Wednesday, February 21, 2007

reflections on love, part IV

"The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go...If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love. People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think that upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent. If you have more than one child, they are all your children. Upeksha does not mean that you don't love. You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination."

"As long as we see ourselves as the one who loves and the other as the one who is loved, as long as we value ourselves more than others or se ourselves as different from others, we do not have true equanimity. We have to put ourselves 'into the other person's skin' and become one with him if we want to understand and truly love him."

"Without upeksha, your love may become possessive. A summer breeze can be very refreshing; but if we try to put it in a tin so we can have it entirely for ourselves, the breeze will die. Our beloved is the same. He is a cloud, a breeze, a flower. If you imprison him ina tin can, he will die. Yet many people do just that. They rob their loved one of his liberty, until he can no longer be himself. They live to satisfy themselves and use their loved one to help them fulfill that. That is not loving; it is destroying. You say you love him, but you do not understand his aspirations, his needs, his difficulties, he is in a prison called love. True love allows you to preserve your freedom and the freedom of your beloved. That is upeksha."

Thich Nhat Hanh, "Teachings on Love"

I have often thought that if this teaching was widely taught, widely understood, and widely practiced, I would lose about 95% of my marital therapy cases. And I would rejoice in it.


bowieacolyte said...

Thanks for the past few posts on love. Truely inspiring and humbling.

"A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden."

Magdalene6127 said...

Steve, I can't tell you how very much this touched me. I really have had a kind of epiphany about relationships, in which I am coming face to face with my attempts to control others. It is humbling. "The beloved is a breeze, a flower..." Yes! How beautiful.

Thanks Steve!