Monday, September 11, 2006

Love as a Philosophy of Being


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This weekend I went to a wedding held at a gorgeous Roman Catholic church. The organ played Pachabel’s Canon and the singer's voices rang through the cathedral with Ave Maria. We stood for the bride and groom and prayed for them several times, always doing the unfamiliar (to me) motion of the Father, the Son, and the holy Spirit over our foreheads, right, left and centre chest. (I had forgotten how involved the community was in ensuring the love of husband and wife).

At one point the photographers were apparently encroaching too closely on the holy tabernacle. Perhaps that is what is was, or perhaps the priest was simply a grouchy old jerk, but nevertheless, he suddenly changed the mood of the service by yelling: “I am sick and tired of telling you to take your camera and go and sit down!” Everyone was stunned, no less the photographer, who was scurrying to get the hell out of the church entirely. (Partly perhaps so that she would be there already for the group photo that was to follow the service). It was funny to watch the cinematographer, who slowly backed right out of the service. A few moments later, as if to validate himself, the priest resumed his self-righteous sermon: “it is very unfortunate that some people don’t understand the true meaning of a wedding.” At that point I felt that it was very unfortunate how some people don't understand the concept of tolerance, or diplomacy -how low an opinion of him he had convinced me of. From this impression, I no longer felt that this was a man of kindness or of good spirit. Instead, he seemed like one to read the holy book and feel very little holiness, other than the hollow sound of his own voice.

Regardless of that, the wedding itself was very beautiful. The bride and groom got a loud cheer for their kiss, they exchanged rings and officiated their union by signing the agreement. What was very significant to me throughout this whole proceeding as well as to the incident with the angry priest was something it said in the program about the religious basis of love: “He who knows not love knows not God. For God is love.”

It seemed to me very possible that there are people out there who fear something that is very alien to them. They fear redemption and hold a guilty conscience about the status of their spirit, without getting to know what love is at all. Perhaps I am one of them.

I have been single for a long time and it can be very lonely, but being around so many friends and people who were in love put me in a mood to examine this aspect of life and realize that it’s not a thing that can be lacking in the natural environment but rather something you feel inside. Even non-religiously, or at least in a pre-Christian sense, having “good thoughts, good deeds, good actions” (the Zoroastrian imperative) is about love. Love is so many different things, which is why the Greeks have so many different words for it covering the brotherly love, to the platonic relationship to the erotic. For example, here are a few quotes of what famous people think about love.

So with my problem, or rather, obstacle of being singular, after watching and hearing the speeches of the bride and groom about being around good people and thus maintaining good company, I figured that I cannot wait for the right situation to come along, expecting someone else to add to my destiny somehow, but rather become more comfortable with myself so that I can feel love and be supremely good to others so that I may “find” it everywhere. That way I should never feel alone. Additionally, I will grossly increase my chances of finding something special about someone, by listening, and caring about them and making them less alone by identifying with all the little things about them, rather than gazing idly and thinking ideal thoughts about some shapeless mass of feelings that I don’t actively seek to take part in. It is the little things, like the man who puts toothpaste on his wife's brush when he wakes up before her.

I also realized it's easier said than done. At the reception after a few drinks, all the girls in dresses suddenly looked immaculate. I began engaging in conversation with several, or I would talk to one then flit absent-mindedly to another. There was a particular girl who I asked to dance for awhile then proceeded to make a few tactless moves towards. I forgot her name for starters. Then there was the fact that I couldn't pay attention to her for more than a few minutes without being distracted. Eventually it ended up with her observing that I was "completely retarded". I asked what I had done and asked her for tips, which further lowered her opinion of me and she said she "didn't want to talk about it". As a final preterito, she screamed "have fun being single!" and I went home alone. But, I suppose if I never find a special love or learn to be less self-absorbed or to curb my wandering eye or improve my moonwalk, I will strive to do at least as she says. As Dr.Thomas Fuller says "all things are difficult before they are easy." If I only knew the girl's name who became hateful towards me, I might thank her for reacting. It certainly was a wake-up call.

