Saturday, May 14, 2005

Learning to Swim

Eknath Easwaran’s thought for today offers a rather different way of looking at love than we encounter in most movies, TV programs, or romantic novels and, consequently, have enshrined in our minds and hearts. Most of us think of love as a kind of contract in which we will love someone only as much and as long as they love and fulfill us sexually, romantically, and in every other way. No wonder, Easwaran says, that many of us feel so lonely and unhappy, even as we live and sleep with our spouses or partners.

“No matter what the relationship may be, when you look on another person as someone who can give you love, you are really faking love,” he tells us.

“If you are interested in making love,” he continues, “in making it grow without end, try looking on that person as someone you can give your love to – someone to whom you can go on giving always.” This is what Easwaran considers to be genuine love. But he warns us that learning to love for real is very difficult, like swimming against a strong current. Not the current of a river, but the current of lifelong conditioning to see love in a false way—as a contract filled with conditions ultimately aimed at making ME happy. To swim against this current all the way to the shore of genuine love requires us to strengthen the “muscles” of our will and wisdom through constant use backed by a spiritual path of meditation, mantram, mindfulness, slowing down, training the senses, spiritual literature, and spiritual companionship. Then,
“When you put the other person’s welfare foremost every day, no matter how strong the opposing tide inside, you discover after a while that you can love a little more today than you did yesterday. Tomorrow you will be able to love a little more.”

No comments: