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On Feeling Safe - part one

the Emergence Explorer

Questions for the Week of July 31, 2006

Emergence Character Type Babies 9-AI-2

This Week's Questions

[posed by John F.]
  • Is the concept of "being safe" a meta-idea?
  • Why is it so hard for us to take in comfort and love?
  • Is not being able to see peoples' desire to comfort others as love an injury?

Do you know?

Opening Comments: Feeling Safe. I got a glimpse of what I have been missing for the first time in my life. I saw this recently when friends tried to comfort me during a very painful emergence. I rejected their efforts as quickly as I could. As I rejected them, though, I could see the pain in their faces.

I now realize that I have been stone walling those closest to me for as long as I can remember, and have seen this disconnect in others before, as well as their pain. I never connected my rejecting the person's efforts to comfort me, though, as the source of their pain.

As I think about it, feeling safe is something I rarely feel, and I can see some pretty obvious evidence for this. For instance, for the past fifteen years, I've been practicing a martial art; Aikido. I also carry a knife on my person at all times, and have self defense weapons in my vehicles and in my home.

As I thought about all this the other day, I got a little scared of me. I am beginning to understand why people don't want to get too close to me. I am also beginning to see why I have such a hard time relaxing and being myself; I don't feel safe, and I never have, for as long as I can remember.

[Question 1] I have a hard time seeing peoples' desires to comfort others as them making efforts to love and connect. Is this inability to see comfort as love an injury in me? As I think about it, a "hole" seems to be the best way to describe what I feel. I feel like I have a hole in me.
[Answer] Yes, John, Your inability to see peoples' urges to comfort others as love is a very big hole. And definitely, this "hole" indicates an injury in you. In fact, in the language of Emergence, this hole is a block and a very serious one at that.

On a positive note, your asking me this question tells me you are already taking steps toward healing this block. What you might try next, then, would be to try picturing the following. Try picturing your wife comforting your three year old son. Can you picture her doing this? If you can't, then you know where you need to start; by reclaiming your ability to picture someone being comforted.

If you can though, ask yourself this. Ask yourself how seeing this makes you feel. For instance, do you feel good when you picture this, or do you feel something else, unsafe, for instance?

How about picturing your son being denied comfort. Can you picture this happening to your son? If so, how do you feel when you picture this? Can you see this as an act of cold heartedness, for instance?

This, then, is where to begin; by exploring your ability to picture people being comforted. And being denied comfort. And when you have some of this healed, you can take some next steps by exploring pictures in which people feel safe.

For instance, can you picture yourself feeling safe somewhere? What do you picture? Can you also picture someone comforting you and at the same time, feel safe? If not, can you picture yourself allowing someone to comfort you, even though you do not feel safe?

John, as you can see, this injury is pretty broad in scope. In other words, it affects a lot of things in your life. Know, though, that the broadest injury is still rooted in a single traumatic moment, and in this case, a single event in which you were startled in the midst of feeling safe. In all likelihood then, in this scene, you were feeling safe and being comforted and then got startled.

Finally, know that the easiest way to provoke healing in and around this block would be for you to use direct emergence. How? By having someone who knows how to guide you repeatedly comfort you. In a controlled way, of course, and with you as the one who gets to say when and how. You would keep doing it until you laughed and felt the delight of healing. Along with the effortless recall and urges to keep doing it.

John, I know you can heal this injury. More important, you deserve to feel safe. And you deserve to enjoy being comforted.

[Question 2] Is the concept of "being safe" a meta-idea? What I mean is, is the idea of "safe" only something you sense, or can it exist without people? It seems to me it is similar in nature to how the lines around a square define a square.
[Answer] Although I've never thought about it this way, yes, as I think about it, "safe" is a meta-idea, a broad category of Layer 2 experience. Which makes it hard to define other than by offering examples. After all, Layer 2 is one of the "functional" Layers, the Layers which define what we do and how we act.

In a way then, the idea of feeling "safe" is very analogous to the idea of securely knowing you will not feel "pain," where "pain" is also a meta-idea.

What makes these concepts so difficult to grasp? The idea that they exist, and are useful, only as relative terms, and never as an absolute reference. What I mean is, there is no such thing as an absolute measure for either idea, neither for feeling "safe" nor for feeling "pain." Thus peoples' sense of pain is merely a measure of how much the intensity of a particular sensation varies from the person's normal sense of this sensation. This may mean the person senses something very much more than they usually do. It also could be they sense something considerably less than they normally sense it. Thus, tickling can be as intensely painful as getting burned but in a different way. It all depends on the person's own reference levels of normal sensation.

"Safe" varies in the same manner. Thus, while abuse and neglect do exist, within normal behaviors, what feels safe to one person can feel unsafe to another. Witness your reaction in Question one to people being comforted.

To be honest, John, what would help you the most here would be to somehow work towards reclaiming some kind of normal reference experience for what it feels like to feel safe. This norm need not be the same as anyone else's. However, it should at least be similar to the levels which exist in those people you consider yourself closest to. This similarity, then, helps you to be able to connect to the people you are close to.

[Question 3] As I think about writing this next question, I feel reluctant to actually write it down. Rather than not write it though, I am going to ask it anyway. My question is, why take in someone's effort to love and comfort. (No need to answer. I was in layer 5.)
[Answer] I'm also reluctant to write down what I have to say about this. Like you, I'm going to answer anyway.

Why take in someone's love and comfort? Simple. To exist. In fact, similar to the way Rene Descartes said the proof we exist is that we think, I believe the proof we exist is that we can love and comfort each other. So am I saying that those who cannot love and comfort others do not exist? I'll leave this question for you to answer.

[Question 4] Does my ability to fight and use weapons comfort me? Or does it send me outwards towards the outer Layers?
[Answer] Actually, although I cannot know for sure what is in your head, knowing you as I do, I would say that your ability to defend yourself is a Layer 2 response to years and years of feeling unsafe. And afraid.

Both feelings, then, are painful experiences for which we have, built into us, certain natural responses. These natural responses exist to ameliorate our suffering, shock for instance. And in your case, you deal with your suffering by improving your ability to fight and use weapons. In effect, then, these Layer 2, "head-with-feet," responses are simply a way in which to divert our experiences of pain.

[Question 5] What makes it so hard for us to take in comfort and love?
[Answer] John, here you've asked one of the biggest questions of all; what makes it so hard for us to take in comfort and love? The answer? Our birth wound biases us toward avoiding situations in which we can relive our birth. Which is to say, being born instills in us a natural tendency toward avoiding any situations in which we may experience the loss of connection. In other words, we avoid love and comfort because when it ends, we feel the painful aloneness of disconnecting.

This avoidance is the entire root of human personality. It is also the one thing we humans have in common regardless of how differently we were raised or currently live: We all want love. And we all avoid it like the plague.

(to be continued next week)

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