Love is something worth paying attention to.
It is not about using another person to redeem some early childhood trauma. Rather, it is understanding and empathizing with another human being to the greatest extent possible.
Love should be driven by passion, not purely by need.
This is why we must see beyond the image of the other person and make an impassioned attempt to get to know them beyond the mask of the ego. We are learning about each other’s deeper nature—understanding both our shadow side and our light body—cultivating our ability to listen to and learn from each other.
This is the process of love.
It is not merely a form of mutual usage, where we simply try to extract some emotional catharsis from our partner and then be done with them. Instead, it is a constant ebb and flow, a continual give and take, a mutual altruism that involves consistent self-sacrifice.
Jiddu Krishnamurti, perhaps the paramount spiritual teacher of the modern age, had a few things to say on this matter.
“Relationship based on mutual need brings about conflict. However independent we are of each other, we are using each other for a purpose, for an end. With an end in view, relationship is not. In this usage, we lose contact. The end, the gain, prevents relationship, communion. In the usage of another, however gratifying and comforting it may be, there is always fear.”
A relationship doesn’t imply two separate forces coming together to attain their own ends to then move on. There is no beauty in this. There is no real connection here.
There can only be real connection when we cease to have an end in sight—when we no longer see our partner as simply an image.
They are real, just as we are real—and when this is acknowledged, good things tend to happen.
“When you use another for your need, physically or psychologically, in actuality, there is no real relationship at all; you really have no contact with the other, no communion with the other. How can you have communion with the other when the other is used as a piece of furniture, for your convenience in comfort? So, it is essential to understand the significance of relationship in daily life.”
Self-sacrifice is necessary in love, for in order to be deeply connected with someone, we must let go of our sense of isolated individuality—of being a separate and distinct ego entity—at least momentarily, to be fluid with the relationship.
Let’s pay close attention to our relationships and teach ourselves to notice when we are either using our partner or being used by our partner. This is a crucial element of the practice of loving.
The more we see relationships as a skill, the more successful they will be.
Love is not merely a matter of convenience. It is the most powerful force in the universe, as far as I can tell, and it should be honored accordingly.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Henri Meilhac/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Social editor: Callie Rushton