Loving is present continuous, evolving, as it is flowing!
A young reader reached out to share her friend’s predicament. The friend’s boyfriend of a few years had suddenly declared, overnight, that he had “fallen out of love” with her. The two were considering marriage. The young lady is, naturally, heart broken. She is figuring out a way to deal with her situation. And I am sure there are countless people out there who are struggling with such break-ups.
Interestingly, in the specific context of the young lady’s boyfriend, I actually commend him for his clarity. He at least knows that he has fallen out of love with her. This makes it amply clear to the lady – and to all of us – that the problem is not with the lady, it is not with her boyfriend, it is not even with love, it is with the lack of loving. When there is no loving, there is no relating. And when there is no relating, where is the question of a friendship, a relationship, a marriage?
I come from an Osho school of thought. Osho always warned against this tendency to fall in love. He said that only because people fall in love do they even fall out of it! Instead, he championed rising in love. Think about it deeply – what he says is simple, yet profound! Which is why, in my Book, Fall Like A Rose Petal, I titled a chapter Rise In Love to share how the companionship between Vaani and me has thrived over the years. Here’s an excerpt (my Book is a collection of letters written to my two children Aashirwad and Aanchal; Mom here refers to their mom, Vaani!):
“…I want you both to understand the essence of companionship in Life, drawing upon how inspired I am by your Mom. Sooner than you both believe, you too will be in love. You too will meet and want to be with someone whom you want to spend the rest of your Life with. But remember, being in a relationship alone does not mean being in love. Being drawn to someone for their physical attributes is not being in love either. Being happy in someone’s presence is also not being in love completely. You are in love completely when you can be someone’s best friend and can have that best friend’s friendship forever. A best friend is a soul-mate. Someone who can help you see who you are, accept you for what you are and in the future may become one who does not shy away from speaking the truth; holding a mirror and critiquing – not criticizing – your actions and someone who is willing to walk with you to where neither of you has been before. A soul-mate is always understanding, demanding, forgiving, compassionate, teaching and uplifting.
“It is not difficult or too complex to be a soul-mate. You can be one too. Being a soul-mate requires one to know, understand and appreciate the meaning of Life. Life in your teens and early adulthood will be full of exploration. Especially of your sexuality. This is where you will find joy in kissing, feeling and, perhaps, in today’s generation, having sex. Please know that there’s nothing wrong with any of that. When you get past the physical dimension of love, you begin to see the value of wanting to spend a lifetime with that person. It’s a great feeling, full of anticipation. Of your own home, of your own children, of your own Life together; living, happily ever after.
“Now, almost everyone who falls in love first and then marries gets into that relationship with the same sentiments and expectations. Then, have you wondered, why do people break up? Why do marriages fail? It is because, relationships, as I have learned from Osho, the Master, signify the death of the same something, that precious feeling that inspired you, in the first place, called love. You love someone when you relate to that person. People fall out of love because in a marriage, while there is a law, a label, society, family, caste and religion – there is no more relating!
“I think what has worked for Mom and me is that we continue to relate to each other. Age, place, or circumstance, don’t seem to affect or pollute our precious, pristine shared space, where our love for each other continues to thrive. It is not something unique to us. We have just made our friendship, our way of relating to each other special…”
A young film-maker Shalu who read my Book decided to make a film and called it Rise in Love to showcase how love thrives in the face of adversity. Between my Book, and the film, a common thread you will see that keeps me and Vaani going is our loving. It is present continuous. It is a verb. It is not static, it evolves as it flows.
So, that brings me to the boyfriend’s choice. Of course, what he has told the lady will hurt her. It is a sure cause for a heart-break, a depression. But it is actually an opportunity to celebrate too. Celebrate that this is not the person that, over time, she would have been able to relate to anyway; so let him go! Celebrate also that the gentleman had the courtesy and courage to take an informed, evolved, decision, instead of two-timing her. This attitude, to look beyond the obvious, beyond the physicality of the situation, is crucial to intelligent living. Now that the lady is in the throes of a break-up, if she chooses to rise above the apparent heart-break, she will discover that a companion who will compliment her, complete her, no matter what the circumstances may be, is waiting for her! She just has to rise in love to find him!
Clearly, beyond what families want, beyond what society dictates, beyond marriage, lie loving and companionship. When you have found that truly loving companion, who will continue to be loving no matter what, you will have risen in love too!
Go beyond the predictable and celebrate Life, love Life!
The other day, while addressing a bunch of students at a Medical College in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, I asked them: “How many of you are in love? How many of you have been in love?” Interestingly, no hands went up. It’s possible that they students were too shy to share openly or it’s also possible that they have not been in love yet. Whatever it was, I felt our social conditioning makes us look at love as something that is governed by age, gender and, sadly, also by economic criteria.
I feel if you are not in love you are not living. You may be existing. But you are not living, you are not alive. I am eternally in love. So, in the context of a romantic liaison, and companionship, I am in love with Vaani for over 29 years. But I am also in love with Life. I just find its inscrutability, its mystique, its challenges, its highs, its lows, it magic and its beauty irresistible. So, to me, love goes beyond the physical surely, it also goes beyond the love I feel for a soul-mate, or for my children, or a friend; love, as I have, is the ability to immerse yourself in the moment and celebrate it!
So I was delighted that the day after my Talk in Chittoor, at a friend’s Navarathri Golu party, another guest, the well-known singer Janani Madan, chose to sing Yeh Zindagi Usi Ki Hai from Anarkali (1953, Nandlal Jaswantlal, Lata Mangeshkar, C.Ramachandra, Rajendra Krishan). Janani brought her own to this classic. She was simply brilliant. When she sang, “…zindagi hai bewafaa, loot pyaar ka mazaa…”, I was reminded of my questions to the students and of my own perspective on love. Rajendra Krishan was one of Hindi cinema’s most talented lyricists and writers. That one line sums up the attitude that we must bring to Life every single day – “…zindagi hai bewafaa, loot pyaar ka mazaa…” meaning (loosely) “….Life is a traitor, it will let you down or end abruptly, so, steal the joy of love, make time to love, when you still have Life and are alive…”!
This is what I have come to believe in and live by. There is no better time than now to live fully. Immerse in the moment, love what is. Do only what you love and that will make you happy no matter what circumstances you are placed in. And of course, if you can love someone, be in love and rise in love, continuously, you can really, really celebrate Life!
Someone once told me that to be expressing love appeared to be phony and impractical. And I laughed off that observation. What is the point in being born human if you cannot live the Life you love, and love the Life you live, if you cannot love and be loved, if you cannot be loving whatever is? To me, this is what living means. If you are not living this way, loving, you are merely existing!