Withholding

There’s a story of a man who finds himself in Hell. In front of him is a long table covered with beautiful food of every type, meat and vegetables and fruit and sweets. There are lots of people around the table, but all they have to eat with are long spoons with very long handles. Not able to hold the spoons and reach them with their mouths, all the people at the table are starving.

Suddenly the man finds himself in heaven, and to his surprise he finds the same situation playing out in front of him. Only this time, instead of starving, all the people are getting fed. They are each using their long spoons to feed the person in front of them.

Our hearts needs gifts, they need a physical showing of love… in order to stay open. Our minds, on the other hand, need loving attention… in order to remain open. Often the two can seem at odds. We often see this in relationships, where a more heart-centered person has trouble relating with a more mind-centered person. I believe my parents were a little like this. “I give, but I do this in order to get.” 

Similarly this plays out inside each of us. My heart was ready to open, but it wanted to make sure that our path would somehow “pay off,” wanting money and gifts as collateral. It wanted guarantees. My mind was ready to go ahead and open up, but it needed approval, and didn’t want to go forward without company. It wanted promises from the heart.

This resulted in a slow game of high-stakes Chicken.

After years of anguish in this position, my mind and heart were finally able to agree on something: we needed A New Strategy. Waiting for the perfect circumstance was just letting our “love power” leak out everywhere. So we detached from our old ways. We went into hermit mode, started meditating, and began learning how to repair that hole. The first thing we saw: that these two parts of me had been withholding love and approval from the other part, and we were all miserable. What would happen if the two parts actually started supporting each other?

“I’m glad you thought that,” said the heart.

“I love you for noticing that,” said the mind.

Slowly but surely, The Love We Were Waiting For was no longer in short supply. What had once seemed like a few drops from broken spigot (or worse, from an eyedropper) now began gushing forth in buckets. Instead of waiting for permissions or approvals or promises or insurance, instead of being beggars… suddenly there was enough for everyone.

Had it always been that way?

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