Tales of love surround us. Popular songs, amorous movies, romance novels, grocery-store tabloids-all sell “love.” Yet do these starry-eyed dramas rife with reckless and chaotic emotions truly portray its ways? Passion and possessiveness, jealousy and infatuation – can these be love? Don’t these actually reduce the expansive love of the Spirit to grasping, grabby desires of the ephemeral flesh?
To truly love, we must discard common notions, dispense with the appearances of love, and discover where true love lives. We will then find that, although true love is freedom, popular styles of love are gilded bondage. I know this from my own experience: When I first fell in love at nineteen, every time my beloved left me in India to return to America, something was wrenched out of my body.
I walked around in a daze for months, bumping into walls and tripping over curbs. In those rare moments when I wasn’t obsessed with my beloved, my thoughts were fuzzy and my actions weak. For four years, I wrote her at least one letter a day, filling it with poetry and romantic thoughts from my heart. I needed to love her, and I needed her love in return; only then did I feel complete. People thought of me as romantic – passionate, loving, and wonderful. But this intense neediness, this desperate desire, was not wonderful at all! It was pure powerlessness.
The emotional frenzy called love is completely alien to true love, the nonpossessive, liberating embrace of another. When we love truly, there are no attachments. We expect nothing back. Love is only joy.
What is this rare kind of love? How do we find it? Are we ready for it? Isn’t it easier to just dismiss this as New Age hoopla and go back to familiar mediocrity, back to the way things were, to passion and pain, fondness and frustration, desire and despair? Yet when we pause, when we listen deep inside, our heart tells us that we are tired of the old game, that there is so much more.
Aadil Palkhivala Copyright 2008
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