We need to recall the angel aspect of the word, recognizing words as independent carriers of soul between people. We need to recall that we do not just make words up or learn them in school, or ever have them fully under control. Words, like angels, are powers which have invisible power over us. They are personal presences which have whole mythologies: genders, genealogies (etymologies concerning origins and creations), histories, and vogues; and their own guarding, blaspheming, creating, and annihilating effects. For words are persons. This aspect of the word transcends their nominalistic definitions and contexts and evokes in our soul a universal resonance. — ‘A Blue Fire’ by James Hillman
What, if we own every feeling?
Standing on my balcony this evening I was feeling this slight tinge of irritation creep up on me. As I realized that I own this feeling, that this is indeed my feeling, a deep breath happened upon me. I stood upright. “This too is me, this is mine,” I thought.
Looking a few inches deeper the idea of possession became strange. What could I possibly own? Where could I store what I own? Do I own a memory? Is this memory about the day of today my memory?
We say these things but more often than not, when my mind can freewheel, they lose a lot of sense just a few inches below the surface. Nevertheless, owning that feeling of irritation I was nourished and strengthened. Making this feeling mine made me stand tall. So the idea of ownership my be strange a few inches deep into the realm of the soul, the process of owning makes very good sense.
What reveals itself in thinking about the relationship between me and what I own is static thinking. As if I was something permanent that could have a relationship to something else, that is permanent, and that relationship is a one-way street in which I own whatever-it-is. When my thinking goes a bit deeper still the flow of “I” and “it” is more apparent, and from that view “owning my irritation” is as if I would take in something of myself that was externalized.
I differentiated myself from the irritation – which is a good move for a child needing to come to express predictable and reliable behavior. I externalized my irritation and placed it with the cause. Now “it”, whatever “it” is, irritates me; it is irritating me – I become the recipient of irritation, its victim.
Growing up, being ‘adult’, over time “I” was insulating myself from my feelings and impressions, and finally also concepts, ideas, whatever it was – I was not that. I was the “eternal witness” disengaged from life in many ways (even though often enough not really, because I behaved like many other men in situations with a strong emotional load), or I at least aimed for being/living That.
Going through periods of softening up to the other(s), discovering we-fullness and the amazing energies and being that can unfold and come into being between us, in critical times a critical ripening happened.
Coming back to re-internalizing what I have externalized over the last 50 years or so might take a while 🙂 But it is maybe not so much a goal as an orientation. Owning my feelings is a practice, not a goal; it is something that becomes part of the way I live.
Static think believes in things, and relationships between beings and other beings and beings and things. In this constellation of people and things there is more or less rigid limits between everybody and everything. In this scenario you can make me feel things, you are the cause of what happens to me. Or also things and situations are the causes of how I feel, and think and last but not least behave.
More fluid thinking probably out of the practice of owning what it feels and sees and hears leads to much more respect towards others and things and situations. O yes, feelings and thoughts and behavior can still be triggered, but the triggering event itself or the feelings triggered are a much more fluid affair. What happens is much more happening within processes which do have a mysterious end; this end does have a name but in itself is another process: living.
The irritation that the child externalizes is not the same irritation that I re-internalize, or own. Both the irritation and I have been passing through a great number of processes – and yet we both are still recognizable. Re-internalized irritation is – most likely – a driving energy behind this investigation that turned into a blog post.