Thursday, May 14, 2009

Love, no risk free trial

If you have been following my posts on love, you will know that love and non-desire are not contradictions in terms. Love, as opposed to attachment, is a free, independent choice or it is nothing. Don’t take my word for it. You will find this theme in all philosophies and all religions.

In Taoism for example:

There is no greater mistake than wishing to satisfy one’s desires;
there is no greater unhappiness than not being self-sufficient.
There is no greater calamity than the desire to possess.
Tao Te Ching 46 (my translation from Tao Te King)

In Zen:

One major obstacle in living a life of love is the tendency to hold on. We grasp and cling to each other, preventing the freedom of love from rising on its own. Zen asks us to let go.
When someone comes into your life, let him come. Welcome the person, whoever he is. Enjoy what it is he brings, even if it's only for a short time.
When it is time for a person to go away, let him go. Do not turn the person's leaving into an experience of rejection, loss or abandonment. Realize that his leaving has nothing to do with you. It is simply time for him to go.
Do this with yourself as well. Let yourself come and go freely in life, and don't get caught in unnecessary chains. The more you free yourself and others, the more easily you fall in love.
From an article by Brenda Shoshana, author of Zen and the Art of Falling in Love

In the Bhagavad Gita:

The liberated man receives what the Divine Will brings him, he does not long for anything, is jealous of no one: what comes to him, he accepts without repulsion nor attachment; what goes away, he lets go, to rejoin the whirlpool of existence, without regret, nor affliction, nor feeling of loss.
Sri Aurobindo, The Bhagavad Gita and its message (my translation from Tao Te King)

In the Christian tradition:

Nothing renders man more like God than this implacable detachment. For what makes God God is his implacable detachment: from this springs forth his purity, his simplicity and his immutability… This resemblance must be achieved by the grace that elevates man above the temporal and purifies him of everything that is impermanent.
Master Eckhart (my translation from Tao Te King)

Love from a position of detachment allows us to enjoy and appreciate what comes into our life and saves us from the pain and feeling of loss for what goes out of our life. Not only that, but good things and people are more likely to come into our life if they are free to come and go as they please. And, once here, they will likely stick around longer.

No comments:

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond