If love is all-encompassing and makes the world go around…
Why does it bring so much pain and suffering?
Why is it that we wage most of our wars inside the family unit, with lovers, and intimate relationships – those we care the most about? Because it’s those dearest to us that us that trigger our deepest wounds. They provide a mirror where we see our own reflection. In them we feel stable enough to express our fears, hopes and expectations. They allow us to meet our edge and push the boundaries of interpersonal development. They are our teachers! At the same time our quest to please, be accepted and needed by others pushes such relationships to their limits – often to the brink of disillusion. Thus, walls are built and impenetrable boundaries set. Over time, our armour becomes so thick that unspent emotions become locked in the body. Avoidance of such emotional turbulence causes us to look outside for pain relief. We get a massage to sooth our aches and pains, we take supplements, read self-improvement books, we eat ‘green’, join a bridge club, go to a yoga class and chant the sacred sound OM, we lose weight, exercise more, have a holiday, watch soaps, anything to sedate the pain. Unbeknown to us, such denial is contributing towards our family feuds, breakups and ill health.
The key therefore, is to de armour ourselves, through authentic expression. This takes great courage on both sides of an argument. As we can’t de-armour others, we must find the strength to turn our worldly conflicts inward and clean up our insecurities. Here, we face unmet needs and learn to resolve them one by one and drop our expectations. Only then can we hold space for others to express who and how they are. We learn to love them unconditionally.
To love is to have and hold, to give and share – yet rarely is this met unconditionally. When we invest our love in another and open our heart we become vulnerable. This vulnerability is the root of our suffering and yet holds the secret to our freedom. When we show our cards to the other and it’s not reciprocal, it can feel like we have no more to give. And what if the well runs dry? How much am I prepared to give and what’s the return? What if they take what they can and run? How much can I yield and adapt to the needs of my love before enough is enough? Where do, the boundaries lay? Such mind games can leave us feeling like love owes us something for our efforts. But, any interaction based on taking and not giving is unsustainable. The more we insist on the ‘other’ being our source of support and happiness, the more insecure we become. Such insecurity breeds hostility.
Loving surrender is a huge challenge within relationships. The emotional dance between Prince and Princess is often overshadowed by power struggles. In search of connection we are led to believe, since childhood, that we’ll fulfil our dreams when we find our soul mate. Such soul searching becomes our life’s quest, but rarely do we humans get it right first time. For a few, true love flowers and blossoms easily, the honey moon period lasts indefinitely. For most, when the honey moon stops the work begins.
Love over Lust
To love and let go, in each given moment, is our work. Of course, loving the other, warts and all, is not easy. She/he brings up all our fears, insecurities and desires in an oversized bundle. The experience of deep intimate connection can be so powerful that unhealthy attachments are made. Intimate bonding may seem healthy, especially when isolation and loneliness are growing epidemics within society. The problem, however, lays when attachments perpetuate feelings of isolation within a relationship. This often happens when expectations, boundaries and communication gets blurred. Here, lust burns into ownership and controlling behaviour which ultimately stifles both parties. With love, on the other hand, the sense of ownership and wanting to control others drops away and is replaced by acceptance and inner peace. Here, we want the best for those we love because we know their pain as our own. We come to know this by reflecting on the results of our actions. This requires ownership of our flaws and cleaning up our past. When such work is done on both sides, behaviours are more mature and congruent with the inner values of those concerned. The pot at the end of the rainbow is a healthy loving partnership.
Polarities of Love
Our inner turmoil is often locked in the subconscious at birth when we separate from the womb. We spend our lives being trained to survive, on our own two feet, which inevitably means letting go of needing support. But as we get older, to overcome the fear of loss is rarely easy. When we love someone, to face losing them can be a devastating experience and so we hang on as tight as possible. This lowers our energetic frequency. Contrary to this, by letting go of our attachments, we raise the others emotional frequency and this becomes reciprocal.
This is not easy when we delve into the opposing polarities of the masculine and feminine. The masculine is of essence, the seed of manifestation, the feminine is of matter, the womb of all creation. She is of substance; he is of pure potential, yet often it is seen the reverse. The feminine is of earth, she is the flower, she wants to shine and her fragrance to be noticed. The masculine role is to water her, without which a woman shrivels and becomes old before her time. The quiet contemplation of ‘where did it all go wrong’ or how can ‘fix it’ ruminates the man’s mind. All the while the feminine thirsts for his unconditional support and attention.
It’s not so easy for a man to support nurture and celebrate the beauty, intelligence, motherly instincts and inner strength of his woman. Thus, the masculine often seeks leverage elsewhere. He buries his head in the sand – by pulling back. He seeks the same deep connection as her and yet to communicate this perpetuates feelings of weakness. Filling this empty space, for many men, means finding distractions. He has little appreciation for the beauty of momentary awareness because it is in the gaps of time where our deepest emotions surface.
The brotherhood movement realises this and provides support networks for men to explore their shadows. It’s good for him to talk amongst men and face his fear in a safe circle of influence. He must be careful, however, that this does not become a platform of safety where his vulnerability gets lost. To be vulnerable is to be alive, its where authentic love will find him. It takes more than a network of support, mindless meditation, endless activities, working oneself into the ground, debating politics, watching blood sports, numbing out the pain with narcotics, over indulging in porn or alternatively practicing none ejaculation, to unleash masculine potential. All the while women are becoming ever stronger to up-regulate their own sense of isolation – which they generally do much better than men. It is only by accepting his confusion and vulnerability where a man will find himself. And only through sensing and communicating her needs, will a woman feel safe and trusted.
When both parties remove their blocks, they can ride safely ‘bare backed’ into the depths of love. Eventually, through equanimity, the bravest couples unveil limitless love.
The holy trinity for many relationships is sex drugs and rock and roll, once this stops the hangover begins. Contrary to this is intimacy, communication and spiritual connection. The latter is required for lust to flower into a loving partnership. Intimacy breaks down our armour, we begin to heal and feel our wounds soften as we begin to trust another. Through a sense of connection, our single-mindedness gives way to the all-pervasive love of the universe – this is something spiritual. Intimacy frees up all our secrets, fears and judgments it gives us strength to focus on what matters.
Authentic communication is the glue which holds partnerships together – this is often where we come ‘unstuck’! The words ‘I love you’ must be backed up behaviour if partnership is to win. To communicate clearly is to understand how our behaviours affect those we love, otherwise we and they exist in suspension. To hold back on our truth, with those we care the most about, is to lurk in the shadows of unspent emotion. Without healthy, harmonious communication relationships rarely mature into healthy partnerships, instead they relate on terms which rarely consider the other. Thus, to understand how and what our partner needs to feel loved is the process of limitless love. Here, we learn that love is something that radiates outwards into the world. We feel, see and sense the separation in others and reach out to them. Our capacity to love becomes infinite and knows no limits.
“To truly unify with the world, we must be so fucking committed to what’s best for our heart, that we are willing to reach into the fire and accept nothing less than pure unconditional love.,