LOVE! this question was posed in the book I’m reading called the Five Levels of Attachment by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. How can love be the biggest demon in the world? Isn’t love supposed to be about cupids and romance? Isn’t love supposed to be about passion and poetry? Yes those are some of the attributes one can expect to hear when describing love. When we are kids and receive Valentine’s or in today’s terms, “Candy Grams” our definition of being loved is acceptance. We are sure of the love of our parents and caregivers but now we are out in the world where love is measured and mistaken for acceptance. Love is something that you cannot see. It is something that is. As kids we are taught at a young age the fallacy of love as being conditional. We are taught that love is measured based upon the number of Candy Grams we receive in school. We are taught that love is acceptance within a certain group and that rejection must mean the opposite of love . . . Hate!
A Parent’s Love
The first encounter we have with this demon is from our parents. A parent’s love is typically unconditional. However once we begin to attach conditions to our love in order to be accepted in the family, then love becomes a demon. It’s not just acceptance but for a child, their survival. As a parent we also make mistakes and some of us do horrible things that we later regret. We are given the chance to redeem ourselves and perform the actions necessary to parent in love or we can give into the label that society places on us and feel we are inferior and unworthy of being a parent.
We are the embodiment of Love and are born into love in its best form. Via social media there is a study here, a report there, a neighbor, friend, or family members with opinions and ideas about how you should parent or how kids should behave. As a parent you start to believe that if you aren’t doing those things you don’t really love your children and giving them what’s best. Others make you feel that way that you are so ignorant as to not do things their way. You often see this when it comes to debates on issues such as breastfeeding, vaccinations. childhood obesity and a number of topics as such.
Once we begin to place conditions on how we parent we equate that to how we love our children. Placing these types of conditions creates a barrier to the unique love present between parent and child. It can damage your own self-esteem and cause you needless suffering. If say you are a Christian but your child wants to do a Buddhist meditation, what would you say? Would you condition your child to believe that somehow practicing the behaviors of another religious belief means they can’t be accepted in the family? Or how about a child that has announced he’s homosexual? These are all examples where depending upon our reactions we can create a demon out of love if the only chance for kids to express themselves and get love is to be what the parent wants them to be.
As an example, I was counseled by a friend that I shouldn’t be online dating since I need to focus on my child. I understood that her reasoning comes from a place of being a married, stay at home mom. I am a working single mom with little to no me time. I’ve also been seeing a therapist who encourages me to date and have ME time. Now two contradictory opinions about my lifestyle and what others perceive as how I identify with love. I love ME, and I believe I need to have a balance with many areas of my life. The glimpses of what someone sees on social media in no way gives an indication of what life is like for me as a single parent or a parent in general. If I went on a date, it doesn’t mean I don’t love my child. If I don’t go on a date, it doesn’t mean I don’t love my child either. Now this may sound confusing as I intended it to be. Our choices must coincide with what is best for the soul purpose of our life and not to please others. We don’t set up the conditions for love because that is just a smokescreen of which we really are… the embodiment of love.
Romantic to Consummate Love
I wrote an earlier post that I can’t find now about the seven types of love relationship styles that encompass passion, commitment and intimacy. Encompassing all three is the Consummate form a very rare form of love type relationship but an ideal that many strive for. Love can fall into the following categories:
- Consummate (the highest form): High on all three dimensions
- Infatuated – High on passion only
- Fatuous – High on passion and commitment
- Empty – High on commitment only
- Companionate – High on intimacy and commitment
- Romantic – High on intimacy and passion
- Liking/ friendship – High on intimacy only
When you begin a new relationship you feel the passion and develop intimacy. Getting to commitment is another level altogether and that is another way that love can become the biggest demon in the world as Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. states in The Five Levels of Attachment: Toltec Wisdom for the Modern World. In the book, he talks about how we begin to view our current relationship as something that can be improved upon if as a couple we can achieve this or that. You may begin to view your other half in light of a perfection measure they will never reach. For example, “If only my partner got his degree than he’d feel better about himself, get a better job and we’d have better things in life to share together as a couple.” This is where suffering begins. Per Ruiz Jr. “This kind of love has so many conditions attached. Suffering is inevitable.”
Our distortions turn the angel of unconditional love into the demon. A symbol of the distortion of the truth. Exaggerating our fears and distorting our view even more. Creating a personal hell. When we look in the mirror and can’t see the reflection of love, it means we can’t see through the smoke that distorts our view and makes us think that love is something that needs to be gained. . . .There is no need to chase love when we are love. We simply release our attachment to what we expect to see so that we can see beyond it.
Love and Betrayal
When we begin to hold an ideal about what love should look like we suffer and get disappointed when we do not achieve that aim. We are left thinking that the love we have is NOT really love. It reminds me of a quote from the poet Cesare Pavese (one of my all-time favorites)
“The great lovers will always be unhappy, because for them love is great and so they ask of their beloved the same intensity of thought that they have for her – otherwise they feel betrayed.”
In living this ideal we submit ourselves to great suffering which turns into feelings of betrayal. As I said in my post the other day about reuniting with a loved one in Galveston, feelings of hate, anger, and jealousy are a part of love and relationships when we feel the other party is not living up to the ideal of what we envisioned love to be. This feeling of betrayal is unavoidable and at times the ones we spend much of our time with and care about the most can actually become contemptuous to us. This is how love is the biggest demon in the world. We begin to see the flaws and we go from being optimistic, complacent to spiteful without anything changing at all.
A few dates ago, I had a first date at Lone Star Park with a guy whose astrological chart fit perfectly with mine. Prior to the date we already had an argument and I knew right away this guy wasn’t the one but I proceeded with the date anyway. Throughout the course of the conversation we talked about how we meet people. I give out my business card or whatever feels right at the moment but inevitably I exchange information. He admonished me for doing that but I was completely unaware of the business card etiquette when dating. Mind you I admittedly had way more dates than he did and I’m not complaining. He proceeded to show me all of his blogs and websites that he hadn’t updated in months. So I asked him, “Why haven’t you updated your sites?” By which he replied, “I’m busy looking for a wife so I’m going to concentrate everything I have on dating. I have had enough fun dates for a while” Interesting his blog is named, “The Controls Freak”- good play on words since he works in building controls automation and also a good metaphor for his personality.
We went on the date anyway and while I tried in vain to have a good time, he made it painfully clear he wasn’t having a good time but since he had never been to the racetrack he wanted to see it. Admittedly this was one of the worst dates I have been on this year but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He could not look beyond the present moment of just having a good time. He was specifically looking for wife material and I didn’t measure up to his ideals OR in my words I never stepped down to his level. (Cheap shot! I know.) In our conversations I said “You have such high ideals for love. I’m just looking for someone I’m willing to put up with.” By which he replied, “I’m not looking for someone I can live with. I’m looking for someone I can’t live without.” Lofty words, but precisely the type of words that can cause love to be the biggest demon in the world. His love style supported by John Alan Lee’s 6 love styles typology is that of a manic love. A love where he is looking for something missing in his life through someone else and not within himself. However that is his path and his suffering so he must go through it to realize that he has been carrying that love all along.
Remember even Jesus was betrayed and once we get used to the idea that betrayal is unavoidable and love is not perfect, it makes it easy to forgive and undergo reconciliation and life transformation. Remember, a demon is a fallen angel. So as with all demons they can be redeemed and so goes the same as love. When we see it within ourselves our view of love changes and we can accept ourselves and others in this new light.
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