Love is heart of life. Naturally, life-long, I’ve sought to understand what on earth (and in heaven) the love-word means.
I’ve already posted earlier thoughts. For example, in Rethinking LOVE I wrote:
Love is the ultimate mystery. It sparks and keeps the life process going, more to be accepted and honored than psychoanalyzed. Plato described seven stages of love. Each is a rung on an evolutionary ladder which leads from a child’s love for parents, to erotic love, to friendship, and eventually the pinnacle of divine connection. These seven stages correlate exactly with the seven energy centers of yoga anatomy.
There was a time when, wherever I’d go, the popular Foreigner tune “I Want To Know What Love Is” was playing in the background. I shopped to it at Woodman’s grocery store. At Gold’s gym, I showered and dressed to the sound of the same music. While I waited in line at the local Subway for my six inch sandwich on honey-oat bread with tuna, provolone cheese and veggies . . . again, the same song.
I wanna know what love is.
I want you to show me.
I wanna feel what love is.
I know you can show me.
If it wasn’t that, then it was the Jennings/Winwood song, “Higher Love.”
Think about it: There must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above.
Without it, life is wasted time.
Worlds are turning and we’re just hanging on.
We walk blind, we try to see,
Falling behind in what could be.
I took it as a cosmic hint. Pay attention to this universal need, and the ways we sing about our searchings.
Attempting to comprehend how people can possibly apply the same love-word to such a broad range of contradictory behaviors, I located what I’ve experienced within the spectrum of energy centers. Plugged in to the Life Wheel, it looks like this:
You might find it useful to know a bit about the personal experiences that led to this understanding. I count five significant love relationships, each a stepping stone to the next.
First there was Beecher. I was a high school senior. He had already graduated college as a physics major and worked at a prestigious research firm. He had plenty of money to spend on fun dates, a fancy sports car, and a suave manner about him. He found me fascinating, which I found flattering. Near the end of the school year, after I’d already been accepted at Oberlin, the college of my dreams, he asked me to marry him. I didn’t need time to think about it. I told him flat out never to ask again. I had an inner sense of destiny — of an as-yet unknown calling. Forfeiting college for an early marriage wasn’t it. That was easy.
Within the Life Wheel, this experience fell on the positive side, primarily on the material level. Kindness and consideration were present, though not its focus. Encouragement was lacking, nor did I feel protected. The possibility of higher love never occurred to either of us.
Second was David. From the start, I was stuck on his name. My hero grandfather, beloved younger brother and two cousins were all named David. It was the name of my idealized biblical figure, King David, who combined the aspects of healer-warrior-king all-in-one.
This David, a dazzlingly gifted pianist and conductor, came into my life during my Freshman year at Oberlin. He was a blond, lion-maned, flamboyant Leo. I was his compliment, a gentle and quiet brunette — a Jungian “dark” Leo. We set each other off like fire-works. He courted me with red roses, music and poetry. We adored each other.
Sadly, he was damaged by childhood abuse, seemingly beyond repair. I met him at the time of a prior girlfriend’s horrifically hurtful suicide. Then a scheming female got her hooks into him. She seduced him into a marriage which he instantly regretted. But I would not take him back.
There was an element of fate at work. Even after college, David kept reappearing. He instinctively found ways to locate me, and always at a vulnerable time of transition.
I agonized on and off again through many twists and turns over the span of more than twenty years. Only through repeated self-analysis did I come to recognize the power he held over me, the lessons to be learned, and finally get free for good. In essence, I had projected all my gifts onto him. The lesson was to take back my power, and however modestly, own in myself the virtues I saw in him.
Within the Life Wheel, despite its emotional highs, this experience fit predominantly on the left, negative side — a mix of romance, sentimentality and violent possessiveness.
Third was George. He came into my life after David’s marriage. It was a rebound swing to the opposite extreme. He was balding, bland, and boring. He offered stability. Although we talked about love and marriage, there was no spark. The major up-side for me was that his presence in my life kept my parents off my back. They liked him.
It ended when I was awarded a NDEA Title III Fellowship to complete a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I phoned him up with the news, ecstatic. He broke up with me on the spot, saying it meant I was smarter than him, which he couldn’t bear. After initial shock came relief. No great loss.
Within the Life Wheel, security-based love was focused on the material outermost rim though, to his credit, he was always kind to me.
The greatest disappointment from George-time came from a conversation with Mom a few months after the break-up. She commented that she hadn’t heard much about him lately. I told her why. She actually sneered. “Good for him,” she said. “Serves you right.”
That relationship didn’t even register on the chart. Though she went through the motions, her heart wasn’t in it. Was her harshness a factor in my father’s suicide? I was only six at the time, so only God knows for sure. My ultimate solution to that loss: turning to God, as Christ did, as my true Father.
Fourth was Swami Rama. The training in yoga science and philosophy was invaluable. However, he wasn’t what he seemed. The world saw a highly accomplished performer. But behind the mask of a celibate holy man. he was a serial rapist, financial con artist and ruthless deceiver — living proof of the maxim, “The larger front, the larger back.” For too long, he got away with abusing energy sciences to exploit unsuspecting students. Bottom line: I learned valuable, undoubtedly necessary life lessons and was then released to move on.
Where would I place this experience within the Life Wheel? Despite the swami’s seductive promises of love and help, it registered exclusively on the left-hand side, fluctuating between lust, domination, lies and oppression.
Fifth. By comparison, earlier relationships heightened my appreciation of OA. No status and adventure. No flaming, heart-breaking romance. No social stability. No two-faced “spirituality.” He was the real deal. Magical – full of healing, wisdom, wacky humor and an incredible, unearthly sweetness. He too loved God as his Father and, like the good angels, acknowledged Christ as his lord and master.
OA breathed a natural genius into whatever he touched. Some praised his incredible memory, but I suspect he was dipping into akashic records with the same intelligence he applied to physical computers, instantly retrieving whatever information he called forth. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel that such a soul ever walked this earth, much less that I was allowed the opportunity to make his last days easier.
His influence spanned the entire field, on the right-hand, positive side of the Life Wheel. As I told Old Avatar, in him I’d won the lottery of life. He knew and showed us what Higher Love IS.