We talk glibly of Love as if it can be bought like a bag of pastel-coloured macaroons. Or conjured up by a psychic who says, deftly spreading a well worn deck of cards: “now let’s look at the love-life!”
We talk flippantly of Love as if Love can be compartmentalised into a neat life all of its own. As if Love is a play-thing, to put aside when we tire of it, or it becomes too big and boisterous for our small stingy lives. Each one of us yearns (whether we will admit it or not) to be loved and cherished. To have someone to love and cherish in return. Yet still we lazily window-shop for Love on dating sites. Foolishly mistake Love for Sex. Are not truly brave enough to do the inner work to weed our garden so that a small seed of Love may grow tall in the sunlight.
Many of us live our lives vicariously through the lives of other heroes or heroines. We balk at provocative choices. Terrified we may expose our soft-bellied vulnerability, we manacle ourselves with the cold steel fear of rejection, memories of past betrayals, disappointments. We play it safe, never daring to throw the dice lest we score too high for comfort. Then one new day, we awake to find our fervent prayers have been answered by a benevolent god! How we tremble and shake in unspeakable terror as we stand on the precipice; afraid to take that giant leap, to tumble weightlessly into Love. Afraid to do what it takes to be with the one we cannot be without. Love, like old age, and death, is not for the squeamish. To fall into Love requires valour. To stay in Love demands tenacity.
Science makes an attempt to measure the power of Love by assigning our light-headed omnipotence and euphoria to dopamine and oxytocin. Mood-altering chemicals that flood our brains and make us feel ecstatic. Our right (emotional intuitive) brain lights up like a Christmas tree, and our left (logical language) brain is all shook up, without words to adequately describe … well, nothing really matters any more, except the urgent desire to be with the one we love forever and ever … Astrology describes the synastry, the poetry of the composite chart of a relationship, yet not our warm arousal from a long slumber and our pulse that beats with ardour, urgent passion. We can measure the how. But why we fall we fall in love, why we swoon in the languor of our eroticism, why we bow our heads to our heart’s holiness, why we enter the hallowed portals with blouse unbuttoned, tossing our hair in the face of our morbid fears, remains a Mystery. “Nothing is Mysterious. No human relation. Except Love,” Susan Sontag wrote.
Love is the song of our soul, our connection with our own Divinity. We must take in Love through all six of our senses; imbibe it through all our orifices. Experience it, fully, bravely, with all our human hearts.
“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced,” wrote John Keats who lived his life brightly, like a tremulous dew-drop, and died at twenty-five, having all too briefly experienced the intensely real burn of passion. Love is the substance of Life. And death. “We must love one another or die,” Auden wrote. And cantankerous Philip Larkin affirmed in his famous ode to immortality, “What will survive of us is love”.
There comes a time when we simply cannot go on rummaging through the closets of our childhood looking for reasons for why things happen as they do. We cannot go back to the postage stamps of our past fumbled attempts at Love. We must dredge up our strength, our courage, to stop punishing ourselves, each other. Risk using our imagination to see the perfection within one another. Bravely continue our pilgrimage, with blisters and bleeding feet, ravished by our own longing. Tenderly follow the scarlet blaze of our own life essence that carries like sweet perfume and mingles with the still night air.
We have just one choice: To allow our hearts to rule, and the warmth of our lover’s perfect body to caress us back to life again.
When my heart came to rule
in the world of love,
it was freed
from both belief
and from disbelief.
On this journey,
I found the problem
to be myself.
When I went beyond myself,
the pathway finally opened.
Mahsati Ganjavi (12th Century)
Art by Irina Vitalievna
James Blunt – Cause I love you.