exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
"There is a great power in the universe... it is so real that it transcends all other forces ... that love is deathless because it is part of the Great Spirit, the creative spirit of all life, part of the power which has fashioned life; it is indeed the very breath, the very essence of life. And wherever love exists, sooner or later those who are united by its willing bonds will find one another again despite all the handicaps and obstacles and impediments that may be in the way... they are, indeed, as your poet has expressed it, 'two hearts that beat as one.' Now, where that love has found itself, there is never any separation. Those whom the natural law has joined by love can never be sundered in your world or in mine. Where there is that love - and here I am afraid I am going to be controversial - it is always reciprocated... the real love, that only comes once to each man or woman, whether on earth or in the world of spirit, is always reciprocal... the two halves instinctively, because they are two halves, must recognise one another...the real love is so magnetic, is so overwhelming in its attraction, that it must find itself and claim itself, when once you have got rid of the imperfections of the earth which were the deterrents to recognition." Silver Birch
Mortimer Adler's Syntopicon Essay: Love
Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Love
Editor's Essay: Ode To Billie Joe: What Did They Throw Off The Bridge?
Editor's Essay: What Men Really Want
Charles Williams: "Love you? I am you."
Archdeacon Wilberforce, Letters from the Other Side: "On this side, when I met my beloved ... I became herself - she was transformed into me. All that she knew and felt became the content of my consciousness. All that I had attempted and achieved, all that I had failed to accomplish, yet battled and struggled to complete, was known to her as no words, no thoughts even, as earth uses the terms, could have conveyed. We were one, yet individually our own very separate selves, knowing as we were known, to the full extent of each other's capacity. Capacity is the only limitation in the spiritual realms."
Rousseau, quoted by Abigail Adams in a letter to John Adams, November 13, 1780: “…'one of the greatest evils of absence, and the only one which reason cannot alleviate, is the inquietude we are under concerning the actual state of those we love, their health, their life, their repose, their affections. Nothing escapes the apprehensions of those who have everything to lose.' Nor are we more certain of the present condition than of the future. How tormenting is absence! How fatally capricious is that situation in which we can only enjoy the past moment, for the present is not yet arrived."
Rainer Maria Rilke: “Comfort me from wherever you are – alone, we are quickly worn out; if I place my head on the road, let it seem softened by you. Could it be that even from afar we offer each other a gentle breath?”
Augustine, The Confessions: The philosopher-theologian recounts leaving his lover of many years, a soul-mate "torn from my side...my heart which clave unto her was torn and wounded and bleeding. And she returned to Africa, vowing unto Thee never to know any other man... Nor was that my wound cured, which had been made by the cutting away of [his lover] but after inflammation and most acute pain, it mortified, and my pains became less acute, but more desperate."
Rainer Maria Rilke: “Our heart always transcends us.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now
how we fail to meet the other person's real self
"[Relationships] do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you."
The False Self sizes up others, makes comparisons, analyzes how they might "fit into my story" or help me get what I want." The silent job-interview becomes "are you better, higher, more wealthy, better looking, more spiritual ... perhaps I can add her to my sense of self, make her my wife, she'll look good next to me."
And in this interview "you're not meeting anybody at all! - you're meeting your own thoughts. You think you're meeting people, entering into relationships with them, but you're only having a relationship with your [own thoughts and] your own mind.
"And then you marry her and she has the same problem. A little later they can't stand each other anymore. Two minds meeting that [do not really meet at all; they never met the real person, only their egoic desires superimposed upon that person]."
the dysfunctional ego always views others as a means to an end; within intimate relationships, as we learned in The Wedding Song, partners enter into a "buying and selling" negotiation, bargaining for the "best resume" to "make me happy." The other person becomes mere pawn to the process as, according to the ego, "there are many fish in the sea"; they treat each other as stepping stone to self-oriented definitions of happiness
you don't know anything about me...
Jamie Sullivan and Landon Carter
"Please don't pretend that you know me."
"I know everything about you. I've been in school with you since first grade - (in condescending, impatient tone) you're Jamie Sullivan, you wear the same green sweater, you always sit in the front row, and when you walk you look at your feet."
"You don't know anything about me."
I will find you...
“I will find you. No matter how long it
takes, no matter how far, I will find you.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power Of Now
the mind cannot truly know another human being, only a deeper aspect of person, the "true self," can enter authentic relationship
[Eckhart had been speaking of a tree outside his window]
The mind cannot know the tree. It can only know facts or information about the tree. My mind cannot know you; only labels, judgments, facts, opinions about you. “Being” [the deeper, true self] alone knows directly. There is a place for “mind knowledge.” It is the day-to-day practical living. However, when it takes over all aspects of your life, including your relationships, it becomes a monstrous parasite [bent on self-interest] which, if left unchecked, may destroy all life on this planet… What we are concerned with is a permanent shift in consciousness.
Editor’s note: The mind-dominated John and Mary are incapable of entering into deepest relationship. Only an elevated level of consciousness will allow for such wonder. Until then, they do not, and cannot, truly know each other, but only information about each other. As Jamie railed against Landon, "You don't know anything about me!"
Rainer Maria Rilke: “It is part of the nature of every definitive love that sooner or later it can reach the beloved only in infinity.”
Aristotle: "Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies."
Simone De Beauvoir: "Why one man rather than another? It was odd.You find yourself involved with a fellow for life just because he was the one that you met when you were nineteen."
"If men and women act according to each other's liking, their love for each other will not be lessened, even in one hundred years." Kama Sutra
Katharine Hepburn: “Plain women know more about men than beautiful women.”
Neil Gaiman: "Have you ever been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like 'maybe we should just be friends' or 'how very perceptive' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love."
Ambrose Bierce: "Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage."
Margaret Anderson: "In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love you want the other person."
the first sight of the beloved
"The first sight of the beloved is like the spirit that moved on the face of the waters, from which flowed forth heavens and the earth. The first sight of life's companion echoes God's words, Let there be... It is the beginning of magical tremblings that separate the lovers from the world of space and dimensions and carry them to the world of revelation and dreams." Kahlil Gibran
Samuel Clemens, upon Olivia's acceptance of his marriage proposal: "I am so happy I want to scalp somebody."
Unknown: "Do you believe in love-at-first-sight? or do I have to walk by you again?"
Anonymous: "If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you, they're yours forever."
Tiffany Anton: "You don't really know if it's love, until it's over."
Mae West: "A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life to be thankful for a good one."
Cyndi Thompson: "It took me by surprise when I saw you standing there. Close enough to touch, breathing the same air. You asked me how I've been, I guess that's when I smiled and said 'just fine.' But I was lying. What I really meant to say is I'm dying here inside. I miss you more each day. There's not a night I haven't cried. Baby, here's the truth, I'm still in love with you. And that's what I really meant to say."
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves: "When the two people who ... are on the same road [i.e., very much alike] are of different sexes, the friendship which passes between them will very easily pass - may pass in the first half hour - into erotic love."
Erich Fromm: "Since erotic love is the most deceptive form of love there is ... it becomes important to distinguish sexual desire per se from love. If erotic love is not also brotherly love , the union is likely to be orgiastic, transitory."
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "When a man and woman fall in love they desire each other, but not in the same way that they desire food or water. Human sexuality takes two directions: there is sex in the service of love, and there is sex divorced from love (i.e., lust). To desire a person as one desires food or drink is lust - a completely selfish desire.But sexual love implies a fusion of soul and body. It seeks to realize itself in a union which involves knowing, understanding, compassion and self-sacrifice."
Theodore Reik: "Love and sex often coincide, but coincidence is not evidence of identity ... There is no doubt among psychoanalysts that there is sex without love, sex 'straight.' [But] they vehemently deny that there can be love without sex," emphasizing the relentless need for true Love to bond, body and soul, with the focus of its affection.
Eckhart Tolle, Enlightened Relationships
romantic partners evolve at different speeds; and some may not evolve at all for a while...
[Romantic] partners evolve, the evolution of consciousness … at different speeds; and some may not evolve for a while at all, and so it’s possible that suddenly the awakened consciousness comes into you and your partner remains where he or she is, as you go into enormous “presence” and aliveness and newness while he or she is still the same – no change.
And then, wait a little and see – it’s quite possible that your state of awakening transmits itself, if there’s the slightest degree of readiness in the other, the fact that you no longer strengthen his or her egoic mind anymore by opposing – and this is vital: don’t oppose the egoic mind – express your viewpoint without hostile opposition. Something may happen, an opening may happen. Or it is possible that you may have to [temporarily] separate…
The “pain-body” looks to intimate relationships as its favorite place to feed and strengthen itself… the “pain-body” is accumulated pain [a memory of past sufferings] which is an energetic field, almost an entity which lives within you, that lives on emotional suffering… The pain-body seeks to take over your partner, makes them say or do things that are completely out of character… It is a shock to marry somebody, and then two or three weeks later a totally different person is there, in a deeply negative energy field, says hurtful things, misinterprets what you do – “Who did I marry?” – this is not the real person attacking you, but the pain-body… The pain-body is the emotional aspect of the dysfunctional ego, and it wants your negative reaction, so as to strengthen its sense of otherness and separateness… It comes out periodically, and then goes back… It is perhaps the most destructive aspect of relationships… the negative thinking is the thinking of the pain-body… It will blame you, accuse you, it knows your weakest points, hit your hot buttons, and will try to bring out the pain-body in you… You must be “present” enough so that you are not taken over by this attack.
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "According to an ancient Greek myth, man was originally a composite being, half male and half female. A capricious god split him in two, with the result that the separated male and female have sought ever since to become re-united with the 'other half.' Modern psychologists make the same point in a somewhat different way when they say that the deepest need of man is the need to overcome his separateness, to leave the prison of his aloneness."
John Donne, speaking of sexual love as a union of body and soul: "Love's mysteries in souls do grow, But yet the body is his book."
Lord Byron: " But who, alas! can love, and then be wise? Not that remorse did not oppose temptation; A little still she strove, and much repented, and whispering, 'I will ne'er consent' - consented."
Lord Byron: "Long, long shall I rue thee, Too deeply to tell... In silence I grieve, That thy heart could forget, Thy spirit deceive. If I should meet thee After long years, How should I greet thee? - With silence and tears."
Lord Byron: "She walks in beauty, like the night Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes."
companion of my soul
"Where are you, companion of my soul? Are you in the temple praying for me? Or are you in the meadow, holding communion with nature, the source of your wonderment and dreams? Do you remember the paths and hills we walked together? ... Do you lie wakeful in the silence of the night? Do you hear my call and my grief from beyond the seas? Are there no spirits in the air who will transmit the agonized breaths of a dying man? I have charged the breeze whenever it blows to bear to you the beating of my heart. Where are you, My Life?" Kahlil Gibran
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach... I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears,of all my life! - and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death."
Pascal: "The heart has its reasons, which the reason does not know. We feel it in a thousand things... it hardens itself against one or the other at its will. You have rejected the one, and kept the other."
Shakespeare: "The greater castle of the world is lost," says Antony to Cleopatra; "we have kissed away kingdoms and provinces."
the deceptiveness of John-and-Mary romance; the love that has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight...
I'm Looking Through You
"I thought I knew you, what did I know!"
I'm Looking Through You
"you don't look different, but you have changed!"
I'm Looking Through You
"love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight!"
I'm Looking Through You
"I'm looking through you, where did you go?"
I'm Looking Through You
"your voice is soothing, but the words aren't clear"
I'm Looking Through You
"you were above me, but not today"
I'm Looking Through You
"you're thinking of me, the same old way"
Rainer Maria Rilke: “Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
Shakespeare: Romeo's words to Juliet: "My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite."
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "Love is all opposites - the only reality, the great illusion; the giver of life and its consumer; the benign goddess whose benefactions men beseech, and ... who wreaks havoc and devastation. She is a divinity to be feared when not propitiated, her potions are poison, her darts are shafts of destruction. Love is itself an object of love and hate. Men fall in love with love and fight against it. Omnia vincit amor, Virgil writes - love conquers all."
Plato: To the question Socrates asks, whether life is harder towards the end, the old man Cephalus replies in the words of Sophocles, when he was asked how love suits with age, "I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master."
Silver Birch: "There are aspects of affection, devotion, the desire to service maternal instincts, which are believed to be love, but the real love ... only comes once to each man or woman, whether on earth or in the world of spirit."
Lucretius: In a most passionate diatribe against love's passion, Lucretius condemns the sensual pleasures which are so embittered with pain. Venus should be entirely shunned, for once her darts have wounded men,"the sore gains strength and festers by feeding, and day by day the madness grows, and the misery becomes heavier ... This is the one thing, whereof the more and more we have, the more does our heart burn with the cursed desire ... When the gathering desire is sated, the old frenzy is back upon them ... nor can they discover what device may conquer their disease; in such deep doubt they waste beneath their secret wound ...These ills are found in love that is true and fully prosperous; but when love is crossed and hopeless, there are ills which you might detect with closed eyes, ills without number; so that it is better to be on the watch beforehand, even as I have taught you, and to beware that you are not entrapped. For to avoid being drawn into the meshes of love, is not so hard a task as when caught amid the toils to issue out and break through the strong bonds of Venus."
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "The love between man and woman makes all the great poems contemporaneous with each other and with ourselves. There is a sense in which each great love affair is unique - a world in itself, incomparable, unconditioned by space and time... There seems to be no happiness more perfect than that which love confirms. But there is also no misery more profound, no depth of despair greater, than that into which lovers are plunged when they are bereft, disappointed, unrequited."
I can't breathe, I cannot be, until you're resting here, with me
"I didn't hear you leave, I wonder how am I still here, and I don't want to move a thing, it might change my memory, Oh I am what I am, I'll do what I want, but I can't hide, and I won't go, I won't sleep, I can't breathe, I cannot be, until you're resting here with me..." Dido
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "When greed violates the precepts of justice, or gluttony those of temperance, the vice or sin appears to have no redeeming features. These are weaknesses of character incompatible with heroic stature. But many of the great heroes of literature are otherwise noble men or women who have, for love's sake, deserted their duty or transgressed the rules of God and man, acknowledging their claims and yet choosing to risk the condemnation of society even to the point of banishment, or to put their immortal souls in peril. The fact seems to be that only love retains some honor when it defies morality; not that moralists excuse the illicit act, but that in the opinion of mankind, as evidenced by its poetry at least, love has some privileged status. Its waywardness and even its madness are extenuated. The poets suggest the reason for this. Unlike the other passions which man shares with the animals, characteristically human love is a thing of the spirit as well as the body. A man is piggish when he is a glutton, a jackal when he is craven, but when his emotional excess in the sphere of love lifts him to acts of devotion and sacrifice, he is incomparably human. That is why the great lovers, as the poets depict them, seem admirable in spite of their transgressions. They almost seem to be justified poetically, at least, if not morally -- in acting as if love exempted them from ordinary laws; as if their love could be a law unto itself. 'Who shall give a lover any law?' Arcite asks in Chaucer's Knight's Tale. 'Love is a greater law,' he says, 'than man has ever given to earthly man.'"
Sara Teasdale: "No one worth possessing can be quite possessed."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh: "Him that I love, I wish to be free - even from me."
Chaucer: "For there is one thing I can safely say: that those bound by love must obey each other if they are to keep company long. Love will not be constrained by mastery; when mastery comes, the God of love at once beats his wings, and farewell - he is gone. Love is a thing as free as any spirit; women naturally desire liberty, and not to be constrained like slaves; and so do men, if I shall tell the truth. See who is the most patient in love; he has the greatest advantage. Patience is surely a great virtue, for it vanquished, as these scholars say, things that rigor would never manage. One cannot scold or complain at every word. Learn to endure patiently, or else, as I live and breathe, you shall learn it whether you want or not. For certainly there is no one in the world who doesn’t do or say something amiss. Anger, sickness, or planetary influences, wine, sorrow, or changing of disposition often causes one to do or speak amiss. One cannot be avenged for every wrong; according to the occasion, everyone who knows how, must use temperance. And therefore a wise man, in order to live in comfort, promises his lady forbearance, and she wisely gives her promise to him."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "Whoso loves, believes the impossible."
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray: "Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible."
Silver Birch: "There is a great power in the universe... it is so real that it transcends all other forces ... that love is deathless because it is part of the Great Spirit, the creative spirit of all life, part of the power which has fashioned life; it is indeed the very breath and the very essence of life. And wherever love exists, sooner or later those who are united by its willing bonds will find one another again [implying, the two had been temporarily "lost"] despite all the handicaps and obstacles and impediments that may be in the way... there is the love, the undeniable love, between man and woman who are complementary to one another; that is, they are two in form, but one in purpose - they harmonise, they are, indeed, as your poet has expressed it, 'two hearts that beat as one.' Now, where that love has found itself, there is never any separation. Those whom the natural law has joined by love can never be sundered in your world or in mine. Where there is that love - and here I am afraid I am going to be controversial - it is always reciprocated... the real love, that only comes once to each man or woman, whether on earth or in the world of spirit, is always reciprocal... the two halves instinctively, because they are two halves, must recognise one another. That does not happen in your world always because your vision, regarding things of the spirit, is often blind ... Physical things could stop it [temporarily] ... but real love is so magnetic, is so overwhelming in its attraction , that it must find itself and claim itself, when once you have got rid of the imperfections of the earth which were the deterrents to recognition."
Arthur Findlay, The Way of Life: From the other side: "No one is left alone on coming over here; not one passes the border-line without some ministering one receiving them... There is not a weary soul on our side of life. If there are weary ones when they first come over, there are always those who help them... The one you love best will draw you like a magnet when you come over here."
Sir Oliver Lodge, Raymond: Lodge, one of the most famous British scientists of the early 20th century, lost his son Raymond during WWI. Lodge devoted much of his remaining years to the study of the afterlife. The following quote is from his son in the spirit world: "You can prepare yourself for the higher spheres while you are living in lower ones. He's on the third, but he's told that even now he could go on to the fourth if he chose; but he says he would rather be learning the laws appertaining to each sphere while he's still living on the third, because it brings him closer -- at least until you two have come over. He will stay and learn, where he is. He wouldn't like to go on there and then find it to be difficult to get back. He will wait till we can go happily and comfortably together." Editor's note: Raymond, here, in principle, speaks to the dream of so many lovers, that of not only meeting on the other side but of waiting for one's Beloved there -- even to the extent of delaying whatever advancement there might be in the Celestial Realm until joined by one's True Love. Often lovers speak in terms of willingness to "trade the sun, moon, and stars" for their object of desire; and here Raymond (though, in context, speaking to his parents) confirms the reality of this pledge: apparently, true love does willingly trade the universe and all its mysteries until such time that lovers are able to experience these wonderful things - together, or not at all.
Father Robert Benson: "It is sometimes the case that people dwell in certain realms ... when, by virtue of spiritual progression, they are entitled to live in a higher one... Some may elect to abide [on a lower level of the spirit-world ] for purely private reasons, reasons of affection between two individuals. It may transpire that two people, between whom there is a strong bond , might belong to different planes of progression, and therefore inhabit different realms ... it is not uncommon for the one entitled to live in the higher realm to remain with the one who has not yet advanced, until such time as the latter has progressed, and then, together, the two mount to their new realm, and so continue unseparated."
Mark Twain, Adam's Diary: "After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her."
Anne of Green Gables: “There is a book of Revelation in everyone's life, as there is in the Bible... She loved Gilbert - had always loved him! She knew that now. She knew that she could no more cast him out of her life without agony than she could have cut off her right hand... the knowledge had come too late … Oh, the black years of emptiness stretching before her!... he would never know that she loved him… She belonged to him and he to her … Oh, what a fool she had been not to realize [how a] bond ... held her to Gilbert … And now she must pay for her folly as for a crime… [but later] There was so much to talk over and recall - things said and done and heard and thought and felt and misunderstood... 'But, I'll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne'... [she professes her love] 'I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU.'"
David Copperfield: “Her tears fell fast; but they were not like those she had lately shed, and I saw my hope brighten in them… ‘Agnes! Ever my guide, and best support… when we grew up here together, I think my heedless fancy never would have wandered from you. But you were so much better than I, so necessary to me in every boyish hope and disappointment, that to have you to confide in, and rely upon in everything, became a second nature, supplanting for the time the first and greater one of loving you as I do’… I tried to show her how I had hoped I had come into the better knowledge of myself and of her … If she did so love me (I said) that she could take me for her husband, she could do so, on no deserving of mine, except upon the truth of my love for her, and the trouble in which it had ripened to be what it was; and hence it was that I revealed it. ‘And, oh, Agnes, even out of thy true eyes, in that same time, the spirit of my child-wife looked upon me, saying it was well; and winning me, through thee, to tenderest recollections of the Blossom that had withered in its bloom!’ ‘I am so blest, Trotwood, my heart is so overcharged, but there is one thing I must say’ - ‘I am afraid to speculate on what it is. Tell me, my dear’ - 'I have loved you all my life!'"
Emily and George, Our Town: “George: Listen, Emily, I'm going to tell you why I'm not going to Agriculture School. I think that once you've found a person that you're very fond of... I mean a person who's fond of you, too, and likes you enough to be interested in your character . . . Well, I think that's just as important as college is, and even more so. That's what I think. Emily: I think it's awfully important, too. George: Emily. Emily: Y-yes, George. George: Emily, if I do improve and make a big change . . . would you be . . . I mean: could you be . . . Emily: I . . . I am now; I always have been. George: Pause. So I guess this is an important talk we've been having. Emily: Yes . . . Yes.”
the silence of a falling star lights up the purple sky, as I wonder where you are
"Hear that lonesome whippoorwill, He sounds too blue to fly, The midnight train is whining low, I'm so lonesome I could cry, I've never seen a night so long, When time goes crawling by The moon just went behind the clouds To hide its face and cry, Did you ever see a robin weep, When leaves begin to die?, Like me, he's lost the will to live, I'm so lonesome I could cry, The silence of a falling star, Lights up a purple sky, And as I wonder where you are, I'm so lonesome I could cry." Hank Williams
Orleans, Still The One: " I looked at your face every day, But I never saw it 'til I went away..."
