Are We Attracted
To the People We Are?
Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.
The mysterious stranger walks in. You see them; they see you.
Thunder. Lightning. Earthquakes. Mmm . . . Dizzy.
Life is never the same again.
Why? What happens when we meet that certain "someone"?
Is there any method to this madness? Why are we sometimes attracted
to the alcoholic, the unavailable, the abusive, the uncool?
Well, we don't know. But this guy named Harville Hendrix offers
some pretty interesting suggestions . . .
Send your comments, thoughts, soft whispers, etc:
The following is an excerpt from
Getting the Love You Want:
A Guide For Couples.
Click on the image to the right to order from Amazon.com.
The Unconscious Marrige:
The Mystery of Attraction
"The type of human being
reveals the contours of our heart."
Jose Ortega y Gasset
When couples come to me for marital therapy, I usually ask them
how they met. Maggie and Victor, a couple in their mid-fifties who
were contemplating divorce after twenty-nine years of marriage,
told me this story:
"We met in graduate school," Maggie recalled. "We
were renting rooms in a big house with a shared kitchen. I was cooking
breakfast when I looked up and saw this man - Victor - walk into
the room. I had the strangest reaction. My legs wanted to carry
me to him, but my head was telling me to stay away. The feelings
were so strong that I felt faint and had to sit down."
The mystery of attraction.
Once Maggie recovered from shock, she introduced herself to Victor, and the two of them spent half the morning talking. "That was it," said Victor. "We were together every possible moment for the next two months, and then we eloped."
If those had been more sexually liberated times," added Maggie, "I'm sure we would have been lovers from that very first week. I've never felt so intensely about anyone in my entire life."
Not all first encounters produce seismic shock waves. Rayna and
Mark, a couple ten years younger, had a more tepid and prolonged
courtship. They met through a mutual friend. Rayna asked a friend
if she knew any single men, and her friend said she knew an interesting
man named Mark who had recently separated from his wife. She hesitated
to introduce him to Rayna, however, because she didn't htink that
they would be a good match. "He's very tall and you're short,"the
friend explained; "he's Protestant and you're Jewish; he's
very quiet and you talk all the time." But Rayna said none
of that mattered. "Besides," she said, "how bad could
it be for one date?"
Against her better judgment, the friend invited Rayna and Mark
to an election-night party in 1972. "I liked Mark right away,"
Rayna recalled. "He was interesting in a quiet sort of way.
We spent the whole evening talking in the kitchen." Rayna laughed
and then added, "I suspect that I did most of the talking."
Rayna was certain that Mark was equally attracted to her, and she
expected to hear from him the next day. But three weeks went by,
and she didn't hear a word. Eventually she prompted her friend to
find out if Mark was interested in her. With the friend's urging,
Mark invited Rayna to the movies. That was the beginning of their
courtship, but it was never a torrid romance. "We dfated for
a while, then we stopped for a while," said Mark. "Then
we started dating again. Finally, in 1975, we got married."
"By the way," added Rayna, "Mark and I are still
married, and the friend who didn't want to introduce us is now divorced."
These contrasting stories raise some interesting questions. Why
do some people fall in love with such intensity, seemingly at first
glance? Why do some couples ease into marriage with a level-headed
friendship? And why, as in the case of Rayna and Mark, do so many
couples seem to have opposite personality traits? When we have the
answers to these questions, we will also have our first clues to
the hidden psychological desires that underlie marriage.
Unraveling the Mystery of Romantic Attraction
In recent years, scientists from various disciplines have labored
to deepen our understanding of romantic love, and valuable insights
have come from each area of research. Some biologists contend that
there is a certain "bio-logic" to courtship behavior.
According to this broad, evolutionary view of love, we instinctively
select mates who will enhance the survival of the species. Men are
drawn to classically beautiful women - ones with clear skin, bright
eyes, shiny hair, good bone structure, red lips, and rosy chiiks
- not because of fad or fashion but because these qualitites indicate
youtha dn robust health, signs that a woman is in the peak of her
Women select mates for slightly different biological reasons. Because
youth and physical health aren't essential to the male reproductive
role, women instinctively favor mates with pronounced "alpha" qualities, the ability to dominate other amles and bring home more
than their share of the kill. The assumption is that male dominance
ensures the survival of the family group more than youth or beauty.
Thus a fifty-year-old chairman of the board - the human equivalent
of the silver-backed male gorilla - is as attractive to women as
a young, handsome, virile, but less successful male.
