“Why Love if Losing Hurts So Much?”


Why love if losing hurts so much?
I have no answers anymore, only the life I have lived.
And twice in that life I have been given the choice:
As a boy…
…and as a man.
The boy chose safety.
The man chose suffering.
The pain now is part of the happiness then.
That’s the deal.

( – from the motion picture “Shadowlands“)

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God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

.

We shall only draw nearer to God not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in love, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; by throwing away all defensive armor.

If our hearts need to be broken—and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break—then so be it. Hiding away our hearts for fear of their being broken, is like hiding away a talent in a napkin and burying out back, and for much the same reason—because “I knew that thee wert a hard man.”

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; become a relationship nomad, run away and emotionally cut others out of your life at the first sign of trouble; and lock your heart up safe in the casket or coffin of your own selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; rather, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

( – C. S. Lewis, from “The Four Loves,” pp 120-122)

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One way or another, you will be forced to face the truth: everything you acquire is eventually lost. Every body you hold eventually dies. You have been waiting to give your deepest gifts, waiting to love and invest safely without the possibility of loss or rejection. You have been holding back while your life—everyone’s life—passes. You have traded in your true destiny for one of false comforts and muted agony.

If you are afraid, if you are waiting for more comfort or security, if you are holding back your gifts or closing down your love, then feel your act of closure fully—feel the tension in your muscles, the clenching in your jaw, the hardening of your heart—in short, the wasting of your life.

(David Deida, “Blue Truth,” pp. 8-9)

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Affirmation” – Donald Hall

To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.
If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.
Let us stifle under mud at the pond’s edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

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The sooner (and more completely) I can wrap my little head around this and live in accordance with this, the better.

And it’s not that I have a death wish and want to court relationships where the instability is inherently and wantonly high because the other person has set their life in diametric opposition to this fact of life and therefore is prone to flinch, spin out, shut down, run, self-preserve by throwing others under the bus or into the fire or just plain throwing them away period whenever the going gets tough.

No, I don’t want that.

But if that’s what life presents me with, then it is my duty as a man and not a boy to live that reality and that relationship at the highest level that I can and that I am able to muster. There can be no shrinking permitted from myself.

Or else all of these fine words and excerpts are just words, and I’m just kidding myself with them by citing them and quoting them. I have to live and behave myself into what I aspire to be; I have to be willing to fight myself—my smaller frightened avoidant self—tooth and nail, even when I’m scared. Especially most of all when I’m scared and feel my heart about to get wrung and broken again.

If this is the way that God or the Universe chooses to break my heart fully open, then so be it. The Universe or God or Life is always in the right. And the Universe and or God will keep breaking my heart again and again and again until I get it, until I realize that there is no safe investment, that everything will be taken from me—us—eventually, that everything is temporary.

So how do I want to live my life in the meantime, until the eventual end comes? As a coward? (Cue up the movie “Fearless” with Jeff Bridges and that wonderful scene on top of the skyscraper downtown where he declares in fear and trembling that he won’t live his life as a coward.) Or do I want to live my life as a man, with as much courage and openness and integrity as I can muster?

Both the long and the short lesson in life is loss. It’s not a particularly cheery lesson, especially not at first, and perhaps not ever, but picking and choosing our life lessons—the lessons in life we decide to learn—on the basis of their cheeriness or how well they appeal to our congenital preferences and temperament and emotional limitations and current level of differentiation doesn’t seem to me to be a particularly healthy or ennobling or even an honest way to live.

To set ourselves, heart and mind and soul, in opposition to the fact that loss is inevitable, that everyone dies, that no one gets out of here alive, that life and health and security are all fleeting and tenuous and temporary at best, seems to be a foolish way to live. And the more we set ourselves against this set of unavoidable “brute” facts of life, then either the more dishonestly or the more discursively and superficially we will have to live (“taking ruins to ruins” as Emerson put it, which is the same as the gist of Cavafy’s poem “The City”). There’s really no depth or personal growth possible except by wrestling with accepting this fact. —In fact, isn’t that what all real true personal growth is?—learning to better and more courageously and heroically accept life for what it is instead of what we escapistly wish it would be?—learning to better live and love on life’s terms and not on our own? (to lessen our inner control freak?) “He must increase, I must decrease” – John 3:30 (God I love that Gospel!). Yes, Truth and Light and Love and our level of courage and clear-headedness and honesty and clear-thinking must increase, and our own personal flighty discursive self-deceptive avoidant escapist control-freak tendencies must decrease. That’s the gist of genuine personal growth—coming to live more honestly and courageous, becoming more and more dedicated to truth and reality. And we each have a unique path we must take, one full of hardships and difficulties to be met and faced if we are to truly grow as a person. Or else in a very significant sense we end up wasting our lives, wasting the time we have been given—whatever modicum of time we may be given, living and dying as emotional children and cowards, living as “just another troubled guest darkening the earth” (Goethe, “The Holy Longing”). Which is not how I am at all interested in living or loving—as just another avoidant troubled guest darkening the earth. . . .

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The Holy Longing” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tell a wise person or else keep silent
For the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive
And what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm waters of the nights of love
Where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
A strange feeling comes over you
When you see the quiet candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught
In this obsession with darkness
And a desire for higher love-making sweeps you up.
Distance does not make you falter.

And now, arriving in wonder, flying,
And, finally, insane for the light,
You are the butterfly,
And you are gone.

And so long as you haven’t
Experienced this—to die
And so to grow—you are only
A troubled guest darkening the earth.

