Monday, 5 November 2007

True Love

I” is an illusion. Instead of filling yourself with repetitive assertions of what “I want” and what “I need” and what “I deserve” and what “I fear,” turn your attention to what you can give to others—that is, to all the emotionally wounded individuals in this world—through personal sacrifice and prayer.

This, after all, is what true love is all about, and personality disorders, in one way or another, do their psychological best to maintain your fear of love. For you can never seduce your despair, and you can never find real love through any form of sexual activity.

What is “truly sought” is something we all experience as painfully missing from life: some comforting sense of absolute belonging and acceptance.

Common “love” and true love (or real love)—can be conceived of as the difference between receiving and giving.

Note carefully, though, that giving does not refer to the mere sharing of material objects or wealth; it refers to the expression of profound emotional qualities such as patience, forbearance, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.

This all goes to show that it’s easy enough to “love” those who “love” us: parents who protect us, “partners” who make us feel received, animals who never threaten us. But can we love those who annoy us . . . irritate us . . . obstruct us . . . scorn us . . . hate us? Can we love our enemies? That’s the real test of real love.

Those who have the least to gain—and who want nothing, and who give everything, like the saints—can love perfectly.

And this perfect, true love is no illusion.

To offer true love—to will the good of another —is to be satisfied with one’s own weakness, humility, and insignificance. Love is an act of will, not something that you “fall” into. You can fall into desperate desire, and you can fall into fatal attraction, but you can’t fall into love.

Love is a sacrifice of sorts, and it’s a sacrifice of all that the culture deems valuable. So to offer this real love, or true love, is to stand against the culture—not as a revolutionary or terrorist, but with a humble offering of something better than what others “see” in their blindness.

As unpleasant as it may be to admit it, eroticism is based on infantile needs to be received, accepted, and satisfied. When a person feels intensely received, accepted, and satisfied, then he or she is “in love.” But sooner or later that intensity will be broken. The break doesn’t even have to be the result of malicious neglect; it can simply be the result of a need to attend to other obligations in the world, and, in the person feeling neglected, intense jealousy can flare up. So, regardless of how it happens, as those primitive needs are not met, then the “love” flip-flops into hatred and aggression.

But other fantasies, such as bondage, rape, and anal penetration, betray the dark side of “getting what you want.” These fantasies pull us away from spiritual responsibility into a realm of anger and self-loathing, reflecting—or even compulsively re-enacting—those times when we weren’t unconditionally accepted as infants or children.

Real life—not the glossy advertising-agency image of “life”—on the other hand, is an embracing of all the uncertainty of your unconscious, an acceptance of your essential vulnerability, and a willingness to risk everything to trust in something far greater than what you “think” you are.

“Whoever knows how to die in all things will have life in all things.” —St. John of the Cross The Sayings of Light and Love, no. 160.

It’s impossible to heal your own emotional brokenness through the body of another person as mortal and broken as you are.

And so here is the psychological lesson: As long as you pursue sexuality out of a need to be loved—as a form of something you want—you will be led right behind illusions straight into perversion. As long as you try to fill your inner, psychological and spiritual emptiness with another person—that is, through common love—you will remain unconsciously broken and empty

Therefore, only a renunciation of what you think you want and a dedication to loving—giving true love rather than desperately searching to be loved—can lead to anything psychologically and spiritually productive, and it’s the only attitude that can begin to carry you through the agony of human limitation and mortality.

And so it is with your own mental health. First you have to recognize your life for what it is, being honest about your emotional pain and all the mistakes and errors you’ve committed trying to hide from your despair. And then you have to listen to that despair with compassion and let it tell its whole story, so that the very core of your heart will be transformed—rather than push your despair into some dark corner of your unconscious to be seduced with . . . perversion.

Extracts from

No comments: