Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One Final Note on Love...

I email back and forth with a blogger friend who has really opened me up to some wonderful ideas on the subject of love. Recently, she sent me an email that I feel is a good capstone to my recent ponderings on the matter (which have proven to be quite fruitful in practice), so I'd like to share this email anonymously with all of you in hopes that you might be able to take from it what I have: A deeper understanding of what it means to love and from where that love stems.


Hello Mr. Walter,

I've been thinking about your situation off and on today because it makes me think of related stories in my own life. Today I went searching for an excerpt from one of Deepak Chopra's books. When I found this quote it changed my life... even though I cant recall how I found it.

Before I give it to you let me set the scene for that stage in my life. I was deeply in love, in what I would call a bi polar relationship. For some reason, I put so much of my SELF worth into whether or not people loved me.

In this case, this guy would run hot and cold all the time... and I kept thinking I could have some "control" in the situation. That maybe if I loved enough, the return would eventually turn positive. And if it didn't, it was a problem with ME and not the other person.

"When you find a genuinely loving person, as you have, you will see that you are in his heart not because you look a certain way or act a certain way, but because he is following his own nature. Loving others is just the easiest way he knows how to be. When you realize this, the whole problem of not deserving is exposed for the illusion it really is. " - Deepak Chopra

In other words, I could love this person to all of my ability- but if he by nature is incapable of returning love in a mature or honest way- then it doesn't matter WHAT I do. The reflection is upon him and his limitations... its not about MY worth or MY limitations.

Now you've been talking about "returns" from what I gather. You are a certain loving and friendly way with people and you are not getting the "result" that you want. Whatever the result is, doesn't matter.... the point is, the OTHER person is not at a place to give it to you or simply doesn't want to.

And this all circles around to expectations- and having expectations. That is shaky ground for all of us. Because expectations are like guarantees in life...

So its important to find people in your life for whom you have shared understandings. An honor code for which you guys stand behind and strive for. It helps to be on the same page so to speak...

On another personal story, I once said something to the effect of, "Where's my 'reward' for loving people?! What's the point in trying if you don't get anything in return?"

My friend tilted his head to the side, almost confused,"Isn't love in and of itself reward enough?"

When you use love like a commodity or bartering tool then things get a bit sticky. I can reward people with affection and feel like I'm punishing them by taking it away. But that's childish (even manipulative) in concept. I can harshly judge others, proclaiming who is and isn't worthy of courtesy or kindness... but what would that say of my arrogance and ignorance?

But lets just say my intentions are good... the fact that I'm looking to be recognized, appreciated, hailed, or rewarded for my efforts says more about my need for something else.... then it does about love.

The fact that I AM capable of love, that I practice it, that I'm open to it, that I explore its meanings with honesty despite every reason I have to be jaded.... IS an amazing achievement! That "reward" is enough when there is a sea of people who seek this existence with clinging hands, fear, confusion, and a need to tear things apart....

It is my contribution to life, that I practice love... That is surprisingly wonderful.

Needless to say-

This doesn't protect me from rejection or hurt- no one is protected from that. But one thing I know I have, is the ability to make choices out of love (Including self love and self preservation) or out of resentment, loneliness, or fear. Whatever we choose has powerful impact on the lives we touch.


My friend has illuminated a bunch of hidden expectations and ulterior motives I've not been able to see for myself through her insightful, caring, and certainly patient series of emails. It seems like a character issue now more than a give-and-take issue. The goal looks more like developing the sort of character which finds enjoyment in bringing love into the world no matter what the return. After all, the return is not in our hands. So I think maybe it's time to move on to "joy," the second fruit of the spirit. Surely by having some ground-floor understanding of love, we'll be able to begin understanding "joy" which will in turn give us a deeper understanding of the nature of love.

That's all from Florida for now! The beach was lovely this morning, by the way.

1 comment:

Ted Bagley said...

I can really relate to your quandary over love. I feel like there is something missing in your essay that was being constantly circled around and not said in the Chopra quote. That being exactly what Love is. There was a lot of neat reflection on practicing love from both sides of the coin although without really knowing what it is hat's being practiced, I just heard an essay about being confused, which again I can relate to but not sure if that was the intent of your writing. I could of missed it, though.
Ahh... the beach.