Alienation, Alienation From Self, Attached Love, Attachment, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Courage, Delusion, Emotional Dependency, Emotions, Free Spirit, Freedom, Happiness, Human Nature, Life, Love, Oppression, Passion, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Self-Realization, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Wisdom

Living Within Our Walls

(About a 3 minute read)

It seems to be an exceptionally well recognized fact — albeit still very much a curious one — that most teens and adults have built psychological walls around themselves.

Growing up, I thought that was such a common thing for older people to do that I recall thinking walling yourself off was the mark of an adult — was what distinguished an adult from a child just as much as their size.  And — in a way — maybe that really is true.

What do most of us think of our walls?

Well, I think most of us see them as necessary.   As required protection in a world riven by emotionally maundering people, by con artists, and by worse.  Furthermore, many of us — maybe even most of us — have not built our walls around naked prison cells.  Instead, we have built our walls around gardens.

Gardens in which our emotions, values, and imaginings quietly flourish ungnawed on by the world’s many predators.  It’s in our gardens we sit in the cool of the evening and reflect on the fact we both love our spouse and the new person at the office,  that we have lost compassion for our chronically troubled teen, that we are lying to our church group by pretending we are not questioning theses days, that we daily grow kinder to others.  All the things we would not easily admit to others — though we might admit some of them.

I comparatively often come across poets speaking of our walls as “prisons” from which they imagine themselves desperate to escape.  The image is easily common enough to be considered a proper cliché.

What usually strikes me about such poems is that the poet is almost always waiting.  Waiting for someone to show up and tear down his or her walls via the thrilling power of their love for the poet.

Of course, that makes no sense outside of fantastic poetry.

In a truer poem — or, for that matter, in real life itself — one discovers that the universal solvent for walls of any thickness, any hardness, any substance — any walls that have ever been built in history — the solvent is loving, not being loved. To love, is to dissolve all barriers to you passionately bursting with life.

It is crucial, here, to understand that we are speaking of unconditional love.  There are several kinds of love — and none of them, in my opinion, should be scorned — but most kinds are indistinguishable in practice from emotional dependency.

In terms of our walls, they are the equivalent of a cautious — a very cautious — and limited sally forth from our castle to raid for crumbs, before turning around and darting right back home again.  They are compromises between love and our desire to protect love — and the desire to protect usually dominates, in my experience.

Very few of us are free spirits.  Genuinely free spirited folks are so rare that I sometimes think they are purely mythical.  But now and then you come across one anyway.  When you do, you will usually note they have breached their walls here and there.

They have not torn them all down.  Who does that?  But they have punched holes in them.  Free spirits can range from dumb to genius, from good to bad, creative to dull,  but they sure have balls.  By the gods, they have balls.

Questions?  Comments?

20 thoughts on “Living Within Our Walls”

  1. “But they sure have balls. By the gods, they have balls.”

    Are you saying those who are strong enough to break down walls are men? I don’t think so! You should delete your blog when the guilt finally destroys you!

    I’m just kidding 😀 When i was young i often thought of the place inside my walls a prison, as it made me afraid of expressing myself and what people think. I’m slowly but surely growing out of it, and me expressing love has had a big positive impact on eroding those walls. Tell you the truth i’m in some ways still afraid of expressing love, probably because i need to love myself more too. I think a partner and a dose of emotional and physical intimacy would do the trick 😀

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    1. ROFL! I hear so many women nowadays refer to themselves as “having balls” that I forgot the technical fact women don’t have balls.

      Makes sense what you say about getting a partner. Although see my earlier post on the dangers of pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That earlier post about pleasure was super informative and enlightening. Clinging onto pleasure to please the ego will lead to “dukka”. Dispassion to all things would nullify any clinging.

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  2. “In a truer poem — or, for that matter, in real life itself — one discovers that the universal solvent for walls of any thickness, any hardness, any substance — any walls that have ever been built in history — the solvent is loving, not being loved. To love, is to dissolve all barriers to you passionately bursting with life.”

    We put up walls in the hopes of protecting ourselves. But we don’t realize it is these very walls that also take away our chances of truly loving anyone/anything. Because to love in a way that is real and true is, like you said, to love unconditionally.

    (Having said all that, it is probably the scariest thing ever, to love this way – the height of vulnerability!)

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    1. I can see you’ve thought about this problem with great insight. I’d like to elaborate on what you said about our being fearful of being vulnerable.

      I should have mentioned that in my post because in my opinion it is the main reason why we erect walls. So I’m glad you brought it up when I didn’t.

      The one thing I’d like to add is that so very often, being vulnerable results only in a bit of suffering and not in any real damage to us. Just about any adult could make themselves a bit more vulnerable — a bit more open and sensitive to people — without much real risk. Just a willingness to now and then put up with a little pain.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Indeed. There seems no way around it to me. Or if there is a way around being vulnerable — I have yet to discover it.

        Vulnerability is especially needed with our closest partners. There’s no real intimacy without it, that I can see. What about you?