Tennyson: "All precious things discovered late To those that seek them issue forth, For Love in sequel works with Fate, And draws the veil from hidden worth ."
Jim Croce, New York's Not My Home: "... it's been so long since I have felt fine ... I'm so alone..."
Jim Croce, Tomorrow's Gonna Be A Brighter Day: "... no more cryin' in your lonely room, and no more empty nights..."
George McFly to Lorraine Baines, Back to the Future: George reads from a prepared script his 4-word message to a nodding-in-agreement, serious-faced Lorraine who finds deep meaning in: " I am your density, Lorraine."
Rod Stewart, You're in My Heart: "... her ad lib lines were well rehearsed, but my heart cried out for you."
Bertrand Russell: "To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead."
William Butler Yeats: "But O that I were young again And held her in my arms! "
Benjamin Franklin, in a letter, advising a young man regarding marriage and sex: "My Dear Friend: I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural inclination you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you will find solid Happiness. Your Reason against entering into it at present appears to be not well founded. The Circumstantial Advantages you have in View by Postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the Man and Woman united that makes the complete Being. Separate she wants his force of Body and Strength of Reason; he her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are most likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of a Pair of Scissors."
Lord Byron, to the (married) Countess Guiccioli: "But all this is too late. I love you, and you love me -- at least, you say so, and act as if you did so, which last is a great consolation in all events. But I more than love you, and cannot cease to love you. Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and ocean divide us -- but they never will, unless you wish it. Byron"
John Donne, 1699: "... Unlace your self, for that harmonious chime, Tells me from you, that now it is bed time... License my roving hands, and let them go, Behind, before, above, between, below... Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee, As souls unbodied, bodies uncloth'd must be, To taste whole joyes ..."
Victor Hugo: "Life is the flower for which love is the honey."
D.H. Lawrence: "Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration."
Walt Whitman: "This is the female form divine ... I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor, all falls aside but myself and it."
William Butler Yeats: "Women, I tell you this in all honesty: Never trust any young man who has never written a love poem -- no matter how bad it might have been. Trust me in this!"
Max Lucado: "There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes - seize it, don't miss it."
Poet Robert Burns, in a letter, March 3, 1788, referring to the male private part: “… the Tree of Life between man and woman"
Jim Croce, Recently: "...used to be I could pretend that I wasn’t really hurt back then... and I’m findin’ that I’m not as strong as I thought that I used to be, ‘cause recently I’ve been lettin' your mem’ry get to me."
Edna St. Vincent Millay Sonnet XXX: “Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain... Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; Yet many a man is making friends with death Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.”
like frost on my window pane where I wrote, 'I am you'
"I can still see you standing, there on the third-floor landing. The day you visited we hardly said a word. Outside it was raining, you said you couldn't be staying, and you went back to your flowers and birds..." Art Garfunkel
Aleksander Pushkin, 1828: “I loved you; and I probably still do, And for awhile the feeling may remain -- But let my love no longer trouble you: I do not wish to cause you any pain...”
Three Dog Night, One: "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do, two can be as bad as one... no is the saddest experience..."
Zelda Fitzgerald: "I don't want to live. I want to love first, and live incidentally."
Christopher S. Drew: "I have felt it and lived it and, now, it leaves me here; love is the ultimate pain and joy -- without it you die, with it you perish."
William Butler Yeats: "I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
Rita Rudner: "I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning: "I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out."
Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes: "I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. If we're in each other's dreams, we can play together all night."
W. Somerset Maugham: "If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him, I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was I."
Lisa Moriyama: "If a relationship is to evolve, it must go through a series of endings."
Paul Tourneir: "It is a lovely thing to have a husband and wife developing together and having the feeling of falling in love again. That is what marriage really means: helping one another to reach the full status of being persons, responsible and autonomous beings who do not run away from life."
Patsy Cline, Crazy Arms: "Blue's not the word for the way that I feel, And the storm brewing in this heart of mine.This is no pleasure dream, I know that it's real. You're someone else's love now, you're not mine... And that's why I'm lonely all the time..."
Kahlil Gibran: "It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations."
Lao-Tzu: "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage."
Kahlil Gibran: "Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation."
Jim Croce, These Dreams: "... maybe we were just too young to know, but now and then I feel the same, and sometimes at night I think I hear you callin' my name ... these dreams, they keep me goin' these days."
Robert Browning: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be."
Italian Proverb: "He who is not impatient is not in love."
Nathaniel Hawthorne: "Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality."
I like myself when I am you with you
Kamala: I found myself thinking about all your curious questions about who I am.
Picard: I do not want to use you as other men do.
Kamala: I can hear my inner voice say, "I like myself... when I am with you."
Petula Clark, You're The One: "You're the one that I long to kiss,
Baby, you're the one that I really miss."
Marcel Proust: "Like everybody who is not in love, he thought one chose the person to be loved after endless deliberations and on the basis of particular qualities or advantages."
Barbara De Angelis: "Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible -- it cannot be seen or measured -- yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more than any material possession ever could."
Ken Keyes: "Love means tearing down ... the boundaries between your heart ... and another person."
William S. Gilbert: "Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest: Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers: Love, nightmare-like, lies heavy on my chest, And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers!"
Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Never self-possessed, or prudent, love is all abandonment."
Rainer Maria Rilke: “That’s love: Two lonely persons keep each other safe and touch each other and talk to each other.”
George Moore: "The hours I spent with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it ... you, and you alone, make me feel that I am alive. Other men, it is said, have seen angels, but I have seen thee, and thou art enough."
Robert Newton Anthony: "The one who loves the least, controls the relationship."
Song of Solomon: "His mouth is most sweet... This is my beloved, and this is my friend."
Charles A. Lindbergh: "This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected -- in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life."
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables: "To love another person is to see the face of God ."
Erich Fromm "When we are parted, we each feel the lack of the other half of ourselves. We are incomplete, like a book in two volumes of which the first has been lost... incompleteness in absence."
E. E. Cummings: "Unless you love someone, nothing else makes any sense."
Sigmund Freud: "We are never so defensless against suffering as when we love."
W. Somerset Maugham: "We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "We are shaped and fashioned by what we love."
Elizabeth Bowen: "When you love someone all your saved-up wishes start coming out."
Captain Corelli's Mandolin: "Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision.You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is."
Sarah Bernhardt: "Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me."
Robert Burns: "But to see her was to love her, love but her, and love her forever."
Lord Byron: "Like music on the waters is thy sweet voice to me."
Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The only true gift is a portion of yourself."
Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Thou art to me a delicious torment."
F. Scott Fitzgerald: "I love her, and that's the beginning of everything."
Robert Heinlein: "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."
John Keats: "Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one."
Gretchen Kemp: "...there's this place in me where ... your kisses still linger, and your whispers softly echo. It's the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me."
Amy Lowell: "When you came, you were like red wine and honey, and the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness ."
Vita Sackville-West: "I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal."
William Shakespeare: "My heart is ever at your service."
Alexander Smith: "Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition ."
Jeremy Taylor: "Love is friendship set on fire."
Josiah G. Holland: "The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman's heart."
Sir Hugh Walpole: "The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one's relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life."
Benjamin Disraeli: "We are all born for love... it is the principle existence and it's only end."
