Friday, September 4, 2009

As I Love, So Do I Live

Love comes with many connotations. We hear people say they love their car, love their job, love a special work of art, love a design, love their hobby or special interest, love their family, love their partner, and love their God. We exalt the concept of love so much that we raise its value to the highest point on the crescendo of appreciation.

Do we change or abandon what we love? It seems as if we do. Some change their romantic partners. Some abandon a friendship, while others may abandon a family connection. Some change a job or career path while others may change their degree of appreciation for art or design. Over time it seems as if our love is potentially capable of being influenced by factors that cause it to be redirected. Love a car one moment, the next year it’s up for sale.

Why does the flow of love change its course? Why does it fade? In my opinion, it does so because we put conditions upon our willingness to extend it to others. We establish special rules for the dispensing of our love. We have learned to extend partial love for others and as such have come to perceive love as something that is offered in various degrees. We love one person or thing more or less than we love something else.

Love can confuse us. We may want to extend love to someone but have learned that because of social teachings and mores that we must keep our love contained. Love is put in question when it crosses racial, cultural, age, and financial boundaries. Love, many of us were taught, must be confined to pre-described boundaries and offered only within certain limits. We learn that true love, which by nature is boundless and limitless, is substituted by a synthetic version.

And it is this fabricated version of love that permeates into our conventional reality. The conventional world tells stories that reinforce the idea that love comes with strings attached. So, the world gives us the idea that love can be fickle, abused, or betrayed. It tells us that in order to maintain our psychological stability we must either accept the conditions in which love currently exists or separate ourselves from whatever or whoever it is we love.

In either case love is stifled. So the most precious and sacred emotion is confounded by imperceptive conditions. It becomes complicated. And we question ourselves as to exactly what love is, and if we still have it, or really feel it for someone or something.When love is masked as something else, it is not unlike novocain in the sense that it wears off, even in the largest administered dosage. For example, love can be masked as longing or obsessing. It can be used as a replacement for loneliness and boredom.

It can be mis-communicated to others in hopes of satisfying a sexual craving or in the pursuit of status and financial stability. Love can present itself in a urge, or through talking one’s self into nurturing it for someone or something. Our individual perception of love becomes our guiding light for connecting with others. Some people are liked but not loved. Some are loved but difficult to like. And, some are loved obsessively. Love is the bonding agent that holds us to various relationships. And not infrequently, when the conditions of the relationship are altered, the love is re-evaluated and changed.

As you can see, the concept of love holds both a present and ongoing influence in our lives. To a very large degree, both our interaction with and perception of that influence become the guiding force for we conducting our lives. Love can be like chasing the wind, ultimately leaving us to feel desperate and unfulfilled. Sometimes when we catch up with the object of our love, later it becomes the source of disappointment and frustration. Or taking it to a higher degree, what we once loved, is now despised.

We are left only with regret. The humorous guy that she fell in love with now seems overbearing and obnoxious. The stupid car that Henri fell in love with lost its appeal. Sarah’s lovingly admired coworker is now perceived to be a motor-mouth. Joy’s girlfriend, loved for her outgoing personality, is now perceived as avoidably overbearing.
As we love so do we live. As time moves on, our initial perceptions of things and people are likely to change. The reason that we once loved a person or thing one day becomes altered, and thusly the loving feeling that we once held so dearly comes into question.

Love becomes a problem when it is based on conditional acceptance. Often this conditional acceptance shows a red flag right up front. When we deny initial questionable concerns with regard to our love for another, then these same unresolved or unattended love-issues will one day return with a great force. For example if one realizes early on that a partner consumes excessive amounts of alcohol on a regular basis then down the road it comes as no real surprise when that continual drinking eventually festers into a major issue, and leads one to question her love for the other. The love-novocain eventually wears off and the pain spikes.

The torment of a transforming love hurts and becomes mentally and emotionally intolerable. How about the person who talks his new career path up with his friends, saying how wonderful his new job and boss are. After six months he is blaming himself for fighting so hard to get the position. When the conditions on which the original love are continually challenged, the fabric of love is compromised. It weakens, and causes the lover to drift from the beloved. Just as a series of major storms will eventually loosen the lines that secure a boat to the dock, the long duration of putting up with a lover’s irritating ways will one day loosen the loving feeling. It becomes a deal-breaker. It is not an unfamiliar occurrence in regard to romantic love relationships.
So the conventional love that most of us have learned to know comes sometimes with a great many strings attached.

Those strings are tethered to conditional acceptance. Parents love their children, and in the name of that love may take license to direct their children in a way that does not necessarily meet the best interest of the child, but serves mostly to inflate the parents’ ego. It is not unusual for parents to poke and prod their children with the conditional acceptance stick. The message that the child hears from the parent is that if you do it the way I expect you to do it, then I will accept you and thusly love you. If you do it differently I will not accept you and either badger, belittle, scold or shun you.

So to avoid parental disapproval, some children learn to mislead their parents by speaking half-truths and telling lies. The parents live with exasperation, the child lives with guilt and internalized self-directed blame. Then, both the parents and child, to some degree, harbor on-going resentment.

As we love we live. Hold others to your expectation, place conditional rulings on the lives of others, use another to advance your place in life, and your life will be confounded by frustration, dismay and disappointment. Love-karma can induce unimaginable alterations in the course of one’s life.

Why does the texture of love change? It does so because we place conditions on our willingness to extend it to others. Often love is offered with an expectation for something in return. So love is obligated to shoulder a burden. And when either the expectation or burden becomes too much to handle the love caves in. One lover turns against the other. A child rejects his parents. A student lies to his teacher. An employer begrudges the employee.

The car gets kicked, and the dog receives a tongue-lashing. Genuine love does not harbor judgment. So resentment cannot fester and grow from genuine love. Genuine love is nurtured in Super Consciousness, or Spirit. It does not judge a glass as being either half-empty or half-full. It does not see Tony as he is and want him to be something else. Genuine love is enmeshed in the practice of allowance. Genuine love accepts people as they are and allows that acceptance to lead the relationship. Just as we learn to love others in the conventional way, we can also learn to love in the genuine way. We can cut the stings. We can forego our judgments. We can stop placing expectations on ourselves, and others and learn to avoid making comparisons. We can stop double-checking our degree of self-satisfaction, and comparing our degree of happiness to others or the norm – what ever that is.

As we love so do we live. We can live with peace or misery, desperation or assurance, conflict or freedom, genuine love or conditional love. We have the choice, and recognizing how to make that choice can be understood through meditation. Through mindful meditation we open ourselves to a true look at our reality. We see how we create the barbs and snags that throw our lives off kilter. We learn how to avoid making ourselves the victim of love, and rather learn how to bring real, genuine love into our lives. When we learn to marinade our lives in genuine love then we can enjoy inner-peace, freedom, and thwart the worldly inclination to be influenced by judgment, condemnation and conflict.

As we love so do we live. Return to genuine love and re-orient yourself to your authentic loving nature. Cut the strings. Use a small portion of your day to clear your mind. Meditate and allow divine brilliance to enter your mind and heart. Meditation will allow you to see within yourself. It will open your perception to the beautiful and magnanimous side of yourself that you have yet to recognize. As you love so do you live. Learn to recognize the love within, and you will see that love presents itself again and again. And in doing so, an unimaginable peacefulness will be granted to you. Love to all of you.
- Don

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