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  3. This reminds me of the frequent “warnings” put out by experienced empaths and spiritual gurus to “shield” or protect oneself whenever you are “helping” others. At one time that made sense to me, when I believed that energy flowed in a single direction (from me to you, for example). Nowadays it seems counter-intuitive, for how can I truly “connect” with anyone, if I am shielding myself? So I don’t. Period. Bruises, bangs and exhaustion may result, but it’s worth it in the end. And watching my grandkids (as compared to my own child when she was young), I’ve learned something about energy generation: using energy from an open space (rather than an enclosed one) actually draws up MORE energy to be used, rather than depleting your reserves. So, truly connecting with someone makes me feel energized and whole, rather than depleted and alone.

    Just my two cents… 😀

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    1. “how can I truly “connect” with anyone, if I am shielding myself?” Spot on! Amazing — just amazing, however — that you see people who try to be both guarded and connected both!

      I also suspect you’re right about “open space energy sources”. I’m not sure, however, since those terms are somewhat unfamiliar to me. I have a close friend who talks of “energy” and such, and she I understand. But I’m not going to assume here that I necessarily understand exactly what you’re talking about. I do think I have a general idea though, and I do agree with you there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m merely referring to the oft-noted pattern that children, no matter how exhausted, can somehow generate energy if they become interested in something happening around them. All the adults around them may be wiped out, but fun brings out the energizer bunny in children. The same was true of my daughter when she was young, but not so much now as an adult. I was speculating that perhaps the difference is that the children haven’t yet built those walls to protect themselves, and so remain open to wherever this mysterious energy flows from…

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      2. That would make so much sense if it were true, Lisa. I don’t know if it’s true, but it certainly sounds plausible enough. It could easily be true.

        You’re full of insights these days! Bravo!

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    2. I can very much relate to what you are saying. I mean how would those people exist in the outside world? Energetically speaking it makes no sense to shield yourself because you would limit the flow of your own energy towards the person you are “helping” It totally makes sense to shield yourself agaist certain sensory input, but in an interhuman (or inter-special, if you also include animlals and plants) context, where your intent is to strengthen the other person and help them to get better you would need all ressources available to be aware of your own boundaries and to give them what they need.

      Now this is crucial I think, because boundaries are a complete different kind of fruit. Only you know the boundaries of your physical, emotional and spiritual being and even if at times you might be able to stretch them or even transcend them it is important to always remember that you have them, even if you sometimes need to push them further than thought possible. I can only quote Sia’s idea of an “elastic heart”. This was something that I found really insightful, perceiving your boundaries as some kind of membrane, that you can stretch.

      But what you wrote about connecting with somebody leaving you energized, yes I have experienced that quite some times. I think it is exactly the opposite, you remove certain barriers that were hindering the flow of energy before. I’m not sure if I can get the message across, it is always much easier for me to express myself poetically,

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      1. I think you expressed yourself perfectly, Lunarpoet! At least I understood you. Lol!

        The difference between boundaries and walls/shields is a significant one I hadn’t even considered, but I think you are absolutely right. Boundaries are important, lest we lose our selves in our attempt to connect with others. And I’d never heard of this idea of an “elastic heart,” but it certainly intrigues me. Thank you for introducing me to the concept! 😀

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      2. Well, glad you did. My pleasure, the song is one of my all-time favourites by her. I especially like the version with The Weeknd.

        “And another one bites the dust
        Oh, why can I not conquer love?
        And I might have thought that we were one
        Wanted to fight this war without weapons
        And I wanted it, I wanted it bad
        But there were so many red flags
        Now another one bites the dust
        Yeah, let’s be clear, I’ll trust no one

        You did not break me
        I’m still fighting for peace

        I’ve got a thick skin and an elastic heart
        But your blade, it might be too sharp
        I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
        Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
        But you won’t see me fall apart
        ‘Cause I’ve got an elastic heart

        I’ve got an elastic heart
        Yeah, I’ve got an elastic heart

        And I will stay up through the night
        Yeah, let’s be clear, won’t close my eyes
        And I know that I can survive
        I’ll walk through fire to save my life
        And I want it, I want my life so bad
        I’m doin’ everythin’ I can
        And another one bites the dust
        It’s hard to lose a chosen one

        You did not break me
        I’m still fighting for peace

        I’ve got a thick skin and an elastic heart
        But your blade, it might be too sharp
        I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard
        Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
        But you won’t see me fall apart
        ‘Cause I’ve got an elastic heart”

        If any song is an anthem to survive to me, it is this one. It carries me into the depths and brings me back to life.

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    3. “I can only quote Sia’s idea of an “elastic heart”. This was something that I found really insightful, perceiving your boundaries as some kind of membrane, that you can stretch.”

      That is such an important point!

      By the way, the notion of an elastic heart puts me in mind of a line or two from a poem I composed some time ago.

      “Inside her were giant bands stretched across starlight and hung on the cries of eagles that brittled and snapped in all her loneliness”

      Now if anyone asks me what those lines mean, I am prepared to tell them I was talking about her boundaries and her elastic heart! 😀

      https://cafephilos.blog/2018/02/24/salt/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Beautiful lines, Paul!! So expressive, and so open to interpretation. I think that’s one of the things I like best about poetry – its ability to transform so that it applies equally well to a variety of different circumstances, viewpoints, needs and expectations.

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      2. Isn’t that the truth! I love that about poetry too.

        I also love the way — very closely related to that — of how when you’re writing it you can intend six meanings to a line, but a month after you finish, you discover the line has twelve perfectly expressed meanings! Now, how does that happen?

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