In my FB newsfeed, I stumbled upon a post by Collective Evolution that features a rabbi, Dr. Abraham Twerski, (Collective Evolution Post) who was discussing his point of view about love. Too much of what people called love these days, he said, are “fish love” (i.e., one eats fish because he/she loves fish). One loves another for the purpose of serving his/her own gratification. He explained that true love is the love of giving, not the love of receiving, because “you give to those whom you love”.
It is an interesting perspective and I thought: “Hey, why not write in my two-cents on the matter?” Mostly, putting my comments in any post is, in reality, either because I feel I have an important and serious point to share or, because I find it amusing and requiring a dash of sarcasm or humor, maybe both. In this case, my intention was of the latter. People want love, seek love, dream love and pray for love every day of their lives but many actually do not have an iota of understanding of what they are asking and looking for. So, out of irreverence, playfulness and mischief, I picked out my favorite Kahlil Gibran’s quote and wrote the same in the comment section:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness; and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous; but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts but not into each other’s keeping, for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together for the pillars of the temple stand apart. And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
It was just out of humor, really. Heck, it gathered a good number of “likes” and few replies. One such reply admonished me that “it is easier said than done”. Give me that kind of reaction and you are only inviting me to retort with my standard “practice makes perfect” line with a smiling and winking emoji.
Notwithstanding the fact that I, more often than not, always express my viewpoint in humor and sarcasm, still, when I do put in an opinion like that it is because I believe in it. Challenging my position on the matter will earn you a friendly debate. It is not that I like to win my argument. It is just more of because I find it stimulating and fun to exchange with ideas. I am not averse to losing the battle but I try to give a good fight…again, for the heck of it and nothing personal or offensive. I do not cling to my ideas yet, you have to raise convincing points with conviction for me to acquiesce.
So, why am I writing about this topic? Well, the interest that that particular Kahlil Gibran’s quote garnered from readers inspired me to explore the question about the possibility of practical application of unconditional love. Is it humanly possible to love the same way Gibran described it? To give without expecting any return? To enjoy each other’s company but at the same time be free to live separate lives? Nourish each other, inspire each other, support each other but at the same maintain independence to chase individual dreams?
The idea of unconditional love is like the dream of utopia…theoretically correct, ideally plausible, and perfectly sensible. However, could a person truly love that way?
Having earned that rebuke from another reader and having given her a sassy response, perhaps it is only fair to question my own capability and give an honest self-reflection. My attitude to a relationship, be it plain friendship (regardless of gender) or couple thing, is non-committal and relaxed. I want to maintain my own freedom. I want times of solitude. I want to do things outside the friendship or couple activities. Most especially, I want my judgment, loyalty and honesty to be trusted. And I am willing to give the same to a friend or partner. At the same time, I appreciate time spent and stuff done together. I would give my support where it is necessary and logical. Oh, then, don’t I qualify enough in relation to Gibran’s standard of love?
The answer is no. Because while I am highly capable of doing so, in actual circumstance, I expect that I get the same treatment in return. If I give you freedom, I expect to be given freedom. If I give you time, I expect to be given time. I am not a clingy type. But if you decide to spend time with me, then I expect you to be present with me…otherwise, leave me be because I can continue life alone.
True love according to Rabbi Twerski is investing to the other person, giving a part of you to him/her. He claimed that self-love is a given and, therefore, when you truly love someone, it is because you have given him/her a part of yourself. Ideally, that should be the case. Nonetheless, what would one do if after giving, you do not receive anything? True love is a love of giving, not a love of receiving. Yet, could you go on loving a person who does not return the love you give? No matter how I see it, doing so would be plain stupidity. Where I do not feel wanted, I would not stay. By doing so, I am not withdrawing my love for the person…I could go on loving that someone – from a distance. But staying and holding on, clinging to something hopeless, is folly. Love of one’s self is important…along with it comes the need for self-respect. To love is to lose face…to love is to sacrifice…to love is to allow yourself to become vulnerable. Love without question or reservation but, if you are not wanted, be free to move on. Moving on does not necessarily mean forgetting…it is merely acknowledging that it is alright to let go and go on with life.
So, unconditional love anyone? I would say it could exist between two people who have both emotional and spiritual maturity to know and understand what truly love is. In a relationship where egoity is still at play, I would say, maybe in the next lifetime but for now, thank you, I am happier free.
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