I wrote about my conversation with a friend yesterday about a twisted murderer called Mal’akh, created by Dan Brown in his book, The Lost Symbol. Mal’akh killed his grandmother in cold blood and used his aunt as a sacrificial offering. To my surprise, this post generated a lot of mail from people sharing their experiences of the Mal’akhs they have met in their lives.
A few people who wrote to me asked this question (same one as my friend in the original conversation):
How can loving myself change everything? I thought it is about finding the right person to love me that will remove my pain and change my life?
Throughout the history of modern society, men and women have pursued the idea of having the right partner to complete our lives, without asking the most fundamental question of all: ARE WE THE RIGHT PARTNER?
That is more important than finding the right partner.
Because a relationship involves two people. From my personal experience, I know that you can love a person with the purest intent and with all your heart, but if cruelty and destruction is the language he/she speaks, the language will enter into your relationship. It is like an accent – you can put one on at a party, but try speaking with an accent that is not yours 24/7 (which is what relationships are) and you will see how impossible it is.
Mal’akh is never the right partner for anyone unless they intentionally choose a lifetime of pain.
Can you change Mal’akh’s “accent”? Only if he/she wants to. Some don’t. They would rather cling on to familiarity and go on speaking with cruelty and destruction, repeating the cycle again and again with different players. We have to respect their choice, though we don’t have to be part of it. Love yourself more than you love your Mal’akh…that is self-love. Three people told me in the last 24 hours that they had to stop seeing their parents to give themselves the space to heal.
So coming back to the question, how can love change everything, especially if you are Mal’akh? This was the question my embattled and sceptical 60-year-old friend asked me. As Mal’akh, he had been abandoned, even by his own child. So how could love fix this devastation?
In Dan Brown’s book (good corollary with human life), Mal’akh’s transformation happened because he loathed himself, because he believed that his father did not love him. He believed that his father left him to die. Therefore he changed his name and his identity. He took steroids and filled his body with symbols to change his appearance. He slept with many women and men, but with detachment. Over time, he became this character Mal’akh that he created, because he did not love the person he really was: Zachary Solomon from Potomac, Washington, who had loving parents and a sister called Katherine.
But Mal’akh was not loved by the numerous women and men he slept with, though he is powerful, impressive-looking and rich. Nobody could sustain a relationship with Mal’akh long term, no matter how devoted and in love he or she is, because of Mal’akh’s character.
But if Mal’akh were to become ordinary Zachary Solomon again…..the world is full with ordinary Zachary Solomons who are happy, fulfilled and truly loved.
The trick to becoming Zachary Solomon is to love Zachary Solomon for who he is: a frail, disempowered, in pain, frightened and terribly hurt young man. This is self-love, learning to love what you loathe about yourself.
And once that self-love is in place – once we take the vow to love this delicate and bruised being within us – this is when the Zachary Solomons within begin to heal and become ready to be loved by others. Love is the only way of getting rid of Mal’akh. Truly it is, because the most important relationship we have in life is with ourselves (and God, if you are religious). Immerse yourself in Love.
On that note, I would like to thank my adopted mother Marion who immersed me with love. I was a little Mal’akh lashing out at her, until she taught me to love myself. Love is truly a miraculous thing.
The man to whom is unveiled the mystery of Love
Exists no longer, but vanishes into Love.
Place before the Sun a burning candle
And watch its brilliance disappear before that blaze.
The candle exists no longer, it is transformed into Light;
There are no more signs of it, it itself becomes sign.
– Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
(Translated by Andrew Harvey from A Year of Rumi)
Related post: The demon you meet