intimate ways. For these feelings to continue, it is important
that the level of trust between each person is constantly deepened.

However, many people will reach a certain level of emotional intimacy,
feel unsafe in revealing further feelings, and thus begin to back away
from the sharing experience. This inhibits trust, which suspends the
continued feeling and expression of romantic love. If the person who feels
unsafe can find the courage to continue the sharing (or if the other
spouse can do things to build trust with the other person), the feelings
of romantic love will quickly return. At some point, the sharing becomes
more about "experiencing" things together than it does talking about
things that happened in the past. The more a couple has emotionally
satisfying experiences, the deeper their love goes and the stronger their
feelings of romantic love. This allows the couple to reflect on deeply
meaningful experiences, which in turn opens the door for new experiences
that intensify the relationship.

But when the trust in the relationship begins to decrease, the
relationship is headed for ruff water. If the behavior of either spouse
(or both spouses) continues to create a distrustful environment then the
romantic feelings that once flowed freely become inhibited. Frustration
begins to build. Soon the emotions find expression elsewhere. This is why
we see such passionate love affairs: On of the spouses has found another
person who is willing to share deeply felt emotions. And the process
starts all over gain.


Just a quick closing note. The other night I was at the bookstore and
there was a couple in their 70's or 80's looking at books on Sex. I found
it quite interesting so I observed their behavior. As the woman was
thumbing through a book on how to make love, the husband began to hum a
few bars from a song by the Glenn Miller band. Soon the woman had put the
book back, and the couple was dancing their way out the door (literally
dancing). I watched this with great satisfaction. It was clear to me that
even at that age, the feelings of romantic love can be as strong -- if not
stronger -- than they are at my age.

And it was clear to me that their relationship was much more than just a
"heart felt" one. It was also a conscious one. That made it all the more
remarkable to me. And that, I think, is the key to happiness: To live a
heart-felt life and a conscious life. Isn't that what personal mastery is
all about?


Benjamin B. Compton bbcompton@aol.com

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