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The City” – C. P. Cavafy

You said, “I will go to another land,
I will go to another sea.
Another city will be found,
One better than this.
My heart, like a corpse, is buried.
How long must I remain
In this (self-made) wasteland?
Wherever I turn here, wherever I look
I see the scorched and blackened ruins of my life
Where I have spent so much time
Wandering and wasting away
.”

You will find no new lands,
You will find no other seas.
The city you are
and constantly trying to flee from
Will follow you everywhere.
You will roam the same streets elsewhere
Age in the same neighborhoods
Grow gray in the same houses.
Always you will arrive again and again
At this same doorstep
In this same city.
Do not hope for any other.
For there is no ship for you,
There is no road.
As you have destroyed your life here
in this little corner,
you have ruined it in the entire world.

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5 thoughts on ““Why Love if Losing Hurts So Much?”

  1. Pingback: “Why Love If Losing Hurts So Much?” | What Is Real True Love?

  2. It was brave of you to speak from such a vulnerable place in yourself. I resonate with your struggle to overcome your frightened, ‘smaller’ self. I have multiple versions of that self who like to take control and steer my ship. They can really make a mess of things in my life. I think perhaps, though, I should be grateful to them in the sense that they have given me a great blessing … Awareness of their existence. I would venture to guess that a very, very, very small percentage of the population is even Aware of this reality of themselves.

    Ouspensky writes in his book, In Search of the Miraculous, that Gurdjieff says (and I concur on the basis of my own experience of this) “one of man’s important mistakes, one which must be remembered, is his illusion in regard to his I.” (page 59)

    Gurdjieff explains that in order to overcome this one must subject themselves to difficulty.

    “Fusion, inner unity, is obtained by means of ‘friction,’ by the struggle between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in man. If a man lives without inner struggle, if everything happens in him without opposition, if he goes wherever he is drawn or wherever the wind blows, he will remain such as he is. But if a struggle begins in him, and particularly if there is a definite line in this struggle, then, gradually, permanent traits begin to form themselves, he begins to ‘crystallize.’ But crystallization is possible on a right foundation and it is possible on a wrong foundation. ‘Friction,’ the struggle between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ can easily take place on a wrong foundation. For instance, a fanatical belief in some or other idea, or the ‘fear of sin,’ can evoke a terribly intense struggle between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ and a man may crystallize on these foundations. But this would be a wrong, incomplete crystallization. Such a man will not possess the possibility of further development. In order to make further development possible he must be melted down again, and this can be accomplished only through terrible suffering.” (Ouspensky, page 32)

    I think the work of Love is so compelling because inherent in it is this possibility of producing the friction necessary to evolve. But an ordinary relationship cannot create these conditions.

    If one chooses the Way of Love as a path to Knowledge, Self-Knowledge, there is an opportunity to gain tremendous insight into the prison of lies, fears, and self-deception, that we are beholden to. This is the real work, is it not? Not so much personal growth, as of yet, but personal birth, because for 98% of us, no “I” exists in the first place. There is no Master in the house. This journey first and foremost then is to recognize that we are asleep and that we need to begin the long and difficult work of awakening to ourselves. A Real Love can awaken us to that painful fact. And even though, we may run from it, we cannot unsee what has been seen.

    In this life that I am living, I find moments of intense clarity followed by days of complete confusion. I imagine my journey thus far as similar to what it would be like being out at sea. Dropped into the middle of the ocean, under water, not even knowing that there was ‘above water’ – let alone a shore in the far distance. For much of the time, I am underwater, swimming. The tide is pushing me whichever way it wants. But then something comes in, a reminder, an intuition, an impulse … I cannot say what this something is, but it draws me up to the water’s edge. I emerge. Breathe. The sun shines upon me. I look around and remember there is a shore. I begin to swim again in that direction and the tide pulls me under. And again, I am in the same cycle. The task becomes to fix my gaze on the shore and to not let anything deter my swim towards it. A WILLFUL INTENT to reach the shore. That is the struggle. But how sweet that shore will be. Because once it is reached, the tide will no longer have any sway over me. That shore will have been earned.

    But before I can make a choice to apply my Will, I must first develop my Will and that is only possible through the recognition of the fact that at this point there is no permanent I whose Will exists. And though that has been ‘explained’ to me – it is only as I ‘experience’ it in myself that my knowledge can translate into understanding. And then steps can be taken to apply this understanding.

    Who dares to undertake this evolution of their Being?

    • Hello Jennifer,

      Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful comment. Sentient life on the Internet! So refreshing!!

      I can honestly no longer see any other way to live any more and evolve my being in this way. St. Augustine wrote, “It is only in the face of death that man’s real self is born” (Yes, personal birth; it’s not enough to be born once; one must be born again from or into something higher and wiser and more stable than all of the accidents and contingencies and fears and unchosen conditioning and karma that made up our first selfing.) Dag Hammarskjöld wrote: “At every moment you choose yourself. But do you really choose your self? Body and soul contain a thousand possibilities out of which you can build many I’s. But in only one—which you will never find until you have excluded all those superficial and fleeting possibilities of being and doing with which you toy out of curiosity or wonder or greed or your need for security, and which hinder you from casting anchor in the experience of the mystery of life—is your ‘I’.” Or as Gurdjieff himself put it: “Human beings are attached to everything in this life; attached to their imagination, attached to their ignorance, attached to their fear, attached even to their own suffering—and possibly to their own suffering more than anything else. A person must first free himself from attachment. Attachment to things, identification with things, keeps alive a thousand false I’s in a person. These I’s must die in order that the big I may be born. But how can they be made to die? . . . It is at this point that the possibility of awakening comes to the rescue. To awaken means to realize one’s nothingness, that is, to realize one’s complete and absolute mechanicalness, as well as one’s complete and absolute helplessness. . . . So long as a person is not horrified at himself, then a person knows nothing about himself or life.” Every morning I get up and marinade my brain in this sort of stuff. If I don’t open myself up now, while I’m alive, while there’s still time, death will do it eventually, and then there will be no time. And all of the love I could have given, all the tenderness I could have shown and received, all of the love I could have shared and left of myself on this earth to possibly brighten it, will go in the ground or go up in flames over the pyre. And my one chance at living and loving will be over. It will be gone. Finished. Never to be repeated. And billions and billions of years will come after me and wipe away all trace of me and whatever I did with my life–whether I played it safe and lived out of fear and clung to any sort of security I could find; or whether I let myself be fully opened, not play it so damn safe, and live and love on life’s terms. So what am I waiting for now? What are you waiting for? What are any of us waiting for? A day without love, a day without loving others, a day without facing our fears and stretching ourselves beyond them, a day without the depth of love we know we could have if we were just a bit braver, more open, more daring, in need of less security, is a wasted day. And yet this is what so many do. And day leads on to day and turns into weeks and then months, and more and more time (and life) gets wasted. And then one has to justify all of the wastefulness and start fighting for it; one has to dig in one’s heals and compound the mistake. Why do so many of us live on so little and live such small sheltered scared lives and want so little that is real for ourselves? Why are we so afraid of our own emotions and of being overwhelmed or flooded by them? What we fear is going to happen to us one day eventually. We each owe a death. We each have to play out that scene. And when that time comes, it’s too late for us to really become all that we could have become earlier, in our prime, if we had lived with greater courage and steadiness and composure. And love.

      I see all of the fear in others and myself . . . how much we flinch and tremble, how we shut down and run away from life, from love, from others, but most of all from ourselves and from growing up. And I cry at night sometimes. It breaks my heart. Why do we do this to ourselves and to each other? Why does something that began so beautifully and with so much promise and passion and possibility have to end so badly and scatter in debris on some loveless shore? Why do basically decent people do this to each other? Why? Why?

      “The Crunch” – Charles Bukowski

      too much too little

      too fat
      too thin
      or nobody.

      laughter or
      tears

      haters
      lovers

      strangers with faces like
      the backs of
      thumb tacks

      armies running through
      streets of blood
      waving winebottles
      bayoneting and fucking
      virgins.

      an old guy in a cheap room
      with a photograph of M. Monroe.

      there is a loneliness in this world so great
      that you can see it in the slow movement of
      the hands of a clock

      people so tired
      mutilated
      either by love or no love.

      people just are not good to each other
      one on one.

      the rich are not good to the rich
      the poor are not good to the poor.

      we are afraid.

      our educational system tells us
      that we can all be
      big-ass winners

      it hasn’t told us
      about the gutters
      or the suicides.

      or the terror of one person
      aching in one place
      alone

      untouched
      unspoken to.

      people are not good to each other.

      I suppose they never will be.
      I don’t ask them to be.

      but sometimes I think about
      it.

      the beads will swing
      the clouds will cloud
      and the killer will behead the child
      like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone.

      too much
      too little

      too fat
      too thin
      or nobody

      more haters than lovers.

      people are not good to each other.
      perhaps if they were
      our deaths would not be so sad.

      meanwhile I look at young girls
      stems
      flowers of chance.

      there must be a way.

      surely there must be a way that we have not yet
      thought of.

      who put this brain inside of me?

      it cries
      it demands
      it says that there is a chance.

      it will not say
      “no.”

      If you really think about it, if anyone really thinks about it, no other way of living really makes sense, other than to love and be loved, to grow and mature emotionally and become less and less beholden or controlled by our fears and weak points. No one gets out of here alive. We’re all caught in ticking traps. We’re all going to turn cold and one die, even those we love and cling to will die on us. So what are we so afraid of? Why aren’t we all living with greater openness and honesty and courage? And Love? (The real stuff.)

      Thanks again for your comment, Jen. Namaste, from my heart to yours,

      John

  3. You quoted Gurdjieff above:

    “Human beings are attached to everything in this life; attached to their imagination, attached to their ignorance, attached to their fear, attached even to their own suffering—and possibly to their own suffering more than anything else. A person must first free himself from attachment. Attachment to things, identification with things, keeps alive a thousand false I’s in a person. These I’s must die in order that the big I may be born. But how can they be made to die? . . . It is at this point that the possibility of awakening comes to the rescue. To awaken means to realize one’s nothingness, that is, to realize one’s complete and absolute mechanicalness, as well as one’s complete and absolute helplessness. . . . So long as a person is not horrified at himself, then a person knows nothing about himself or life.”

    and it made me wonder about the title of your blog post ….. “Why Love if losing hurts so much?” …. why do you think losing hurts so much? Does it hurt only because we are attached? Maybe loving only hurts when we are not really Loving? Because if the Loving is done rightly, that is to say, if it is Real Love, how can it be lost? It is not object dependent. A real love has nothing to do with permanence.

    “Grasping at things can only yield one of two results:
    Either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear.
    It is only a matter of which occurs first.”
    Goenka

    There is a series of discourses with Osho that has been printed in the two volumes of Tao: The Golden Gate. In Volume 1, Ch #3: Grow Real Roses there is a question and answer with Osho that captures this idea so well. It reads:

    Question:
    Osho, what is the secret of remaining happy and married?

    – Sarjan,

    IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! It has never happened — it cannot happen in the very nature of things. MARRIAGE IS SOMETHING AGAINST NATURE. Marriage is an imposition, an invention of man — certainly out of necessity. But now even that necessity is out of date. It was a necessary evil in the past, but now it can be dropped. And it should be dropped: man has suffered enough for it, more than enough. IT IS AN UGLY INSTITUTION for the simple reason that love cannot be legalized. Love and law are contradictory phenomena.

    MARRIAGE IS AN EFFORT TO LEGALIZE LOVE. It is out of fear. It is thinking about the future, about the tomorrows. Man always thinks of the past and the future; and because of this constant thinking about past and future, he destroys the present. And the present is the only reality there is. One has to live in the present. The past has to die and has to be allowed to die.

    THE REALLY INTELLIGENT PERSON NEVER LOOKS BACK; he never bothers about the past — that which is finished is finished forever. And he never thinks of the future either, because that which has not come yet has not come yet. And he knows that whenever it comes, he will be capable of responding to it, so why ponder over it? Why make ready-made answers to questions which have not even arisen? And all your ready-made answers are going to be irrelevant because life goes on changing. Life remains always a surprise; it is unpredictable.

    But man thinks that he is being very clever by preparing for the future. You love a woman, you love a man, but what about the future? TOMORROW THE WOMAN MAY FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEBODY ELSE. If she can fall in love even with you, Sarjan, why can she not fall in love with somebody else? You know it, you are aware of it that: “She has fallen in love even with me, so there is every possibility she can fall in love with somebody else.”

    So something has to be done to prevent her from falling in love with somebody else, so that your tomorrow is safe and secure, so that you can use her tomorrow, too. WHETHER LOVE REMAINS OR NOT, at least you will have the physiology of the woman. You are not much concerned with her soul — because law cannot restrain the soul, but law can create barriers for the body; the body is not beyond its reach. Law can control her; law can condemn her, can punish her in many ways.

    And another thing: not only are you afraid of the woman, YOU ARE AFRAID OF YOURSELF TOO. If you can fall in love with this woman, you can fall in love with somebody else. You know that your mind is constantly thinking of other women. You know there is every possibility that TOMORROW YOU MAY LOSE INTEREST IN THIS WOMAN; in fact it is almost a certainty, not just a possibility, not just a probability. And then you are afraid of yourself. You may escape, you may run.

    AND YOU WANT TO CLING because this woman is taking care of you. She has been a comfort to you, she has been a consolation in your life, she has been in many ways a mother to you, a nourishment. You are afraid to betray her. YOU ARE AFRAID OF YOUR OWN MIND, of your own unconscious; it can take you anywhere.

    AND YOU HAVE PROMISED HER THAT YOU WILL NEVER LEAVE HER, that you will always love her, that you will love her forever, life after life. You are afraid of breaking your promises. Your ego feels that to break those promises will mean only one thing: that you will never be able to forgive yourself. It will remain a heavy weight on you, it will create guilt for you.

    And the same is the situation from the side of the woman. Hence it has been a necessary evil, and men and women have agreed to plan for the future. AFRAID OF THEMSELVES, THEY HAVE TAKEN SUPPORT FROM THE LAW, from the society, from conventions, from respectability. They have created thousand and one barriers around themselves so that they remain together.

    But if — and that “if” is not a small “if”, it is a big “if” — something happens tomorrow, then your life will become miserable. AND SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN TOMORROW; tomorrow is not going to remain the same. Life never remains the same, not even for two consecutive moments. Nothing can be said about the future; it remains unknown, unknowable, unpredictable. No astrology can help, no palmistry can help, no tarot-card reading can help, no I-ching can help — nothing can help. Man has tried every possible way to make something certain out of the uncertain future, but nothing can be done. The nature of the future is unknown, and it remains unknown and open.

    SO YOU CLOSE YOURSELF TO ALL POSSIBILITIES. You close all the doors, all the windows. But then you will feel suffocated and you will feel angry and you will feel constantly in conflict. With the woman you had loved once, you will feel angry for the simple reason that now it is difficult to get out of this prison. YOU HAVE IMPRISONED YOURSELF; now the only way to go on living in it is to make yourself as insensitive as possible, to become as unloving as possible, to become as false as possible, to be as dead as possible.

    Hence people die very soon. They may be buried after forty years, fifty years, but they die nearabout thirty. BY THE TIME THEIR LOVE STARTS DYING THEY DIE, because life is love. But love is not law, life is not law. Life is not logic, love is not logic. LIFE IS BASICALLY INSECURE, and that is the beauty of it.

    Hence I don’t see that with the coming age, with the new maturity that man is attaining, MARRIAGE CAN EXIST ANYMORE IN THE SAME OLD WAY. It has to become more fluid; that means it can no more be an institution. People will live together — they need each other… Men and women are halves of one whole; their need is intrinsic. Together they become one whole, together they are complementary to each other. But they will live together only because of love, not because of any law. AND THEY WILL LIVE TOGETHER OUT OF FREEDOM, NOT OUT OF BONDAGE.

    And with the disappearance of the institution of marriage, THE WHOLE STRUCTURE OF SOCIETY WILL CHANGE — it cannot change otherwise — because once marriage disappears many things will disappear automatically. THE FAMILY WILL NOT BE THE SAME ANYMORE; the family will be replaced by communes — that is inevitable. And children will not belong to persons but to the commune. Hence they will not be much of a problem — because children have been a big problem: WHAT TO DO WITH THE CHILDREN WHEN PEOPLE SEPARATE? The children are left in a limbo; something has to be done about the children. And marriage has persisted for the simple reason that children have to be protected, they have to be helped; they are helpless. And it is your responsibility.

