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Love Is Both the Destination and the Guide

Written by Nirmala on .

Q: I have been listening to satsang, reading your words and digesting all that I have been able to in the past month. I have found extreme comfort in your words, for they have pointed towards my heart and the true nature of my being. The truth is, I may already know the answer to this question, but I feel so much confusion in my heart right now, I cannot think of who to ask for guidance. I hope you may be able to point me towards the beauty within.

I have fallen in love, Nirmala. In this love, I have explored something different than the usual societal definition of love. I have not received much love from the person, except in feelings. There has been almost no communication and even less physical contact. When I met this person, it was a quick recognition that I was going to fall in love with them, and that I already knew them from a deep soul connection.  At first, I was so hurt when this person pulled away from me, but I learned how to let go. I was getting many mixed signals. For when this person is near me, I feel so alive, I radiate with joy and peace and love. When this person is gone, they are distant and hurtful. In the most simple way of explaining this, I can say that this person pulls me in and pushes me out with equal force. But I remain patient and kind and loving. This person expresses to me that they have not learned how to love fully, but they love me. I guess I don’t know how to feel calm in situations where I love someone so fully, and believe in them, and they continually pull away from me. How can I give my heart respect and still pine for the love of my life? I am so confused, but I can no longer try. It is so challenging for me, for my ego seeks to hold on to this intense pain. But I also know in spirit, everything is in God’s plan. I also know that having love doesn’t necessarily mean there needs to be a relationship. But I so want to invest and connect with the light in this person as often as possible. So, how do I continue to love without overstepping my boundaries and while respecting theirs. I am confused. But I know it’s all wonderful. Thank you for your loving compassion.

A: Thanks for your message. Your words were so full of compassion and wisdom, that you might find your answer just by re-reading your own message. I would simply point you to your observation that love does not necessarily need a relationship. Love and relationship are both important and beautiful, but they operate at different levels of our Being.

Love is the bigger truth and so permeates all of our experience. The source of love is deep within our own essence. Even when you feel tremendous love when you are with the other person, that love is coming from within your own Being.

In contrast, relationship happens out on the surface of our existence. And for this reason it is a smaller truth or reality. It is still important and worthwhile, but it is just not as important as love. A simple way to verify this is to reflect on how love without a relationship can still be wonderful, but a relationship without love is rarely very rewarding.

There is never a reason not to love. It does not cost you anything, and it fills your heart with sweetness and light. You can give love and then give even more and you will never run out. It helps in recognizing this to remember that love is simply awareness and acceptance or space. The best lover is someone who gives you lots of attention and also the space to be however you are. You can always give this kind of love to your self, to others, and to everything. Simply notice what is and let it be the way it is. You do not even have to like it, in which case you can also give space to your not liking it. (You can read more about giving love in this way in this free excerpt of my book, Living from the Heart, or you can download the entire book as an ebook for just $.99 here.)

When it comes to relationship, there are many more practical considerations. Is it realistic to be with this person? Do they want to be in a relationship with you? Are they someone you can be best friends with? Do they consistently treat you with respect and consideration? Are they able to both listen to and accommodate your needs, and also communicate and express their own needs? So it is simple to decide whether to love, but not as simple to decide whether to be in a relationship with someone.

It is when we confuse these different levels of our experience that we tend to suffer so intensely. When we forget that love comes from within our own heart, we sometimes think we need the love of another person. When we deny or neglect our human needs to have healthy boundaries and nourishing relationships, we can hurt ourselves by pursuing or staying in unfulfilling relationships.

One last thing I will suggest is that often we are programmed or conditioned to seek a relationship with someone who is not willing or able to be in a relationship with us. To varying degrees, we all did not get the love and attention we needed from our parents, and yet as a child we still had to try and get their love. This can create a pattern where we feel especially compelled to get someone to love us if they are not available for love. We are still trying to get the experience we needed as a child, and so we pursue someone who reminds us of our parents by not being completely available. These unconscious patterns of our conditioning can have a lot of power to affect our responses, especially if we are not aware of them.

The antidote to our conditioned patterns and to the pain they can cause is surprisingly to simply love our own confusion and pain. Give your heart and all of its love and all of its wounding lots of attention and also the space to be here just the way it is. Do not leave your self out when you give love freely to others. Being very aware of your own heart and its reactions will also allow you to become more discriminating about when and how to pursue or be in relationship with others. Love is both the destination and the guide in this life.

I hope this is helpful, and thank you again for sharing your experience with such warmth and honesty.

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