On The Nature Of Love
I've been wrestling with my mind a lot lately. Not so much the little things that people complain about on a daily basis, but the "big questions" in life. I've asked of myself questions with answers that will never quite come, but the more I ask these questions of myself the more I am inspired to discover as much of them as I can.
One such question is that of love.
At several stages in our lives we will always revert back to the age old question of 'What is love?' To inspire some sort of answer I have often looked to other people, but always ended up doubting that the concept existed when I observed their failures and compared them to my own. I was not content to discard the possibility of love existing, though. So I went to Nature for inspiration. I discovered a few things. These are perhaps obvious things, but they are important nonetheless.
Firstly I thought of a deer and its young being cornered by a hungry and enraged pride of lions. I recalled seeing the mother deer standing in front of its young, petrified, but never budging from the devoted protection of the young ones. In this I saw a certain passion, a certain appreciation of Life where the mother deer resigned itself to Death in the hope that its young would be spared. This is sacrifice. And in this sacrifice lies the crown jewel of Love.
Secondly I thought of a community of worker bees. I admired how each and every one of them acted in the best interests of the hive as a whole, they dutifully performed their tasks without question or protest, for they knew that each and every one of them was a part of the system and one small breaking off would be bad for the community. In this I was inspired to see that in Love there existed understanding and equity. I think that this understanding is epitomised in a feel for the bigger picture, rather than just the minor details; a knowing and a feeling of each other beyond mere social pretence. I think this understanding is where trust and love really blossom.
Thirdly I recalled my earlier pleasures and experiences in watching thunder storms as both a child and a fully grown person. I had always been in awe of the ruthless, chaotic nature of thunder storms and been amazed at how the lightning illuminates the sky like some kind of divine calling. Thunder storms do not seek reason or justification, they just are. They are fearless. Love is an acceptance that nothing is easy, but if you are fearless and have an idea of what you want the possibilities are infinite. It is only the phantoms in your mind that can stop you in the end.
Lastly I retreated to the comfort of darkness. The day time is full of many distractions and obstacles, many voices and many sources of confusion. But night is a time full of contemplation and a reflection of Life. Darkness is calm, it is selfless and it is at ease with itself and the world. There are no interruptions, just a time to look within and find the beauty in Life. Love is like this too, it is free from obligations and the painful banter and busyness. It is not a rush. Love is about patience.
After coming to these few conclusions I wondered why most people never experienced any sort of real love in their lives. I figure that people are not incapable of loving each other, but that they are scared of the possibility. They run from themselves and each other, but not because they don't want love, but because they have been disappointed so many times that they think it no longer exists. In a world full of the impersonality of SMS texting, mySpace and excess exposure to alcohol it is any wonder we fail to find Love time and time again. The closest most people will come to any real intense feeling is the desperate, lonely depression of lying on a bed with a person that they have had empty sex with in a room full of cigarette smoke wondering why it is that the other person did not experience what they wanted them to experience and why it is that they share no real goals or ambitions together. It is heart wrenching stuff. But if this is all people aim for then what chance have any of us got?
These days Love has been cheapened to remembering to buy your partner a Valentine's Day present, or a materialistic candlelit dinner that is more appearance than substance. It is no longer about sharing experiences and common understanding, but empty gestures and endless excuses. Next time you see a married couple arguing wonder why it is that they are fighting about something so trivial and you will realise that they have built a world together of illusion and false impressions. We grow up seeing this time after time after time and start to get used to it. We settle for disappointment for that is all that we know. It is our comfort, a miserable comfort at that.
Doubt is what makes us feel safe, because we know that when we have doubts we do not take chances so we will not get hurt or fail. So to hold onto this comfort we begin to make stupid excuses to each other, anything to build a wall between us and Love. We will do anything to run into the comfort of knowing that we do not have to try. Love is hard. This scares most people. Why try if all of the effort could be wasted in a matter of seconds with three simple words "I hate you!" So we continue to build fortresses around ourselves and hide within them. We pretend. We lie. We cry. We swear. We avoid being honest. And for what, because we fear that a single smile is not worth a hundred moments of heartbreak or anguish? How will we ever know this for sure if we do not try?
It is not that Love does not exist, it is that no one any longer tries to make it exist.
The saddest thing in the world is not asking the wrong questions; it is not asking any questions at all.
Most people make excuses and avoid asking questions and trying new things because they are in fear of what they might discover about themselves. They hold on to the past as if they were falling and it was the edge of a cliff. Sometimes all they need is someone to stand on their fingers so that they fall into a new part of Life.
Love is someone standing on your fingers, it is a risk, but it is eternal. And certainly worth overcoming your fear of falling off whatever cliff you have in your life.
If Love is not worth taking the risk, then I ask what is?
August 27, 2007
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