|The Sacred Wound|
The fact that these passages from Jean Houston's The Search for the Beloved are the most heavily highlighted in my library attests to the potency of betrayal for my search. Betrayal has been the most important catalyst in my spiritual search. Added emphasis appears in red, and my reactions are enclosed in a box: (Note 99)
Sacred psychology is the process and practice of soulmaking; and soulmaking, as you may have discovered, is not necessarily a happy thing. Critical parts of it are not. As seed making begins with the wounding of the ovum by the sperm, so does soulmaking begin with the wounding of the psyche by the Larger Story.
Soulmaking requires that you die to one story to be reborn to a larger one. A renaissance, a rebirth, occurs not just because there is a rising of ancient and archetypal symbols. A renaissance happens because the soul is breached. In this wounding, the psyche is opened up and new questions begin to be asked about who we are in our depths. These powerful questions need not lead to alienation and withdrawal, but can lead to the seeding of the world with the newly released powers of the psyche. A Larger Story is revealed by the wounding. . . .
So, too, is your wounding, the breaching of your soul, an invitation to your renaissance. Our woundings tell us that old forms are ready to die, however reluctant the local self may be to allow this to occur, and that hitherto unsuspected new forms are ready to flower. . . .
The wounding becomes sacred when we are willing to release our old stories and to become the vehicles through which the new story may emerge into time. When we fail to do this, we tend to repeat the same old story over and over again. . . .
In times of suffering when you feel abandoned, perhaps even annihilated, there is occurring - at levels deeper than your pain - the entry of the sacred, the possibility of redemption. Wounding opens the doors of our sensibility to a larger reality, which is blocked to our habituated and conditioned point of view. . . .
Betrayal, of all the woundings that may be suffered by the soul, can be the greatest agent of the sacred. This wound has always had an awful and luminous quality surrounding it. It marks the end of primal, unconscious trust, and forces upon us those terrible conditions that accompany the taking of the next step. . . . The condition of this trust has been a subtle and powerful binding that blocks the fullness of the greater consciousness needed to respond to new situations - situations that cannot be met within the old conditions.
Trust always contains the seeds of its own betrayal; the taboo implies and requires its own transgression. Betrayal allows for the coming of reflection and therefore of consciousness. . . . The loss of primary attachments permits the entry of the "gods," the entry of the More, of insights and knowings that you could not assimilate before. The message of betrayal is always that things are much more then they seem. . . .
James Hillman provides a list of the many life-denying forms that we choose. The first is revenge: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a betrayal for a betrayal. . . .
Another self-defeating choice is denial. If you have been disappointed in a relationship, you may totally deny the value of the entire relationship: "I never loved him/her anyway." . . .
Or you may choose cynicism, which can also take the form of broken idealism. The most meaningful things in your life are now seen as cheap, hollow frauds. . . .
Ultimately the refusal to accept the opening offered by betrayal leads you to self-betrayal. You betray yourself in belittling your deepest hopes, values, ambitions, and story. . . .
The supreme disease of betrayal is paranoia, All human actions and affairs are seen under the rubric of betrayal as the constant for everything all of the time. . . .
How, then, can we change the pattern and transform the suffering? Transformation occurs in the discovery of the Larger Story. Often that means that the healing cannot happen for a long time, not until the context is larger, until the Pattern that Connects is manifest. . . .
Time in thus essential to the healing of our betrayals. Time reveals the Larger Story, hidden to primal consciousness, in which we must play a part. Looking back on your own betrayals, you may notice how they have given you the necessary shove, the unwelcome but needed kick in the pants to invite you to release patterns and attachments that need to die, so that the world may be grown again and a deepened conscious trust may be born.
But the key to redeeming our betrayals is forgiveness. Anyone can forgive a petty matter, but if you have been involved in a situation of deep trusting, of mutual flowing into one another, of rich coherence in which you have shared your soul - and then have been betrayed - forgiveness takes on a momentous and evolutionary potency. Such a forgiveness will allow you . . . to enter into fully conscious partnership with the creative principle. . . .
In our betrayal, the other becomes the instrument of God, bringing us to a tragedy that needs our ennoblement in order to understand it. And the only way to be ennobled and to forgive truly is through love. In giving much more than one thought one could, one discovers that one has much more still to give. This is the mystery and miracle of love, and it changes the very fabric of reality, the very structure of our lives.