Falling in love is a beautiful thing.
However, love itself is even more beautiful.
What if we could view falling out of love just as sweetly as we do the mad infatuation we feel when we fall into it?
The Buddha knew how to do this. He refused to cling to what wasn’t in one’s highest purpose anymore, even if it hurt. He taught us to allow things in our lives to change as they needed—as this is actually what lessens our suffering, even though our instincts tend to scream, “Hang on!”
This is part of the practice of non-attachment. We love others (and ourselves) so much that we choose not to cling to them for selfish purposes.
“If you love someone, let them go. For if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.” ~ Khalil Gibran
In relationships, allowing someone space to come and go can be a tender choice to make with each other, but it is an honourable one. It brings us right into “the genuine heart of sadness”—a Buddhist term that we use to describe the awakening heart—which feels both shaky and unknown. This tender act of allowing space is raw, because we are not protecting ourselves by attempting to control things.
However, this sensitivity is exactly what we are striving for. We are meant to be affected and touched by life, so that we become compassionate beings, rather than hardened, controlling ones.
Is it possible that we can love so much that we’ll be okay with falling out of love?
Because “in love” and “love” are two different things.
When we stop trying to get something from each other, we offer the other person freedom—the gift of non-attachment.
Maybe things will work out in a relationship—and maybe they won’t. Either way, we cease trying to force things because we’re scared we can’t survive the lack of something.
Through the practice of non-attachment, we become brave like a Buddha. It is an act that cracks open the cocoon of fear that likes to run our lives.
We step into something much more vast. We begin to understand the words “unconditional love,” and in these words rests our fearlessness—the fearlessness of someone who is able to face the rawness of an exposed heart.
In Buddhism, we are taught that if we can sit with this incredibly tender feeling, it prepares us to face anything.
Unconditional love does not form chains or anchors. Unconditional love forms wings.
We have the ability to offer this spacious love to each other if we choose to. There is always the opportunity to make the decision to live from a place of freedom, rather than restriction.
Falling in love is gorgeous. It is succulent. It is alive. It is passionate and all-consuming—and it is also a fantasy.
When we decide to get real—like really honest—we look beyond our illusions. We peak underneath the veil of hormones and longing, and we say, “Hey, it’s okay—if this is not right, it’s okay to allow this to end.”
There is much beauty in being content with how things are. Fighting against reality, or choosing to stay ignorant to a situation, causes long-term suffering.
If we stay blind to our need to fall out of love with someone, we are not moving from the wise knowing of the heart.
It is fine to fall out of love. Things are not permanent…ever.
We choose to let go, not because we wish for pain, but because we desire so much for each other. To truly live, we must choose bravery.
Unconditional love means we want each being to be happy. An awakened heart stays in a relationship only if it’s in both people’s best interest—and interests change.
Living from the heart requires us to become courageous. Here, our selfishness can no longer reign. This is how we show respect for ourselves and other humans—we become bigger than that. We have been humbled by the grace of the genuine heart of sadness—the heart that would never hold onto something if it would cause another pain.
Let go—we don’t need to love with attachment anymore. We can simply love.
When our hearts become softened—and maybe even a little shaky—that’s fine. This is what love is supposed to do.
Love is meant to sand down our edges.
Are we brave enough now, like a Buddha, to allow all beings to be free?
We can choose to love like this—and we owe it to each other to try.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Image: JD Mason/Unsplash
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina