Asking the Right Question in Love
I propose looking at love as a creative etheric force that activates all levels of the human being: soul, mind and body. The 19th century biologist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin envisioned that “some day, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire”. That day has arrived as we start to ask ourselves not if, but how we can be accomplished in love, to the level of reaching happiness - the highest possibility of the human being. What Pierre Teilhard de Chardin implies in the above quote is that not only the mastering of the art of love is possible, but even a certain level of enthusiasm, of merging with God through love is (the root of the word “enthusiasm” is the Greek enthous “possessed by a god, inspired” - which is based on theos “god”).
Love is an etheric substance in flux. Like energy, it is in continuous flow between visible and non visible, past and present, the inner and the outer worlds. Love is vital - it nourishes all aspects of existence - soul, mind and body. To live without love is to live in a state of denial of life itself. Physics teaches us that energy cannot disappear, it just changes form. So it is with love. We need to understand how it transforms us and how to use it efficiently.
There are many kinds of love: romantic, filial, spiritual, professional etc. They all nourish different aspects of ourselves. But all forms of love flow through the same narrative structure of our psyche: an initial state of separation from the Whole activates the principle of Eros in our souls. The Eros, as connecting etheric force, will be flowing through the narrative and hopefully will remedy this separation state - whether it is loneliness (in the case of romantic love), or “intense yearning of the soul” (Platonism), or “separation from God” (Sufism), or “exile from Paradise” (Christianity), or “ignorance” (Buddhism). In all kinds of love scenarios, the main character of the story (you) will embark in a quest for wholeness throughout which you will encounter obstacles, will receive divine guidance and will achieve a resolution. For example, in a romantic relationship, a man pursues a woman because the relationship provide could the grounds of self fulfillment for both, helping them to get in closer connection to their own deeper truth. On the way of realizing self expression, the man will encounter his or her resistance, manifested as fear, selfishness, unworthiness, lack of trust or whatever needs to be worked out at the ego level so that the relationship can function. In a spiritual quest scenario, the disciple might pursue a spiritual path that will allow him to achieve the atonement with God - and will encounter obstacles such as temptations, trials, etc.
I gave these simple examples to show that the syntax of the many types of love stories is universal, and what moves through the format of the story is pure energy in flux, love itself, which sets the narrative in motion. Love is not attraction, which is unidirectional. Love is the medium between you and the other - the beloved - a conscious choice to take the other as part of yourself, with his or her imperfections, keeping in mind the best of the beloved’s interests. Love is a creative act whose sacred goal is to bring you closer to a wholesome state, as close as possible to truth and happiness. Think of the representation of Ǽrôs (Eros) in Greek culture - or of Cupid, his Roman version: a winged naked child shooting arrows, whose simplicity, playfulness and imagination animate the souls of the mortals. These representations allude to the innocence and playfulness of the love-energy, growing and expanding through the active gestures of love that we do with and for the other. Love is the work of an artist, that adds or subtracts to achieve a perfect blend of sounds or colors, just as lovers aim to achieve a perfect blend of their consciousness. Love moves us in the same direction that the Universe moves: expansion. We are in an expansive state of awareness toward the Other and towards ourselves. Love is a call for expansion, because is an indication that something we want exists. Love’s purpose is to expand your vision, your perspective on things, even at the expanse of pain and loss. When love-energy flows through stagnant or mortified parts of the soul, it will create pain, just like in the story of Eros and Psyche, in which Psyche needs to descend in the Underworld to symbolically achieve victory upon the unconscious and irrational parts of the mind. Proving strength of character, the beautiful mortal woman whose sacrifice for her immortal lover, God Eros, touches Zeus, Psyche earns her immortality and is reunited with her beloved God Eros. Her trials and pains symbolically allude to the idea that love activates the process of self-search and personal growth through learning, losing, and saving the real love. In the Greek tradition, the word ψυχή - Psyche means "soul" and appears for the first time in Homer’s Iliad, with the meaning life-substance, or breath: a dying warrior bleeds out his psyche onto the ground or breathes it out in his last gasp. Platonic tradition, the soul’s activities include governing the body and practicing virtues such as wisdom, courage, temperance and justice to beautify the soul so it can break free from the cycle of rebirths.
There is no failure in love and all love stories are perfectly accomplished: love is the exact measure of the degree we allow the earth of our souls to be fertilized by the creative energy of eros. Love is the direct expression of our creative force, of our capacity to renew ourselves and reinvent love. When you cry of heartbrokenness, we realize after a while that is our ego part that cries. At the soul level, there can be no drama: love is always creative, abundant, playful and solutions oriented - even if those involve descending in the underworld to do uncomfortable shadow work. Love cannot fail: when you turn away the face from yourself and stop asking: who am I? what do I stand for? - you fail yourself, not love. It makes no sense ever to cry for love: rest reassured, the other gave you all they could give at the soul level.
The question is not if you can be happy in love, but how can you be happy in love. The first secret in the operation of turning the “if” into a “how” is to understand that love needs to be recreated and affirmed every day. Love cannot be taken for granted. Love is a creative act and a spiritual practice, a state of awareness - of yourself and of the other. So practice love - from small creation acts of tenderness to self sacrifice. Be in a state of expansion towards the Other. Honor the Other. There is no limit, you are the artist. As Rumi said, “your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Love is here and everywhere, the strongest energy on earth waiting for you to harness it. It is your divine right. Take it.