I think N. has been reading my blog lately. I had written about my romantic, idealistic idea of love and Bollywood movies. He took up the topic love and pointing out the impermanence of everything. I am vipassana practitioner enough to see that this is so, of course. Like everything else in this samsara love is impermanent, a pleasant mental feeling. Relationships are impermanent. And I totally agree that a couple who has lost love for each other should separate to find new love.
But I cling to my romantic ideal of love. Even if it is impermanent and can cease any moment, each partner in a relationship is responsible to make love arise again each moment. I know Sri Lankan couples who do this and it is wonderful to see.
The difference is that we in the west think about our own well being and are happy with the partner as long as he or she pleases us or fulfills our needs, fills our gaps. We want happiness and forget that the other wishes the same. We want the happiness from the partner because we are not able to be happy alone with ourselves.
What I learned from some of the Sri Lankan couples I know, the trick is that they do not think about their own happiness but of the partner’s well being and happiness. Surely, it only works out well for both, when both have the same idea about how to keep love alive.
Surely, then love still is impermanent, it ceases – but it arises again through the care and effort of the involved partners moment by moment, by sharing your love, your care, your feelings, wishes. And not to forget by listening. Love is something that multiplies and grows when you share it.
You lay people who read this can try it with your partners.
I was thinking about this today when I washed my robes and observed a little spider which had made a net at the tap. The spider was small enough and almost a bit cute so that I could develop some love for it.
Not that I want a relationship with a spider … Nuns better try to avoid human males to experiment with love so I just took what was around. It was very obvious that I had to put in some good amount of effort to develop the wish to love this little one – but then it was possible (well, as I said, the spider was small [with the bigger spider later in the afternoon I failed to develop the wish, didn’t put any effort into it, didn’t even think about it, just wanted to get away from it – habits take over when we are not mindful…]).