It is only through the practice of awareness and love
that a person can transcend the conditions that bring difficulties in life.
Dhammapada verse 272.
Romantic love and Loving Kindness.
A question often asked is, “How can romantic love and loving kindness exist together, when one is about attachment and the other unconditional acceptance?”
Romantic and emotional love is always about an attachment and a possessiveness towards another person, animal, object or idea.>
We love our parents because they are our parents, yet we fight and argue with them.We love our pets because they are our pets yet they become ill or die and we meet the suffering consequence of that attachment.
We love our children because they our our children. We don’t love all children, for if we loved all children we would love everyone in the world because everyone is somebody’s child.
The possessiveness of ‘worldly love’ will always cause us to suffer as our expectations are disappointed in the passage of time.
Attachment is personal and selective and begins and ends within each one of us individually, but with only a short reflection we will realize for ourselves that, ‘whatever we are attached to will hurt us.’
This attachment and possessiveness can be experienced as a constant battle to change the other so they always fit our ideas. Only then can we relax and feel secure.
Loving Kindness is a non-attached and non-possessive relationship to life and everything we are in contact with.
It says, ‘I accept you as you are and make no demands that you should be different so that I can feel happy or comfortable in any situation.’ Beautiful.
When we, as Dhamma people, arrive in an intimate situation with another person both these forms of love can easily be applied.
As a successful couple we must have our life ideas running together in harmony, and so we design for ourselves a list of what is acceptable in that relationship and what is not. This is a romantic or an emotional (worldly relationship). A mutually agreed list of conditions for the relationship to survive.
Dhammic Love (Metta Bhavana) is the environment in which the worldly love can exist, and it manifests as the sentiment that; ‘as my partner, you are free to do anything you want to do. I will not ever attempt to control or dominate your life with my own views or opinions. However, you must understand that there is always a consequence to our actions, and I will never become the victim to any kind of unacceptable behavior.’
In this way we can enjoy the romantic love and all the pleasure that it offers whilst at the same time experiencing the freedom in our own life by not making demands on the other.
This is the beauty of both kinds of love.
May all beings be happy.
A monk asked Kegon, “How does an enlightened one return to the ordinary world?” Kegon replied, “A broken mirror never reflects again; fallen flowers never go back to the old branches.”
The escape from pain is always temporary and no permanent or lasting satisfaction can be found. Not in food. Not in music. Not in the theatre. Not in television. Not in the movies. Not in relationships. Not in enjoyment. Not in the sensual world.
So, you come back here to face yourself. To seek the truth. To find the way.
From: Not This by Michael Kewley