If we can put side, for a moment, our indignity at having our attractiveness
to the opposite sex reduced to ou breeding and food/money-gathering
potential, there is some validity to this theory. Whether we like
it or not, a woman's youth and physical appearance and a man's power
and social status do play a role in mate selection, as a
quick scan of the personal messages in the classified ads will attest: "Successful forty-five-year-old S.W.M. with private jet desires
attractive, slim, twenty-year-old S.W.F.," and so on. But even
though biological factors play a key role in our amorous advances,
there's got to be more to love than this.
Let's move on to another field of study, social psychology, and
explore what is known as the "exchange" theory of mate selection. The basic idea of the exchange theory is that
we select mates who are more or less our equals. When we are on
a search-and-find mission for a partner, we size each other up as
coolly as business executives contemplating a merger, noting each
other's physical appeal, financial status, and social rank, as well
as various personality traits such as kindness, cereativity, and
a sense of humor. With computerlike speed, we tally up each other's
scores, and if the numbers are roughly equivalent, the trading bell
rings and the bidding begins.
The exchange theory gives us a more comprehensive view of mate
selection than the simple biological model. It's not just youth,
beauty, and social rank that interest us, say the social psychologists,
but the whole person. For example, the fact that a woman is past
her prime or that a man has a low-status job can be offset by the
fact that he or she is a charming, intelligent, compassionate person.
A third idea, the "persona" theory, adds yet another
dimension to the phenomenon of romantic attraction. The persona
theory maintanis that an important factor in mate selection is the
way a potential suitor enhances our self-esteem. Each of us has
a mask, a persona, which is the face that we show to other people.
The persona theory suggests that we select a mate who will enhance
this self-image. The operative question here is: "What will
it do to my sense of self if I am seen with this person?" There
appears to be some validity to this theory. We have all experienced
some pride and perhaps some embarrassment because of the way we
believe our mates are percieved by others; it does indeed matter
to us what others think.
Although these three theories help explain some aspects of romantic
love, we are still left with our original questions. What accounts
for the intensity of romantic love - as in the case of Maggie and
Victor - those feelings o ecstasy that can be so overpowering? And
why - as in the case of Rayna and Mark - do so many couples have
In fact, the more deeply we look at the phenomenon of romantic
attraction, the more incomplete these theories appear to be. For
example, what accounts for the emotional devastation that frequently
accompanies the breakup of a relationship, that deadly undertow
of feelings that can drown us in anxiety and self-pity? One client
said to me as his girlfriend was leaving him: "I can't sleep
or eat. My chest feels like it's going to explode. I cry all the
time, and I don't know what to do." The theories of attraction
we've looked at so far suggest that a more appropriate response
to a failed romance would be simply to plunge into another round
of mate selection.
There is another puzzling aspect of romantic attraction: we seem
to have much more discriminating tastes than any of these theories
would indicate. To see what I mean, take a moment to reflect on
your own dating history. In your lifetime you have met thousands
of people; as a conservative estimate, let's suppose that several
hundred of them were physically attractive enough or successful
enough to catch your eye. When we narrow this field by applying
the social-exchange theory, we might come up with fifty or a hundred
people out of this select group who would have a combined "point
value"equal to or greater than yours. Logically, you should
have fallen in love with scores of people. Yet most people have
been deeply attracted to only a few individuals. In fact, when I
counsel single people, I hear again and again that "there just
aren't any good men (or women) out there!" The world is littered
with their rejects.
Furthermore - and this is a curious fact - those few individuals
that people are attracted to tend to resemble one another quite
closely. Take a moment and think about the personality traits of
the people that you have seriously considered as mates. If you were
to make a list of their predominant personality traits, you would
discover a lot of simlilarities, including, surprisingly, their
From my vantage point as a marriage therapist, I see the unmistakable
pattern in my clients' choice of marriage partners. One night, in
a group-therapy session, I was listening to a man who was three
months into his second marriage. When his first marriage broke up,
he had vowed to the group that he would never be involved with a
woman like his first wife. He thought she was mean, grasping, and
selfish. Yet he confessed during the session that the day before
he had "heard" the voice of his ex-wife coming from the
lips of his new partner. WIth a sense of panic he realized that
the two women had nearly identical personalities. It appear that
each on of us is compulsively searching for a mate with a very particular
set of positive and negative personality traits.
Plumbing the Depths of the Unconscious Mind
For this high degree of selectivity to make any sense, we need
to understand the role that the unconscious mind plays in mate selection.
In the post-Freudian era, most people have become quite adept at
rummaging around in the unconscious for explanations of daily events.
We talk knowledgeably about "Freudian slips," analyze
our dreams, and look for ways in which the unconscious might be
influencing our daily behavior. Even so, most of us vastly underestimate
the scope of the unconscious mind. There is an analogy that might
give a better appreciation for its pervasive influence. In the daytime,
we can't see the setars. We talk as if they "come out" at night, even though they are there all the time. We also underestimate
the sheer number of stars. We look up at the sky, see a smattering
of dim stars, and assume that's all there is. When we travel far
away from city lights, we see a sky strewn with stars and are overwhelmed
by the brilliance of the heavens. But it is only when we study astronomy
that we learn the whole truth: the hundreds of thousands of stars
that we see on a clear, moonless night in the country are only a
fraction of the stars in the universe, and many of the points of
light that we assume to be stars are in fact entire galaxies. So
it is with the unconscious mind: the orderly, logical thoughts of
our conscious mind are but a thin veil over the unconscious, which
is active and functioning at all times.
Let's take a brief look at the structure of the brain, that mysterious
and complex organ with many different subdivisions. For simplicity's
sake, I like to use neuroscientist Paul McLean's model and divide
the brain into three concentric layers.
The brain stem, which is the inner and most primitive layer, is
the part of the brain that oversees reproduction, self-preservation,
and vital functions such as the circulation of blood, breathing,
sleeping, and the contraction of muscles in response to external
stimulation. Located at the base of the skull, this portion of the
brain is somtimes referred to as the "reptillian brain,"because
all vertebrates from reptiles to mammals share this portion of the
anatomy. For the purpose of this discussion, let's think of the
brain stem as the source of physical action.
Flaring like a wishbone around the top of the brain stem is the
portion of the brain called the limbic system, whose function seems
to be the generation of vivid emotions. Scientists can surgically
stimulate the libic system of laboratory animals and create spontaneous
outbursts of fear and aggression. In this book I use the tern "old
brain" to refer to the portion of the brain that includes both
the brain stem and the limbic system. Think of the old brain as
being hard-wired and determing most of your automatic reactions.
The final area of the brain is the cerebral cortx, a large, convoluted
mass of brain tissue that surrounds the two inner sections and is
itself divided into four regions or lobes. This portion of the brain,
which is most highly developed in Homo sapiens, is the site
of most of our cognitive functions. I refer to the cerebral cortex
as the "new brain" because it appeared most recently in
evolutionary history. Your new brain is the part of you that is
conscious, alert, and in contact with your daily surroundings. It's
the part of you that makes decisions, thinks, observes, plans, anticipates,
responds, organizes information, and creates ideas. The new brain
is inherently logical and tries to find a cause for every effect
and an effect for every cause. To a degree, it can moderate some
of the instinctual reactions of your old brain. By and large, this
analytical, probing, quesitoning part of your mind is that part
that you thing of as being "you."
In sharp contrast to the new brain, you are unaware of most of
the functions of your old brain. Trying to comprehend this part
of your being is a maddening task, because you have to turn your
conscious mind around to examine its own underbelly. Scientists
who have subjected the old brain to this kind of scrutiny tell us
that its main concern is self-preservation. Ever on the alert, the
old brain constantly asks the primeval question: "Is it safe?"
As it goes about its job of ensuring your safety, your old brain
operates in a fundamentally different manner from your new brain.
One of the crucial differences is that the old brain appears to
have only a hazy awareness of the external world. Unlike the new
brain, which relies on direct perception of outside phenomena, the
old brain derives its incoming data from the images, symbosl, and
thoughts produced by the new brain. This reduces its data to very
broad categoreis. For example, while your new brain easily distinguishes
John from Suzy from Margaret, your old brain summarily lumps these
people into six basic categories. The only thing your old brain
seems to care about is whether a particular person is someone to:
1) nurture, 2) be nurtured by, 3) have sex with, 4) run away from,
5) submit to, or 6) attack. Subtleties such as "this is my
neighbor," "my cousin," "my mother," or
"my wife" slide right on by.
The old brain and the new brain, different in so many ways, are
constantly exchanging and interpreting information. Here is how
this takes place. Let's suppose that you are alone in your house,
and all of a sudden, person A walks through the door. Your new brain
automatically creates an image of this creature and sends it to
your old brain for scrutiny. The old brain receives the image and
compares it with other, stored images. Instantly there is a first
observation: "This humanoid is not a stranger." Apparently
encounters with this creature have been recorded before. A millisecond
later there is a second observation: "There are no dangerous
episodes associated with this image." Out of all the interations
you have had with this mystery guest, none of them has been life-threatening.
