On desiring infinity while experiencing finitude. Thoughts on love. Part I.
In our practical life, we love people, pets, stuff, nature, art etc. We experience this feeling not only in romantic contexts but in many others – or at least we can be open to feel love in multiple ways. However, the fact that we love those things/people doesn´t mean that we can have them all the time we want, or whenever we want them. Here we start to play the limits of the material life. There are duties, distance, and particularities that make us realize that we do not always have the opportunity to get what we want when we want it, no matter how much we love it. When you get the experience – not only the rational understanding of it -, you feel the limit. You acknowledge the space of separation between you and the object of your love that comes from outer circumstances. You feel it.
On a more personal level, our reactivity is our limit. Whenever we react, we are on the edge. A reaction is impulsive, unconscious behaviour, a byproduct of the circumstance. Every time we get A, we react B. Every. Single. Time. Because of this simple formula we get lazy about our own self-development and/or life, judgemental about ourselves and others, we blame anyone, complain or become the victim of circumstances. There is another name for this consciousness or state of the mind, we call it EGO.
In basic etymology, EGO is the first person singular in Latin (nominative case or when the pronoun is doing the action or otherwise serving as the subject of the sentence). It basically means “I”. And because EGO is semantically very charged – we use it in a variety of contexts with multiple meanings – and can mislead, I prefer to name this person simply “reactive behaviour” (“persona” means “character or mask” in Latin, another insight there). Here we are complaining about our last breakup to our friends, blaming the other (ex-boss, boy/girlfriend, friend), being the victim “I don´t know how we got there” “I gave my all to that relationship” “Relationships are harder than I thought” “Life is not fair” and so on. All that talking and complaining is from our ego, our mask, that part of ourselves that is insanely fixed and reluctant to change or see things under another light.
“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi Credits @delnudotatuajes
One thing is the feeling that we have in our hearts, sincere and truer than any rational epiphany, and another thing is the thing that runs in our minds. The first one is our raw, vulnerable nature, the openness of our heart that sometimes feels like a painful break; the second one – our reactive behaviour. Here we rely on the meditation practice again in order to understand this in a practical and holistic way. When we notice our emotions, thoughts, and start training the “no reaction” attitude or equanimity, when we try to let those things pass, when we try to let them go without engaging in the inner drama, we are walking away from our reactive nature and gaining more than one important thing not only for our meditation but also for our lives. That is the whole thing of this simple yet not easy exercise of mindfulness. In meditation, we train ourselves to become less reactive and more aware by learning to control our habitual tendencies.
We trust here in the basic principle of universal economy: everything has its raison d’être. And as in any type of economy, from domestic to global, restriction is essential. There is, though, a restriction to restriction: healthy restriction, not repression. What´s the difference? The difference is very simple: restriction implies awareness, repression is a denial of reality. This said, we now understand that it´s not about repressing our ego or reactive behavior, but to set a limit to it (and later on to transform it… but that´s for another post). To restrict our ego in a way that doesn´t become the king of our minds. Why? Because otherwise, we are far from love – love will always find ways to bring us back to its territory anyway… Here is a tough truth about love: love drives us down that path of stretching and restricting with the promise of abundant and unconditional satisfaction. We walk the path and our ego has little to do there. The rest is yet to come.
Credits for the image @vip.mambo76