Updated: Aug 9, 2022
If there is one thing that can make us feel more alive than others,
If there is one thing that can make us relevant to all times,
If there is one thing that can free us from the shackles of pride,
It is love.
Love that at times oozes from the mortal chambers of the heart, and at other times emanates from an eternal space no eye can reach nor thought can fathom.
Love that at times is so human that we seem to be caught in a maze, going around and reaching nowhere. And love that at other times seems so all-pervading, that giving and receiving it becomes as natural as breathing.
My love is esoteric. It is snow, water and vapour all at once. It is so human at times that I simmer in its slow fire, and so spiritual at other times that I feel I am deathless. And there are times when they come together, the human and the other, and all I feel is a lightness in the head that not the best wines in the world can offer.
In all my experience of human love, I have categorically known that it cannot be selfless. It is the most selfish of all human aspirations, for we love not for the other’s sake, but for our own. We love not because it brings joy to the other, but because it brings us the pleasure of loving and being in love. Love is an investment that flourishes only on the return it brings – physical, material, spiritual or emotional. But then again, this selfishness has no profanity in it and will not invite retribution. This selfishness is a prerequisite to human existence. It is perhaps the only vice that upholds a virtue.
Ask me why I love and I would have no reason to give. Ask me how long my love would live and I would say, ‘as long as I can feel it in my being’. One either feels love or one doesn’t. There is no third alternative. There are no half measures in love. When I feel it in every fiber in my body, it stops being just another emotion. It becomes my elixir to live.
My love is free. It is independent. It is like loving the hills. When one walks down the woody path of the hills, all one feels is the power of her deep connection with the elements around. Do we pause to ask the pines if they love us back? Do we enter into a trade-off deal with the mountain breeze? Don’t we walk through the wafting clouds without trying to capture them and take home with us? When love goes unrequited, ask yourself these questions, and continue to love, like you would love the hills. Your love will return in an unexpected form, one day or the other.
To all those who say true love doesn’t exist, let me reiterate this. It does. It exists with all its simplicity and complexities woven into it. It is easy when we let go of all self-pride and allow love to stream unrestrained.
It is complicated when we tag it with prerequisites, when we put checks and balances, assess the pros and cons, weigh it against tangible rewards, seek perfection, define parameters, and try to customize it to our needs. When we stanch our love with narrow thoughts, it festers in our veins.
Our love has been tarnished by our own limited ideas of what it should be and how it should be accomplished. Love isn’t a means to an end. It is our quintessence. In creating our notions of human love, we have lost sight of the real thing.
Loving and being in love without needing endorsements is what real love is all about. All else are charades that we participate in, unhappily. The real thing doesn’t seek anybody’s approval, not even the approval of the objects of our love. It glows in the inner precincts, like a lamp in a shrine. Gently, forever.