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Abiding Love: Resolving an Enigma

Love is celebrated as the most empowering force in the universe, yet love equally qualifies as being the most abused, mocked and misunderstood emotion throughout time and been made responsible for war, betrayal, even murder.

By Shalini Singh
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Abiding Love: Resolving an Enigma | Representative image | Photo courtesy: Special arrangement

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“The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam”. Muktananda (1908-1982), Saint from Ganeshpuri.

Love is widely acknowledged by writers, intellectuals and saints as the most powerful empowering force in the universe. But love equally qualifies as being the most abused, mocked and misunderstood emotion throughout time and been made responsible for war, betrayal, even murder. 

Inherent to this contradiction is the way each individual defines love. Discord arises since these definitions don’t - and never will - match. They are not destined to match because these definitions are born of need and expectation, which reduces a large, magnificent phenomenon like love merely to a transaction or contract. One small transgression, one tiny violation of contract and ‘love’ is lost forever to a far weaker, destructive force of enmity and hatred. 

Can love, the most powerful force in the universe - a force that can move mountains - be so fragile? Any state of being, that is selfless, free, independent, unchanging and unconditional is love - and it is anything but fragile. All other feelings are lesser emotions, better placed in the category of ‘attachment’. 

Attachment arises out of human conditioning, need, insecurities, ego and arrogance. It is changeable, restrictive and completely conditional.

Parents want their children to pursue careers of ‘their’ choice, marry a partner of ‘their’ liking. Cases of ‘honour’ killing are abound in India - simply because the parents feel the partner selected is ‘inferior’ by birth. Can this horror classify as love or is it just the manifestation of unspeakably hideous arrogance and a desire to control?  

Youngsters fall in love, fall out of love in a matter of months. Can love be so fickle? What did they really love? The looks, lifestyle, and the attention they received or the person themselves - with all their flaws and vulnerabilities? 

Most people carry a ready checklist of things that they expect from others but not one single thing that they feel they need to give. Even if someone fulfills five of seven items in their checklist, their focus is always on the two that remain unfulfilled. 

And so they are angry all the time - especially with their ‘loved’ ones, since no one is either willing or able to fulfill one another. Didn’t anyone tell them that love only generates bliss and never anger? So, if they are angry, filled with an unbearable sense of loneliness, want, constantly yearning for love in the midst of family, friends and caretakers, they should seriously reevaluate their own life condition and relationships. 

So, why is the experience of real love rare? Is love elusive? Is it the exclusive preserve of a few chosen ones? 

Evidence proves otherwise. Love is all around us. Like the sun and the moon and the stars - it's there. Almost tangible. But how can we understand, accept or enjoy love unless we know what it is? And how can we know what it is unless we experience its full potential for ourselves - first hand - within our own hearts? 

We can all only judge people by our own standards. By that logic, those whose hearts are full of love are unable to see the world as loveless - the way most others do - because they never need any love in return. Their own love fills their universe and spills over for anyone who seeks it. They seek no payback, since there can be no payback for love just like there’s no payback for sunlight or moonshine. 

The simple truth is that the sooner we start expressing love, giving what we most need - exalting in the joy of knowing how - rather than seeking it externally, we will stop being like beggars sitting on a beach of gold. 

In the words of Rabindranath Tagore: “Love adorns itself; It seeks to prove inward joy by outward beauty. Love does not claim possession but gives freedom. Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it. Love’s gift cannot be given, it waits to be accepted”. 

You may write to Shalini Singh at [email protected] | You can also follow her on Substack: https://shalinisinghscribe.substack.com/

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Tags: Love Life