An Act of the Heart
We say that love is an act. But because we do not understand the type of action love must be, we only think we love. Love is not centered in the mind but in the heart. Yet, we say that we “think” we love someone, even though we will never come to love someone through thought. Our mind is what we “love” with when we are afraid to show love–when we withhold love or measure it out. And as long as our love is an act of the mind, it will be ruled by our ego. Rather than surrendering ourselves, pride will guide our actions, and beneath that pride will linger the fear of unreciprocated love.
The voice of pride tells us that the love we give should be in proportion to that which we receive. And fear reminds us of every heartache we have had to endure. Thus, between pride and fear, we remain trapped in a no man’s land of loneliness and sorrow. How can we escape from a cage built from twisted illusions that are powerful enough to dictate all of our actions and decisions?
We believe that we can use the mind, the intellect, as our means to escape. After all, life demands that we use logic and solid reasoning to solve our problems. Would not the same strategy work in the realm of love? If we think about love and analyze it carefully, won’t we understand it well enough to bring it into our lives?
It might seem that knowledge of what love should be would draw us closer to love, but paradoxically it is just the opposite. For the more we think we “know” about love, the more our minds will be cluttered with mixed messages and conflicting views. So, ultimately, although we may have plenty of knowledge about love, we will still not be experiencing love in our lives. To understand love with the mind is akin to trying to listen to music with your eyes. If you were to watch a pianist play by watching him–but did not hear the music–what impact would it have upon you?
Everyone has become so obsessed with knowledge–with the accumulation of information–that most of us are further removed from love than at any time in history. In an age that is so technologically advanced, we barely have time to make sense of our thoughts, much less to listen to our hearts. If we remove thought from love, what is left?
How can we embrace the essence of something that only speaks to our heart? We want to dissect everything so that we can explain it to others. We seek solutions. But what we forget is that love is not a problem. We are fascinated by theories, but love is not a theory either.
In most ways, love is simple because it is the source from which all life springs forth. It beckons us to it without asking anything from us. But in our ignorance, we naively imagine that we must make great sacrifices or give in to rash demands. Yet, when we cease to attempt to love with our minds and realize that love is an act of the heart, the demands disappear, for love becomes the place in which we reside. Rather than something that exists in various strengths and on various levels, it becomes part of us.
As long as we perceive love as something that we need to outwit or conquer or avoid, we will be in perpetual conflict. For all of us need love in our lives, even if our minds convince us otherwise. This does not mean that we must be in a relationship or that we must be in love. It simply means that unless we remain open to love–unless we can freely give and receive love–we are in a state of oppression.
It is the world that beguiles us into believing that love is or should be a game. We are told that love and sex cannot be separated or that love and a relationship always come together. Because of all of the secondhand ideas that we allow our minds to absorb, we become confused. But confusion always comes from the mind, not from the heart. We are confused because we seek understanding instead of truth. And in our need to understand, we bypass truth if it seems to go against the thoughts we already hold within our mind.
It will never be possible for us to learn something that contradicts that which we already think we know. So, when we acquire more of that which we call knowledge without sifting through that which we already have accumulated, our mind at some point ceases to be able to discriminate between the true and the false. What happens then is a state of disorder that completely contradicts reason, even though we tell ourselves that we have been following reason by listening to our minds. But our minds cannot know reason when they are wrapped up in distorted perceptions of our experiences. If we remain attached to past experiences that have made us feel rejected by a lover or unworthy of being loved, our minds will assess those feelings as having a valid basis of truth, whether they do or not.
Similarly, our minds will attempt to persuade us that we need another person to make us feel complete, not realizing that in doing so the illusion that need is love will be created. Yet the heart never mistakes need for love. For this is false and the heart understands only truth. And like love itself, the heart is patient. Unlike the mind, it doesn’t frantically search for answers as to why love is eluding us or why it seems we are destined to be alone. It trusts in life and knows that a love worth having will not be found through scientific theories or strategies of seduction.
We may think that cupid looks with the mind and not the eyes, but until cupid looks past the mind and connects with the heart, love will remain only a word. Love is real when it becomes an act of the heart. Anything less is not love. For only when the heart acts are we able to transcend ourselves and our own pride, fears, and anxieties.
The conflict in love may seem to be about our relationship with someone else, but the conflict always begins within ourselves–with the battle between the heart and the mind. And until we become masters of our minds, we will continue to thwart love’s attempts to come into our lives. The blind man who seeks treasure oftentimes comes up empty-handed. So it is with love.
If our search is guided strictly by our minds, we will seek it only for what it will provide us with. But true love does not respond to the greedy grasp of the man who hunts it out in order to eliminate his inner emptiness. True love responds only to that which is like itself. As Soren Kierkegaard said, like responds only to like. And in the words of Kierkegaard, “only he who abides in love can recognize love, and in the same way his love is known to him.”
Peace, Love, and Joy
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This essay and all written material at My Odyssey is written by Sascha Norris. (C) Copyright 2010 by Sascha Norris. All Rights are reserved.