How Do I Love Thee….

June 2016

What is love? What’s the difference between loving someone versus being “in love” with someone? Or is there a significant difference? And are there differences between the love we feel for, say, a parent versus a child? A lover versus our best friend? I know love is experienced and expressed in a variety of ways by each of us, and of course the intensity with which it’s felt varies, but what exactly is love? Are there really different types of love? Or do we simply attach different meanings of it to different people?

These are some of the questions I’ve contemplated regarding love over the years. I’ve had a tumultuous ride regarding relationships, both romantic and platonic, and have endured a lot of pain and heartache as a result of not always being on the same page with others. Try as I might, I haven’t always been able to successfully express my ideas of love and how I try to approach it and relationships.

The energy and dynamics of different types of relationships is definitely different. The way we express ourselves to our parents, children, friends and lovers isn’t the same, obviously. But isn’t there something common within all of these relationships of love? In my view, love is the transcendent energy that connects all of us, in fact, all of existence. As Eckhart Tolle wrote, “love is the recognition of oneness in a world of duality… love makes the world less worldly, less dense, more transparent to the divine dimension, the light of consciousness itself.” I think this describes love in its purest form. Love’s intrinsic to the very spirit of life, and matter and the realm of form is its vessel of expression. We’re conduits of it. The problem is, we human tend to be blocked and restrict or impede the flow of love within us. The traumas of the past, our repressed emotional themes, pain, anxieties and fear inhibit us from being open fully to love at its purest. But spirit transcends the realm of duality and form and all separation; it’s undifferentiated, timeless and eternal. And I believe we can learn to be open to it and experience and express it without inhibition.

But of course there are different degrees of intensity and each relationship has a different dynamic. Each is special in its own right, and to compare and weigh them against each other just seems to miss the mark from my perspective. That’s a thing of our ego, this need to be the “most special”, the greatest and most significant to someone. Sure, there are those who reflect our love, our inner, eternal essence, back to us very strongly and powerfully, and these are intense relationships no doubt, but I think we diminish them and are sucked out of the moment when we begin to compare them to each other and want to be the “most special”. Tolle also wrote, “A genuine relationship is one that is not dominated by the ego with its image-making and self-seeking. In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever.”

To me, love in its purest state is when we’re utterly immersed in the moment with another and sharing its energy without worrying about any time or anything other than that moment. It doesn’t even have to be with another person; we can feel it connecting with nature or the deepest part of ourselves in some way. It’s free of fear, worry, desire, stress, pain, separation and is timeless. I’ve had these moments of utter bliss in which I feel the immense power of love and joy of Being flowing through me, when my connection to the very fabric of existence is completely open…. And it has been this that I have tried to experience within all of my relationships with others, regardless of whom I’m sharing with at a given moment. It has been my experience that the moment we’ve gotten entangled in ego and began to compare, weigh, label and define things in relation to others, or experience with others, that we have lost the moment and tainted it. That bliss and joy of being wanes and is replaced with attachment and the clinging and wanting and resisting that comes with it. The valve through which love had been flowing begins to close up. Things become unhealthy and start to deteriorate.

So this is how I have tried to approach love and relationships essentially. I haven’t wanted to be anyone’s most special or their only one. I have just tried to connect to the essence of others, that beautiful and eternal aspect that we all share, without attachment. And while I have expressed this to others, some have either not listened to me or not believed me. They have mistaken what I’ve said to mean that I’m just afraid to commit exclusively because of past hurts. And they have thought, “Oh, he just hasn’t met the “right one”, I can change that!” I haven’t been “protecting myself”, I have been loving in the moment without fear and attachment, but with an open awareness of our eternal spirit and allowing it to flow without inhibition. Sure, there have been various degrees of intensity, and some have deeply and truly managed to reflect the pure love of the spirit back to me and make for some incredibly beautiful moments… but I haven’t been concerned with comparing them or making any certain relationship my “most special” or only one.

Yes, there have been people who would have me do just that. They have felt slighted and offended because I haven’t made things exclusive with them. To them I sincerely apologize. They’ve misunderstood me, or perhaps I have been remiss and have done a poor job of expressing how I view things? Regardless, I have not meant to deceive or hurt anyone; I have simply tried to enjoy our moments without becoming entangled in attachment and the pains that accompany it.

What I find beautiful is that I could find love at all at this time, in this place, facing what I am at the moment! Love really and truly knows no boundaries and can’t be bottled up! I have felt the love, the light, shining through so many people, inside and outside of this place.

Love and Light

Robert