(Dedicated to a special student)
Love is the cohesive force of Creation. It expresses in many different ways. To abandon ourselves the way we live attraction and attachment is also love and cohesion. But, not all forms of love and cohesion are spiritual. Even when we yearn for it, we cannot conjure love; somehow, it finds us all by itself. It responds to our availability. Surrender always opens the way for the grand experience of the abyss and participation in something greater than the self. Our voluntary offering and the saturation effect of sensation on multiple levels are both elements common to the process of loving, but this is where the analogies between love and falling in love end.
For both genders, love enters through our weak point: the physical body for men, emotions for women. As it grows in intensity, loving becomes ecstasy, fullness, and sensory perception expands, binding people in accelerating frequencies. For many this is more than enough. Life doesn’t seem to have a more important purpose than the pleasure of contact with the loved one, where time does not exist and all is possible. The wonder of love reflects insecurity and a continuum of ups and downs. Cupid acquires the semblance of Angels of Light. Through the breakdown of habitual tensions, unfathomable and unexpected shifts promise immortality, touching upon the privilege of the gods.
Loving changes the semblance and purpose of life. The senses suddenly explode into brilliant nuances and astonishingly absorbent depths, while the usual clamor of our lives miraculously dims. It appears as a divine gift sharpening physical and emotional perception. Next to this, everything else is opaque and insignificant.
Unfortunately, we perceive the source of delight as something external to us. And, the same way that primitive man knelt before the phenomenon of the sun or fire, we venerate what appears to have caused it, and look for ways of repeating and prolonging it. The experience of danger becomes something delicious for being uncontrollable. It creates new and indescribable need.
When love happens, the first impression rings a magical note; as of this moment, its mere reminder activates sensitivity circuits that spill within us into a profound caress, or rise as a turbulent volcano. Sometimes the link with the other produces a fusion and one disappears into the other, such as a moth in the flame. From the unhealthiest symbiosis to the most exalted illumination, it acquires many forms. It rarely leads to a spiritual experience where correspondence might become authentic self-recognition, for it would mean also embracing human aloneness. Then we would discover that the source that fills and moves us is within us, having little to do with another.
Unconditional fullness does not occur in normal relationships. In the best of cases, meaning and power continue to be projected outwardly, or arranged, together with delegated tasks and purposes conjured up by the parties, culminating in all types of dependent collaboration.
At the beginning of a relationship, primary sensations soften the usual tyranny of the mind. The relief that this produces is felt as a blessing. In spite of the uncertainty evoked, and the fact that we cannot think of anything else, we are amused by the “adventure” and as a child on a rollercoaster, we delight in the loss of control and the inner tsunami. Passion is the greatest of tensions, but at that moment we don’t want to know it. For a good reason it is called “falling” in love.
Falling in love is very different in quality, reach, and implication to the spiritual experience. Sensations acquire personal meanings. Physical chemistry and emotions mirror the activity of natural law: duality, friction and wear. They create addiction. Human consciousness limited to material function reflects the basic fear of separation: matter consumes itself and depends on the tension of polarity to exist. The fear of being alone is a constant shadow. The emotional upheaval and impotence that are lived when the center of fascination changes or absents itself, leads to a despair that is anything but pleasant.
Some spiritual paths evoke the state of loving, directing it towards devotion and the divine ideal. Headstrong individual are able to transfer spiritual value onto that which is material, transported by pleasure and personal satisfaction. Here the experience of the transcendental is restricted to the company of the other, or to a sensory technique that adjusts to appetites and daily routine. As often happens in the sexual act, only that amount of peace or intensity that fits into and heightens our world is allowed.
The problem of fear or limitation that invisibly accompanies human love and the processes of opening, accommodating, abandoning or surrender, have to do with the quality and focus of attention of the individual. Or we limit meaning and value to that which is loved, excluding all else, or we allow ourselves to recognize the love in all without reducing it to something personal. The material world consists of purposes, appropriation, separation and quantity; so too love between bodies. Only the soul is able to include and perceive itself as one with Infinity.
When we look for meaning outside of ourselves and everything revolves around another person, we create attachment. This fosters hunger and insecurity that lead to impotence and dependence, even if we see it as something transitory and inevitable. We see through the senses and all appears beautiful and useful. Instead of divine Order, the laws of chaos prevail. However, when we blend with greater Nature or we allow ourselves to be transported by a stirring melody, there is no focus, distinction or division. The flute and the drum compose a unique symphony. Everything acquires equal importance and harmony reigns.
The mayor difference in the type of love lived is the quality of desire that emerges and the ability of the individual to sustain levels of energy. In a relationship, the personal “I” addresses itself towards the possession of the other. In the spiritual experience there is no center or direction; desire itself becomes its purpose and meaning. In the state of contemplation or meditation an inner space opens from where all is embraced. The Ideal or Other and the “I” become One.
Spiritual contact cannot occur where there is fear or where the law of opposites operates. It emerges from fine-tuning and affinity within an infinitely deep center within us. It has to do with Unity and a direct experiential link within. Time also stands still and each moment is unrepeatable. Cohesion reigns. At worst, discomfort appears by contrast in the tension, gross sensations, meaninglessness and demands of daily life. Real spirituality does not adapt itself to life; life adapts to it embracing, softening and raising all, including matter and human relationships.
Love is always delicious. The meeting with another person is something precious, but the way of love that opens beyond depends on us, our limitations and fears, or our strength and degree of inner integrity.
What is the price that we are willing to pay? The love that surrounds us is the result of a barely conscious decision. We should ask ourselves how we wish to live and what we value. Is it security, or freedom? Is it being cared for, protected and approved of, or being authentic and self-sufficient? Are we moved by personal satisfaction, or by the quality of inner life? The type of relationship, situations and conditions that we create in our lives reflect the answer.
The problem, like ecstasy, is never in the other or in the relationship. Like the solution, it is within each of us.