[This journal entry was originally written on October 27th, 1997. As always, Jay’s current thoughts on this entry are in the post script. Happy reading! ~ Dawn]
Most of us learn manipulation. Most of us are subject to it. Most of us are shown manipulation as a form of love. All too often manipulation is demonstrated in lieu of love. So to bring love into ourselves, into our lives, into our relationships, we must first discover love. Everyone has their individual definitions. We can only bring True Love into our lives if we stop forsaking its true meaning for what we have been shown.
I’m not usually one for throwing bible verses about. Not because they lack truth, but because I’ve all too often seen someone take one verse out of context and twist it into their own version of what is. That’s why it’s a whole book, folks. One verse fits the one prior and the one after, and if they don’t you’re misinterpreting. Anyway, enough explaining. I’m doing it.
I ran across a section in the red letter parts. I don’t have the bible here, so I’m not quoting directly, but I know I got the message. A lawyer asked the messiah what the most important commandment was. He replied that it was to love God first and foremost, in your heart, your mind, and your soul. Then he said, the second was just like the first; love they neighbor as thyself.
Well, there we are. If we all understood this, if we all lived this… First and foremost, he says, and naturally it’s truth. So who is God? What is God? Are we to love some image we’ve formed? No! That is blasphemy! God is Love! Love is Love! God is Life! Love Life! God is Spirit! Love Spirit! God is You! Love you! And, of course, God is every man, every woman, every child, every animal! Love everyone, love everything! Once you learn what love truly is, you can’t help it!
Love is Sympathy, Empathy, Compassion, Passion, Honesty, Adoration, Forgiveness, Peace, Happiness… need I go on? There’s no such thing as “tough love”. I cringe whenever I hear that term. Tough love is found in the Old Testament, floods and famine, punishment and manipulation. God learned that it did no good, because “tough love” is an oxymoron. Love is gentle, accepting, forgiving. “Tough love” is a nice way of saying “manipulation”.
So if our very definition is flawed, how do we bring real, true love into our lives? I defined it in an example long ago, and I think I’ll use that here. If both, or all, parties involved in any exchange, physical, ,verbal, whatever, are able to feel happy and confident during the exchange, and walking away, that’s love. If you never feel manipulated or under duress, and never cause another to feel that way, you are love.
Post Script – Manipulation, The Bible, and You
I’ll really just be writing about manipulation and the Bible here; it’s up to you if you allow my ravings to affect your thinking. I just liked it as a title.
Manipulation used to be a very emotionally charged word for me. When I felt like I was being manipulated by anyone, it was time to go into emotional red alert. Then I evolved a bit, and began using tools. As a tool-using creature, I began to understand that I was manipulating these tools to manipulate other objects to do my bidding. I further realized that there was no emotion to this manipulative process other than my muttered curses or self-congratulation.
This got me to thinking of other possibilities. Perhaps manipulation is like just about everything else: perhaps it is a process that is good or evil only in the context of how it is being used. A good employer manipulates their employee into being as productive as possible, just as a good employee manipulates their employer into a place where it would be difficult or impossible to run the business without them. These are both very positive examples of people deliberately manipulating people or situations to the benefit of nearly everyone involved.
Am I manipulating my sweet love into liking me more if I bring her home flowers? Am I not? Is that bad? Do I have to stare off into the distance with contempt and fill my car with an evil cackle as I bring the flowers home for it to be manipulation? I don’t think so. I think that we are capable of putting great thought and much emotion into lovingly manipulating those closest to us, Moreover, I think that failing to make this process a deliberate one is a failure indeed. Every thing each of us does affects those around us. Furthermore, those things typically add up in a way that describes a theme. In other words, people usually treat you the way they do because of who you are. (Those with a bit of wisdom are allowed to say “duh” at this point… right after you count up how many people you know who don’t have a realistic grasp of that simple statement.)
Transitioning from discussing manipulation to discussing the Bible should feel pretty natural for most people who grew up in a home that had one. (Prepare for another “duh” moment…) This book was originally a collection of books written in several different languages that haven’t been spoken for some time now. They were then edited. Many books were removed entirely. Then they got translated. Then they got edited again. After that, they were edited and translated at least one more time before being put into one book and made available to the general public. I grew up with a King James Bible in my parent’s house, and for a long time I didn’t realize that meant some dude a few hundred years ago took out things he didn’t like and put in some things he did like. I say all this because these were things I did not know when this journal entry was written. I know them now. I see the Bible now as a book with some cool stuff and some lame stuff, like many books. I must say I am still particularly fond of quotes from Jesus, even knowing they are assuredly somewhat altered.
I think that the way we treat others is generally pretty indicative of how we treat ourselves. For the most part, the neighbor does get treated much like one’s many selves. We can’t extend love until we have cultivated it within, but we can’t resist the urge to extend it once it has blossomed internally. It’s still wise at this point to choose which neighbors might prove to be the best emotional investments. As far as I know, even Jesus only had twenty-four hours in a day.
The story of Jesus is the most important part of the Bible to me. There have been many books written about him and his further adventures in the matrix of consciousness, and some of the other stories are way more entertaining. These stories can all be bridges to delightful possible realities, but the most important thing they do for me is make me feel more immersed in the consciousness that was the apparent point of such an existence.
If there is one book I wish I had been given when I was twelve or fourteen years old, it would have been a book written by one of my favorite authors for that very purpose. It’s called “The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are”, and it’s by Alan Watts. I would nominate that the modern American bible if I could, but I don’t think I would declare it so even if I were king. If your kids (or you) have a little trouble following the great Alan Watt’s marathon sentences and tangental forays, try a book designed for the modern mind interested in authentic spirituality. It’s called “Stumbling Backasswards Into The Light”. I heartily endorse every word. Order it here. Thanks for reading!