Diary Entry, January, 2016:
“I'm afraid this is too much, too soon. I'm afraid you'll end up hurt because I can be flaky and stupid at times. I'm afraid that it might all work out and I'll allow myself to ‘need’ you and that will open me up to more vulnerability than I can handle. It’s not safe."
...But you know what? It's worth the risk.
This recent diary entry got me thinking about ‘Love and dependency’ - they seem to have a strange relationship. On the one hand we know we can be strong, independent and unique beings. But on the other hand, when we let another person into our hearts it, into an intimate relationship, it usually creates some attachment; we want them, and if they were to leave it would hurt… this inevitably comes along with some pain and suffering, because nobody feels this ALL the time.
This fear and suffering can sometimes feel like a barrier to love, in the same way that fear and pain can feel like a barrier to adventure - but actually they are necessary ingredients in making the adventure worthwhile. We need some fear and suffering otherwise life feels empty. If we keep our hearts closed to really welcoming in another person then we never truly ‘face’ our fears.
Instead we cultivate different fears, like:
John Lennon said:
"Love is a flower you got to let it grow"
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”
But, Neil Gaiman said:
"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up."
It can seem like very insecure ground when you love a person but you cannot control when they may choose to leave your life. So we must work together - because we are both in the same boat. The paradox is that love is both independent and dependant. Some people have called this INTER dependent, which just means you need each other, to some degree and you accept that.
This is where I start to think of some Buddhist principles. The Buddhists have this to say about suffering: :
“The First Noble Truth is that life is suffering. To live, you must suffer. It is impossible to live without experiencing some kind of suffering. We have to endure physical suffering like sickness, injury, tiredness, old age and eventually death and we have to endure psychological suffering like loneliness, frustrations, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. However the second noble truth is that all suffering is caused by craving. This includes needing and attachment - to comfort (which causes ignorance) or to excitement.“
"To love is to suffer. To avoid Suffering one must not love, but then one suffers from no love. Therefore to suffer is to love, live and suffer. "
Just a quick note: pain and suffering - we all know the old adage: “Pain is inevitable, suffering a choice”. In this article I’Il be using pain and suffering interchangeably. At some point we must ‘suffer pain’ until it is transformed into something beautiful. The buddha said: ”the only way to stop suffering is to fully accept suffering.”
So, Embrace suffering! Become a connoisseur of pain and discomfort. It is the treasure and the trap, it is both the prize and the punishment for daring to seek a prize at all. If life was easy it would be boring! Like a poker game, with nothing at stake. We need suffering as much as we need pleasure. All it requires is for you to say, “I choose to accept that because I want love in my life, I want the adventure” (if this resonates with you - otherwise, ignore me, this is just my mind dump anyway).
OK. So, perhaps the question is: how can one suffer better? Love more?
How can I make my suffering meaningful for me and for others?
Here I think it is useful to start thinking about "what moves me to try? to fail? What inspires me?"
MY JOURNEY, SO FAR:
I’ve found it difficult to connect with love, since the heartbreaks of my early 20’s. I think that I have a deep rooted sense of fear about falling in love. When I look at my fears my biggest include:
And because I wasn't fully aware of that I never really faced up to my fear of losing the love of my parents. So I unconsciously internalised it.
The fears created armour. I find it difficult to drop my armour, to trust it’ll be okay - I’ll be okay, in my vulnerability. I don’t dare rely upon someone else and then risk them rejecting me or losing them. Fear of the loss of love is my overriding fear.
However… I’ve recently realised that all of life is simply about the following cycle:
LIVE - LEARN - LUST/LONGING - LOVE - LAUGH - LOSE ( in no particular order).
We must INVEST in the loss, learn from it and more on, rather than hold on to the hurt. In the end we always lose anyway.
Neil Gaiman, again, said it beautifully:
“Life is <like> a disease: sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal.”
Last month I did a catharsis workshop which ended with JOY, where we made a ginormous mess, which I knew in advance would require work to clear up. But we abandoned worry and care and just indulged in creation of mess and laughter and at the end as we hugged and surveyed the chaos I said “What a beautiful mess we have created”.
Because in reality, with perspective we don’t know what this universe is all about - for all we know we could be in The Matrix, like animals in a cage, being harvested by aliens, like some dystopian matrix, or perhaps we are all children in the garden of eden - it doesn’t matter which story you choose. You can choose to focus on the fences - the prison of constraint or just enjoy your time here as much as possible, with the meaning you CHOOSE to give it.
Love (and life) can be seen as a beautiful mess. Indulge in adventure, the suffering, the pain and the glory of all of it all! Trust that it’s okay to let others in.
Neil Morbey is a meditation teacher, group facilitator and inspiration guide for Positively-Mindful.com