    LOVE BECOMES DUTY, RESPONSIBILITY. And the moment it is duty and responsibility it loses all poetry, it becomes pure calculation. Then it is a compromise, then you have somehow to pull it, then you start dragging your life.

    A GREAT REVOLUTION IS ON THE WAY, and with the disappearance of marriage that revolution will become possible. Once children no more belong to persons, they will have more generosity, they will be more human. They will not be Hindus and Mohammedans and Christians — because they will not belong to certain parents and they will not be conditioned by the parents; they will belong to the commune. And once children belong to the commune they will have a larger experience of people. One child may come in contact with many women as mothers, aunts; with many men as fathers, as uncles; with many children as brothers, sisters.

    RIGHT NOW THE EXPERIENCE OF THE CHILD IS VERY LIMITED. Each child is brought up by a certain woman. The impact of that woman remains hanging on the child’s consciousness for his whole life; it becomes an imprint. And he is always searching for the same woman: in every woman he falls in love with, HE IS REALLY LOOKING FOR HIS MOTHER, whom he cannot find. Where can he find his mother? There are no two persons alike. He will never find his mother anywhere, but he is looking for his mother in every wife, in every beloved. And the same is the case with the woman: SHE IS LOOKING FOR THE FATHER IN EVERY HUSBAND, IN EVERY LOVER. And they cannot find them, but that is their IDEA.

    THE WOMAN’S IDEA OF A MAN is nothing but her idea of the father, and the man’s idea of a woman is nothing but his idea of the mother. They will never find them. Hence there will be frustration, hence there will always be despair, misery, failure, anguish.

    IF A CHILD IS BROUGHT UP BY MANY WOMEN IN THE COMMUNE and comes in contact with many men and many women he will not have a certain idea, he will have a more vague vision. He will not have a certainty how a man should be or a woman should be. His idea of a woman will contain many pictures. AND THEN THERE WILL BE MORE POSSIBILITY OF FINDING A WOMAN WHO CAN FULFILL HIM or a man with whom life can be a contentment — because one of the greatest miseries is that you are looking for someone you cannot find. Hence everybody will seem to be falling short; nothing will ever satisfy you.

    And because you will not be confined to one family, YOU WILL NOT CARRY THE ROTTEN HERITAGE OF THE FAMILY. Otherwise the Hindu parents will make the child Hindu, and a Hindu child is bound to be against the Mohammedans, against the Christians, against everybody else. And so is the case with the Jews and with the Christians and the Mohammedans. If the child moves with many people in a commune and feels attuned with the whole commune….

    NOW, THIS CHILD WILL BE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT CHILD! He has lived with Jews and with Christians and with Hindus. He will not be conditioned by anything, he will not have any conditioning. He will have a vast territory of being available to him.

    THAT’S MY IDEA HOW ALL CHILDREN SHOULD GROW. Then there will be no ugly religious conflicts, wars, bloodshed; no ugly fanaticism, no fascist ideologies in the world. These are all byproducts of the family, and the family depends on marriage. In fact, if the family disappears, nations will have to disappear, religions will disappear, states will disappear, churches will disappear. That’s why nations, churches, everybody is in favor of marriage AND THEY ALL GO ON PRAISING MARRIAGE AS IF IT IS SOMETHING HOLY, SOMETHING DIVINE. It is the ugliest thing on the earth! And they go on telling people that, “Without marriage, where will children get love?” They will get more love; nobody is going to prevent their parents from loving them, but they will be available to others, too. They will not be dependent, they will start learning independence. From the very beginning, they will have a certain new feel of freedom. And that’s what is needed.

    THE WHOLE OF HUMAN HISTORY HAS BEEN FULL OF RELIGIOUS WARS for the simple reason that everybody becomes conditioned. And once you are conditioned it is very difficult to uncondition you. I know the difficulty because that’s my while work here — to uncondition you. It takes months, years; and you struggle hard — you resist in every possible way because your conditioning means your ego.

    You ask me, Sarjan: What is the secret of remaining happy and married?

    I don’t know! NOBODY HAS EVER KNOWN. Why would Jesus have remained unmarried if he had known the secret? He knew the secret of the kingdom of God, but he did not know the secret of remaining happy in marriage. He remained unmarried. Mahavira, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, THEY ALL REMAINED UNMARRIED for the simple reason that there is no secret; otherwise these people would have discovered it. They could discover the ultimate — marriage is not such a big thing, it is very shallow — they even fathomed God, but they could not fathom marriage.

    SOCRATES GOT MARRIED AND HE SUFFERED HIS WHOLE LIFE. He did not discover through marriage the secret of remaining happy; he simply discovered that it would have been better if he had not got married. But in Greece there had never been such incidents as Jesus, Lao Tzu — Jesus had yet to come, five hundred years after Socrates. Socrates was a contemporary of Lao Tzu, Mahavira — but he knew nothing about them because the world in those days had no communication. So whatsoever was conventional happened in his life.

    MOHAMMED MARRIED NOT ONE WOMAN, HE MARRIED NINE WOMEN! Many times I have been asked, “What about Mohammed?” I know the secret of Mohammed but I don’t know the secret of remaining happy in marriage. But if you have nine women they will fight amongst themselves, and you will be free! Mohammed managed it, and he has said to his followers, “Marry at least four women.” So Mohammedans are allowed to marry four women. Four women are enough to fight amongst themselves, and the husband will be spared.