Mark Twain: "To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with."
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet: " ...with him, All deaths I could endure. Without him, live no life."
part of you wants me to
Kamala: You are so controlled, so disciplined. What's beneath that exterior?
Picard: Why do you do this, Kamala?
Kamala: There can be only one reason, Captain - part of you wants me to.
Bruce Lee: "Love is like a friendship caught on fire: In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable."
Sophocles: "One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life... Love."
Winter Wonderland, Christmas carol: "... to face unafraid, the plans that we made."
Mrs. Wyatt Earp: Josephine Sarah Marcus. Recalling the OK Corral gunfight, Josie wrote: "I jumped up as I heard the firing start. Without stopping for a bonnet I rushed outside. A man in a wagon yelled, 'Hop in, lady - I'll run you up to the excitement!' I didn’t know at the time who was wounded and was too frightened to get closer. I almost swooned when I saw Wyatt's tall figure very much alive. He spotted me, and came across the street. Like a feather-brained girl, my only thought was, 'My God, I haven't got a bonnet on. What will they think?' But you can imagine my real relief at seeing my love alive. I was simply a little hysterical. Can you blame me?"
Will & Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History: "A youth boiling with hormones will wonder why he should not give full freedom to his sexual desires; and if he is unchecked ... he may ruin his life before he matures sufficiently to understand that sex is a river of fire that must be banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group."
Wedding vows, Anglican Church: "With this ring I thee wed; with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
Kevin Williams, NDE researcher: "I believe falling in love and falling in death means surrendering to the One-ness of the light which can be terrifying if we have never experienced it before or don't understand it. Being born into relative darkness can foster an illusion of separation. Falling in love or falling in death means discovering One-ness."
Testimony of a 80+ year-old widow: She discovered, only recently, now in her advanced years, a decade after the death of her husband, after raising a family, that she had "never loved her husband"; that she had married him, before WWII, for the support that a young girl needed in life, but she knew nothing of heart-connection with him.
Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep), The Bridges of Madison County: "There has not been a day since that I have not thought of him. When he said we were no longer two people, he was right. We were bound together as tightly as two people can be... [as Robert said] This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime ... I realized love won't obey our expectations. Its mystery is pure and absolute . What Robert and I had could not continue if we were together. What Richard and I shared would vanish if we were apart. But how I wanted to share this. How would our lives have changed if I had? Could anyone else have seen the beauty of it?"
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "The imagery of love appears even in the language of science. The description of magnetic attraction and repulsion borrows some of its fundamental terms from the vocabulary of the passions; Gilbert [pioneer researcher of magnetism], for example, refers to 'the love of the iron for the loadstone.'"
Elizabeth Taylor: Interviewed by Larry King, the actress related how she had died on the operating table and had passed through a tunnel towards a brilliant white light. Taylor said that while she was clinically dead, she had encountered the spirit of Michael Todd (her third husband who was killed in a 1958 plane crash), whom she referred to as her great love. She had wanted to stay with Todd, she said, but he told her that she had work ahead of her, and he "pushed me back to my life ... For a long time I didn’t talk about it, and it’s still hard for me to talk about... I am not afraid of death, because I have been there."
Father Robert Benson: "In the spirit world all previous generations of a family are co-existing. So that it might reasonably be asked: who will live with them? ... Family ties, as such, have little significance in the spirit world. Here, the one deciding factor in this matter of human relationships and family ties is the bond of affection and mutual interest that prevails between any two or more people. The rule applies in all circumstances [i.e., in all relationships -- because in the spirit world, only true affection keeps people closely together, not past earth-life connections of any kind]."
Jim Croce, Alabama Rain: "...we were only kids -- but then, I never heard it said that kids can't fall in love and feel the same..."
Stand by Me, the movie, the final words: "I never had another friend like the one that I had when I was 12 -- does anyone?"
Mother Teresa: "The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread."
Alexandra Penney, Self: "The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands."
they are drawn to the beauty of the body that perishes
Willis Barnstone, non-canonical literature scholar, reports that ancient Gnostic writings attributed to the apostle Thomas, "perhaps the prince of the rejected [documents]," an exclusion based upon "fierce political and religious rivalry among sects," is often called "the Fifth Gospel." Barnstone's research indicates that "Thomas precedes by at least two decades the canonical gospels [Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John], and, as such, is our earliest extant record of the words of Jesus, son of Joseph." Thomas makes a punching-bag of the Small Ego - refers to its neediness as the "fire" - hitting it, again and again, as a source of personal blindness, spiritual waywardness, a trap for the John-and-Mary couple who base relationship upon the transitory. Consider these excerpts from Thomas:
Thomas said... What instruction shall we give to these miserable mortals?... Jesus said, Do not think of them as human beings, but consider them as animals [driven by blind passions and mere survival needs]... the Kingdom is taken from them since they love the delights of fire, they are slaves of death... these people, being foolish and mad, are happy in the anxieties of this life... they are drawn to the beauty of the body as if it would not perish, their minds turn to themselves, their thoughts are on their own pursuits, but the fire will consume them... Thomas answered, these sayings are ridiculous to the world. Jesus said, Woe to you who hope in the flesh, in the prison that will perish. How long will you sleep? [a spiritually unconscious state]... You are destroying your souls. Woe to you with the fire raging within you because wheels are turning in your head [the calculating Small Ego], Woe to you because your minds are deranged because of the smoldering fire within you... Woe to you who love intercourse and filthy association with womankind. The fire that leads them will give an illusion of truth, and will shine on them with transitory beauty. It will make them prisoners of the delights of darkness, and capture them in sweet-smelling pleasures. It will make them blind... This fire has bound these people with its chains, tied all their limbs with the bitter bond of desire for visible things which change and decay and fluctuate. O bitter fire, burning within bodies, making minds drunk and souls deranged."
Natalie Clifford Barney: "When you're in love you never really know whether your elation comes from the qualities of the one you love, or if it attributes them to her; whether the light which surrounds her like a halo comes from you, from her, or from the meeting of your sparks ."
Douglas Yates: "People who are sensible about love are incapable of it."
Honoré de Balzac: "Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane."
Percy Bysshe Shelley: "Love withers under constraints: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve."
Charles Hanson Towne: "I need the starshine of your heavenly eyes, After the day's great sun."
William Carlos Williams: "What love is I don't know if it's not the response of our deepest natures to one another."
George Jean Nathan: "A man reserves his true and deepest love not for the species of woman in whose company he finds himself electrified and enkindled, but for that one in whose company he may feel tenderly drowsy."
V.F. Calverton: "Men love because they are afraid of themselves, afraid of the loneliness that lives in them, and need someone in whom they can lose themselves as smoke loses itself in the sky."
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray: "When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving oneself, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance."
Hans Nouwens: "In true love the smallest distance is too great, and the greatest distance can be bridged ."
I Need You
"You don't realize how much I need you, love you all the time and never leave you... Said you had a thing or two to tell me, How was I to know you would upset me? I didn't realize, as I looked in your eyes, I need you, I need you, that's when it hurt me... Please remember how I feel about you, I could never really live without you..."
Ingrid Bergman: "A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous."
Edmond Rostand: "A kiss, when all is said, what is it? ... a secret told to the mouth instead of to the ear."
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound: "Soul meets soul on lovers' lips."
Rudolph Valentino: "Women are not in love with me but with the picture of me on the screen. I am merely the canvas on which women paint their dreams."
John Donne : “Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls. For, thus friends absent speak.”
David McCullough, historian: "A friend once said to me, she said, 'Real love isn't just gazing into each other's eyes. It's looking out together in the same direction.' And if ever there was a man and woman who were truly in love and truly looking out in the same direction, it was John and Abigail Adams."
Charlotte Dresser, Life Here And Hereafter (1927): transcribed by Dresser, words sent from the other side: "We see many who come here who had thought they had made an alliance which would last forever, who had no real conception of such happiness. It is felt only once by anyone , and can never be mistaken when it really comes. I have watched the growth of several such attractions here, and I realize that the earth-life seldom encounters the real thing. Many married people continue here together for a long time, and yet gradually drift apart as they learn the true laws governing such matings. It is always happiness, however. Such separations here are never accompanied by sorrow."
Star Trek NG, episode #121, “The Perfect Mate” (1992):
Kamala: Do you find me unattractive?
Picard: I find you unavailable...
Kamala: (to another question) Please say yes.
Picard: (affectedly) Yes (offering a wan smile)
Kamala: (eyes flirting, smiling engagingly, playing) You say the nicest things.
Picard: (he stifles a laugh)
Kamala: I am independent, forceful, brilliant, adventurous - just as you would have me be...
Kamala: Having bonded with you, I've learned the meaning of duty (as she marries another though sharing a perfect bond with Picard)
Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now: "Moons and Junes and ferris wheels, the dizzy dancing way you feel , as ev'ry fairy tale comes real ... to say I love you right out loud."
Jim Croce, Dreamin' Again: "I'm not the same... is it hard to understand... don't you know, I had a dream last night, ev'rything was still; you were by my side so soft and warm; and I dreamed that we were lovers ... but when I woke up, oh, I found, that again, I had been dreamin' ... dreamin' again..."
Leo Tolstoy, War And Peace: Anna Mikhaylovna commenting on Nicholas and Sonya: "Cousinhood is a dangerous neighborhood."
Sting, Fields of Gold: "You'll remember me when the west wind moves upon the fields of barley... In his arms she fell as her hair came down among the fields of gold... Will you stay with me, will you be my love ... Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth among the fields of gold... I swear in the days still left we'll walk in fields of gold... Many years have passed since those summer days..."
Bobby Vinton, There! I've said It Again: "... Forgive me for wanting you so, but one thing I want you to know, I've loved you since heaven knows when -- there, I've said it again!"
Jim Croce, Time In A Bottle: "I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with..."
N. Riley Heagerty, The French Revelation: "The Spheres! No tongue can describe them. There are thousands... millions... countless in number... all rounded into complete worlds, and all the habitations of those who cherish the special idea which rules the sphere... There are spheres of every mental light, thought, and knowledge; spheres of special grades of intellect and wisdom. In all and each [person] is a special need of happiness... There are spheres of love, where tender natures cling to one another until they are drawn by higher, broader aspirations to broader planes of thought..."
Blake Shelton, Home: "I may be surrounded by a million people, I still feel all alone... I've got to go home... I miss you... it'll all be alright... I want to go home."
Rainer Maria Rilke: “You who never arrived in my arms, Beloved, who were lost from the start… You, Beloved, who are all the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing.”
Petula Clark, Happy Heart: "It's the sound that lovers finally will discover, When there is no other."
Francesca Johnson, Robert Kincaid, The Bridges of Madison County: "There has not been a day since that I have not thought of him... This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime... I gave my life to my family - I want to give Robert what's left of me."
The Guess Who, Laughing: "...your love has passed me by, You took me by surprise... Time goes slowly, but carries on, And now the best years have come and gone. You took me by surprise, I didn't realize... I go alone now, calling your name..."
Elvis Presley, She's Not You: "Her hair is soft and her eyes are oh so blue, She's all the things a girl should be, but she's not you. She knows just how to make me laugh when I feel blue, She's ev'rything a man could want, but she's not you. And when we're dancing, It almost feels the same, I've got to stop myself from whisp'ring your name..."
The Grassroots, Midnight Confessions: "In my midnight confessions, When I tell all the world that I love you... staggering through the daytime, your image on my mind."
- Paul Revere & The Raiders
"I'm hungry for those good things, Baby, hungry through and through, hungry for that sweet life, Baby, with a real fine girl like you, I can almost taste it..."
Editor's note: We do not doubt John's sincere hunger when he asserts he "can almost taste it." But appetite alone is not a trustworthy guide for choosing a mate; appetites come and go, and, on this basis, so will mates. Elizabeth had it right - the true love will be known "not for a reason." This doesn't mean "the one" won't be talented when she arrives. Elizabeth was as talented as they come, but she didn't want to be chosen for having satisfied some production requirement or because she looked good on a dessert menu.
"I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine; his entire heart's desire is focused upon me." Song Of Solomon
Editor's note: Is there anything sweeter in all of romantic poetry than to declare oneself the cherished and treasured possession of another? -- and for you to receive him as the same? Well, this is a little different than choosing Mary merely because you want that "good life," with Mary almost incidental to the process. Would you choose her even if she could not bring you that "good life"? Unless we can say, "no, it's you, it's only you," we're in trouble, and good luck to us with the "hunger games." Soon Mary will be chiding John with, "I've been cooking all morning, but you haven't touched a single bite."
- The Rascals,
- What Is The Reason
What is the reason for falling in love, what is the reason for falling in love, is it a place to go when you are feeling low, is it the thing to do, when you are feeling blue... no, it's you, it's only you... tell me, what is the reason for falling in love, is it because they say things should be that way, is it the magic key that opens ecstasy... no, it's you, it's only you ...
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning: Recounting an Auschwitz experience: "We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road running through the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles... But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look... for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth - that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way - an honorable way - in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment... I resumed talk with my loved one: I asked her questions, and she answered; she questioned me in return, and I answered."
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to separate the physical and the spiritual in such an intimate human relation [as sexual love]. Something of this inseparability is suggested by the word used in the Bible for the sexual relation. The word is knowing. Perhaps this indicates that in this, as in all true love relations, persons come to know one another in their fullness and uniqueness. And in so doing they may also come to know themselves. Many persons first realize their own essence and worth in loving and being loved by another person. Cynics and pundits call such personal knowledge in erotic love 'idealization' or 'over-valuation' of the love object. But perhaps what they call 'idealization' is simply realization of what exists potentially in the beloved person and is first actualized in love."
Dr. Mortimer Adler: "This [idealization of one's lover] may be true also on the external level of physical beauty. That the homely face of a person we love appears beautiful to us is a common human experience. An instance of this is provided in the ... novel, A New Life, by Bernard Malamud, in which the hero falls in love with a woman who is almost completely devoid of the pectoral development which is currently regarded as essential to feminine charm. Yet he comes to find her flat-chestedness beautiful and right, for it is an attribute of the woman he loves."
John Welwood, Journey of the Heart: “In realizing that I can never completely overcome my aloneness by melting into the one I love, I am left with a basic ache… [This kind of sadness] occurs because your heart is completely exposed… The word sad is related etymologically to satisfied or sated, meaning full. Love’s sadness is the fullness of feeling that arises out of our longing to open and connect. Thus at the core of devotion to another is sweet, sad fullness of heart, which longs to overflow.”
John Welwood, Journey of the Heart: “In its final outreach, [romantic] love leads two lovers beyond themselves toward a greater connectedness with the whole of life… what Teilhard de Chardin calls ‘a love of the universe.’ Only in this way can love, as he put it, ‘develop in boundless light and power.’ So the path of love expands in ever-widening circles. It begins at home – by first … making friends with ourselves … As we come to appreciate this basic wholeness within us, we find that we have more to give with an intimate partner. Further, [lovers] will want to share their love with others. [Their coming together creates spiritual growth, an opening of their heart, greater honesty and vision.] These qualities are a couple’s ‘spiritual child’ – what their coming together gives to the world… From there, a couple’s love can expand still further… the more deeply and passionately two people love each other, the more concern they will feel for the state of the world in which they live. They will feel their connection with the earth and a dedication to care for this world and all sentient beings who need their care… This is the great love and the great way, which leads to the heart of the universe.”
John Welwood, Journey of the Heart: “Whenever our heart opens to another person, we experience a moment of unconditional love… its nature is quite simple and ordinary: opening and responding to another person’s being without reservation. We often glimpse this quality of love most vividly … when we are least under the influence of conditioned, habitual patterns of perception. At such times, something vast inside us connects with something vast in another. The other person’s sheer existence awakens us to the ordinary magic of life… When we are loved in this way, we feel acknowledged, seen, nourished, held… [we] rejoice in another person’s very existence… It is saying yes to another’s being.”
Linda Ronstadt, Long Long Time: "Love will abide, take things in stride, Sounds like good advice but there's no one at my side, And time washes clean love's wounds unseen, That's what someone told me but I don't know what it means... I can't say you hurt me when you never let me near, And I never drew one response from you, All the while you fell all over girls you never knew ... And life's full of flaws, Who knows the cause? Living in the memory of a love that never was... Cause I've done everything I know to try and make you mine, And I think I'm gonna love you for a long long time..."
Diana Ross, The Happening: "Hey life, look at me, I can see the reality, 'cause when you shook me, took me out of my world, I woke up, suddenly I just woke up to the happening. When you find that you left the future behind, 'cause when you got a tender love you don't take care of, then you better beware of the happening... I saw my dreams fall apart, when love walked away from my heart... Is it real, is it fake, is this game of life a mistake, 'cause when I lost the love I thought was mine for certain, suddenly I started hurting. I saw the light too late... I woke up, suddenly I just woke up...
Anne Murray, What Would It Take?: "If words won't do it, And words are just a waste of time, We could get right to it, If I could only read your mind. You're just a mystery to me, Deeper than the deep blue sea, There must be something that will melt your heart, Baby, tell me just where to start. What would it take to get you closer, What would it take just to stir your soul, What can I do to make you love me, Just the thought of you, Keeps me lying awake, Tell me what would it take... I wanna be the one to change your mind, I think about it all the time. Still waters they run deep, I wanna wake you from your deepest sleep..."
Jane Austen, Persuasion: Anne Elliot to Captain Harville: ... she answered the question, smiling also, "Yes. We certainly do not forget you, so soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit..." Harville: "I believe in a true analogy between our bodily frames and our mental; and that as our bodies are the strongest, so are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough usage, and riding out the heaviest weather." "Your feelings may be the strongest," replied Anne, "but the same spirit of analogy will authorise me to assert that ours are the most tender. Man is more robust than woman, but he is not longer lived; which exactly explains my view of the nature of their attachments..." Harville: "But let me observe that all histories are against you, all stories, prose and verse. If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men." "Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books." Anne: "I believe you capable of every thing great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as - if I may be allowed the expression, so long as you have an object. I mean, while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one, you need not covet it) is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone."
Jane Austen, Pride And Prejudice, the movie: Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet: "You have bewitched me, body and soul."
Jane Austen, Persuasion: Captain Wentworth, a note to Anne Elliot: "I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan.--Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes?--I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others.--Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F.W."
Kahlil Gibran, The Beloved: "...who can answer me? ... who can explain my heart to my own heart ... will you not tell me what is this fire kindled in my breast? It consumes my faculties and melts my emotions and desires. What are these invisible hands, soft yet coarse, that grip my spirit in my hours of solitude and loneliness? ... What is this we call 'love'? Tell me what is this hidden mystery concealed beyond the ages, lurking behind appearances, yet making its home in the heart of being? ... Who among you would not cross the seas, traverse deserts, go over mountains and valleys, to reach the woman whom his spirit has chosen? What youth would not follow his heart to the ends of the earth to breathe the sweetness of his lover's breath, feel the soft touch of her hands, delight in the melody of her voice? What man would not immolate his soul that its smoke might rise to a god who would hear his plea and answer his prayer? ... In the depths of my soul there are songs unwilling to take the garb of words, songs living as seed in my heart. They will not flow with ink onto paper. Like a translucent veil, they are wrapped about emotions than can never flow sweetly on my tongue... My tears disclose [these wordless songs] ... I will tell you of an unhappy woman. She awoke from the thoughtlessness of youth to find herself in the house of a man ... who was unable to touch her heart with the spark of vivifying love, who could not intoxicate her spirit with that celestial wine that God pours from the eyes of a man into the heart of [one particular] woman."
John-and-Mary romance as instinctual response
Fiona Johnson, "The Girl In The Red Dress," The Matrix (1999)
Nikolaas "Niko" Tinbergen (1907 - 1988) was a Dutch biologist and is regarded as one of the founders of ethology, the study of animal behavior. His findings, much of which is reported in his seminal writing, “The Study of Instinct” (1951), would earn for him a Nobel Prize (1973).
Among the many animal-behavior discoveries, Tinbergen, along with fellow researcher, Konrad Lorenz, learned that the color red often plays an important part in the mating process.
A particular focus of Tinbergen’s study centered upon what he called the “supernormal stimulus.” This precept would manifest in the construction of an artificial object imbued with a stronger stimulus for an instinct than one supplied by nature. This will become clear when we consider the following interesting examples:
stickleback sees red
The red-underbellied male stickleback, in its territorial protestations, will normally attack other sticklebacks when it sees their red. However, Tinbergen made cardboard versions of the fish, but without great attention to detail, except for the red underside which was painted with more red than found in the real fish. The territorial males mounted a more vigorous attack upon the cardboard fish with the “supernormal stimulus” -- or even against a lump of wax with a red stripe! -- than against the real stickleback intruders.
Editor's note: Tinbergen gained an initial clue as to the secret motivations of the stickleback when a randomly-passing red postal truck caught the attention of the fish in the aquarium, producing an attack-posture!
A male English robin, in autonomic, stereotypical behavior, will ward off fellow males who venture into his territory. (As I commented to a friend, this is de rigueur on "Animal Planet.") Tinbergen put this stimulus-response to the test by constructing two models: one was simply a tuft of feathers with a bright red stripe (on the left), with the other, a well-crafted and detailed robin but with no red breast (right). The territorial males ferociously attacked the nameless red tuft but gave a pass to the smart-looking mannequin robin.
A similar example, Tinbergen made paper butterflies but with exaggerated, more-defined sexual markings. The male butterflies chose the “super-stimulus” paper dreams, moreover, tried to mate with them! while the real-deal butterfly ladies were left idling on the bleachers without a dance partner.
Tinbergen outlines many other examples of programmed animal behavior in “The Study of Instinct,” and you’ll want to check it out.
Mother Nature vs. Madame Destiny, Bio-Man vs. Spirit-Man
What are we to make of sticklebacks set-to-war by the passing of a red postal truck? possibly, Fiona was driving it. Or paper-butterfly dreams, with attempted enactment, while your none-too-happy true love files her nails?
