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The Barriers We Build Against Love

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    As children we needed to be loved. We were entirely dependent on the adults around us, so the way they acted towards us - and each other - has had a big impact on how we show up to love as adults.

  • Reflect On:

    What are some of the barriers you put up that stop you from feeling your own love? At what age were these barriers to love created and why?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi

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Many people are still looking for their ‘other half’, venturing out on more and more dates, casting the net wider until they find someone to complete them. And when it doesn’t work out just as they planned, they jump back onto their smartphones, ‘unfriend’ the offending partner and swipe themselves another one.

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And yet many of us also know that, deep down, another human being is never going to be able to make us whole and that the fairy tale of meeting our Prince/ss Charming is just that – a fairy tale. We understand that true love comes from within and when we love ourselves – fully – only then can we truly love another.

This is great, in theory, because for many of us, self-love stuff is still very much an intellectual concept that we strive to reach in the same way that some people strive to meet someone new when their last relationship hits a wall. Striving for self-love is not the essence of self-love. Discovering the barriers to love may well be what we need.

Barriers to love

Rumi is rumoured to have said that our task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves that we have built against it. It’s likely that he knew a thing or two about life and love. Self-love can be tricky – sure, we get it, intellectually. We know it’s necessary to “love ourselves” but aside from eating healthier, daily exercise and spending more time doing the things we love, it can be hard to get over that ultimate hurdle.

So what is it that gets in the way? What are these barriers that Rumi speaks of and why are they there at all?

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We all have them. They’re made up of the internal voices that tell us that we “don’t deserve to be loved and happy”. Or that there’s something intrinsically ‘wrong’ with us. That we are somehow ‘broken’ and if anyone actually found out the truth about us they would surely leave us.

These barriers to love are constantly running in the background; a low hum that unconsciously speaks to everything we do, every action (and inaction) we take. Unlike the self-loving ‘apps’ that we consciously choose (weekly yoga sessions, salad and connecting with friends), these barriers form a part of our internal ‘operating system’ and are generally in shadow for us.

What you realize is, we don’t need to go out and love ourselves, we already do, we simply need to take down the barriers blocking that.

We Are Not Born With These Barriers

Not one of us came into this world with pre-erected barriers to love; it’s learned behaviour. We learned them from the adults around us at the time. We might have learned that ‘love’ was scary and shouty, or that if you love someone it should be dramatic. We might have learned that ‘love’ was silent, sulky and certainly not communicated through affection.

What was happening around you as a child has likely informed your decisions about the type of partner you choose as an adult. Repeating patterns are not always pleasant, but they’re certainly familiar.

In addition to how we saw the world and what we learned about love when we were children, we were also extremely vulnerable. Something as subtle as having overly critical or emotionally unavailable parents can have a big impact on who and how you are as an adult. Through little eyes, the world can look like a dangerous place and it’s likely that you employed protection strategies that may have stopped you from getting hurt, emotionally or physically.

Creating a tough outer shell or a sentinel-like vigilance may have been necessary when you were 3 feet tall, but how is that working for you now? How are the protective behavioural patterns you employed as a child serving you in your life as an adult?

In my own life, I have sometimes struggled to connect fully; to really let my partner in. My experience as a child taught me that loving relationships were not easy and they wouldn’t last. So as an adult, it felt safer to never let anyone come too close, in case the same thing happened again.

All the self-loving actions in the world couldn’t compete with my unconscious internal message that love was unsafe and ultimately destined to end.

Whilst it may sound quite depressing; on the contrary, I have found it to be massively empowering. As I now know this about myself, I can make a decision when I feel myself withdrawing, I can choose to come closer and to see this as a pattern that was created many years ago in order to protect me – it’s not who I am. Because of this, I am now so much closer to my current partner.