    KRISHNA DID THE BEST: HE MARRIED SIXTEEN THOUSAND WOMEN! Now it is very easy to get lost. Sixteen thousand women… who will notice Krishna, where he has gone, where he is? There will be so much noise and fight; and in that cloudy, smokey atmosphere Krishna can escape anywhere. He can even sit in the middle of it and meditate, and nobody will bother about him! They will all be concerned about each other’s saris and each other’s ornaments.

    BUDDHA GOT MARRIED, BUT THEN HE ESCAPED. He had a beautiful wife, Yashodhara, but he escaped. He came back home only when he became enlightened, after twelve years. Yes, if you are enlightened then you can be happy anywhere, even in marriage. But no enlightened person has been known to get married after enlightenment.

    Two friends meet.”Hello, Luisa, how is your great love?””It’s over,” she replied sadly.”Over? How come?””We got married!”….The wife left home for the fifth time and the husband rushed to place an advertisement in the newspaper.It read: “Do not come back and all will be forgiven.”

    It was a wise old woman who, when people asked her why she never married, would answer: “Why marry? I have a dog who snores, a parrot who speaks only dirty words and a cat who stays out all night. What do I need a husband for?”

    The jealous husband hires a detective to find out if his wife betrays him. After a few days the detective comes back with a movie showing his wife and his best friend swimming, dancing, making love, having fun.While watching the movie the husband keeps saying, “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it!””But,” says the detective, annoyed, “I’m giving you proof of it!””No, it’s not that,” replies the husband, “I just can’t believe someone can have so much fun with my wife!”

    In heaven everybody is quiet and silent except for Paolo who keeps saying, “What peace here! What peace here!”Even St. Peter gets tired of him and so one day he sends him to purgatory. Even there though Paolo keeps muttering, “What peace here! What peace here!”Everybody gets so tired that they decide to send him down to hell. But even in hell, among the flames and the devils, he keeps uttering, “What peace here! What peace here!”So Beelzebub calls him, and asks him the reason for his behavior.”Well, Beelzebub,” replies Paolo, “you would say the same if you had lived for fifty years with my wife!”

    LOVE IS ENOUGH. Live only out of love. It may last long, it may not last. But don’t be worried whether it lasts long or does not last long. Even if it is there for a single moment, it will give you the taste of eternity.

    And there is every possibility that IF YOU ARE NOT AFRAID, IT MAY LAST LONGER, because fear is poison; it poisons everything. If you are not worried about tomorrow you may live today so totally that out of that totality a beautiful tomorrow will arise. But if you are afraid of tomorrow, you may destroy today. And once today is destroyed, from where is tomorrow going to come?

    LIVE FEARLESSLY — that is one of my fundamental messages to my sannyasins — AND LIVE DANGEROUSLY. Don’t compromise for conveniences, for comforts. It is better to live in discomfort but to live, rather than to be in comfort and dead. For that you can wait — in your grave you will be perfectly comfortable and out of danger. Nothing can happen there; there is no danger. You cannot die again, no illness can happen, nobody can leave you, you can’t go bankrupt, nothing can be stolen from you. You will be perfectly at peace.

    You must have come across gravestones — and it is written on almost all graves: “Rest in peace.” What else is there?….You can rest in peace in the grave, in absolute security. But while you are alive, BE alive. ACCEPT ALL INSECURITY. In that very acceptance, insecurity disappears, and without any compromise on your part. Love totally, but don’t ask for permanence. Only fools ask for permanence. And remember one thing: if you ask for permanence, you will get only false things; only false things are permanent.

    REAL ROSES ARE BOUND TO WITHER SOONER OR LATER, but plastic roses are permanent; they don’t wither away. But they don’t have any fragrance either, they don’t have any life either; they have only the appearance of roses.

    MARRIAGE IS A PLASTIC ROSE; love is a real rose. Grow real roses in your life. Of course they will wither — so what? You can grow them again, you can go on growing them. You can go on creating more and more love, sharing more and more with more and more people.

    And this is my experience — and whatsoever I am saying I am saying out of my own experience — that IF YOU LOVE TOTALLY WITHOUT DESIRING ANY PERMANENCE, even the impossible is possible. Your love may remain for a long period, maybe your whole life. But don’t ask for permanence; in that very asking you have disturbed the whole thing: you have moved from the real to the unreal. Live totally!

    “Totality” is my keyword — and up to now “permanence” has been the keyword. YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT YOUR LOVE SHOULD BE PERMANENT, ONLY THEN IT IS REAL; if it is not permanent it is not real. That is sheer bullshit! A real love has nothing to do with permanence; there is no necessary relationship. It may happen only for a moment, it may be just like lightning, but that does not mean that lightning is unreal, because it happens only for a moment. The rose flower opens in the morning; by the evening the petals have dropped, withered away, gone back to rest into the earth. That does not mean that the rose flower was unreal.

    BUT YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD AGAIN AND AGAIN BY THE PRIESTS that if you are really looking for reality, then the touchstone is permanence. They have moved your mind from reality to permanence. And once you become attached to permanence, you are bound to purchase something false and you lose track of the real. THE REAL IS CHANGING, CONSTANTLY CHANGING; the unreal remains the same. And you have to be available to the constantly changing.

    EVEN IF FOR A SINGLE MOMENT LOVE HAPPENS, BE TOTAL IN IT. If you are total in it, the next moment will come out of this totality. It is possible — I cannot tell you it is certain, I can only tell you it is possible — that the next moment will deepen your love. But it will not be the same: either it will deepen or it will disappear, but it will never be the same again. No two moments are the same, and they cannot be the same.

