Food at Yogyakarta airport, Indonesia

Reality Check: People IRL

Why is the reality of dealing with individual people in real life so different than how we feel about people in general?

Q: It’s funny, when I think about others, I feel what might be called an impersonal love, it’s beautiful. But when I actually come into contact with them, I don’t feel this. I feel barriers … and disconnect. Is it me or them? I wonder.

A: It’s not you. That love is real, and is amazing. But when you are dealing with a person, specifically, you are dealing mostly with the friction of your persona on their persona. Okay, that sounds really odd, so perhaps I should rephrase that.

Love is smooth and flowing and penetrating. Personas have a lot of mechanical moving parts (literally) and are made up of lots and lots of armor and hooks and even more defensive mechanisms. Think of squid ink and booby traps.

Plus, real people are riddled with various parasites and sometimes worse. It’s just the way it is.

So here you are in your happy place, all bursting with impersonal love, Love with a capital L. And along comes some sleepy head who immediately throws up their persona, with all its grotty machinery, and perhaps there is a parasite or two that comes out to feed.

Also, I’ve found that people get really, really uncomfortable in the presence of unconditioned Love. In tiny doses, it’s okay, but if you just let them have it…that’s not going to fly. They attack you. They run and hide. They feel…and this is so weird…inferior. They become suspicious. They think you are hitting on them (you don’t know how many men have gotten the wrong idea, and how many women have felt the need to blurt out that they are not lesbian. And here I am, totally celibate!). A person’s capacity to acknowledge and be in the presence of unconditioned love is extremely limited.

But don’t let that stop you. Stay with that Love, and don’t worry about the reality of actual, living people. The Love feels like it’s directed at people, or humanity, but really it’s just for you. When you accept it to the point where you can see and know that you are that Love, not that it’s something separate from you that fills you, or that you experience, then you’ve hit your home run. YOU ARE THAT LOVE.

And then, the real secret is that you are also something beyond that love. Way beyond it. But I’ll see you when you get there!

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  1. Maury Lee says:

    Yes. That’s the way it is. The impersonal love for everyone is there, but then on the individual level, that love is thwarted becuase the individual cannot accept that unconditional love. In fact they reject it.

    They will react in an irritated manner, and you know you are not doing anything to invite that response.

    Another aspect of this unconditional acceptance is laughing at inappropriate times. I think everything is funny. Someone spilled water, a simple thing, I couldn’t help laughing because that person is a perfectionist. They did not think it was funny.

    Oh well, so much for the light hearted knowing. It causes issues. You just don’t care that it does.

  2. Kokoro says:

    Good points you make here. They helped me gain more clarity on this. Can you write more about parasites in another post?

    • 21st Century Bodhi says:

      Hi Kokoro. I’ve noted your request and will put it on my list for future posts.

      • Anna says:

        Yep, I’d be curious too! 🙂

        A few weeks ago I was at a conference with Jacques Mabit, a French psychiatrist who runs the Takiwasi clinic in Pero, where he treats predominantly those struggling with addictions using various plant medicines. Though foreigners come for ayahuasca retreats as well, the real patients stay for 6mo or longer, and many stay for free. It’s quite amazing work.

        Anyway, this reminded me of his talk because he said that something like 70% of the people who they work with using the plants have some kind of “psychic parasite”. He also mentioned that the irresponsible use of plant medicines outside of sacred and ceremonial contexts is a very dangerous game. Yes, it’s true. I also feel our susceptibility to certain parasites can be genetically passed on to our dense/physical body, as a sort of family karma, and therefore is exaggerated when we are, for instance, in the close proximity of others who are similarly afflicted. It is a sort of psychic pressure. That, however, could just be my own speculation …

        • Lilith says:

          Hi Anna,
          Your observations match my own. Parasites do often run through families and definitely become strengthened when in proximity to others who are afflicted in a complimentary way to their own. That can look very different than one imagines, though. For instance, someone who evinces a pathological weakness of will may get even worse in the presence of someone who has a complimentary (not the same or matching) pathological complex of being the Giver, or the Competent One, or The Carer. In this case, the “strong one” appears to be healthy, but in fact they need to be around people who are afflicted with things like addiction, because it’s what their parasites feed on. There are many complex parasite arrangements, and some really simple ones, too. But ultimately, that end of the spectrum, which some people call non-physical, is not so different from the biological one in that the world is riddled with parasites and that’s just part of the ecosystem. It’s the really destructive ones we need to become more aware of.

          • Anna says:

            Lilith, thank you so much for responding to both of my comments. You always give me some new ideas, and the hope that my own awakening process will mature in due time. I often still feel lost. Just wanted to let you know I read + appreciated both of your responses!

  3. Cyndi says:

    Since finding MA yesterday, I’ve been reading on and off in about ten minutes intervals. It is so validating and encouraging to read your words, Lilith.. and especially the communal aspect of the Q&A posts. I read here in spurts because I find the info. so dense and personal- that I have to pause to relate and digest- both the questions and answers. One analogy that I’ve previously repeated when attempting to relate my experience with my spouse is that it’s like I’m unraveling and unlearning all my previous most basic programming.
    The writings of Jeff Foster and Lao Tzu have been especially encouraging to me- these bookends of knowledge spanning ancient to current times have been grounding for me. And I appreciate the reading list provided here immensely- long walks while listening to ideas is so enjoyable for me- I will search for the writings / authors on

    • Lilith says:

      Hi Cyndi,

      Yes, it’s exactly as you say, unraveling. You pull a little here or there, and whole paradigms lose their structure and revert to a single long kinky yarn. Then you are left with this strange pile of yarn, and no sweater. Now what? It’s not always what one expects.

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