Discovering your personal barriers to love

It’s taken me many years to discover my own barriers to love and I’m still uncovering more and more layers of the onion each day. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to discovering what’s getting in the way of you and the love you deserve, but there are proven tools and techniques that can help. My most recent ‘ah-ha’ moment came whilst taking part in an online workshop known as the Groundwork.

Collective Evolution readers get 25% off the standard price and you will get to learn more about some of the tools and techniques I used at www.dothegroundwork.com (use the coupon code: collective to get your 25% discount).

When you discover your unique barriers to love, know that you created them a long time ago with your own best interests and safety at heart. Dissolve them with the love they were created with; acknowledging and thanking the little one, that still lives inside you, for being there and for doing the best they could when things got tough.

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Consciousness

How To Have Your Own Personal Zen Master Around Anytime You Descend Into Stress

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

When you look at a true spiritual master, guru or yogi, one of the most remarkable things you might notice is that they don’t seem to experience stress. You might conclude that they arrive at this state through meditation, fasting, prayer, or other such disciplines. This is only partly true. Those spiritual practices can certainly contribute to stress reduction, but their ultimate effect is to support the maintenance of ONE KEY THOUGHT that spiritual masters hold in their minds (and bodies) with unfailing certainty.

Granted, this key thought is not easy to grasp, hold as truth, and then deeply embody within yourself. Throughout history spiritual masters have done their darndest to articulate it for those hoping for inner peace and harmony. The limitations of language, of all human languages, is woefully revealed in these attempts. But if you are ready, open, and genuinely seeking–an ‘aspirant’ as they say in yoga–then it becomes possible for a certain expression or turn of phrase to begin to activate your deeper inner knowledge of the state some call samadhi, enlightenment, Christ consciousness, or what I like to simply term presence. Are you ready?

Stress-Free Perception

In a true state of presence it is impossible to feel stress. Impossible. That is because stress is predicated on our seeing the world as dualistic. In a state of presence we embody a perception of singularity. The apperception of the world as whole, as unified, is truth unmasked.

From a perception of unity there is no past or future, there is only now. Note that human experience is only ever experienced through the now, past experiences were only ever experienced in the now, and the same will hold for our future experiences. Having the experience of presence helps us get a glimpse that time itself is a fabrication, a ‘program’ that helps our intentionally limited minds have a particularly lush and interesting kind of experience in the physical world.

How We Create Stress

But let’s get back to our everyday time-bound consciousness. For those of you who earnestly seek to dissolve your stress, and are open and willing to let go of anything your mind is clinging to in order to achieve it, I will try to explain the one key thought.

The experience of stress is the experience of the tension or dissonance between two things: how your world IS in any moment, and how you think it SHOULD BE. You create stress by carrying in your mind an image of how something in the NOW—yourself and others, the presence or absence of things, the weather—is NOT OK as it is. That puts you into a self-created adversarial relationship with the only point of contact you have with life.

Fortunately, your emotions alert you to this crazy confabulation, by making you aware of internal discomfort you label as STRESS. This STRESS is nothing more than an urgent signal from your higher intelligence to return to presence. But in a state of stress how can you possibly return to presence?

The One Key Thought Into Presence

You need to get into the habit of using your awareness of your own stress as a trigger to align yourself with this one key thought: everything is perfect as it is. It’s like having your own personal Zen master around any time you descend into stress asking you the well-worn koan, ‘What, in this moment, is lacking?’

It works. Trust me.

But it only works to the extent that you are willing to let go of the past (and future), along with all your judgments, grievances, ‘shoulds’, hopes, and fears that arise out of a dualistic perception. If you are truly willing and able to deeply hold this one key thought as ULTIMATE truth, above ALL other beliefs and opinions, you will start to feel it working.

Spiritual Context

If you have doubts about this one key thought representing ultimate truth, allow me to provide the spiritual context I work with in which the statement makes perfect sense.

A common thread at the heart of all great spiritual traditions is that we are all immortal souls who are currently having a ‘human’ experience. The circumstances of this life experience were chosen by us to facilitate our soul’s evolution. So any time you feel stress, you can see it as the universe prodding you to take an evolutionary step. That evolutionary step is to see the perfection in everything, if only for a moment at first. If you’re game, these brief moments of clarity add up quickly to a more permanent step up.

An Example

Let’s say for example you’re stuck in traffic, and realize you are going to be late for a meeting. Maybe it’s even your ‘fault’, because you left late or didn’t check your GPS. If you’re feeling stressed about it, realize it’s because things are not how your mind thinks they should be. Your mind thinks you ‘should’ be at the meeting on time–to get some important information, perhaps, or because your reputation as a reliable person is at stake, and you will be judged by others at the meeting in a way that may impact your future success.

Now, you can continue to be stressed in that moment (and subsequently for the entire drive to the office), or you can take ALL that very reasonable blather of ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’, roll it up in a ball, and drop it into your faux-ashtray. You will be able to do this if you reach for presence, if you remind yourself that there is only the present moment, and in the present moment you can choose to experience stress, or choose to experience peace. If you choose to be fully present you accept the present moment exactly as it is, realize there is nothing you can DO in that moment to remedy the so-called problem, and take the evolutionary step of seeing everything as perfect in this so-called ‘stressful’ moment. There is no problem now–and you will deal with the ‘problem’ when the ‘problem’ arises. You are simply in a car driving. You will then start to feel relief, and gain confidence that if you maintain presence through your arrival to the office, your late entry into the meeting, and your conversations afterwards, the ‘problem’ will never arise and you will literally breeze through the whole experience. You will be ‘ok’ with whatever happens.

Common Fears About Presence

FEAR: If I go into presence I will lose my mind.

Maybe-but only in a good way. Lol. Seriously, presence is not losing one’s mind, it is aligning one’s mind properly, with the timeless ‘true mind’ playing the role of master and the time-bound ‘false mind’ (ego) playing the role of servant, allowing the true mind to interface as it pleases with the time-governed physical world.

FEAR: If I go into presence I will stop trying to make my life better.

Perhaps. After all, what is better than presence, where everything is perfect? But there is more to it. You may be surprised to hear that a state of presence does not thwart action, it only thwarts reaction, fear-based, ego-sponsored drives to alleviate doubt, fear, insecurity, stress. In a state of presence the true mind decides on action, the best action for the situation, which is then carried out in perfect flow with the environment.

FEAR: It’s too hard to do and I’ll ultimately fail.

Failure is impossible. Patience, though, is required. The evolution of consciousness might seem like waves rising and falling on the shore, but the high water marks accumulate and eventually produce a stable higher state of awareness. Remembering and forgetting presence is natural, but with persistence it is remembered more often, maintained for a longer period of time, and eventually becomes part of your normal, base perception. With this as your base perception, then, it is truly possible for you to experience a life free of stress.

 

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Consciousness

Are We Well Adjusted To A Profoundly Sick Society?

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Following up on a classic quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti, what does it mean to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society?

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

Continue Reading

Consciousness

How To Ground Yourself: A Simple Yet Powerful Technique

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CE Staff Writer 2 minute read

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Mental health challenges, depression and even physical illness, are all on the rise. All three are believed by emerging research to be linked to trauma.

Thankfully, nervous system health and trauma are becoming a big part of what people talk about as it seems people are looking to get to the root of these issues more now than ever before.

After coming to my own realization that I was traumatized from experiences I had, I began studying trauma to not only help myself but to see how I could further improve my own media work – which has been, in essence, trauma-informed, since 2009.

What I’ve come to feel is that trauma affects almost all of us in some way, while there is not much data to back that up, I truly believe this to be the case. Learning useful skills to work through that trauma is becoming important in order to take our health into our own hands.

In the video below, I talk a bit about how events going on in the world can make us feel anxious and worried, and how that affects our bodies, minds, and health. I also share a simple yet powerful technique for sensory grounding.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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