Saturday, January 10, 2009

My 500th post

What I've learned about Love.

There are four phases of love, and if you can actually make it through and maintain an awareness at all four levels you will be as enlightened as the Buddha. But most people just ping-pong back and forth between the first two phases.

Phase one is when you first fall in love. And the person that you fall in love with seems to be just perfect and the thought of living life without them seems pointless and cruel. You adore everything about this person, even their quirky faults that you would find offputting in someone else seem endearing in the loved one.

And then comes phase two, where reality sets. This is where you realize that far from being perfect, your partner is actually nothing more than a regular person briefly disguised as an angel. The scales fall from your eyes, those quirks become unbearably annoying and the words of Jorge Luis Borge ring in your ears: "To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god." From this phase most people either end the relationship and start another religion with another false god or they life a lie -- a life without love.

But if you don't give up, and you keep loving that person even when it's difficult, you eventually get to phase three, and in this phase you let go of judging and embrace understanding. In phase three you realize that you were right when you thought that person was perfect. They really are perfect -- just the way God made them -- once you understand why they are the way they are. If you ever have a choice between being loved or being understood, choose to be understood because if you are understood you will be loved as well. But if you're loved without being understood you're not really loved at all. That's just phase one infatuation and compared to phase three love it's the difference between a matchstick and a star.

Getting to phase three takes time and dedication and when you get there you realize you're just getting started -- because the truth is everyone is perfect and deserving of love. That's when you glimpse the enormity of phase four. Staying in phase four for more than a glimpse is something few people have ever done, but it's a goal to shoot for. It certainly seems like a better way to reach nirvana than meditating in a cave in Tibet.

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