Sunday 6 February 2011

Healing Relationships: Part 4 - All Forms are Provisional (by Franco Santoro)

Nothing lasts in the physical realm, everything is provisional. The bodies of the people we love all have a date of expiry, including our own bodies. These bodies move around for a while and then, often without notice, they die, leaving behind inevitable pain, loss and anger. 

All the physical bodies of our beloved ones are bound to vanish at a certain stage, because they are part of a dream, an illusion, which when it is accepted as reality, allows the ego’s separated world to thrive. Yet those we love continue to remain in our emotions and minds even when they are not physically visible or close anymore. We continue to relate with them in our thoughts and feelings.

Thoughts and feelings are not considered reality, for what is officially real here is only the visible physical world. Everything and everyone in this physical world is provisional and can vanish in a moment. Yet thoughts and feelings continue to survive. 

All is destined to physically fade away in this separated world, although it keeps living at other levels. How come then that these other levels are not considered real? Why do we consider real only what is bound to die? Is not this a proof of the madness of this world? How is it possible not to feel frustrated and desperate in such a desolate scenario? 

Yet, we are not trapped in this nightmare, because its cause can be changed at a mental level. First of all, I need to become aware of the confusion that the identification with physical reality generates in my relationships. I need to realise that the crucial activity occurs at the level of the mind and become aware of what I think. 

What do I think about myself? What do I think about the person I relate with? What truly unites me and the other? Is it the physical body? Is it our mind? And where is God[i] in this relationship? These are crucial questions I need to ask myself, for the answer determines what actually happens in a relationship.

Although the level of the mind may appear rather complex, it is in the end very simple and straightforward. Whereas at a physical level there are incalculable forms, in the mental realm there are only two types of thought forms: those based on unity and those based on separation. There are no other thoughts, or as A Course in Miracles puts it “there are no neutral thoughts”. 

Everything you see is the result of your thoughts. There is no exception to this fact. Thoughts are not big or little; powerful or weak. They are merely true or false. Those which are true create their own likeness. Those which are false make theirs.” (ACIM, W16.1:2-7) 

The thoughts we have determine the nature of our relationships. Every thought we have can bring unity or separation, love or fear, peace or war. Hence when working with relationships I need to be aware of my thoughts. In every moment I can discriminate between two types of thoughts. And I need to be alert about my thoughts, for a tiny thought of separation produces results that will reflect in my rapport with the world.

Relating with the Mind. What counts primarily here is the relationship I have with my mind, which is also the mind that exists everywhere. There is free circulation among minds. Thoughts are not stuck in my individual mind. The concept of an individual mind is based on separation and, from a perspective of unity, is totally insane. 

There are no private thoughts, all thoughts are public and have an effect on the environment. Hence what I think with my mind affects other minds, simply because minds are not personal attributes. There is nothing like “my” or “your” mind, there is just one mind. And, once separation is transformed into unity, this mind becomes the Mind of God.

In our relationships what counts is not the physical interaction involved, whether I meet or ignor the person, whether I physically behave in a certain way. What counts is the type of thoughts I have. These thoughts produce effects at a physical or emotional level. It follows here that in order to heal relationships, it is very valuable to devote abundant time to practices that involve a focused use of the mind, such as meditation, shamanic journeys, affirmations, prayers, etc. It is also vital to exercise ongoing vigilance on our thoughts, promoting thoughts of unity and letting go of thoughts of separation.

This does not mean that I have to be alert round the clock like a watchdog. Being in constant control generates tension and here I need to learn also to be compassionate for my thoughts of separation, for these thoughts are not healed through repression. They are healed when they are transformed into thoughts of unity, when I truly acknowledge that they do not serve me, when I understand their cause and let them go.

There are only two types of attitudes regarding love: expressions of love and requests of love. Thoughts of separation are requests of love. If I respond to a thought of separation with a thought of unity, I respond to a request from a part of the mind that is trapped in separation and this allows it to be released, liberated, healed, so that ultimately there is only one mind. The work of unity is not about cutting out separation by repressing and destroying it, by creating a dictatorship of unity. It is about responding to separation with unity. Hence we can relax in the awareness that there is nothing to fight, learning to relate from a perspective of unity.

Working at a mental level can be hard because thoughts often go unnoticed and what I perceive are only their physical and emotional developments, without any apparent clue of where they come from. Hence when dealing with physical or emotional issues, such as loss, pain, suffering, fear or anger, the healing aim is to find out where they come from, where they originated. 

If I remain at the physical and emotional level, I get more and more confused for I am dealing with effects and overlook the cause. I need to ask myself: what is the thought that originated this issue? And perhaps this is a thought that was produced long ago, millions of years ago. Yet the point is not to find out who is the culprit, who has created that thought. What counts is to find the thought itself and to do it now, for if we think it now, this proves that we are the creators of that thought, and that we can also choose to let it go.

This choice requires that we first identify the thought of separation and then let it go, so that it can return to unity and be transformed. “The above process requires patience and perseverance, and I may need to spend a large amount of time in the primary stage of identification, before I move into the second step of letting go, which may also require further time. 

The first two steps in this process require your cooperation. The final one does not. Your images have already been replaced. By taking the first two steps, you will see that this is so.” (ACIM, W23.5:3-5). This is forgiveness. And of forgiveness “your mind holds the keys”.

Forgiveness paints a picture of a world where suffering is over, loss becomes impossible and anger makes no sense. Attack is gone, and madness has an end. What suffering is now conceivable? What loss can be sustained? The world becomes a place of joy, abundance, charity and endless giving. It is now so like to Heaven that it quickly is transformed into the light that it reflects. And so the journey which the Son of God began has ended in the light from which he came.” (ACIM, W249.1:1-7)
Photo: Two skeletons locked in a primal embrace and thought to be 5,000 to 6,000, which were uncovered a few weeks ago by archaeologists in Italy. For more details see:


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