Then, rapidly, a third observation: "There have been numerous
pleasurable episodes associated with this image." In
fact, the records seem to suggest that A is someone who is nurturing.
Having reached this conclusion, the limbic system sends an all-clear
signal to the reptilian brain, and you find yourself walking toward
the intruder with open arms. Operating out of your new brain, you
say, "Aunt Mary! What a pleasure to see you!"
All of this has taken place outside your awareness in only a fraction
of a second. To your conscious mind, all that has happened is that
your beloved Aunt Mary has walked in the door. Meanwhile, as you
visit with your aunt, the data-gathering process continues. This
latest encounter produces more thoughts, emotions, and images, which
are sent to the limbic system to be stored in the part of the brain
reserved for Aun Mary. These new data will be a part of the information
scanned by the old brain the next time she comes to visit.
Let's look at a slightly different situation. Let's suppose that
the person who walked in the door was not Aunt Mary but her sister,
Aunt Carol, and instead of greeting her with open arms, you found
yourself resenting the interruption. Why such a different reaction
to these two sisters? Let's pretend that when you were eighteen
months old you spent a week with Aunt Carol while your mother was
in the hospital having another baby. Your parents, trying to prepare
you in advance for this visit, explained to you that "Mommy
is going bye-bye to the hospital to bring home a little brother
or sister." The words "hospital," "brother,"
and "sister" had no meaning to you, but "Mommy"
and "bye-bye" certainly did. Whenever they mentioned those
two words together, you felt anxious and sucked your thumb. Weeks
later, when your mother went into labor, you were lifted out of
your crib in a sound sleep and transported to Aunt Carol's house.
you woke up alone in a strange room, and the person who came to
you when you cried was not your mother or father but Aunt Carol.
You dwelled in anxiety for the next few days. Even though Aunt
Carol was loving and kind to you, you felt abandoned. This primal
fear because associated with your aunt, and for years the sight
of her or the smell of her perfume sent you running from the room.
In later years you had many pleasuable or neutral experiences with
Aunt Carol; nonetheless, thirty years later, when she walks into
the room, you feel the urge to run away. It is only with great discipline
that you rise to greet her.
No Time Like the Present
This story illustrates an important principles about the old brain:
it has no sense of linear time. Today, tomorrow, and yesterday do
not exist; everything that was, still is. Understanding this basic
fact about the nature of your unconscious may help explain why you
sometimes have feelings within your marriage that seem alarmingly
out of proportion to the events that triggered them. For example,
imagine that you are a thirty-five-year-old woman, a lawyer in a
prestigious firm. One day you are sitting in your office thinking
warm, loving thoughts about your husband and decide to call him
on the phone. You dial his number, and his secretary informs you
that he is out of the office and can't be reached. Suddenly your
loving thoughts vanish, and you feel a surge of anxiety: where is
he? Your rational mind knows that he's probably calling on a client
or enjoying a late lunch, but another part of you feels - let's
be honest - abandoned. There you are, a sophisticated, capable woman,
and just because your husband isn't available you feel as vulnerable
as you did when your mother left you all day with an unfamiliar
babysitter. Your old brain is locked in an archaic perspecitve.
Or let's supose that you are a middle-aged man, a middle manager
in a large company. After a hectic day at work, where you manage
to placate important clients and put the finishing touches on a
multimillion-dollar budget, you drive home, eager to share your
successes with your wife. When you walk in the door, you see a note
from your wife saying that she will be late soming home from work.
you stop dead in your tracks. You had counted on her being there!
Do you recover from the disappointment and relish the time to yourself?
Do you use the time to do a final check on the budget? Yes. But
not before you head straight for the freezer and consume two bowlfuls
of bland, sweet vanilla ice cream, as close a substitute for mother's
milk as you can possibly find. The past and the present live side
by side within your mind.
Now that we've spent some time pondering the nature of the unconscious
mind, let's return to our original discussion of mate selection.
How does this information about the old brain add to our understanding
of romantic attraction? The curious phenomenon I noted earlier in
this exploration was that we seem to be highly selective
in our choice of mates. In fact, we appear to be searching for a "one and only"with a very specific set of positive and
What we are doing, I have discovered from years of theoretical
research and clinical observation, is looking for someone who has
the predominant character traits of the people who raised us. Our
old brain, trapped in the eternal now and having only a dim awareness
of the outside world, is trying to re-create the environment of
chioldhood. And the reason the old brain is trying to resurrect
the past is not a matter of habit or blind compulsion but of a compelling
need to heal old childhood wounds.
The ultimate reason you fell in love with your mate, I am suggesting,
is not that your mate was young and beautiful, had an impressive
job, had a "point value"equal to yours, or had a kind
disposition. You fell in love because your old brain had your
partner confused with your parents! Your old brain believed
that it had finally found the ideal condidate to make up for the
psychological and emotional damage you experienced in childhood.**
** Preview of Chapter 2:
"When you hear the words "psychological
and emotional damage of childhood," you may immediately think
about serious childhood traumas such as sexual or physical abuse
or the suffering that comes from having parents who divorced or
died or were alcoholics. And for many people this is the tragic
reality of childhood. However, even if you were fortunate enough
to grow up in a safe, nurturing environment, you (may) still bear
invisible scars from childhood, because from the very moment you
were born you were a complex, dependent creature with a never-ending
cycle of needs. Freud correctly labeled us "insatialble beings."
And no parents, no matter how devoted, are able to respond perfectly
to all of these changing needs."
Comments, thoughts, feedback?
. . . but that's not all!!
Introduction, by Harville Hendrix
In today's society, you are encouraged to view marriage as a box.
First you choose a mate. Then you climb into a box. Once you've
had a chance to settle in, you take your first close look at your
boxmate. If you like what you see, you stay put. If you don't, you
climb out of the box and scout around for another mate. In other
words, marriage is viewed as an unchanging state, and whether or
not it works depends upon your ability to attract a good partner.
The common solution to an unhappy marriage, the one chosen by nearly
fifty percent of all couples, is to divorce and start all over again
with a new and, hopefully, better mate.
The problem with this solution is that there is a lot of pain involved
in switching boxes. There is the agony of dividing up children and
possessions and putting aside trasured dreams. There is the reluctance
to risk intimacy again, fearing that the next relationship, too,
might fail. And there is the emotional damage to the other inhabitants
of the box - the children - who grow up feeling responsible for
the divorce and wonder if they will ever experience lasting love.
Unfortunately, the only alternative many people see to divorce
is to stay in the box, tighten the lid, and put up with a disappointing
relationship for the rest of their lives. They learn to cope with
an empty marriage by filling themselves up with food, alcohol, drugs,
activites, work, television, and romantic fantasies, resigned to
the belief that their longing for an intimate love will never be
In this book I propose a more hopeful and, I believe, more accurate
view of love relationships. Marriage is not a static state between
two unchanging people. Marriage is a psychological and spiritual
journey that begins in the ecstasy of attraction, meanders through
a rocky stretch of self-discovery, and culminates in the creation
of an intimate, joyful, lifelong union. Whether or not you realize
the full potential of this vision depends not on your ability to
attract the perfect mate, but on your willingness to acquire knowledge
about hidden parts of yourself.
When I began my career as a therapist, I counseled both individuals
and couples. My preference was to work with one person at a time.
My training was geared towards individuals, and when I saw clients
singly, I felt competent and effective. Not so when a couple walked
into my office. A marriage relationship introduced a complex set
of variables that I was not trained to deal with. I ended up doing
what most therapists did - probem-oriented, contractual marriage
counseling. When this approach didn't work, I'd split up the couple
and assign them to separate groups or counsel them individually.
In 1967 my confusion about the psychology of love relationships
was compounded when I began to have problems with my own marriage.
My wife and I were deeply committed to our relationship and had
two young children, so we gave our marriage eight years of intensive
examination, working with numerous therapists. Nothing seemed to
help, and in 1975 we decided to divorce.
As I sat in the divorce court waiting my turn to see the judge,
I felt like a double failure, a failure as a husband and as a therapist.
That very afternoon I was scheduled to teach a course on marriage
and the family, and the next day, as usual, I had several couples
to counsel. Despite my professional training, I felt just as confused
and defeated as the other men and women who were sitting beside
me, waiting for their names to be called.
In the year following my divorce, I woke up each morning with an
acute sense of loss. When I went to bed at night, I stared at the
ceiling, trying to find some explanation for our failed marriage.
Sure, both my wife and I had our ten reasons for divorcing, just
like everyone else. I didn't like this about her; she didn't like
that about me; we had different interests; we had different goals.
But beneath our litany of complaints, I could sense that there was
a central disappointment, an underlying cuase of our unhappiness,
that had eluded eight years of probing.
