Ultimately, we’re all fools for love… LOL
Listen to learn and learn to listen.
We all like to pay lip service to this thing we call love. We like to say it — a lot. For example, we like to say, “I love you.” We want to be loved, or rather, to have other people use the word in reference to us (“he loves me”). I submit that what we don’t like is the action of love. I hate to burst your bubble people but love is never enough and love isn’t a feeling. Nope, love is a verb — love is an action.
One of the reasons I am so amazed at some of the shenanigans on the internet is that I find it hard to understand how people can get caught up in the illusory trap of “falling” in love with someone they’ve never met. I certainly can understand developing some affection and having a feeling for a photograph and internet profile, but falling in love?
In my book, that’s grounds for having someone committed. And yours truly isn’t exempt. I will admit to having fallen into that trap myself. Photographs are fun and they never really let you down like real people do. For example, today’s blog photo is one of a series of photos someone sent to me a few years ago. No, I didn’t fall in love with her, but I sure would love to have tried. LOL In actuality, the photos are a fake. Rather, they are photos from someone who had created a fake profile — the photos were of someone else.
Those who are great lovers (meaning people with a capacity to love) know that within the framework of being in love there’s passion, desire, hope, wonder, appreciation, enjoyment, affection, ecstasy — the whole gamut of the most profound emotions and energy states. However, as I said before: love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action, an act of will. All the feelings in the world and $2 won’t get you on a NYC subway, which is another way of saying that feelings won’t get you too far. Love isn’t texting someone a pic of your private parts with the caption “thinking of you” (though that might be fun under the right circumstances). Love isn’t copying-and-pasting a Facebook status for all your friends to see. In fact, I would say doing that is actually an act of hate. However, I do appreciate photos, so keep ‘em coming champ.
But the point I’m trying to make is that when we truly love someone we extend ourselves to the person and for that person. That’s the act of love, or love action. It’s not clicking a mouse, or sending a text, or even saying “I love you.” Love isn’t that feeling you get when you first become obsessed with the object of your desire. Love, lover, is an act of will for the benefit of another person with no expectations. In more technical terms, when we love someone we extend our ego boundaries — close down our defenses — to include that other person as part of our identity. In a way, love compels us to merge with another individual, in the process creating an enduring bond. This is the part that scares many of us because severing such a bond can cause a lot of pain.
It’s the same when you experience a profound, knee-knocking-grand-mal-seizure-like orgasm: it’s a transcendent spiritual experience. Your ego defenses come tumbling down and for that brief moment, your sense of self expands to include so much more than the small, fragile, fearful mini me — you know the part of you that will vote for Clinotn because… Trump. As a side note, this is one of the reasons why organized religions put so many taboos on sex, because ultimately sexual energy can be one of the most transformative, liberating, and spiritual experiences.
But I’m getting off track here…
The first way that great lovers express their love is through something simple and obvious. It is what is at the heart of the experience of love that’s so simple, so basic that is so easy to overlook is listening — listening and attending. Sadly, at least in my experience, very few people attempt to hone their listening skills and at best listen at a very superficial level. Our society offers very few opportunities that teach listening at deeper levels.
We are born to bond. Without bonding, infants literally wither and die. As adults it’s the same for us: without connection we die physically, psychologically/ emotionally, spiritually. We are human and the defining experience of being human is bonding. We are wired for connection — we’re walking/ talking neurological feedback loops. We become human through bonding, and as adults, bonding doesn’t end. As we mature, we continue to evolve to the point that we can bond with a special someone in a healthy manner. This bonding demands the mastery of certain skills, skills that allow us to make contact, to establish relationships, and communication skills that promote understanding.
How do we do this?
The simple answer is by entering into our lover’s world. By matching and resonating with our loved one’s way of thinking and feeling, we begin to understand them. Empathy, a key emotional skill, is the ability to see the world through another’s eyes without losing ourselves in the process. This is part of the act of love — or love action — and great lovers fine-tune their empathy to high levels. On a superficial level, there’s listening, but at the more profound levels there’s listening in order to understand and that takes effort, time, and consideration. It takes a commitment to honesty and a willingness to become transparent (or translucent), so that the energy of love can shine through us with as little distortion as possible.
Active listening is difficult, it takes practice. Like sex, it’s not a natural act. Love must be practiced as you would practice a musical instrument. In my experience, too many people are too caught up in their small needs and neuroses to strive toward being a great lover. Most of us, it seems, would rather ride the carousel without risking the brass ring.
My name is Eddie and I’m single in recovery from civilization…