“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but
make not a bond of love:
let it rather be a moving sea
the shores of your souls.”
~ Khalil Gibran
“I’ve had a few good relationships but they dump me ’cause I’m boring and work all the time and don’t pay enough attention to them.”
“Find a partner-in-crime, a match, an equal, a queen.“
The Buddhist Notion of Love.
I’m in love with a woman I’ve never met.
But we do know each other. And one thing she said that I love is that
being in love is of secondary importance
she said it more poetically, though, in response to my concerns about our future hypothetical love and marriage and baby carriage
I don’t need to go on a lifelong romantic picnic I have things to do
I loved that. I loved her for saying that. I’ve always thought fun was fun…for an hour or so. Then, fun is boring. You know what’s always fun? Serving the greater good by doing something you’re good at. Whether that’s dance or teaching or politicking or working the counter at a corner store or being a nurse or what.
And that reminded me. The kind of love I’ve been brought up to look for isn’t a picnic. It’s a partnership, with loneliness built in.
In the Buddhist tradition, there’s no “tying the knot.” Space is built in.
On the other hand, it’s absolute commitment. The analogy of a snake in a bamboo tube is used. Our other half becomes “the representative of the phenomenal world,” as Trungpa Rinpoche called it—ie, the one person on earth who is stuck with you in a good way, and cares about you enough to get to know you completely, warts and all.
In the Buddhist notion of love, there’s no two candles or two souls “becoming one.” Instead of facing one another, completing one another and living happily ever after (which only happens in fiction and even then they never show it, they just tell it), the Buddhist visualization of a successful marriage is this:
Two friends* facing the same direction together, symbolically east, the direction of the rising sun, as in ever-awakening fundamentally a-ok human nature.
“Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” ~ Saint-Exupéry
Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit.
Love is selfish. Folks sometimes call me egotistical because, sometimes, I’m a temper tantrumer. Like a poor man’s godfather
I can take things personally. Especially when I haven’t meditated enough.
I’m not a big believer in being professional in business. I’m a big believer in being personal in business. You know you’re about to be douched upon when someone says to you “I just work here” or “it’s not personal.” For me, everything’s personal—you do me or my vision or my mission right, I’ll repay you 2x as much. I’ve done more favors and work and made more connects for others than anyone I know. Yes, sounds egotistical. But I get repaid 4x—I get a great deal of pleasure out of it.
“When two people love each other, they don’t look at each other, they look in the same direction.” ~ Ginger Rogers
But where was I: oh, yes: society’s notion of matrimonial love is what’s truly egotistical. I know a lot of folks who do some good for the world but then they have a wife, or a husband, or a child, or children…and suddenly they treat that child/wife/husband as if it’s an unarguable excuse to forget this whole holy fucked up wonderful world that is crying and dying and begging and pleading and needing our help.
I do think the sort of marriage, children, sitcom-watching life I see with some friends is great but limited in scope. Folks settle. They forget their dreams. On the other hand, many folks treat marriage like dating: they marry for as long as it’s good-to-workable, then give up at a certain point. Which is fine. But marriage is unconditional. So I’m just always puzzling that koan over a bit.
In a way, that’s good…folks used to be stuck in horrrrible marriages, divorce was basically Scarlet Letter territory–shameful.
So I say this: I don’t just want a girl, a woman, a lady who knows I love her, and she loves me, and we admire one another, and always are kind to one another, especially when we’re tired and cranky. That’s a good start: half the battle.
But the whole battle, love is war, is if she looks at me and says, go free, do your thing, and in return I want to be able to go free, and do my thing, and your thing and my thing may be totally different, you might travel, I might travel, you might want to work instead of having dinner and I might want to work instead of having dinner…when I find a girl who loves what the whole point of life is…
“And while I’m here I’ll do the work. And what’s the work? To ease the pain of living — everything else, drunken dumbshow” – Allen Ginsberg
…more than our marriage, well I’m ready to get married.*
*well, also, she’ll have to be okay with having 12 children named Pippi, Sargent, Huck(leberry) or Twain, Fitz(gerald), Cary (Kerouac), Whit(man), Washington, Eleanor, (Rose) Roosevelt, Avalokiteshvara, Hal(ifax) and Sham(bhala). Already got the dog named Redford, and when we’re ready he’ll have a younger brother named Rockwell.
Until then, spare me your expectations. You don’t have rights to me. I have one short life to live and I’ve been given a ton and I enjoy nothing more than working night and day to create something (elephant, Walk the Talk Show) that can give back, only 10fold. I took a vow, and I aim to keep it. And that’s a tall order.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, the only joy in this hard life is serving others.
When I fall in love, truly, if I’m lucky enough to do so, that love will help me, and I will help her, to face outward, not merely inward.
And if I’m not lucky enough to do so, well, that’ll be 12 children who won’t have a hard time in junior high explaining why they have such ridiculous names. Either way, I’m gonna get a lot of work done, and be busy…
…’til I’m 80 then I just want to sit on couch, eat corn chips, drink weak beer and watch baseball on TV or whatever they have then curse at my grandchildren running through the room “keep quiet, whippersnappers!”
“I’m offering a lot, I’m offering me.”
~ Joanne Woodward to Paul Newman in Long, Hot Summer.
Love this just for the title: “You Complete Me? Debunking The Jerry Maguire Myth.”
*(who want to have sex with one another constantly)
Photo: @waylonlewis on Instagram. “This reminds me of my Love is Selfish on @elephantjournal. Space allows for independence, change, humor, appreciation, lack of jealousy, loneliness. You do not complete me. Rather, we are partners in service of a great good.”
Read 156 comments and reply