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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Best Thing About Falling in Love

I need to warn you: I'm making a great distinction between falling in love and loving.

In the former case you fall in love with that which fills your needs. You love someone because you receive something you need from them. Not necessarily something material, as much as an inner need they are fulfilling for you because you have not yet learned how to fulfill it for yourself. You may not even be aware of the fact that that is something you should be doing. And as long as that is so, you will depend on the other person remaining the way they are just at the moment you fall in love, in order to feel good. Your well-being will depend, to a large degree, on that factor, which means, of course, that you will never be independent.

In the latter case you love whether you receive or not. You do not need. You simply love without expectation. Rather a tall order. Much of beauty has been written about this latter kind of love by Gary Zukav (The Seat of the Soul, see the chapter on Spiritual Partnership), Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now, see Chapter 8 on relationships, or his DVD Touching the Eternal), and Neale Diamond Walsch (in particular, Conversations with God, Volume I, go to the Index and look for entries under relationships and marriage), Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving, read the whole book).

In the latter case, because you do not need, because you love without expectation, you will never be dependent, and you will always be free. And this doesn't mean, by the way, that you accept anything just because you have no expectations. On the contrary, because you are free of boundary issues, self esteem issues, and neediness issues, you find it very easy to speak up in healthy ways about anything that you find unacceptable.

So if loving is so good, and the way I am making it sound, falling in love is something of a far inferior quality, then what is the best thing about falling in love?

It's this: it takes you - if you let it - down the road towards the other kind of love. The falling in love kind of love, takes you to a place of learning and growth because of the deep frustration and pain it generally brings along with it - at least after a while.

So falling in love leads to frustration and pain and that leads you to growth. And growth, in turn, leads you - eventually - not only to inner freedom, but particularly, to the recognition that as long as you need, as long as you depend on another to fulfill your needs, you will never love in the true sense of the word.

Why should we love because we need?

Is there anything mature and adult about that kind of sentiment? Where else can it lead us other than to - eventual - frustration and pain?

So to fall in love and go through this process is excellent. Because the place we come out at the other end of the tunnel is indeed worth its weight in gold. To love without needing is the priceless gift we can receive from having fallen in love and having chosen to use the challenges it evokes to further out growth, rather than to take the simple way out and blame the other for now no longer fulfilling our needs, or no longer making us happy. To love without needing is the priceless gift we can receive from having fallen in love.

Photo: Central Park, New York City

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