We’ve all thought about a loved one, remembering a time when we were together, or looking forward to the next time we’re together.
There may even be a time when we first met when we were so attracted we were overwhelmed, so flustered we could barely speak. Butterflies took over our stomach. Our heart pounded. Being with this person was surely the most important thing in our entire life and we didn’t want to blow it.
At other times love feels like longing, disappointment, rejection, abandonment, jealousy or betrayal.
We usually call this love, but it really has nothing to do with love. It has a lot to do with thoughts, fantasy, imagination, illusion mixed in with some basic physical needs. Some of these thoughts may be deeply unconscious, things that happened in early childhood or even infancy. Something in the other person triggers these unconscious thoughts into powerful feelings.
But this is not love. Love is unconditional. Love is present. Love has no pain or suffering in it. It has no ups and downs. It has no possessiveness, need, desire or control. Love is always complete. It doesn’t even need another person. It is always present and complete in every moment. We can never be without love. We can never be separate from love.
What we call love is not love. What we think is love are thoughts and conditioning. And these thoughts and conditioning that we call love are very different from love. They have their ups and downs, their good days and bad days. They are not complete. They depend on another person. And usually a very specific person. And we imagine that without this other person we don’t have love. Thought based love distracts us from real love which is always here.
When we suffer over what we call love, when we experience heartbreak, longing, need, desire or confusion, we are only experiencing thought-based-love. This is not love. These are thoughts. Love has no suffering and cannot cause suffering. That is impossible. Thoughts frequently cause suffering when we believe them.
Unless we experience real love, that person we think we love is just a projection, a series of thoughts, an illusion. And the one who is experiencing this is also an illusion.
The truth is we don’t know who we are. And we don’t know who the other person is. Any feeling that we do is illusion. Bodhidharma was a famous enlightened monk who is credited with being the first Zen patriarch and bringing Buddhism to China. The Emperor brought him to the court to teach. When the Emperor asked Bodhidharma who he was, Bodhidharma replied, “I don’t know.” Bodhidharma only spoke Truth. This not knowing is not only true of Bodhidharma, it is true for all of us.
We may believe we know who we are and who the person we love is. But this is illusion. Our image and sense of the other person is just a projection of our mind. Often relationships that began so wonderfully begin to crumble when the person begins to act in a way that no longer fits our original projection. We may feel that the person has betrayed us. But it is only our projection that has betrayed us. It was never showing us truth. The great gift that intimate relationships can give us is the realization that our projections are not reality. This can be quite painful, but if we stick with it and don’t run away, we can learn a great deal about the world and ourself. We can learn to let these projections fall away and reveal the true love that always lies underneath these fantasies.
For the month of February as a gift of love, I am offer a FREE download of the book The Zen of Love. There are no catches. You don’t even need to give your name or email address. The book is free. Here is a link to the page where you can download it: FREE Download The Zen of Love