"We never ask the meaning of life when we are in love."
We are meant to live a life of love. When we're not in love, something's the matter. Unfortunately, most of us, unaware of this, become resigned to disappointment, loss and upset in relationships. No matter how successful we are in other aspects of our lives, many do not feel entitled to the same success in love. This is considered natural as one "grows up" and gives up the fantasies, foolishness and dreams of childhood.
But nothing could be further from the truth. It is the fantasies, foolishness, and confused expectations we develop as we grow older that put us into the constricted position most describe as being an "adult" or "becoming realistic about relationships." We don't realize that when we are not in love, something very precious is missing.
Being in love is the most mature and realistic thing you can do. It energizes your life, fills you with positivity, creates generosity and makes every moment beautiful. It immediately dispels the sense of purposelessness and disconnection that many grapple with. The body heals, the heart is happy. As a great teacher once said, "We never ask the meaning of life when we are in love."
Being in love is our natural state. The real question we should be asking is, why aren't we in love all the time? What is it that keeps this most precious inheritance away? How can we reclaim it and return to the intrinsic wisdom and spontaneity we had as children, when each moment was fresh and exciting and filled with adventure?
Many recoil from intimacy due to fear. But contrary to popular opinion, real love never hurts or wounds. It is only our confused expectations that can undermine our lives and lead us to painful consequences. There is a Buddhist saying "Give up poisonous food wherever it is offered to you." But most of us have little idea what is poison and what is nourishing in our relationships. Once we know the difference between real and counterfeit love, once we learn the laws of love and how to practice them, we will be able to live a life of love and build relationships that cannot fail. The fact of the matter is that we can turn our lives around at any time.
First we must find a completely different way of looking at love. In this process we are asked to suspend judgment and disbelief, to be willing to become a child once again - to explore, play, hug, cry and feel that the world is filled with endless possibilities. We also need the ability to say No to all of the people, beliefs, habits and desires which can take our faith and love away. Falling in love doesn't mean being blind, or entering into fantasy. It means waking up out of darkened dreams to finally see the beauty which surrounds us. A little endurance is required, along with the willingness to face the shadows that will dispel as soon as we invite in the light.
To begin this process, let us look a little deeper at what goes on in our hearts. We all want love. Then when we get it, we become afraid and start to run in the opposite direction. On the one hand, we are searching for love, searching for some lasting relationship. On the other hand, we are relieved when the person goes away.
It always seems as if relationships are difficult-difficult to find, to keep and to enjoy. Yet the fundamental truth is that there is no inherent problem with relationships at all. There is never a scarcity of relationships; there is never a scarcity of love. What is it that really keeps us from this love we are so hungry for?
The usual answer to this question is that there are no good men or women around, or there is something fatally flawed about our partner. No matter who we meet or are with, something is wrong. In the beginning we may feel we have finally found the perfect person. Then before we know it, conflict develops, irritation grows. Joy, pleasure and excitement, the feeling of being loved and valued, fade imperceptibly. Most people have no idea why.
Let's start by looking within. So many relate to others by immediately looking for what is wrong. .No one can ever really live up to the image of the partner they had in mind. While they had high hopes in the beginning, before long they begin looking for a way out. Others know just what to do to cause their partners to leave.
When some individuals have bitter or disappointing experiences in love, they shut down, and look past every person they meet. These individuals are present in body only. As soon as someone tries to make contact, they run a million miles away.
Ultimately, from the psychological point of view, not falling in love is not so unusual. In fact, many can do very well, become quite healthy, and yet never get over their disappointments in love. They may never be able to develop satisfying, primary love relationships, but this in itself is not central. There are many ways to sublimate this need, and have other meaningful relationships, a productive work life, and experience a satisfying life.
Spiritually speaking, however, we ask is a person's very life at stake if they aren't able to truly love? The answer is Yes. Without the ability to know real love, the precious taste of this life is thwarted, and a person may be doomed to living her days as a "Hungry Ghost."
All of us have the hungry ghosts within us at times. But we can change this at any moment. To begin, all we need do is be willing to allow ourselves to look for and find that which is beautiful and worthwhile in everyone, (including ourselves).
During this holiday season, let's give it a try. It only takes a moment to do so, but the happiness lasts all day long.