Love is Not the Same
I woke up in bed, opened my eyes, and turned to look at my partner, Carista. She was still sleeping, one arm over her eyes, breathing softly. I felt my love for her. It was deep and profound, like the ocean.
My former partner came to mind, and I felt my love for her. It was still there, where it had always been, in spite of the fact that we had separated many years ago. I recognized that these two loves were not the same. They each had a unique shape and quality. Both were real, both were beautiful. But different.
Extending this gentle inquiry, I thought of the many women I had loved throughout my lifetime. My wife. My daughter. My first girlfriend at the tender age of 13. The love I felt for each one matched each woman’s uniqueness, and her particular qualities of beauty, intelligence, form, and fire.
Love is not the same. It is not a thing we have or don’t have, like a light switch that turns on or off. It isn’t a universal solvent that gets applied evenly like a varnish, or a fog that covers everything in the same moist cloud. Love appears more like human beings do – each one unique in a never-has-been-before form. Like art, where there are similarities, but no two ever alike.
Love is a function of the attention we place on the other person. When we attend to another, we stretch toward them. We get an experience of them. We feel what they feel like. We “get” who they are. We come to know a person by repeated stretchings and interactions.
Since the feminine is constantly changing, like the ocean, or the weather, each time we place our attention on a woman we get a different experience. We love this person, but she is different in every moment. She is alive, and shifting, acting in ways that sometimes attract us like crazy, and sometimes drive us crazy.
How could love be the same from moment to moment, let alone from woman to woman?
You may have noticed that when she says, “I love you,” she often expects you to say, “I love you,” back. You may hesitate at times, and ask yourself, “Do I really love her at this moment? She just drove me crazy and made me mad! How can I love her? Of course I love her, but just not right now. I’m not feeling it, but I need to say it, or she’ll get upset. Okay, I’ll say it.” ‘I love you, honey.’ Ahhh… That worked.”
This kind of exchange occurs on the surface of love. It’s like being in a small boat in the middle of rough seas. It would be lovely to sit back and appreciate the beauty of the water, but all of your attention is focused on avoiding death by drowning. It’s hard to love her when you’re upset with her, or focused on important matters of survival. (Continues on Page 2)