    AND THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF LIFE, that is the incredible adventure of life: that it is always a surprise, it is always unexpected. If you live totally things may deepen — but remember, when things are deepening, they are not the same. If you think of permanence you have missed the target.

    So don’t ask me: What is the secret of remaining, happy and married?

    I CAN ONLY TELL YOU THE SECRET OF BEING HAPPY — marriage is irrelevant. If you live together with somebody out of love, out of gratitude, good. If it goes on happening your whole life, good. If it disappears one day, depart from each other in deep gratitude, in the remembrance of the love that has been once there — it has enriched you. RATHER THAN CLINGING TO EACH OTHER IN ANGER, in frustration, in rage, and being violent to each other and destructive, it is better to depart with grace. One should know how to fall in love and one should also know how to fall out of it gracefully.

    ___________________________

    These are just some of the thoughts that I have laid on my own heart – and as that heart has broken through various experiences in life – the seeds of these ideas have begun take root. I KNOW that nothing is permanent. I have loved and lost — more than once.

    In Lakesh.

    Jennifer

    • Thank you again for a very thoughtful and heartfelt response, Jennifer. I appreciate the time and openness and honesty you put into it.

      Why does losing hurt so much?

      Would anyone ask that of a child after he or she’s been hurt because someone kicked him around? Is the child hurt because he got kicked? Or is the child hurt because he’s ignorantly or naïvely “attached” to the idea that life should be pain-free and that he didn’t deserve to get kicked or beat up or abused? (meaning, the story that the child must be telling himself because he’s hurt and wounded and crying) Or maybe the child is simply hurt because he’s made up of tender sensitive stuff, has nerve-endings that register pain, and a limbic system which does the same also.

      Maybe that’s why real love hurts so much . . . because we have a limbic system, because we have memory, which is what allows us to learn and not repeat the past, or condemns us to always repeat the past in the present in order to make the present more like our past and what is familiar and comfortable to us. Maybe real love hurts so much because for the first time we’ve truly opened ourselves, exposed ourselves, revealed ourselves, and this is not yet the norm yet for us. We’re not used to it. And so when we make our first forays into the world of others and begin to open ourselves to others, reveal ourselves to others, expose ourselves not just physically (which is easy, the easiest side of the easy when it comes to intimate relationships), but emotionally and psychologically, which is very difficult for us to do and to sustain and not become overwhelmingly anxious and insecure because of and then self- and other-sabotage things just to end/relieve the tension of being soooo vulnerable and open and exposed and tense and uncomfortable, we are opening ourselves to so much potential pain and disappointment and betrayal. We are stepping way outside of our comfort zone, our walls of safety and security and predictability, our cozy little ego controlled predictable world where we are in command. When we love truly, we are not in control. Life is in control. Another person is also in control. That is the essence of trust: letting go of the reins and opening ourselves to the possibility that another will not always have our best interest at heart and treat us at the same level that he or she treats him-/herself, with no distinction between our welfare and his or her own. This lack of a distinction between our own best and deepest interests and another’s—this lack of self-preservation, this willingness to be open and remain open and extend ourselves for our own and another psychological and spiritual growth and well-being—is love, real love. And it hurts when this trust is betrayed and the relationship crashes into pieces on a rocky shore.

      Most of us live facile, guarded, self-protective, avoidant lives where we treat others disposably. We rarely expose ourselves. Do we feel pain at the end of a “love” relationship where we have ‘loved” another but only from behind the safety of our walls? Sure we do. It’s painful living behind our walls. And it’s painful loving from behind those walls. But I think that pain is minor in comparison to the pain we feel when we strip ourselves of our defensive armor, expose ourselves, love another, and then have it all turn out badly. Which is why most people love in a very self-protective manner in the first place, hedging their bets, not letting the other person really in, not letting themselves be completely vulnerable and open (how much self-soothing and emotional maturity is required! how much of a real “I” is required to be able to be like this with another!), not letting the other person become truly “real” to them (the levels of partner engagement [levels 5 and 6] that Schnarch talks about on pp. 250 and 251 of “Passionate Marriage” which just happen to mirror Kohlberg’s level 5 and 6 of the development of a person’s conscience).

      So why does losing hurt so much? Was C. S. Lewis only “attached” to Joy? Did he not truly love Joy in a way that transcended himself and that carried him far beyond himself? Did he not truly and deeply care for her as a real human being and thus love her in a unique and irreplaceable way? Isn’t that why he’s weeping and broken open at the end of the film by her death and why he was so devastated earlier in the film by her diagnosis—because he finally gets how unique and irreplaceable and extraordinary she is and what she means to him? Or was he really not loving her with any real love in any and all of that but he was merely attached to her and to his own ideas of love?

      Isn’t it more appropriate to say that he was hurt—devastated, really—because of the awfulness of the situation?—the tragedy of the young boy, Douglas, losing his mom; how much promise he (Lewis) and Joy had and how little time they had to relish it and explore it and delight in it? Yes life is short, yes life is fleeting; but this was so cruel in how short it was. They had only just found each other at this late stage in life, and then they had so little time together. How tragic! Yes, how beautiful that they found each other at all and that they got what time they did have with each other; but how sad and eviscerating that that time was so short; that their happily ever after was over before it began, and not through any fault of their own!

      Did Ken Wilber not truly love Treya? Is that why he wrote: “Real love hurts; real love makes you totally vulnerable and open; real love will take you far beyond yourself; and therefore real love will devastate you. I kept thinking, if love does not shatter you, then you do not know love” (“Grace and Grit,” pg. 396)—did he write and think all of that because he was merely attached to his wife and did not really love her?

