By Kathy Harwood Long
Last January, I appealed to readers of Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine: consider showing up for this article each month for one year if you want to address the suffering in our society. Consider choosing a primary approach by giving attention to your relationship with family members. This is Big Work, but it is worthy work.
Years ago, I experienced what I call Gentle Healing. In my thirties, I was asked by my remaining parent to remember happy times from my childhood. We each had offered up one request as we bargained our way back into regular contact. Does anyone have difficulty remembering happy experiences unpolluted by the proverbial shoe that would drop and squash the happiness?! This was a challenging assignment.
I created a one-week retreat and was counseled to put my attention on any experience of unconditional love, not necessarily with humans. For days I sustained the combination of spiritual focus and the willingness to seek out happy childhood memories.
Finally, a wave of tiny, simple memories: happily staring at my mom’s body after a bath…skating with my new stepfather…visceral experiences of love and happiness. For at least an hour, I knew absolute quiet–a gentle numinous love as me, always present, purged me of all my justified hurt, righteous anger, and sense of abandonment.
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who, in the early 1900s, worked with patients in mental wards, with those ignored and considered unworkable. He wrote: “The main interest of my work is not concerned with the treatment of neuroses but rather with the approach to the numinous. But the fact is that the approach to the numinous is the real therapy, and since you attain the numinous experience, you are released from the curse of pathology.” (Gerhard Adler, ed., C.G. Jung Letters, vol. 1)
The pathology of our time is suffering primarily relating to love, families, and our sense of separation. The numinous, which evokes awareness of the spiritual, the Divine, is not suffering but lives as us. What happens when the numinous, innocent love, the truth of who we are, is remembered? Realized? What influence does this have in our primary relationships with our parents, children, and families? For me and many others, an energized willingness to keep showing up with our family members becomes powerfully undeniable. We become willing to learn about love:
- How to live it.
- How to speak it.
- How to care for ourselves amid the sloppy, challenging learning that is ours to do.
Could it be that we’ve deluded ourselves into expecting something external will fix our pathology–like a pill, a drug, a partner? Is it possible that reconnecting with numinous love is our way of gentle healing, creating wholeness instead of divisions? Let’s do this, dear readers–let’s create the willingness to reconnect with numinous love!