Being able to love is about being able to be happy in the first place. When you constantly want the world to be different and to feel different than you do, then you have nothing to hold on to, nevermind another person. Alternatively, if you have a moment to stop time, to focus on one person, to stop stressing, to listen, to indulge, to not be scared or pressed to care, to do it out of will, because you sincerely want good for another, then you will find love. If you continue with this mission, it has been shown to last for a lifetime. “Until death do us part.”

Philosophy

9 Comments:

Blogger QUASAR9 said...

Being able to love is about being able to be happy in the first place. When you constantly want the world to be different and to feel different than you do, then you have nothing to hold on to, nevermind another person. Alternatively, if you have a moment to stop time, to focus on one person, to stop stressing, to listen, to indulge, to not be scared or pressed to care, to do it out of will, because you sincerely want good for another, then you will find love. If you continue with this mission, it has been shown to last for a lifetime. “Until death do us part.”

Wow Man! Deep, Profound.
People have given up on the dream
But
One can make the Dream come true
It can be true for Yopu and You ...

9:40 PM  
Blogger QUASAR9 said...

You are right on many levels:

Why want to change the world
Why be engulfed by other peoples grief or sadness

Better to find love
Better to share love
Better to fill the world with love

If love is your thing
You'll love this site
serenity's tide
***

9:43 PM  
Anonymous mitz said...

i love this post. so much!!!!!!

hey how did you find me ???

i would have emailed you, but seriously???? i need to know.

8:11 AM  
Blogger your judgemental aunt said...

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1:51 PM  
Blogger Chocolate Monkey said...

I borrowed 'Conditions of Love' by John Armstrong from one of my closest friends a few years ago. However hard I try, I can't seem to give it back to him. It's travelled back and forth across at least four countries, and I even took it back home with me a couple of weeks ago as I knew I would be seeing him. Of course, it came all the way back here with me.

I think you'd enjoy it a lot. In his conclusion, he writes:

"In this book I have tried to argue two things...

Firstly, the need to love and to be loved is deeply placed in human nature...

Secondly, love is an achievement, it is something we create, individually, not something which we just find, if only we are lucky enough. But although it is a creation and an achievement it is not something which can be forced simply by effort... This is unsurprising if we reflect that love is dependent upon many other achievements: kindness of interpretation, sympathy, understanding, a sense of our own needs and vulnerability...

In our culture, we have become rather disinclined to pay attention to individual responsibility in loving. We place too much emphasis on finding the right person and not nearly enough upon the cultivation of qualities which allow us to deserve love and which enable us to give love - even when things are difficult."

I am going to a wedding in a few weeks. I have no doubts that my wandering eyes will spark quite a few daydreams.

For me it's difficult to focus on self-improvement when historically I have always thought that a relationship would be my catalyst. If only things were that simple.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

What a great post!!! I think love can be as you say, a state of being, but it works as a transitive and intransitive verb as well. Marriage (wedding day) is one thing, but the actual marriage is hard, hard, hard, and I know of so many divorced couples that sometimes I wonder if staying single is the safest way to go. Love alters throughout a lifetime; sometimes it disappears, but I believe most people don't give it a chance because they want the fairy tale and not the cold reality. I've been married for 16 years and I still get lonely and feel unloved, even though I know my husband loves me. Ultimately, we are alone and another person helps, but cannot solve what we must come to terms with on our own. The dream can live on, but it may take on new colors and shapes as it beckons further truths from our unconscious hopes.

5:02 PM  
Blogger serenity said...

"good thoughts, good deeds, good actions” (the Zoroastrian imperative) is about love."

It really is so simple. And so many choose fear and all of its constructs (jealousy, hatred, violence, intolerance) over love, compassion and kindness. Sadly all too often we see the opposite of love carried out in religion every day. Religion, where it should be all about love.

I am inspired to see your writing, your reflections, your spirit.

Love is a choice. I choose LOVE!

Peace and joy flowing to you.

10:12 PM  
Blogger mistipurple said...

when you have love, it shows. in your actions, in your face, it will show. love cannot hide. it's too powerful. love is the greatest gift.

12:56 AM  
Blogger Chloe said...

you are joking about that girl calling you retarded, right?
First, "retarded" is not a swear word, you can tell this to that girl.
Second, it's not your fault she couldn't catch your eye for more than 5 minutes.
Third, you are going to find love, because you are lovable.

3:06 PM  

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