Excerpted by Roger Fritz from: The Dawn Horse Testament, by Adi Da, pages 355-359.
Summary: The proper response to being hurt isn't to shun the one who hurt you. The proper response is self defense.
Some people are afraid to love. Fear is only destructive, and it is entirely unnecessary. This fear manifests itself to others as rejection, avoidance, and punishment. And it manifests to oneself as self-pity.
Those who are afraid to love receive mistreatment as a insult (and a reason to punish) rather than as a wound. They react with rejection, avoidance and punishment. What it should be met with is self defense.
The ritual of rejection can be transcended only if it is summarily replaced by love.
If you will be love, you must constantly encounter, understand and skillfully transcend the mistreatment by others. Even when they require you to defend yourself, and to control, undermine and discipline the effects caused by their fear.
Those who aren't afraid to love are vulnerable, sensitive to others, and loving. Others inevitably love them. Only the lover is lovable.
Roger's comment: In thinking about this, I've realized that it's vital for love and forgiveness to be balanced with self defense. If I'm going to forgive people who reject me or mistreat me, then I must stand up for myself and defend myself in a non-violent way from the continual abuse.
Only a warrior can go through life with an open heart, loving everyone. When the abuse inevitably starts, a warrior snaps into self-defense mode, and no one gets hurt. Even the abuser doesn't get hurt. When the abuse stops, the warrior snaps back into open-hearted mode, without after-burn or resentment. "Fight? What fight? We didn't have a fight. Come over here and give me a hug."
Some people are bound to the ritual of rejection. This tends to manifest as a chronic complaint that always says, by countless means, "You do not love me." The abusive complaint is itself the means whereby the need to reject, avoid, or fail to love others is enforced. Indeed, this complaint is more than a complaint. It is a self-image, the heart-sick and self-pitying and precious idea that "I" am rejected.
The rejecting person is chronically and reactively contracted from all relations. Fear is the root of this self-contraction, and the conceived purpose of this self-contraction is self-preservation, even self-glorification. Indeed, fear IS the self contraction. Therefore, all of the self-preserving, self-glorifying and punishing efforts of the rejecting person only preserve, glorify and intensify fear.
All of fear, self-contraction and un-love is only suffering. It is only destructive, and it is entirely unnecessary. The ritual of rejection can be transcended only if it is summarily replaced by love.
For those who are committed to love, rejection by others is received and accepted as a wound, not an insult. The necessity to love and be loved is a wound. Even the fullest realization of love is a wound that never heals.
The rejecting ritual calls every individual to defend himself or herself against the wounds of love and the wounding signs of un-love in the daily world. Even in the context of true intimacy, the tendency is to act as if every wound is an insult and a reason to punish.
If you will be love, you must constantly encounter, understand and transcend the rejection rituals of others who are, even if temporarily or only apparently, bereft of wisdom. You must skillfully transcend the tendency to become un-love in reaction to apparent lovelessness of others, even when circumstances require you to make difficult gestures to control the effects or undermine and discipline the negative and destructive effectiveness of the rejection rituals performed by others.
The reactive rituals of rejection must be released by the practice of love. This requires vulnerability (the ability to feel the wounds of love without retaliation), sensitivity to the other (the ability to sympathetically observe, understand, forgive, love, and not punish or dissociate from the other) and love itself (the ability to love, know you are loved, receive love and to know that both you and the other, regardless of any appearance to the contrary, are vulnerable to love and require love).
It is not necessary or even possible to become immune to the feeling of being rejected. You would have to become immune to love itself. What is necessary and also possible is to love. Not only are you loved, but you are love itself.
Love does not fail for you when you are rejected or betrayed or apparently not loved. Love fails for you when you reject, betray and do not love. Don't stand off from relationship. Be vulnerable. Be wounded when necessary, and endure that wound. Don't punish the other. Communicate to one another, even discipline one another, but don't dissociate from one another. Realize that each one wants to love and be loved. Therefore, love.
If you will do this, then you must stop dramatizing the ritual of betrayal. You must stop punishing and rejecting others. When you punish another, you withdraw and withhold love. You only reinforce the feeling of being rejected, and you compound it by rejecting the other. You become un-love. You fail to love. Your own acts of un-love degrade you, delude you and separate you from your love-partner and from love itself.
The habit of reacting to apparent rejection as if it were an insult always coincides with and only reveals the habit of rejecting others. Anyone whose habitual tendency is to reject others in the face of their apparent acts of rejection will tend to reject others even when they are only loving. If you remain vulnerable in love, you will still feel love's wound, but you will remain in love.
To be weak in love is to be independent, insulted, empty with craving, in search of love, manipulative, unhappy, and moved to punish, betray and destroy all relationships. Such a weak one already feels rejected and is never satisfied. Such a one isn't lovable.
Those who love ARE love, and others inevitably love them. Those who seek love aren't love, and so they can't find it. Only the lover is lovable.
Excerpted from: The Dawn Horse Testament, by Adi Da, pages 355-359.