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Monday, August 4, 2014

We Flow From ONE Fountain: "Ignorant Before the Heavens"

 
Ignorant Before The Heavens Of My Life  
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Ignorant before the heavens of my life,
I stand and gaze in wonder. Oh the vastness
of the stars. Their rising and descent. How still.
As if I didn't exist. Do I have any
share in this? Have I somehow dispensed with
their pure effect? Does my blood's ebb and flow
change with their changes? Let me put aside
every desire, every relationship
except this one, so that my heart grows used to
its farthest spaces. Better that it live
fully aware, in the terror of its stars, than
as if protected, soothed by what is near.

"Westerners can expect to spend 1/3 to 1/2 of their life single or looking for a relationship. The average age for heterosexual marriage (in the United Kingdom) is 34 for men and 29 for women. If you try internet dating you’ve a 1:10 chance of getting a date and going out with them more than once a month. You’re also equally likely to end up in a happy long term relationship regardless of whether it started as a one night stand or emerged through a period of dating."

(Petra Boynton, Ph.D. "Science of Pulling." mindhacks.com. September 20, 2010)

Are you looking for love or just looking for a connection? Men and women constantly seek the chemistry that ignites an affair, so much so that it can monopolize their lives. Mother nature is often fickle with her mixed messages of attraction and satisfaction. Maybe, like the poet says, humans should "put aside every desire, every relationship except the wonder before the heavens of their lives.

Is there any reasoning that can make finding a pleasing companion more than just a gamble? We might look at the factors some psychologists believe foster instant connections with people to understand better our own particular tastes.

Brene Brown, Ph.D. and research professor says, “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Surely, human connection does give us all great strength through love.

Kelly Campbell, Ph.D., has studied the natural connection between two people. Her findings? Campbell believes the core components of both friendship and romantic chemistry include the following:

* Non-Judgment -- Cultivated from understanding oneself, non-judgment makes a person more tolerant and accepting of other people, even if perspectives on important matters differed.

* Similarity -- Feeling understood is essential to forming relational bonds. In terms of similarity, there can never be too much, if our goal is to develop satisfying partnerships.

* Mystery -- Although disclosures are good for relationship development, revealing too much too soon is not the best strategy. Even in long-lasting marriages, partners tend to balance self-disclosure with some degree of secrecy. It is perhaps this element of secrecy or mystery that maintains the excitement within friendships and romantic relationships.

* Attraction -- Strong sexual magnetism is the basis for so many romantic connections. Surprisingly, research indicated that attraction is relevant to friendships as well, but to a lesser extent.

* Mutual Trust --  Mutual trust makes a couple feel more at ease disclosing information about themselves because they believe the other person will understand them.

* Effortless Communication -- This ease of sharing ideas tends to generate discovery without tension.

(Kelly Campbell, Ph.D. "Relationship Chemistry: Can Science Explain Instant Connections?"
More Than Chemistry. August 20, 2011)



Wonderful, faithful pets are non-judgmental, similar to the owners, mysterious in certain behaviors, attractive, trustful, and communicative. And, most preferred species make instant connections with their humans. Could people be looking for companionship and companionship alone?

A number of studies, including some of our own, have shown that anthropomorphism of, and attachment to, a pet is greater in individuals who lack supportive interpersonal relationships. In a study of older adult pet owners, pet attachment bonds were stronger among those with higher feelings of loneliness and stress, and lonely individuals who lacked a close human friend formed the strongest pet attachments.

Damn, do we look for the same qualities in relationships, no matter their makeup? Romantic decisions or furry decisions seem to depend upon much the same criteria. Matters of the human heart may be governed by constructs of the brain. In fact, male and female brains may be meant to complement each other.

Researchers at University of Pennsylvania have discovered fundamental differences between the neural wiring of the male and female brain. Dr. Ruben Gur, a co-author of a current study on brain connectivity, concludes, "It's quite striking how complementary the brains of women and men really are. Detailed connectome maps of the brain will not only help us better understand the differences between how men and women think, but it will also give us more insight into the roots of neurological disorders, which are often sex related."

(Christopher Bergland. "Brain Connectivity Varies Between Men and Women." 
Psychology Today. December 3, 2013)

But, how much brain power is used to judge immediate attractiveness? Jeffrey Cooper, a psychology researcher at Trinity College, says we're pretty shallow at determining what we like. According to studies by Cooper, in the first few milliseconds of seeing a new face, we're evaluating physical attractiveness. But the rostromedial prefrontal cortex of our brains go a bit deeper, very quickly asking, "Yeah, but are they compatible with me?"

"These really are separate processes," Cooper claims. "But they really are both happening in our head as we make those initial evaluations."

(Jeffrey Cooper. Journal of Neuroscience. November 07, 2012)

Campbell found that after all her "intellectual journeys to understand an instant connection," and the researching, testing, and theorizing were completed, she still questioned whether chemistry involved something that cannot be explained by science. From a scientist, her view may surprise readers. Campbell says ...

"Maybe it (a natural connection) is caused by a spiritual connection, remembering the future, or destiny, I don't know. I do know that when I first meet someone and experience that feeling, it puts me into the flow of life. I am rejuvenated and eager to learn more. Whatever causes that experience, I hope it continues because in getting to know others, I have been able to discover new parts of myself."

(Kelly Campbell, Ph.D. "Relationship Chemistry: Can Science Explain Instant Connections?"
More Than Chemistry. August 20, 2011)


By doing this blog entry, I think I have come to understand something very elemental in making an attractive connection. Campbell states, "I have been able to discover new parts of myself." In order to do this, first, a person must understand just what "new parts" he or she needs for joy and honest contentment. Longing and desire are most likely to become insatiable petitions when haphazard trial and error is the only method of finding a happy, long-term relationship.

After all, if humans spend one-third to one-half of their lives looking for good love, the maps they employ are not very useful. The Ancient Greek aphorism "know thyself" becomes buried in chemical goo when visions of love strike the brain. In a sense, potential mates desire natural completion so much that they gamble against the odds and risk their hearts without considering their foremost needs.

Is it true that couples are ecstatic as they jump into instant gratification but not so much after discovering the truth that long-term love involves immense sacrifice and compromise? Then, is it any wonder a soul continues to seek love no matter the legal state of union? Supplying the loving needs of another demands monumental labor and constant adjustment. So many of us are either unwilling to expend this energy or unable to conceive the makeup of our own essential new discoveries. Treading water usually leads to drowning.

"We all flow from one fountain -- Soul. All are expressions of one love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and 
round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided curents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, 
saturating all and fountainizing all."


~ John Muir


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