“God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.”
~Hazrat Inayat Khan
One habitual pattern of reactivity that hobbles most humans in their relationships with each other, and even with the Divine, is the Game of Rejection. It’s a developmentally immature tit-for-tat syndrome, based on a contraction at the heart. It could also be characterized as a wound of love upon which we have emotionally fixated, even at the subconscious level. This contraction tends to manifest in our social interactions as the chronic complaint and retaliatory mood: “You don’t love me, so I will withhold my love from you!”
As self-contracted individuals, beset by a classic struggle waged internally amid conflicts born of grasping and avoiding, we compose this running complaint into a fixed self-image (the rejected one, the unloved one, the offended one), and so strike out in hurt and anger to punish the perceived cause of our wound – our relations, the ones who fail to adore and please us, who fail to confirm our existence in the manner we would prefer.
If we honestly inspect our own core identity program, we can notice that fear is at the root of this self-contraction, and that the function of it is self-preservation – the survival and even elevation of the ego-mind-self we have imagined ourselves to be. Conditioned by the divisive propaganda of the world, this mental construct is based on a fantasy story in which we have been investing an assumed reality since first becoming self-conscious – the absorbing narrative of “me and mine”.
After all, what are we perpetually striving to assert, protect, and defend, if not some fundamental image we cherish of ourselves? The self-contraction’s primal orientation is fear, and so all efforts at preserving the self-image only tend to reinforce this malignant attitude of fear itself, even to the extent of rejecting all relations which would appear to challenge our identified positions.
Everyone knows exactly what unconditional love feels like, just as everyone knows what it is like to be perfectly happy, perfectly at peace, and free of wanting. However, that knowledge has become obscured to a greater or lesser degree by forms of ignorance which we have cumulatively superimposed on our innocent and pure knowing. That obscuring contraction at the heart manifests in life and relations in the form of greed, envy, hatred, arrogance, anger, and all self-serving strategies of fear, separation, and prejudice.
We are here to learn again — to re-cognize — through the experience of being human, just what our original face looks like, the divine face of Love. Due to the density of our amnesia, most of us seem to require a demonstration of what we already know in our hearts, to remind us of our original nature. When we witness acts of true love, for example, something resonates behind the armor we have constructed over time (based on perceived hurts) to protect and defend our transient self-images.
In order for us to resume our natural state, the spontaneous innocence of original nature, the Game of Rejection based on this heart-binding self-contraction must be investigated, seen for what it is, and whole-heartedly discarded. It must become thoroughly obsolete in the revelatory light of awakening to who and what we really are (and aren’t). What we have been expressing through the Game of Rejection is our failure to adapt to and mature beyond the adolescent and destructive moods of un-love with which we habitually infect our relationships.
We need to directly recognize how this fear-based self-contraction is being constantly played out in conditioned and repetitive patterns, constantly being re-confirmed in the form of the neurotic message “You don’t love me, so I won’t love you”. Through all the personal and social media, politics, religion, and family life, we are chronically inserting that childish message of conflict and ambivalence. It is all-pervasive, and the cause of most of the turbulence we experience in this human realm, particularly when coupled with the uninspected sexual motive and impulse. Once this is fully understood, then we can begin to release its fixated grip on our emotional life, little by little, or in great leaps.
The only solvent to this complex Game of Rejection is love, but prior to recognizing who and what we are, prior to awakening to our own Divinity, love is simply another “four letter word”. Thus, life itself requires that we be humbled enough to recognize our error of judgment and appreciation, and in such recognition, in such genuine humility, allow what is prior to emerge from slumber. That which is prior is Awareness itself, and the function of Awareness is selfless compassion, the natural projection of unconditional real Love, limitless and free.
Moreover, if we will be Love, we must constantly encounter, understand, and see through the game being played out by others who may still be trapped in the vicious cycle of complaint and retaliation, and be willing to lovingly bear the wound, in order to skillfully transcend it through uncontrived forgiveness, rather than habitually falling back into the mood of un-love ourselves.
The Game of Rejection requires its players to defend themselves against the wounds of Love, and to react as if every wound is a personal attack. However, if we attempt to become immune to the feelings aroused by apparent rejection, we would also need to become immune to Love Itself. That is the essence of the self-contraction.
What is possible is to surrender our grievances, to relax and let go of all grudges and stories of betrayal and rejection that have characterized our relationships. Only by doing so can we begin to awaken to our fundamental identity as a unique manifestation of Source’s own unconditional Love. When we are able to recognize the apparent “other” as our self, then compassion has at last become real in our case — Love re-cognizes Itself.
To do this, we need to stop acting betrayed and offended in reaction to the feeling of being apparently rejected. We need to persistently understand, see through, and go beyond that tendency conditioned into our emotional being by the hateful propaganda of this realm. That is, we must stop punishing and rejecting others as a matter of habitual reactivity, stop withholding love, even if it seems as if the natural reaction would have us to strike back in self-defense. This is difficult, and takes sincere and dedicated practice, but what is the alternative?
Love does not fail us when we are apparently rejected, betrayed, and not loved. Love only fails when we ourselves reject, betray, and withhold love. Our habit of reacting to the apparent rejection by others as if it were a personal insult always coincides with our reactive habit of rejecting others. Unless this dark equation is interrupted by heartfelt insight, this game inevitably escalates, imprinting notches in the grooves of the relationship program which are increasingly difficult to erase.
Since all relations are energy interactions, the only way to resolve the ensuing contraction of that angry game of rejection is to re-adapt our own energy vibration and feeling-being to the heart-sense of the innocent, the child-like, and become once again utterly vulnerable in love. This is also why the Christ archetype suggests we become again like little children, if we would awaken to our true radiance. By remaining vulnerable in love, we will still feel Love’s wound, but we will manage to persist in Love. Therefore, the most direct way to know Love in every moment is to be Love in every moment. Nothing else will pacify our heart.