What's Between You and Me?
By Leslie Reynolds Benns
Imagine you're standing at the bow of a large ocean liner. You're standing right at the apex and looking out across a deep blue ocean. You feel a fresh breeze in your hair. You feel the sun beaming down, warming your body to an exquisite temperature. You haven't a care in the world and experience total satisfaction. You are alone on the ship which doesn't bother you, at all. There is no land in sight, which gives you a sense of emancipation. Just bask in that freedom, for a moment.
Now the sun is setting as night falls. You stand in that stillness, in the beauty of the changing colors of the sky and joy surges through your body. You feel as if you are looking into the face of God.
Then night comes and stars emerge in the darkening sky. You see the moon off to your left. You then notice the North Star and begin to pick out the constellations. Total peace.
You have total peace and satisfaction. The evening temperature becomes a bit chilly and you look down and pick up a light jacket beside you. Your needs are anticipated and immediately filled. When you experience hunger, a sandwich appears. Total peace and a deep satisfaction.
But then you start to wonder where the rest of the world is. All of your needs are taken care of, and yet you begin to long for companionship, but there is none. "Ah well," you sigh. "Too bad. I guess it's not for me." And you continue on through days and nights of what you would have thought of as bliss. You get increasing uncomfortable.
Then you see another ship just crowning the horizon. You watch as it comes closer. It is just like yours. You become excited. You eagerly squint your eyes to see more clearly. The ship is a long way off, so you have to wait. And wait and wait. The ship appears to be empty. Your ebullient mood falls, but you know that you'll survive. Then you look at the ship as it comes closer, and you spy another person, standing on the bow of that ship. What do you feel? What do you feel as you recognize another human being standing before you?
Expectation? Anticipation? Love? Joy? Such is the nature of human beings. We are social creatures. We human beings are profoundly related. Did you wonder about the race of that person on the other boat? Did you wonder about what that individual did for a living? Where she or he went to school? Did you even care if the person was male or female? Did you wonder about his or her religion? The language she or he spoke? Unlikely. We're welcoming another human being and are willing to accept them without reservation.
Without reservation until the blush of first exposure fades.
If we have all this love and acceptance of our fellows from a distance, what is the source of the conflicts we experience in our lives? Why can't we find a good partner? Why do we repeat the same mistakes over and over, again? Why do we fight so bitterly with our spouses, the ones we love so deeply? The answer in a nutshell is psychic clutter. Our clutter clogs our channels to unconditional love. Our clutter, not theirs.
There's hope in transforming this dismal condition. That hope is found first in personal confession – owning or admitting material that was previously hidden from sight, unburdening of our conscience or a cleansing of our souls. When we've done something that we are less than pleased with, confession relieves us of the burden either consciously or unconsciously carried. The so-called guilty conscience has been rehabilitated. When we've confessed to a person we may have harmed or misled, and offer a remedy, our personal integrity is reestablished.
However, confession does more than uncover incidents about which we feel guilt. A complete confession also reveals the sources of our actions that may have become so automatic that we no longer notice them. Uncovering and discarding the origin of these actions sets us free to create our life anew. Our psyches are like school "blackboards" that collected chalk dust on their surfaces from repeated erasures and can only be read clearly after being wiped with a damp cloth. Confession is the damp cloth for our psyches. Confession is the first step in transforming ourselves, our relationships and our society and is often called by different names: gaining integrity, becoming responsible, enlightenment.
Excerpted from Confession is Good for More than the Soul
About the Author
Leslie Reynolds-Benns, PhD, author, most recently of Confession is Good for More than the Soul. Speaker, trainer, workshop leader, community activist and wedding officiant. Sign up for a FR+E+E 4-part mini e-course - CREATING YOUR OWN REALITY - on the sidebar at http://www.lesliereynoldsbenns.com.
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| Some other articles by Leslie Reynolds Benns|