Time passed, and my despair turned into a compelling desire to
make sense out of my dilemma; I was not going to walk away from
the ruins of my marriage without gaining some insight. I began to
focus my efforts exclusively on learning what I could about relationship
therapy. As I researched the professional books and journals, I
was surprised to find few meaningful discussions of marriage,* and
the material that I did find was invariably slanted towards the
psychology of the individual and the family. There seemed to be
no comprehensive theory to explain the intricacies of the male/female
relationship. No satisfactory explanation of the powerful emotions
that can destroy a marriage. And there was nothing that explained
what I found so painfully missing in my first marriage.
To fill in the gaps, I worked with hundreds of couples in private
practice and thousands more in workshops and seminars. Out of my
research and clinical observations, I gradually developed a theory
of marital therapy called Imago (Ih-MAH-go) Relationship Therapy.
My approach was eclectic. I brought together dpeth psychology, the
behavioral sciences, the Western spiritual tradition, and added
some elements of Transactional Analysis, Gestalt psychology, systems
theory, and cognitive therapy. In my view, each of these schools
of thought made a unique and important contribution to the understanding
of the psychology of the individual, but it was only when they were
all brought together in a new synthesis that they illuminated the
mystery of love relationships.
When I began implementing my ideas, my work with couples became
immensely rewarding. The divorce rate in my practice sharply declined,
and the couples who stayed together reported a much deeper satisfaction
in their marriages. As my work became more visible, I began to lecture
to both singles and couples. Eventually I developed an introductory
workshop for courples, called Staying Together. In 1981 I began
a training course for professionals. To date, more than thirty thousand
people have been exposed to my ideas through counseling, workshops,
My purpose in writing this book is twofold: to share with you what
I have learned about the psychology of love relationships, and to
help you transform your relationship into a lasting source of love
and companionship. In short, it's abook about the theory and practice
of becoming passionate friends.
This book is divided into three parts. In Part I, I chronicle the
fate of most relationships: attraction, romantic love, and the power
struggle. As I describe the familiar details of married life, I
invite you to see them as an emerging psychological drama. I call
this drama "The Unconscious Marriage," and by that I mean
a marriage that includes all the hidden desires and automatic behaviors
that are left over from childhood and that inexorably lead couples
In Part II, I explore a radically different kind of marriage, "The
Conscious Marriage," a marriage that helps you satisfy your
unmet childhood needs in positive ways. First, I will explain a
proven technique for rekindling romantic love. This process restores
a spirit of cooperation and gives you the motivation to work on
your underlying problems. Next I will show you how to replace confrontation
and criticism, tactics learned in childhood, with a healing process
of mutual growth and support. Findlaly, I will describe how to convert
your pent-up frustration into empathy and understanding.
Part III takes all these ideas and packages them into a unique,
ten-week course in relationship therapy. Through a sweries of proven,
step-by-step exercises that you can do in the privacy of your home,
you will not only gain insight into your marital problems, you will
be able to resolve them - perhaps without the expense of a marital
This book can help you creat a more loving and supportive relationship,
and it is within this revitalized marriage that you will find peace
"I began to focus my efforts exclusively on learning what I
could about relationship therapy."
Comment: Note that this happened after many years of already
being a marital therapist.
Consider the implications of this; What does this say about
marital therapy in general? If there are "few meaningful discussions
of marriage" in the "professional books and journals,"
then what are they doing?
Why did Henrix have to embark on a personal search for answers,
if, as "marital experts" suggest, they already know what
We are grateful that Hendrix did do what he did, and was honest
about it. If only the rest of them would follow suit.
"Understand the root cause of your fears - estrangement from
yourself; and of desires - the longing for the self, and your karma
will dissolve like a dream."
- I Am That (411)
According to this passage by spiritual teacher Sri Nisargadatta
Maharaj, the root cause of desires is "the longing for the
self." This must, therefore, include the "desire"
for the perfect mate. (Note: This idea/insight, when speaking of
the Anima/Animus, has also been expressed by psychanalysts.) But
what is this "longing for the self"? What, exactly, is
it a longing for?
And how, then, would we actually find
To be continued . . .
"It is not for the love of a
husband that a husband is dear;
but for the love of the Soul in the husband that a husband is dear.
It is not for the love of a wife that a wife is dear;
but for the love of the Soul in the wife that a wife is dear.
It is not for the love of children that children are dear;
but for the love of the Soul in children that children are dear.
It is not for the love of all that all is dear;
but for the love of the Soul in all that all is dear."
- the Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad
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