In all of the above examples, Mother Nature scores big. She gets what she wants: the perpetuation of world species. However, as Kairissi and Elenchus discussed, Madame Destiny, for those creatures endowed with a “made in the image” soul, requires something more.
Bio-Man, also well known as “John,” is a thinking animal; but nothing more. He would love to mate with as many females as he could get away with. On the animal level, this is quite normal; all creatures on God’s good Earth are impelled to do this, and Mother Nature loves it.
Should you fight and compete, joust for the fine maiden’s handkerchief?
On “Animal Planet,” as we’ve seen, “faint heart never won fair lady,” and the way they do it down in the fur-and-feather world is to puff your chest out, make some screech bird-calls, do a rain dance, wave the coat-of-many-colors, and if you’re the last man standing, you might enjoy fulfillment of your paper-butterfly dreams.
But let’s say you’re beginning to leave behind the unsubtle ways of Bio-Man, beginning to see things more clearly, and you might even have an inkling who your eternal Twin is. Should you do battle for her?
In this vein, too, many years ago, a Word Gems reader wrote with a question, would I try to convince someone I love, with pleading arguments, to stay with me if she wants to leave? My general answer was, no, I wouldn’t fight for her, and I wouldn’t plead with her to stay. I might be devastated at the loss, I might be desperate for her to remain, but if she thinks she wants to be somewhere else, then it does no good to corral the body while the mind is far away.
There is a time to make one’s plain and clear profession of interest toward a potential mate. But to become defensive and territorial, to “attack the tuft of feathers with a red stripe,” is to demean the sacred process of authentic romance.
Here’s the deal. Let’s say she is your destined mate, but if she’s not ready to be with you, if her state of mind is presently clouded and dark with all manner of egoic concern, then you will have to wait for her day of enlightenment. Spirit Guides on the other side work with darkened minds “for a living” and they absolutely do no pleading and arguing. Instead, they allow the hapless of the Dark Realms to stew in their juices, to experience the full force of what they’ve errantly chosen, until suffering grows to such an intolerable peak as to prompt a change of heart.
Every true mate, with “eyes in his head,” must apply these principles as he waits for his only one to acquire a better point of view.
Also see Spirit-Guide Silver Birch’s discussion on how it’s not possible, that there's no such thing, as unrequited love in the kingdom of God. Time is on the side of the true mate, and all good things will yet come to him who waits in a spirit of knowledge-based faith.
And it doesn't matter how much an opponent might puff his chest out. See Spirit-Guide Margaret's description of a once chest-puffer, now deflated and languishing in "the rat cellar."
But Madame Destiny is not so impressed with the tactics of Mother Nature. Most so-called romance in this world is just instinctual, biological impetus on a romp. The unenlightened male, Bio-Man, reacts to the super-stimulus of “exaggerated and well-defined sexual markings” just as any beast of the field.
believe me, Mary Lou, I just had no choice, though I never did meet you before
- Hello, Mary Lou,
- Ricky Nelson
passed me by one sunny day, flashed those big brown eyes my way, and, ooooohhhh, I wanted you forevermore, though I never did meet you before, I saw your lips, I heard your voice, believe me I had no choice, that's all I had to see for me to say, hello, Mary Lou, good-bye heart...
it's just bio stimulus-response, nothing to do with real love
And if John and Mary enter into marriage on the basis of this sort of threadbare, impoverished, beggarly, shallow view of life and love, they should not expect more than that hoped for by any of God’s animals, which is, five seconds of pleasure and you’re done. Welcome to “the love that has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight.” But, it really wasn't love at all, was it.
Editor's note: The ancient Spirit Guide, Silver Birch, concurs. Somewhere in his channeled testimonies, he remarks that the marriages of this world are but evanescent expressions of "instinctual" behavior, which cannot survive transition to the next world.
However, a day will come when Bio-Man learns of his alter-ego; in fact, if he is willing to accept, he will perceive this other part of himself to be the majority interest -- Spirit-Man.
Madame Destiny waits for us to realize that we are more than boiling brain chemicals and fevered hunger, more than biological impulse. We can choose to override the rabid, frenetic desires of Bio-Man, in favor of waiting for one particular lover, with whom we shall yet share all of eternity.
Mother Nature's a clever girl, she relies on habit...
Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee, the hottest couple of the early 1960s. Bobby wrote and sang Multiplication with its very clever lyrics.
multiplication, that's the name of the game, and in each generation, they play it the same, when you see, a gentleman bee, 'round a lady-bee buzzin', just count to ten, then count again, there's sure to be an even dozen; now there were two butterflies, castin' their eyes, both in the same direction, well, you'd never guess, that one little yes, could start a butterfly collection; when a girl gets coy, in front of a boy, after three or four dances, you can just bet she'll play hard to get, to multiply her chances; now, your Mother Nature's a clever girl, she relies on habit, take two hares, with no cares, pretty soon you got a room full of rabbits; parakeets, in between tweets, sometimes get too quiet, uh oh, but have no fear, 'cause soon you'll hear, a parakeet-riot, just try it...
I very much like how Dr. Joseph Campbell expressed this sentiment. He was discussing the message of the Troubadours, that of, one particular woman loving one particular man:
MOYERS: So love is not love in general, it is love for that woman?
CAMPBELL: For that one woman. That’s right… Marriage is recognition of a spiritual identity. If we live a proper life, if our minds are on the right qualities in regarding the person of the opposite sex, we will find our proper male or female counterpart. But if we are distracted by certain sensuous [biological] interests, we'll marry the wrong person. By marrying the right person, we reconstruct the image of ... [Mother-Father] God, and that's what marriage is... I've been amazed at the number of my friends who in their forties or fifties go apart. They have had a perfectly decent life together with the child, but they interpreted their union [only] in terms of their relationship through the child [not] their own personal relationship to each other... Marriage is not a simple love affair, it's an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of ego to a relationship in which two have become one."
Editor’s note: There’s nothing wrong with biological impulse, nothing wrong with enjoying animal pleasures, and there's a lot of it in Summerland. But it won’t turn out well for him until sexual union pictures the grand archetype; until he finds that one, that only one, that particular “girl in a red dress,” upon whose heart and soul his name is indelibly inscribed; and hers, upon his -- inscribed in red, of course.
Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah: "I've seen your flag on the marble arch, But love is not a victory march, It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah, Well there was a time when you let me know What's really going on below But now you never show it to me, do you? ... You don't really care for music, do you?"
Erich Fromm: "Immature love says, I love you because I need you. Mature love says, I need you because I love you."
Jalal ad-Din Rumi: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Thomas Moore: "A rare and satisfying bond between people ... [the authentic love] relationships, I believe, are truly sacred, not in the superficial meaning of simply being high in value, but in that they call upon infinite and mysterious depths in ourselves."
Janice Markowitz: “If you have to think about whether you love someone or not then the answer is no. When you love someone you just know.”
Edgar Cayce: "We are attracted to another person at a soul level [because] we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves."
Kenny Loggins: “A soulmate is the one person whose love is powerful enough to motivate you to meet your [own] soul, to do the emotional work of self-discovery, of awakening.”
Carolyn Miller: "Our soulmates seldom appeal to our personality or our ego. That’s why they're called soul-mates rather than ego-mates."
Emily Brontë: “Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” ... I cannot live without you!
Editor's note: See ultimate reality 'as a bride adorned for her husband'