The problem with love
“Love, and the earth becomes a paradise again. And the immense beauty of love is that it has no reference. Love comes from you for no reason at all. It is your outpouring bliss, it is your sharing of your heart. It is the sharing of the song of your being. And sharing is so joyful – hence one shares. Sharing for sharing’s sake, for no other motive.” Osho, an Indian godman, mystic and founder of the Rajneesh movement.
Today let’s begin to consider how to differentiate between words, actions and reputation.
The author of the quote above is a case in point.
Read just as they are, without knowing who wrote these words (or in what context), it is easy to see the beauty in the sentiment – how eloquently the writer has described a sensation that we all feel and yet continuously struggle to hold on to and express in our daily lives.
Would it surprise you then to learn that Osho is considered to be quite a controversial figure in India, remembered best as a would-be revolutionary – a vocal critic of political mainstream ideologies and of Mahatma Gandhi in particular?
And more to the point, does knowing this make his words on the subject of love any less accurate or appealing?
I would argue that it does not.
But it does make me realise how difficult it is for many of us to talk about this topic that we crave as much as breathing and equally the number of people who toss the word love about in a meaningless, superficial way when discussing how much they adore pizza or travelling, or their favourite show on Netflix.
Which makes me wonder – if it is so easy to say we love a thing why is it so hard to express how we really feel about each other?
Better yet, why do we fall in and out of “love” with each other in the first place?
After all, if we are naturally loving beings in the first place, don’t we naturally love the people we encounter along the way?
Equally, why do we seem to simultaneously believe that we ourselves are worthy of receiving love and that we have the right to judge or decide who is “worthy” of getting our love?
And, once having realised that we really do love a person, why are we so afraid to communicate this?
Is it because we fear being judged, or rejected?
Or is it because the word “love” is often mixed up (confused) with the word “like” in our own minds?
Sometimes we use the word “love” when we really should be using the word “like”.
We like pizza, but we love eating. We love our kids (hopefully), but is the problem perhaps that we just don’t like them all the time?
Falling in love with another person is a natural and wonderful event in our life but many times we should simultaneously be asking whether we actually like that person. There can be many reasons why we fall in love – some perhaps more obvious than others – but for complete satisfaction and peace of mind we really should ask ourselves if we like their character and attitude to life and to us.
Physical attraction can be exciting in the beginning, but sometimes doesn’t remain as powerful as we both get older. Therefore one can argue that the bedrock of a solid relationship focuses on whether we like the person. That makes it much more sustainable and long-lasting.
The beauty of liking another person is that we can much more easily and comfortably accept their foibles and mood swings; some days are called “bad hair days” for a reason. The trick is to smile, accept and get on with our own life that day. Both parties will look back a day or so later and chuckle.
So, have no fears about using either word but maybe recognise that they are different, and can be used in separate contexts in the same moment.