“Conscious perfect love is when you love someone so completely that you wish only for your beloved’s self realization. That they are given the space and the wherewithal to discover who they are without thought of reciprocation or reward for oneself.” A.E. Orage
Linda: It has been said that to make someone happy, diminish their desires rather than add to their possessions. Think about it for a minute and see if this doesn’t make sense to you. It does to me.
And yet like so many other good ideas, I have often found myself unable to practice what I believe. Few of us would argue with statements such as “money can’t bring happiness,” “it’s more blessed to give than to receive,” and “the best things in life are free.”
Perhaps we don’t even feel ourselves capable of a conscious perfect love, and therefore give up trying before we even begin. To hold ourselves as capable of creating a great love may be the most difficult challenge of all.
To be willing to see ourselves as having the capacity for deep love, we may find the intention and commitment to embark on the journey. In the process, we discover the small, selfish, petty parts of ourselves that can be dealt with. We can grow; we can change. If we realize how much is at stake, we find the motivation to continue the practice of generosity.
Perhaps we believe that what we have to give is not of the highest quality. We judge ourselves as inadequate. To quote Gandhi: “Though what you have to give may seem insignificant, it is very important that you give it.”
We need to proceed with the idea that we are enough and what we have is valuable to our partner, and continue to give even when we have doubts. We may be caught in our own limited beliefs, and eventually have enough evidence of the value of our contribution that we have faith in ourselves.
When we cultivate mature love, we are no longer giving in order to get back. Relationship as business is for those who have not yet discovered the power of generosity, where we give our love in a pure way, without concern about a return on the investment. It is way of being that is cultivated with deliberate intention.
The practice of generosity is an art form to be cultivated over time. We become wise when understand that great relationships are only created when our small, frightened, self-indulgent self gives way to that of abundant generosity. Self-discipline is required when we want to indulge ourselves to get our way. Seeing the big picture and how happy we can both be in the long run when we practice self-less giving inspires us to stretch the edges of our capacity.
The practice is not for the feint of heart, for the urge to satisfy our sensory desires is so strong and compelling that we often find ourselves opting instead for immediate and temporary pleasures and materialistic concerns. Sweet as sense pleasures can be, physical, emotional, or mental, the sweetness is always brief, too brief in fact for lasting pleasure. And trying to string these pleasurable events together simply results in our being consumed in an endless and ultimately unfulfilling quest for eternal gratification. We want to get our way.
We can’t extend the duration of these temporary pleasures, so we strive to close the gaps between them to create an impression of continual stimulation. Living in this way leaves us feeling breathless and exhausted, victimized by our relentless desires.
Our challenge may be less a matter of successfully creating pleasurable experiences and more a matter of learning to disengage from the compulsive need to do so. Many of us may be addicted to feeling good, meaning we haven’t yet learned to live with or perhaps even value the spaces in between.
What can we do in those moments of boredom, despair, resentment, self-pity, confusion, and the so –called “negative” mind states, other than run away from them? Can we learn to free ourselves from the relentless grip of our addictions to constant pleasure and our addiction to withdrawal from pain?
Rather than withdrawing form what feels unpleasant, we can learn to cultivate and to bring a welcoming awareness to each unfolding moment of our lives. Such a stance helps cultivate a deep respect and gratitude for each of the experiences with which life present us.
We can begin to see how no experience is inferior or superior to any other. In the larger scheme, it is our ability to open fully to all experiences that enhances our capacity for joyful living. This allows us to see the glass as half full, not half empty, and to view our lives from a stance of gratitude and appreciation.
Every day, we can cultivate a receptive and open mind. We can develop the capacity to be fully present with ourselves, and the people in our lives. Our greatest shared gift is the space to touch the joy and richness of life fully-lived. Giving that gift to yourself gives it to others.
In your connection with them from the place of this presence, a marvelous experience occurs, deeper and more sustaining than anything that sense pleasures can offer. We are able to choose the blessing of a life fully lived. There is joy and gratitude available to those of us who have the courage to bring an open heart to all of life’s unique moments.
In a world so inundated with suffering, whatever any of us can give to others, be it time, possessions, caring or attention is a gift that in a small yet important way enriches us all.