You see persons and things not as they are but as you are. If you wish to see them as they are you must attend to your attachments and the fears that your attachments generate. Because when you look at life it is these attachments and fears that will decide what you will notice and what you block out.
When we are in love we are seeing the beloved not as they are but as we are. We are projecting our own qualities into this person. Rabindranath Tagore said it so well:
Beauty is truth’s smile when she beholds her own face in a perfect mirror.
We are seeing an idealized projection of our own self, magnified to a perceived perfection in this person. They are a beautiful creation, a work of art, in our head. This reminds me of a technique for helping one get over a lost love (I forget the source) that consists in meditating and imagining oneself to be the person one loves. The power of the technique resides in showing us through the meditation that we have the same qualities as the person we love, because we see them, we feel them, we know them. Thus we need not miss the person, for we ‘contain’ all the qualities that we loved.
Getting back to de Mello, we see through attachment-coloured glasses. Love is not blind, it is attachment that is blind. Love sees clearly because love encompasses everyone and everything, whereas attachment encompasses very little: it excludes everyone and everything except the object of its attachment.
You were in love and you felt rejected or jealous; suddenly all your mind and heart became focused on this one thing, and the banquet of life turned to ashes in your mouth.
I remember when I was going through my ‘attachment’ how it killed my enjoyment of everything else. I could hardly concentrate on the karate instructor, I could hardly read three paragraphs of a book, I could hardly enjoy the presence of my children. This is not love: it is slavery.
How can you love someone whom you are a slave to? How can you love someone whom you cannot live without? …Love is to be found only in fearlessness and freedom.
De Mello shows us the path out of slavery: awareness of the folly of our dependence, our addiction to this person or to anyone. The path to freedom comes from cultivating activities that we love, activities that we engage in without regard to society or the opinions of other people, activities that are our true passion.
The royal road to mysticism and to Reality does not pass through the world of people. It passes through the world of actions that are engaged in for themselves without an eye to success or to gain – or profit actions. Contrary to popular beliefs, the cure for lovelessness and loneliness is not company but contact with Reality. The moment you touch this Reality you will know what freedom and love are. Freedom from people – and so the ability to love them.