Since the dawn of homo sapiens, we have been investigating, experiencing, and trying to crack the secret code of love. Many of us seem to have forgotten that in the earlier days, free love was a scarcity. From aristocrats to slaves, marriages and relationships were often given as commands and choices of individuals in higher power and authority for political, religious, material and personal gains. Thus, there are the great love tragedies of "Romeo and Juliet" and "Abelard and Heloise", as well as countless others who were heedlessly persecuted for their innocent expression of love. These tragic love stories left many of us wondering, why is it so hard to love and what is like to experience that depth of love?
Free will love has made much progress in the 21st century through the evolution of humans' love experiences, technological advancement, and cultural changes. In today's more liberal societies, people are given the freedom to choose and express their admirations and desires to the subjects of their affection with little or no consequences. However, in societies where we can freely choose whom we want to love, we have witnessed an increase in divorce rate, a decline in marriage rate, and more people delaying marriage for different reasons.
Duality of Love
But regardless whether we follow the "Abelard and Heloise" love model of 'following one to the end of the Hell' to 'you are just one of the 100 people that I am seeing and what is your name again?', we experience the universal conditions of pleasures and pains, the coming together, and the ultimate disintegration of love and relationships, no matter how little or how much we love. No matter how much wealth and power one possesses, one is still subject to others' emotional and physical transgressions.
So, if we know the ultimate end to any love and relationship, why are we still relentlessly pursuing love, whether it is in the form of a committed monogamous relationship or sleeping with as many people as we can? What is it that we pursue in our teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and up to the moment of our death? And if we are to look back at our lives, would we regret the times we did not try harder, the people we have hurt, and most painful of all, we easily let go of that person who awakens our soul, only to learn so too late.
Pleasures and pains are the twin brothers of love. We cannot expect one and not the other. We think we deserve God-like love and it is someone else's responsibility to make us happy. If we want God-like love, then we should put in God-like work. If we are not willing to open our hearts to experience judgements, disappointments, and pains in experiencing love, how can we ask for a love that brings us happiness? If we are not willing to overcome our egos and karmic conditionings, how we can manifest a love that brings us meaning? If we are not willing to heal our souls' deepest wounds, how can we expect to live without pain?
Love's True Nature
Perhaps we can think ourselves as individuals who have came together to help each other learn and master the experiences of love and separation in different forms: commitment, marriage, infidelity, rejection, betrayal, and abandonment. So, in facing repetitive failures, disappointments, and hurts, we don't easily give up, and we continue to seek, learn, and understand love's true nature. In doing so, we can look beyond the rise and fall of constant changes in our everyday interactions and relationships.
We learn to not waste energy on trivial questions like why he/she never responded to my text or never called me back. We don't doubt our values because the person we love chooses someone else and we respect his/her choice and will. We don't live the rest of our lives in disappointment and hurt over people's betrayal. We don't take the easy route of love at the expense of others.
When we transcend our experiences and learnings, love is no longer an idea of you, me, he, she, or us. To love is to release us from our pains, fears, regrets, shame, guilt, and delusions, so we can transcend beyond our limited perceptions of ourselves and what love is.
We can overcome our conditioned desires that dictate our thinking, beliefs, and behaviors in relationships. We develop the wisdom and courage to stay true to our hearts and not give in to our fears and pains for short term pleasures and gains.
In experiencing the beginning and end of all human love relationships and their associated pleasures and pains, we learn unconditional acceptance, forgiveness, and love.Written by: Wendy Lin