Learning love

Imagine that you are standing in the centre of a large circle divided into three rings. There is an outer ring, a middle ring and a central ring – an inner core. These rings radiate out from you. The outermost ring is called the layer of protection. The second ring is the layer of our wounded vulnerability, the place where we experience fear and shame. Finally, the centre is the core of being, the seat of our essence, a space in which we are in a flow with existence. In the centre, we are in a deep relaxation with life, appreciating our gifts and our uniqueness and no longer feeling the need to struggle. Our journey is not only to rediscover our essential nature, but also to develop a deep compassion and understanding for our wounds) and our protection as well. - Krishnananda Trobe, founder of the Learning Love approach

In assisting individuals and couples to form more fulfilling personal and professional relationships, we offer them the hands-on experience of the various approaches described in this and other sections. Among the latter are Co-dependence Therapy, Working with the Inner Child, Marshal Rosenberg’s Model of Non-violent Communication and Constellations – the approaches which Krishananda and Amana Trobe fruitfully combine in their Learning Love school.

In the process the clients learn to:

  • increase awareness of, feel and accept the wounds we all carry inside us which lead us into dysfunctional behavioural patterns
  • understand the stories behind these wounds in order to gradually set ourselves free from the past
  • recognize when certain interpersonal relationships cause pain associated with these wounds
  • become aware of our (dysfunctional) defensive reactions and strategies
  • learn conscious communication which is grounded in our own feelings and needs while being sympathetic to the feelings and needs of others
  • learn to set our own limits while being open to diversity
  • deepen connectivity, closeness and the flow of love

The basis of this approach is the recognition of the role which our early relationships have played in shaping us. During our childhood, most of us go through traumatic experiences such as rejection, lack of warmth, limits imposed on our vital energies, critique, judgment, comparison and abuse. One of the largest insults a person may experience is not to have support in developing in accordance with his/her own wishes and being forced to develop in accordance with the expectations and wishes of others. Although our parents and teachers usually act with the best intentions, they may inadvertently turn our liveliness, spontaneity and trust into distrust, self-doubt, a lack of energy, worries, short temper and the like. We all experience these processes but in different ways and to a different extents.

In facing these situations, people develop different survival strategies. We may limit our own vitality and make ourselves small. We may distract ourselves with different addictions. We may be quarrelsome, combative, or try to escape. We may be seductive, charming or permanently active – there is no end to diverse response strategies. However, the protective shield hides deep sadness, resentment, despair, powerlessness, emptiness, anger, rage and similar feelings. On their own, these strategies are not harmful. The problem arises if we are not aware of their existence and rather instinctively make use of them. We may close off our own free flow of vitality and joy. In interactions, we might subconsciously control, judge and manipulate others, try to change them or even attempt to escape. Even though we might feel open and vulnerable, the conflict which arises in interactions is usually a result of the ‘combat’ between different protective layers.

When working on relationships we assist our clients to recognize, understand and especially experience (bodily) defensive reactions, pain and discomfort. The gradual enhancement of our contact with the three aspects of our being softens us and increases our empathy towards others and ourselves. Our self-assurance and our internal clarity increase.
Selected literature:

“The Learning Love Handbook 1: A Series of Books for Learning the Art of Love and Intimacy: Opening to Vulnerability” (2013)

“The Learning Love Handbook 2: Healing Shame and Shock” (2014)

“The Learning Love Handbook 3: Living with Passion – Integrating Passion, Love, and Meditation into our Daily Lives” (2015)

“When Sex Becomes Intimate: How Sexuality Changes as Your Relationship Deepens” (2008)

“Face to Face with Fear Transforming Fear Into Love” (2009)

“From Fantasy Trust to Real Trust: Learning from Our Disappointments and Betrayals” (2011)

“Stepping Out of Fear: Breaking Free of Our Pain and Suffering” (2013)

Learning Love Institute