The Insanity of Falling In Love

Falling in love is insanity.

“I can’t go on without you.”

“I’m wild again, beguiled again, a simpering, whimpering child again. Bewitched, bothered and bewildered am I.”

“Taunt me, and hurt me, deceive me, desert me, I’m yours till I die, so in love, so in love, so in love with you my love, am I.”

Lines from love songs.

On the planet of Eliria, there is neither male nor female. Peace and harmony prevail. On Earth, we are hard-wired to mate—and men are from Mars, women from Venus. Insanity prevails. Lured by the intensity and drama of the call to mate and all the hormones that stirs up, we lose sleep, break out in zits, agonize over what to wear, are captive to the throes of jealousy, exaltation, despondence, hope, despair.

Seriously bi-polar.

As I explore how to love in a sacred manner (see my post on Earth and Eliria), I don’t think all this turmoil is how you do it. Like a thunderstorm with no rain, it doesn’t nourish, and sometimes burns and destroys. Looking under the turmoil, I find that it is fear based, arising from loneliness, desperation, and clinging. And fear is the opposite of love.

Not everyone seeks love out of loneliness and desperation, but judging by the songs, it is not uncommon.

When we seek love in desperation, it is bound to go awry. Desperation tells us that we are not okay without a partner to protect us, to comfort us, to be there always to fill the terrible abyss of loneliness. Then should we find someone, we are apt to cling, and so ultimately chase our love away. There are many variations on this theme, but desperation rarely wins.

How do we transcend the desperation so that we can seek, find, and endure with our loved one in a sacred manner? Ah, that is hard. Fear and desperation are ravening beasts. I have spent a lifetime seeking the ways to tame them.

Here are few threads I have found to lead me out of their caves:

Meditation. Where would I be without that gentle process of watching the thoughts, feeling the feelings, calling them by name, and letting them go? Letting them go until at last the deep peace beneath surfaces and comforts.DSCN0235

Nature. Sitting against a tree absorbing the slow dance of its growth; rocking in the ocean; working in the garden, nurturing life, earth in my hands; walking high in the mountains and seeing my own small issue come into perspective with the vastness above and around me.

Movement. For me it has been walking, dancing, yoga. For others, exercise in many forms, sometimes extreme. When we move and feel our movement we are rescued from the terrors of past and future. Sensation is always now.

To love in a sacred manner we must first be at home with ourselves.

What threads have you found to lead you out of the caves of fear? What resources bring you home to yourself?

Ecstasy

Years ago, one of my therapists asked me, “Are you addicted to ecstasy?” (Not the drug, the state of being.)

I was startled by the question, had never considered such a possibility. Later, taking a walk alone to integrate the session, I answered him. “Damn right, I’m addicted to ecstasy. Without it, life wouldn’t be worth living.”  The tell-tale conviction of the addict.

Since then I have thought a great deal about ecstasy. It is wise to understand one’s addictions.

I think most people seek ecstasy at some point in their lives, in some way. Or if they do not seek it, long for it.

The word literally means “to stand outside.” So the experience of ecstasy is one of moving beyond ourselves, breaking free of the walls of our ego, our duties, our fears, all the trivia of incarnate existence, and opening into another dimension.

Some seek ecstasy through speed—flying downhill on skis, racing on a bicycle, a skateboard, or in a car. Some seek danger—hanging on a cliff face, riding towering waves on a surfboard, any activity so life-threatening that there is no room for thought.

Others seek ecstasy in quieter ways—immersing themselves in nature, in the creation of an art form, in the arms of a beloved, in meditation.

I believe the essence of it is connection. We not only go beyond ourselves, but merge with something greater. The rock face, the wave, the art, the beauty of nature, the beloved, the Beloved. IMG_20120824_104227

Some say we should not seek ecstasy, but contentment. Let go the drama, live gently. They say the higher we fly, the harder we fall, the brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

It is true. Clara (Never Again), muses on her life. “It had not been an easy life. It was like the wild mountains around her, ecstasy in the high places, despair in dark ravines at the bottom of sheer cliffs. Not often the wide, level path.”

Yet I would not want a life without ecstasy. I would let go the addiction. Addictions are never good; they warp life. I have been working for years to find more contentment, less drama.

But I also know that moments of ecstasy can be an invaluable resource, a renewal, a shift in perspective that can turn one’s life around.

At the beginning of her story (Leaves in Her Hair), Lyra was tormented by inner voices, struggling with an unhappy marriage, cut off from her art. Then she found her magic glade and Derwydd, the dryad of the oak tree. Her ecstatic times of dancing with Derwydd into the light strengthened her to return home and transform her life.

Back in 1972, I took a three month spiritual training called Arica. Toward the end of the training, we were asked to go to a place alone for three days and nights with a regime of practices to follow. One practice was to begin with an awareness of light at the center of the chest and then, breath by breath,  to expand it—to fill the body, the room, the building, the city, the planet, and on out into the universe.

That practice was a major turning point for me. When I reached the boundaries of the universe—never mind that such a thing is inconceivable—there was light, and light and beyond that Light. When I came back at last to the quiet room, my hands folded in my lap, the candle flickering, I knew I would never be the same again. Whatever ill might befall me in the years to come, I would always know the Light was there, within and around me.

So. I seek contentment, but also ecstasy. For me the paths are dancing, meditation, hiking in the high country, and . . .

You never know in what unexpected moment you will be surprised.