At a recent gathering with some friends, a discussion began about relationships, marriage and divorce. The party consisted of about fifteen or so couples and I was the only hinge-less one there. The topic of conversation should come as no surprise to anyone… especially since I started it! One truly, openly engaging woman and I talked about love and the contract of marriage. We discussed how life’s daily trials were sometimes a chore—yet, love should not be. (For me, the experience of love is effortless.) When the conversation began to feel more like a debate, I sensed that she did not see love’s simplicity as something remotely realistic and she left me with the impression that love and marriage are work. Is it possible that we perceive love and marriage as work simply because that is what we raised to believe?
She suggested that I had experienced much betrayal in my marriage and while I felt that was true, I began to wonder if it was betrayal that I felt or simply a case of disillusionment or maybe—both. When we realize that the idea of what we have and believe in is not actually real, that is the betrayal I think that leads to many departures.
The question we must all ask ourselves is:
Is the experience of disillusionment an honest form of betrayal or is what we are feeling/experiencing just the realization of a lie?
Perhaps this is the contradiction. The revelation of any lie either leads one into more self-deception or it is the guiding path to a healthier life change, even if, in the beginning, that change appears in the form of a crisis.
Once realization occurs the question remains: Who is the Traitor—our partner or ourselves?
(When it comes to betrayal/disillusionment, perhaps the real Traitor is Self-Deception.)
The woman walked over to pet my daughter’s puppy, Mokie, a beautiful ruby colored, Cavalier, King Charles Spaniel, when she did so, I remarked, “He is effortless.” I gave him a kiss as I passed him over to her. She affectionately took him from my arms, pet him admiringly and then as she passed him back to me, she pat me on my shoulder, in that-affectionate-and-professorial-kind-of-way, and said, “Effort is good, I am a teacher…” but as she walked away, I grew curious and wondered: what does teaching anything have to do with the simplicity of love? Love is the one thing that we do not need to learn and we certainly do not have to be taught how to feel it! I go to the gym and use effort on the elliptical machine to have more energy and to feel better. Love is not an effort in mental gymnastics or an exercise of the heart. No one teaches the heart how to beat…or more importantly—how to feel.
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Question: Is Love The Only Reality and Can It Sustain Us…Forever?
“There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.” --Hermann Hesse
Sometimes my life feels like I am walking on a tight rope and I am a trapeze artist trying to keep balanced in a world that is round and spinning—(I remind myself that it is a round and spinning world for everyone else too!) I am holding onto the only Reality I know, live and breathe and hoping that the Reality I am clinging to is the right one (!) and that I don’t fall off of my perception of it!
(yeah, I know—you are hanging on to the perception of your Reality as well…but will you admit it?)
Life is surely a balancing act. Love is not. It is the only reality that clarifies, dignifies and makes even the daftest of us completely aware of life. Love is self-contained inside of every one of us, therefore all of the struggles we have are external creations that we have some how had a hand in manifesting. (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.) Unconscious choices can have lasting effects and the cause and effects of those choices create our outside world and some times that world can be an ugly place to inhabit. This is exactly why the internal world of each individual needs to be all sustaining. It is what gives us the necessary strength and sobriety to cope with our external world and to not rely on it solely for our happiness. We all struggle with exactly what the balance for our life is and obviously it is not the same for everyone. We might find comfort in worldly possessions and the accoutrements our life has provided us with, but the real source of joy and happiness will always come from within—the Place and Source of all love.
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I don’t have credit cards, shopping sprees, or many “things of the world” per se, but I do take comfort in knowing that those things do not de-fine me. My life circumstances could be better, will be better some day, but regardless, without all of That Stuff that makes up the Outside World, I have some-thing inside of me that no word or words can do justice for. We all possess the capability of finding this inward reality that is so Divinely De-fining and once we find it, or better, rediscover it, it will carry us in spite of life’s trials and events. Once this inward Reality is found, we discover true Alchemy, Reverie, Destiny and Eternity in one tightly woven package called—Alive.
The reality of love and its ability to sustain us is tricky because it is not an attached love or the romantic kind that so many of us cling to. It is not fiction; rather everything other than this Honest Love is the illusion we must remember is not real. (Challenging but true.) Every day we can learn what love is not, but we do not have to take a course on what love is. The tragedy must be for those who exist without truly experiencing love in their life and what it feels like to be living a loveless existence and then one day to die—never having become aware of all they were never aware of—namely, love.
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Think about it: If you have love in your relationships, you yield to the demands of life’s every day occurrences. The Horrible seems less so. The Pleasant seems more so. When we have not discovered that well of love inside of ourselves and it is absent in our home and with our significant other, every detail and upheaval is exaggerated and throws the entire infrastructure of the family and each relationship off balance. Babies go flying out of windows (with or without the bath water), houses burn down, the tie around our neck feels like it is suffocating you, us and everyone in our immediate environment. Without love, our days are filled with incurable anxiety and we watch the nightly news with the anticipation that the next life that will be claimed will undoubtedly be our own; the plane crash will bear our name or someone we care deeply for. When love dictates the course of our days? The step in our walk feels a little lighter, we are more drawn to news that inspires and enlightens, rather than news that keeps us fearful and riddled with doubt.
And while we might need to take a course on how to navigate our way through our daily trials, we will never have to learn how effortless love is or that it is what truly makes the world go round. The surprise with the rediscovery of love is its natural ability to remind us that it is some-thing we have had all along.
Managing the mundane trials of every day life challenges our outside world. When we understand that the day’s stresses and distractions have nothing to do with love, yet everything to do with the lack of it, we can have a clearer glance into what is not working with our life. With awareness, the first step to change, we see that we can make conscious choices and hopefully this awareness will enable us to redirect our path to a happier and more fulfilling existence.
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If we wish to return to the love in our soul, the Persian poet, Attar, says, “you will sacrifice everything. You will lose what you have considered valuable, but eventually you’ll hear the voice you’ve most wanted to hear saying, Yes. Come in.”
And when we hear that Voice—that Invitation, we realize that the place we are entering is—Home to Every-One. And that Home, my dear friends, is exactly what makes the world go round and round and round… hang on to that Reality and its perception and enjoy the ride...
So, when that Clock is about to strike 12 and that noon train is approaching around the bend; the tracks are laden with golden bricks pointing in a Direction and your life is asking you: Decide, Decide, Decide...who are you going to listen to, your heart or your mind? What will you do? Tell the Truth or Lie?
(only time will tell...)