What most powerfully grabs our attention in our outer experience is what most relates to our inner search (for healing, growth, wisdom, and so on)–that is, our “spiritual path.” Thus, we are most attracted to what we perceive in the “outer” world as versions (or visions) of ourselves.
Versions of ourselves in the “outer world” might include people, animals, locations, objects, or situations, but are most especially and powerfully other people–especially the people we choose to be closest to us.
These real-world (outer) symbols can look very much like portions of the (inner) psyche that need attention in order to heal. We do not know this when we choose to begin the experience, but we might feel an irresistible draw toward that kind of experience.
The draw might be more powerful than anything else in our experience.
Like Narcissus from the ancient Greek story, what we’re attracted to “out there” are really broken fragments of ourselves that we don’t recognize because they’re not “in here.” We’ve been avoiding them “in here”–not healing or integrating them (back) into the self–because of the fear of the pain that directly examining broken portions of self would bring.
(ATTENTION to inner pain HEALS inner pain.)
And so we examine fragments of ourselves “safely” in our “outer” experience, the world of interacting with other human beings and in situations, in some of which we consciously or unconsciously recognize ourselves.
In doing so, we draw others into our own personal fantasy world. We create a “real dream” and live it. Meanwhile, they’re doing the same thing with YOU as a symbol of THEIR inner pain and brokenness because YOU also symbolize a fragment of THEIR fractured psyche. This mechanism is quite unconscious in most people.
(ALL psyches have been fractured–some more, some less.)
Seeking out fragments of yourself in the “outer” world of experience is a result of disconnection with the inner aspects of yourself that the outer symbols represent. In this process, we seek to re-create the circumstances or relationships that led to our inner brokenness–and heal by “doing it right”…this time…”out there”.
This mechanism sometimes looks and feels a lot like temptation. If we succumb to this type of experience, we show our need to heal and grow. But if we aren’t tempted by such a potentially–or formerly–compelling experience, then we have already won victory over “temptation,” the snares of the past that we haven’t yet found and removed from the psyche.
If you feel compelled to choose an experience, you cannot transcend it; it has power over you. But if you are able to “not-choose” it, then you are free from it.
The overwhelming desire to choose an experience, then, represents inner brokenness. Or we can look at it as an opportunity to live an experience that will reveal our inner brokenness to us–IF WE PAY ATTENTION TO BOTH THE INNER WORLD OF SELF AND THE OUTER WORLD OF EXPERIENCE!
On the other hand, the experience of living detached–without the desire to OWN or IDENTIFY WITH ever-changing symbols in the “outer” world, but yet more consciously LIVING in both the inner AND outer worlds–represents the inner value of FREEDOM:
–freedom from slavery to “outer” experiences,
–freedom from the repetition of past failures,
–freedom from the recycling of unresolved issues, in the present.
This manner of detached living means that one has become more WHOLE, more HEALED, more COMPLETE, more CONSCIOUS, and more able to CHOOSE ONE’S OWN EXPERIENCES. (Not perfect, though. Just better than before.)
We are attracted to experiences “out there” to the degree that the circumstances surrounding the experiences–the “main ingredients”–reflect what we most need “in here.”
That is, our unresolved psyche-related issues create and recreate the main circumstances of our reality until we heal them by learning the lesson through real-life, flesh-and-blood LIVING…and, yes, by involving others in our experience, even as they involve us in their experience.
In this way, together we can heal each other by revealing each other’s inner brokenness–quite unaware that we are doing it, if we haven’t yet learned the lesson from that experience.
Learning the lesson can be a very long time coming, but knowing how the mechanism works can make learning it much easier, faster, and less painful. It can be life-changing. That, of course, is the purpose of this message.
Unfortunately, I cannot address it to people who desire neither healing inner brokenness nor learning from experience nor freedom from the past. We call these people Narcissists.
To learn and heal, one must want to. By definition, a Narcissist doesn’t want to.
If your experience has brought you Narcissistic abuse, the Narcissist has revealed your inner brokenness to you. With that awareness, now you can learn your own lesson and heal your own brokenness…so that you become FREE from the desire to repeat that experience.
And so the Narcissist, along with the inner brokenness that brought you Narcissistic abuse, becomes part of the past.
(Written on November 18, 2011 and freshly edited on July 25, 2015.)