“The only release from our longing may be to stop demanding a perfect love and noting its many absences at every turn, and instead start to give love away with oblivious abandon without jealously calculating the chances of it ever returning.” The Course of Love by Alain de Botton.
The sense of lack, the feeling of longing, manifested itself to me in my interactions with others. Especially with those closest to me. Little by little a feeling grew inside me of not being loved enough, and the more I sought, the less I found.
Some of us operate with the idea that there are different kinds of love: the love of a mother, the love of a father, romantic love, etc… and we have different expectations from each of these ‘loves’.
The love I saw as the most important and the one I was lacking was romantic love. I often felt alone, and I took for granted the “other” loves in my life because I was very busy trying to find the “real” romantic love.
Therefore, five years ago, I set myself the goal to ‘find love’. The imagined outcome of that long ago goal turned out to be completely different from what I have come to realize today.
It has been a long, sometimes painful and interesting journey so far. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who love me and are patient. I am lucky to have a guide that keeps pointing towards the right direction. My guide patiently observes and redirects me, from time to time, through his teachings and his advice.
This guide is my Yoga teacher, Prasad Rangnekar. Yes, my journey has been guided by the teachings of Yoga. I am a Yoga student and I am a Yoga teacher.
So what can I write about love that hasn’t been written before? Poets, artists, philosophers have pondered on this topic long before me.
All I can write is from my own personal experience and share my own understanding. I hope that you can identify with my learnings, maybe even find some comfort, or feel a sense of belonging. One thing I am quite sure about is that we all seek love in one way or another.
My understanding today is that love is beyond my understanding. I can get a glimpse of it, but I don’t think I’m there yet. When having challenging interactions with someone I have, in moments of lucidity, let go of expectations, perceptions and judgments and tapped into the love I have for that person. I have listened, been curious and allowed the interaction to progress. In those moments, I felt free and happy. I felt I managed to give without wanting anything in return…or maybe I have to be very honest here, I did want something in return- peace of mind.
I believe that love is something we need to grow inside ourselves, we cannot get it anywhere. As Prasad recently wrote one of his posts: “Let us all be that Tree which firmly roots itself, is able to spread wide and thus supports everyone with Love and compassion.”
The last challenge I see in the concept of love I have been operating with my whole life is the fact that we usually love those we either like or those we “have to love” because they are family. We expect them to love us back in ways that we consider are suitable.
So, further work for me is to:
- stop classifying those around me as ‘lovable’ or ‘not lovable’.
- continue peeling off the layers misconceptions I have about love, and
- continue working on building a solid inner love. This one is difficult to explain but I think that before achieving 1 and 2, I have to reach inner love. Stop thinking that love is something I can “get” “out there”. Love is everywhere, and love is everything, but we just have to feel it.
So, I move slowly and patiently with these as of my main goals in my life. There are still people that push my buttons, there are people I “expect” quite a lot from, and I am aware of it and I am “working” with it, but I am still not there. So my choice is to take a step back, observe myself and try to let go of these limitations.
I am aware that love is much more than what I am describing here, but I need to be curious, to go deeper and find out more about me. There is the love we put in our actions too, the love that unites us with all beings, with our environment, with everything. But maybe that is for another post, another time.
Oh, and by the way. Through the internal work I have been doing, I have discovered that I am not lacking anything. I am lucky enough to be married to a man that is patient and understanding. Little by little, we are rebuilding our partnership and it feels harmonious.