From childhood on, in so many settings, we learn: This is within the limits of OK; that isn’t.
–It’s OK to pee here, not there.
–You can eat here, not there.
–Loud voices are fine here but not there.
–Use better manners here; at other times you can relax.
and so on.
It leaves many people with a hunger for a place in which all of me is OK, is acceptable, is good. We might be so lucky as to find a relationship as we get older that feels this way. Falling in love is in large part this feeling: all of me is OK with this person, is loved.
Does it last? Before too long, we have changed, the other person has changed. We realize we were holding back some parts of ourselves without even knowing it. What felt like all of me being loved and accepted now turns out to be just some of me being loved and accepted–more than before but still not all. I hadn’t shown and expressed and been all of me. I didn’t know how to be all of me. So much had never been accepted; I stopped even realizing that certain parts of me existed. But in new circumstances of new relationships and a changing life, other parts surfaced, and now I’m scared they won’t be accepted–even by myself.
We feel disillusioned, sad, mad, resentful, crushed. We may flee, we may stay and withdraw, we may try to understand what has happened and try to forge ahead into new territory where the relationship can be built on a bigger, wider footing that can include more of each person being expressed and OK, accepted.
Some people find in religion a place where all of themselves feels OK and loved. “God loves you.” “Jesus loves you.” This can be experienced as a relationship.
In Chinese Taoist tradition it is said in the Ch’ung-yung, The Tao is that from which nothing deviates. That from which you can deviate is not the Tao.
How comforting this can be. There is something, some place, some zone and experience where no part of me can stray outside. If I’m furious and vengeful and petty, I’m still not outside the Tao. If I’ am coarse and crude, I am still not outside the Tao. If I’m even criminal and depraved, I am still not outside the Tao. If I’m depressed, jealous, hateful, kinky–the Tao is still there, still these. I’m inside it; it’s still holding me. Nothing–no part of me–can deviate from it.
This Tao, or God, or Eternal Spirit, or Jesus, or Brahman must be infinite, because I keep changing, and yet nothing is outside it. So I have a home.