~ Written September 2004
I’m still not sure why it is that access to blindingly obvious realisations arrive from some unnoticed corner of the mind? It’s possible to instantly be transported from confusion to clarity on a point that one previously had no perspective on. How fast do thoughts travel anyway?
So one anonymous morning, such a moment spontaneously arose as I travelled to work.
This particular thought was like realising I was at the apex of a mountain without having done the work required to get there – it was a big one. Suddenly I had an overview of the terrain that makes up my emotional life, a vantage point I’d never seen before. Or perhaps I had simply ignored it until now?
So…. to the thought itself. The topic is that of love. My relationship to love, the stories I have told myself, the way in which I have used it to protect myself from further pain instead of revelling in its joy.
Even though my basic nature tends to self-reflection, it still remains very simple to deceive myself on points of weakness. I guess it really is the truth as far I know at the time. Until ofcourse, I know differently! But I am hungry to know the truth of my nature/human nature in all its glory and terribleness.
That morning, cursing other bad drivers whilst driving too fast myself, a trickle found its way to the surface. And it began to flow freely as I parked my car and waited for the bus.
It started with my observation that love is a very scary thing to me. A terrible and powerful thing. Wow. That’s a weird thing to think!
Yet, as wonderful as love is, it can cause so much pain. It seems my relationship to love tells me I should keep it at bay, to a degree. OMFG!!
An earlier revelation of mine pointed me to the beginnings of this idea, as far as I know anyway. I think this started for me as a small child under the age of 10. My father loved all three of us kids dearly, and would tell us so very often.
But he also had this little game he’d play frequently where he’d have me stand in front of him and ask – “How much do you love your Dad?” Such a harmless way of talking to a child, is it not? Unless ofcourse, that child is super-sensitive as I was.
For some reason I found this experience incredibly overwhelming and embarrassing. Like I had been put on the spot and asked to articulate something I didn’t understand. Does any child truly know what love is in a way they can articulate? Put a quantity value on? Perhaps, but I did not. And because I didn’t know, I never felt like I gave a good answer. And because I didn’t have a good answer, I really wished he’d stop asking me. I’d say whatever I thought he wanted to hear so the game would be over.
So my inner ‘story’ about love became something like – I need to keep some distance to feel safe. To make sure I’m not uncomfortable. Or perhaps – if you let love too close, it hurts. Even when you don’t, it still hurts.
So as much as I desire the closeness of sharing with another person, it also terrifies me. Because that closeness grants both people a certain power over each other.
And how on earth can I ever expect to have a no-holds-barred, passionate and loving relationship with this idea circulating in my mind??
Then I took a look at what I was thinking from another perspective. That perhaps I don’t really know what love is at all. Perhaps none of us do. Not in the pure sense, without attaching our own interpretations – which otherwise shape our lives and which we assume to be true, simply because these interpretations have been with us longer than we can remember. Love should never be perceived of as a threat or something that terrifies.
Love in and of itself is not pain. It is not wrathful. If anything, it’s the birthright of all beings. But it’s the meaning we give it that creates repercussions, both positive and negative. Not love itself.
Nothing is permanent, not unless you want it to be. But I don’t think that my fear of love is resolved simply because I can now see it for what it is. I don’t even think that I can see everything about it just yet.
Not too many people outside of my yoga school have seen ‘the real me’. Most people just don’t ‘get’ me. They are content with the smoke screens, the pretty words and the laughing, the outgoing nature I present. That presentation is meant to entertain and deflect attention, so it’s possible for me to function in a world where I nearly always feel as though I don’t belong.
And here it is – part of the real me that I’m revealing so I can be truthful with myself. I think that if other people were also truthful, they might find they have their own strange ideas around how they relate to love. The joy of it, the loathing. The way they relate to loving and being loved.
All – just stories we tell ourselves. Fancies, ideas, that disintegrate under examination in the light of day.