      Personally, I don’t think so.

      And is not love object dependent? Love can be looked at as a response to our highest values, to what we most seek and prize. Most people don’t fall in love with people who do not represent or exemplify what they most value and want in a mate and aspire to. Sure, we can love all others spiritually, theoretically, and as an exercise of our own soul. But when we really connect deeply with another, share deeply of ourselves with another, open ourselves completely to another, internalize another, feel his or her own well-being and happiness and growth and goodness to be as important as our own and give all of those concerns the same consideration and fair-hearing and priority as our own, because we know the other person that well and have learned about his or her soul and psyche that deeply, I would say that that type of love is highly object dependent and object specific—it is very specific to a particular person. It’s not abstract; it’s concrete, actual, very specific, irreplaceable, unique, because it’s based on a lot of one on one experience, a lot of openness, learning, understanding, attention, listening, being present and invested and committed to someone and to something more than one’s own gratification and comfort.

      (C.S. Lewis makes the point that it’s kindness that is not object dependent or object specifi, but Love actually is very object specific and object dependent. Kindness is generic, real Love is not, which is why kindness consents much more readily to the removal of its object than love does. Love sees the uniqueness of the other; kindness does not.)

      If love is about growth, if love is about self-extension, if love is about overcoming what’s worst and weakest in oneself and developing a real I, a real Master in the house, then I’m not sure how much Osho’s words contribute to that or measure up to having much to say in that regard. What Osho seems to be describing is the type of love between two people who don’t have a Master in the house and who likely never can or will, two people who have no real I and never will. I don’t see in any of Osho’s words food for the developing much of a real “I” as I do in Peck, Rilke, Schnarch, Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti. Osho takes the idea of attachment and our want of permanence—which is the same as our want of safety and security—and takes it in a direction that seems to appeal actually to what’s least mature and least stable already in us, because nowhere in that entire excerpt does he seem to talk about tackling or taking on what’s worst in us—which is what living truly dangerously is all about—facing up to ourselves and not running away.

      Now Krishnamurti talks all the time about learning how to face ourselves and not run. He is very explicit about this. He talks about relationship being the mirror in which we see ourselves as we are and for what we are; and he talks about running away from this mirror—running away from a relationship or intense interaction—as running away from real self-knowledge and as form a self-loathing and further impoverishment. We run away from the relationship and the other person because we can’t emotionally handle what the relationship is showing us of ourselves; we don’t like the reflection, so instead of getting to work on ourselves and dealing with what we’ve seen of ourselves (that which once seen cannot be unseen, as you so eloquently and poignantly wrote), we run, shift the scenery, find another mirror, take ruins to ruins in hopes of finding a more palatable and less accurate reflection. Which often works, because most people are just not that honest in their mirroring of us; most relationships are mutual admiration and mutual validation pacts; they’re not based on real love, truth, real psychological and spiritual growth and health, the virtues, overcoming our smaller frightened avoidant self that spins out takes control of our ships and makes a mess of not only our own life but the lives of those we come in contact with.

      You wrote: “I KNOW that nothing is permanent. I have loved and lost — more than once.” So how do you translate this into action in your every day regular life? And how do you translate this into action and live it in the extraordinary and difficult moments that life brings you?

      To me, knowing that nothing is permanent is not the same as knowing fully (intellectually and emotionally and bodily) that we each will one day die, that those around us who we care about and love will also one day die, that every day might be our last and their last, and that we should some way honor this and live this truth/reality in our day to day, moment to moment dealings with one another and ourselves. . . .

      “The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant into their presences a new organ of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them.” – G. I. Gurdjieff

      Treya’s story, Joy’s story, my mom’s story, your husband’s story, the Petit family in Connecticut’s story, Christina E. Smith’s story, the stories of all who have lived and died, will all one day be our story too. Death is certain. It is unavoidable. And these are not just words. And the reality of our own death and the death of everyone we love or avoid can either wake us up and allow us to act with more courage and honesty and integrity and focus and clarity; or it can freak us out, so much so that it spins us out for years and years, or forces us to put ourselves even more to sleep and makes us even more avoidant of life and difficulty. Either way, whatever way we choose, the end will come no matter what; that IS ultimate measure of our impermanence; life is always in the right, always. The question is what do we do about this in the meantime? What do we do with our predicament? Do we view it nihilistically, as giving us license to act irresponsibly and spin out willy-nilly and lie to ourselves and others and follow whatever feeling or false I shows up on any given day or in any given moment or interaction or situation, and so continue to disintegrate psychologically and join in helping ourselves to further disintegrate as persons? After all, what difference does it make? Everyone dies in the end, so why not live with as much pleasure and ease and momentary happiness as we can now; because we can’t take it with us.

      Or do we go against the grain, and not live like the herd—who although they may profess to be spiritual or to follow this or that religion or spiritual discipline, are really living nihilistically and avoidantly and for comfort and pride and the path of least resistance and thus self-deceptively and defensively? Do we go against the grain and live with more integrity, pursue a path of real self-knowledge, real self-development, real courage, real honesty, and sit down and write to ourselves and have that long honest heartfelt tender conversation with ourselves on paper that we need to, our conversation with God, with what’s best in us, even with what’s worst in us, so that we can see our own words and thoughts staring back at us?

      Thank you again, Jennifer, for your very heartfelt and thoughtful response. I hope this finds you well.

      Namaste, from the depths of my heart and being to yours,

      John

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