True Love and Relationships, Part 2: The Yoga of Relationships
This article is the second in a series about love and relationships (the first is here).
True love is never rejected. If you come from the right place, it will find the path to the heart, because the place is comes from and the place it goes to is the same place. The shooter and the target are one.
(It doesn’t mean you always get what you want (as a person) though!)
Simple But Not Easy
How hard can it be to be totally open, the openness that we are – in other words to be our true selves?
Love is the simplest thing in the world really, but somehow in us humans it gets complicated, clouded, bound up inside. Children seem to more naturally be open and loving. Why? Because it is natural. As adults we have learned and adopted willfully all kinds of things we think we know, practical and useful, and impractical and insane. “Insane” may sound like too strong a word, but how sane is it to be intentionally unhappy? This is worth exploring: at some level unhappiness is a choice, even if it seems forced on use. Un-lovingness is something we do and choose, even if unconscious and forgotten. This is the strange game we play as human beings.😂🤯😅😘🌀
We start out as this infinite potential, identify with a mind and body and world, and forget that the whirlpool is part of creation and not separate, and go on pretending we are what we aren’t. Then suffering serves as the special alarm lock to say “Hey, Wake Up Idiot”… life is supposed to be fun, play, joy and laughter and freedom and connection and light and beauty and love…remember? … and hopefully laugh!
In any case, we become closed and rigid. Full of ideas, opinions and beliefs. Habits. Commandments. Like regimented robots. Fearful. Hard. Mean. Or at best, full of pride.
For some reason, it can seem quite difficult to let go of all this “baggage”, or to even see what we are doing. We can be acutely aware of what other people are doing, and all their shortcomings, but not our own. We have blindspots. Or if we are aware of our shortcomings, it’s felt with bad feelings: shame, guilt, fear, resentment… a sense of lack, or of “sin” – the fallen one. The chip on the shoulder. The flawed species. The separate self. Being bad.
The whole trick is un-creating what we created.
But how do we do that? That’s why it’s simple – since we created it and know it’s nature – but not necessarily easy. (And is what this site is about).
Is Love an Emotion?
When someone we were close to dies — be it a relative, a partner, a friend, or even a pet — we may experience a great deal of emotion, and cry or feel deeply sad. We have a release and open up for a little while. Likewise, when we see a loved one after a long absence, be it friend or relative or beloved animal, we may feel elation and joy. It would seem that love is an emotion, or involves a great deal of emotion. But is this really true?
In a similar way, when we feel a connection with a new friend – let’s say a potential romantic interest – and start to feel enlivened by that new love interest in our life, as if finally we are understood or am no longer feeling quite as separate – there can be euphoria and an opening for a while. But then conversely it can be quite painful, disappointing and disorienting for them to suddenly withdraw, cut us off, or say something unloving. We might strike back or do something in reaction, or we may need time to recalibrate. Our image of them may suddenly change, or we may feel fear instead of love.
So can that actually be “love” if it is so changeable such that even a word turns it around to its opposite?
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
~ William Shakespeare
If what we were feeling was dependent on our mental view of them, which can change in an instant, what does that say about what was going on? How can we separate a mental projection from a real connection, and real love?
If love were really such a thing that it could only be associated with one person or certain people, or a certain “other” in our experience, it would seem to be on shaky ground and potentially be a very difficult and painful thing indeed.
Yes, it can be the easiest, most natural and spontaneous thing in the world, to enjoy a new friend, or a child or pet, playing, or expressing or feeling love with a partner at times, and the little self, the “ego” the self-image, the sense of separation evaporates. Or, even just song or a story opens our heart, and we feel something… But with those we’ve known longer, are closer to, or as human adults, it can seem harder.
What happens? In a nutshell, the mind gets in the way: thoughts and feelings. What does that mean? What is “the mind” and what does “in the way” mean, and how to prevent or dissolve it, and find love again? Well for one thing, memories are accumulated: images and ideas about someone. But is this the person, is this the reality? Are these mental mirages anything other than internal representations that have little to do with the present? We believe in them, invest in them, but sometimes are unwilling and unaware such that we can remove the blinders and take a fresh look, free from the past, free from the image and the person, and see the being before us, unknown, life itself, in the wide open space of awareness.
What comes and goes is not real; what is eternal is real. Somehow in this flow of live, in the coming and going of the waves, we have to wake up and see the waves are part of the ocean, and always were and always are jut part of the ocean. Yes, thoughts and feelings come and go, yet we identify with them, we are very interested and invested in them. This is called “attachment” and is often confused with love. Is such attachment really loving?
How can you have love without freedom? We know that the experience of a friend trying to be controlling does not feel friendly. And the same time, we go along with being controlled or controlling in intimate or so-called intimate or romantic relationships in various ways. The conditional feeling, the sense of obligations, the transactional nature or the sense that we are manipulated or want to get something – all coming from separation, and all very common in the world. If we are aware we can feel when something feels “sticky”.
Free from Past
Have you ever had the experience of feeling an extraordinary love for a stranger, based on a brief encounter – let’s say a conversation in parking lot? I have. And I’ve also heard it said that one cannot really love one’s family until one can love a stranger. If the filters of thinking and feeling from the past are removed, there is a brand new moment, a fresh unknown before you, and a possibility of meeting. It’s called “being open” and is an experience. It is listening and seeing fresh. It can allow us to see from their shoes, have actual empathy. We may not agree with them, but we understand them. How to explain it in words, and how to get there? If there were any certain path, or any technique, we’d be a better civilization. But since it’s not given from the mind, which is a child of time and repetition, one can only offer and use a pointer and tool. So we do our best …
We don’t know that Love, consciousness, reality – whatever you want to call that which we truly are – can dissolve the images, the emotions and thoughts in the light of Presence, because we have more faith in our personal illusion, our mind-bodies, and our personal will, what we think we know, and the story of the past, than in Life and Love. We trust in the wrong god as it were. We worship at the alter of hate and resentment, war and intrigue, guilt and fear, material objects and pain, pleasure and escape, drama and conflict… But that’s OK: see that too as part of the game, the yoga of relationship and unfolding of a true life. And since you’re here reading this, so you can’t be that far off the path. You are fully equipped for life, love and happiness. The spirit of truth is waiting and fully alive within you, ready to flower at any moment.
And, when there is a moment of dishonesty with a loved one or friend, new or old — when there is a perceived hurt or misunderstanding, and little or no communication, or a judgement in us, or a hurt, and we merely store this away, and it doesn’t dissolve within out inner love, and festers — then we have some work to do. Now or later. Take your pick. Do you want to wait until you’re at death’s door to let go?
What to do? It either has to be communicated in the moment, honestly, fairly, lovingly, or dealt with later (inside yourself, converting it to love, and possibly with them, if available and willing). Those are the only two options in fact. You can’t go into the past and fix or change it. But what do we do? We ruminate over the past or fantasize what we should have said, harbor a hurt or resentment, feel a fear towards them (the memory really), or feel sorry for ourselves, or tuck it away and not look at it, or hold a burning coal of anger in our hearts. This obviously is not the healthy and happy way to go. This is not living in the present. This is a mental game, not the reality of fresh living.
How do we turn any seeming difficulties in relationships into a Yoga of Relationships (or “Karma Yoga”)?
The Yoga of Relationships
The pain or difficulty of relationships can be the fuel or the trigger for seeing those places where we need to grow. It is the sandpaper that polishes our loving, exposing where are are not as loving as we could be; where we are blind to ourselves and still acting unconsciously, automatically and with little living intelligence to the moment (stupidly to put it bluntly!). It can allow us to see where we cause suffering and pain to others and ourselves (consciously or unconsciously) out of a contracted and dense sense, a hidden stuck-ness… where others are objects in relation to a sense of ourselves being an object (a separate entity), thus desiring or fearing, seemingly needing and wanting, acting blindly.
It follow from the fact that if you are aware that you are awareness itself, and love is by nature the awareness of the oneness, that the awareness here is the same awareness there – we are literally the same Being – then un-lovingness is lack of awareness thereof.
To put it positively, we can more and more see the other as the same awareness. This is a little difficult to describe. It can be formulated as words — “the awareness in you is the same awareness in me” — but what is it in experience? Since it is in essence something invisible — the underlying “background” of what we are manifest as it were — then it can take many forms. It can take the form of suddenly understanding “where they are coming from”, or of the joy of seeing the love of a pet or a child that wants to play with you, and feeling not separate from that loving space of playfulness (no “you” present), or of dissolving into love. But all these are passing experiences. They do however carry the signature of beauty, love, and truth. The mental-physical dashboard is not going “Danger! Danger!” but instead enveloping us in warmth and friendliness and connectedness, ease and openness. So we know we are on the right track. You could say it is what is real and unshakable is saying “Hello”… the perfume of the divine if you will (which is not separate, is what you are).
Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it’s not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person–without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other.”
The first mistake of course, is seeing happiness or love or beauty or truth as out there: in a person, place, or thing. Mistaking love as some kind of objective quality. Or using a “love” relationship to get something. We get so turned around we may call these transactional arrangement, these exchanges, these associations in our minds, or these longer term agreements “love”, not understanding what’s going on behind the scenes. We may call attachments and bonds “love”. We may be playing out the dictates of fear and desire, running a program, and confuse that with “love”.
Our ancient habit of being part of a tribe, for safety and survival, plays a big part in what many call “love”. But these bonds, though seeming to be deep, are very conditional. If you do not obey the dictates of the tribe, act in ways that don’t go along with their turf, or even say things against their belief system, the threat of being kicked out is there. Does real love have any component of coercion like this? Does dependency have anything do with love? Do we *need* love of the tribe? If love has rules, then it is not free. And if it’s not free it is not love. For example, if you have a friend, and you try and control them it is not a loving thing to do, and they will feel it. Freedom and love cannot be divorced. The love that we are, the universal love, the goodness of Life if you will, is absolutely free, and expresses itself as that loving freedom, and the beautiful spontaneous events in our lives. The miracle of creation and grace. True, impersonal friendships and the undeserved absolute generosity of this love have no precedent. They simply are, and humble the mind.
The job is not to see it as more complicated, but to see the complication, the mess we’ve already created. To see the illusion we’ve fallen for, the ideas we’ve absorbed, and start seeing past the thicket. So go beyond belief to fact. Even if those facts meet some resistance, skepticism, denial. It’s time for the programming to end.
Coming Up Next: True Love and Relationships, Part 3: The Facts of Life, Sex and Romance