The Folly of Love

There is a mistaken belief that love is restricted to the bonding of hearts in romantic entanglements. We restrict its observance to only those bonds we actively choose, while assuming that anything else must be platonic at best, and casual at least. But there is a love that extends beyond all these constructs and constraints. It requires an elimination of the self in order to embrace what remains. But we protect the self so much that we are lost to what lies beyond it.

There is an embrace that awaits each of us when we pay attention. It’s not a physical embrace, but it forms a bond with a kindred spirit that feeds the need we all strive to fulfil. But we’re distracted. So instead of accepting that food for the soul, we brush it aside assuming that there is something more that must be pursued. It takes a life of struggle to appreciate the simplicity of being. It is only after losing what is precious that its value becomes manifest to us. But until such loss occurs, it remains a commodity that we willingly trade for new experiences in our search for that which we already have.

I look into the faces of strangers and I see the pain, the hope, the yearning, and the suffering of their tormented minds. It’s the mind that torments the soul. The irony is that those same strangers have secret yearnings of being lifted miraculously from their state so that they might know what it feels like to breathe effortlessly, yet when offered such relief from a source that does not fit their ideals, they recoil in fear. At that point it is easier to judge poorly and to defend blindly, than it is to accept the outstretched hand of a stranger that fits the stereotype of lesser beings to ourselves. Each day we pass such strangers, we look at them disinterestedly not realising that it only took that moment for them to sense the desperation within us. But we’ve invested too heavily in our defences to believe that it would be so simple for anyone to see beyond it in a fleeting moment that holds no obvious value to us.

It’s no different to how often we pass death in our days. We wander around seemingly purposefully, trusting in the probabilities that we’ve grown to accept, while quickly forgetting that with each passing car death is mere inches away. But it passes by without touching us so often that we become oblivious to it. The same is true for love. Not the soppy, heavy head, bleeding heart kind of love. That love is more akin to lust than it is to a genuine human connection. There are moments in life when we find ourselves desiring the most simple gestures that we previously took for granted. The way someone knew a minor detail of what we liked. Or the way they acknowledged us at just the right moment, or embraced us with their words in just the right way. Or perhaps they allowed us a comfortable but secure silence when we needed the world to slow down and created an opportunity for us to breathe when every facet of our existence was smothering us. It was in those moments when we were allowed to be without imposition or expectations; moments when we selfishly believed it was a moment of personal space, or well deserved peace, that we didn’t notice the love behind the gesture.

If we live with conviction, we live with love. If that conviction accompanies every interaction, and every interaction is a sincere attempt to lighten the burden of another through drawing on the struggles that shaped us, then that conviction will leave its mark on every person we embrace as we go through life. But our embrace will be taken for granted, sometimes until our demise, sometimes even beyond. Love dictates that regardless of the risk of rejection, we invest without restraint in the growth and well being of every human we meet. Recognition is often only forthcoming in fame or in death. In fame because of the need for the fickle to associate with the success that they desire for themselves. In death because we find it easier to acknowledge the worth of others in their absence than we do in their presence. Acknowledging openly denies us the fickleness of treating them flippantly when our egos prompt us towards self-promotion.

Love as a notion is tainted with the fickleness of lust, and the poison of self-doubt. In the absence of accepting who we are, we find it more comforting to identify with the weaknesses of others, because again, the association provides us with the affirmation that we are not as flawed as we fear we are. If we look closely, behind the eyes, behind the gestures, and behind the aggression or pretences of those we see, we’ll find that we will grow to love about them that which they reflect from within us. For every flaw we accept of ourselves, and every triumph we celebrate through our struggles, we are able to recognise the same in everyone we meet. It takes courage and a sincere conviction to extend that same tolerance and acceptance to those in whom we see our struggles and our triumphs reflected. And each time we do, we will experience the beauty of falling in love without the contamination of lust, or the self that has turned love into a selfish domain.

(This is an incomplete thought process…)

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