Examining Love

As a child, with naïve eyes one has felt the terror of love. Love has many ugly sides. Obviously the idea that one had about what love was had nothing to do with love whatsoever. Because love doesn’t compete, love doesn’t impose, love doesn’t demand, love has no ambition, love has no fear, and love is never divided, and love is not self-centered activity manifesting itself in any form whatsoever. Love is much like dancing when one is completely immersed in the music so much that the self dissolves. One is no longer conscious of the environment, of the biological machine, there is no chatter in the mind; one is completely free of all thoughts and is therefore timeless and immeasurable.

In these moments love connects with the soul and manifests itself and the movement flows out into the body and the result is dance. Like the movement of tree branches, the brushing of leaves on the ground, and the movement of the clouds during a windy autumn afternoon. Love is everywhere and yet it is nowhere.

Parents say that they love their children. Yet they impose their ideas, project their desires, and divide themselves from their children as authorities, as parents. The parents have their ambitions, and they impose their ambitions onto their children. Parents have fears about what their children will become, what will become of their children in the world, so on and so forth and these fears manifest themselves through the parent that says to their child “try harder, work harder, be great, do good in school” and all the rest of it. So the parent projects onto their children all the images that have been built and created and induced; all of their fears, experiences, all the stuff about what love is, how the world operates and the child inherits all of this. If there is more than one child then the parents will play favorites and then start to compare one child over the other. Eventually the siblings will compete with each other, each vying for the affection of the parent(s). Then the child will grow older and he/she will fall in love and in all likelihood will continue to perpetuate the same to his/her own children. So let’s go on to romantic relationships.

What does it mean to fall in love? Many of us have been taught what this is. Through Hollywood movies, from the stories that have been told about how those in our lives have come together. From the stories in the books. We are taught all of the ways in which two people come together in love. To feel deeply attracted from a state of friendship to then romantic love and then love. Which is nothing more than the building of an image or images that form together over time. We see an individual and we act based on the images that are created in our minds through the movement of thought which is derived from the collection of memories that form themselves into the present, which reduces itself to pain or pleasure. “If I go and talk to this person what will become of me?” Because obviously if one were to talk to someone out of love there would be no fear, no fear of rejection because the ‘me’ is dissolved.

More often than not we are usually interested in those things or people that resonate with the identity of that which we have come to accept as what one already is. Whether it’s conscious or unconscious we stick with the familiar and very rarely stray from the tried and true as we know it to be. So perhaps this is why children who have been struggling throughout their whole lives, being witnesses of abusive conditions and relationships find themselves again and again “attracted” to unhealthy partnerships which exist throughout all the social classes. So one might think if I can find a rich person I will be treated a certain way and I’ll have this and that only to find that that nothing is really different. Or I will find an Asian partner, Black partner, White partner, an artist, a cook, a writer, a spiritual person, so on and so forth and we find ourselves after some time again, right where we have started. One tries on new partners like new clothes, a new pair of shoes. We enter new relationships thinking that it might make us feel better, or different. So we are entering new relationships with the intention of using another. We say “What can you do for me? What will you do for me that others haven’t?” So what is love? Aside from the superficial is there any true love at all in this world? A love that does not operate out of the self-serving needs and desires one has. Where a parent will say to a child “I have no idea of how to live in this world. We are all lost.” To say to a child the honest truth “I am in no position to teach you anything about the world and how to be in it. Perhaps you know better than me.” To be humble.

As a partner in love there is a tendency to compare our partners with others. This comparing brings about division, chaos, and breeds discontentment. This comparing, this striving to be better lovers, to be more caring tomorrow, to complain less the next week, all of it distracts us from examining the truth of ourselves. Why does one get frustrated on a daily basis after already knowing the way things are and rather than understanding the need for that frustration and getting to the bottom of it, there is instead a constant striving and hoping for a change in the other? And the other doesn’t change and day after day one hopes for the change and the change never comes. So divorce or contemplating breaking up becomes the next step.

What does it mean to love? Does one have the capacity for it? To understand it? Does one have the courage for it? If not, then is there any rationality in waiting and hoping as many of us do to be swept off our feet by the individual that knows love? It’s much like many of us who are waiting to be saved by the hero, the prince, the princess out of our banal existence, out of the life of our tormented souls and to be liberated from life as we know it. And even if one were to be saved can there be freedom after being saved by another? Because obviously one is then indebted to the savior for having saved one’s life. So then the vicious cycle continues and one is again being ruled over by some authority, beyond that which is within. The authority may be benign and if one is okay with that then that’s all there’s to it. But if one is looking for the truth of oneself, to find love, to truly investigate it and find it for oneself then obviously it cannot be, so long as there is this authority.

Otherwise it will be an unfulfilled soul looking for a fulfilled soul. The weak again wanting desperately to cling to something strong and the strong is there taking away the light from that individual and the individual after some time will become resentful. So what is love? Is love saving another who needs help? The wealthy countries in the world have been saving the poor countries by bringing water, medical supplies, and food. And the poor countries have become dependent but they also grow resentful because of this dependence that has taken hold. They want to be strong on their own. So love would do that which is necessary, working together with the poorer countries so that they no longer have to be dependent on the aid, on the outside forces. By providing them the means to grow their own food, purify their own water and so on, they will feel strong in themselves.

Love cannot exist where there is duality, where there is division, where there is the weak relying on the strong. Which is the case in many relationships. Because many of us go into relationships with the idea of being fulfilled from the relationship rather than already being fulfilled. So it’s codependent relationships. And in such relationships can there be love? Can there be no violence, no possessiveness (my children, my wife, my husband, my boyfriend/girlfriend), no fear, no competition, no ambition, no comparison, no demands other than to let each other be and to be together in this way without conflict; in peace? Is to love at all possible?

Post Author: Chad

A student of life and death.