To truly love, to love in a way that speaks to our highest potential and deepest need, one cannot help but veer into territory that may be called spiritual, that is, touching realms of selflessness, openness of heart, intuitive recognition, tenderness, care, and a willingness to understand, to go beyond self and ego, above all else. Yet these values are completely anathema to our normal developmental trajectory. We are taught and conditioned to be individuals, to be ambitious, to have goals, to demand our needs to be met, to fight for what we want, to dream and aspire for personal attainment and vindication. In basic terms, our world encourages us to form and reinforce a cult of self, where I am the main character and everyone else, indeed everything thing else, orbits around me.
What happens in relationships then? What happens when two (or more) mini cults decide to couple?
Ultimately it’s a fight to the death, though perhaps veiled in bargained niceties and socially sanctioned garb. Dictatorships are singular in their scope; tyrants don’t need or require equals. Yet we live under the illusion that we can effectively be with others while still operating from a state of mind that is all about me and my carefully constructed kingdom of self.
The truest truth is that what’s most meaningful about life, and therefore what’s most meaningful about our most meaningful relationships, is how we are with others, how we respond in the moments where life is asking us to step outside ourselves for the benefit of someone or something else. Our personal ideologies cannot withstand the call of Love, for it includes the other and leaves nothing out. We may disagree, perhaps vehemently, but the essence that unites us can never be extinguished. How could it be otherwise?
Art Credit: The Large Figure Paintings, No 2 (1907), Hilma af Klint