The lover and the beloved

A young gentleman who reads this blog, wrote to me privately.  There is a young lady he would like to develop a closer, more personal relationship with.  There was a gentleman who had similar feelings and designs on a young lady who is a friend of my daughter’s. In my youth, I found myself in this situation numerous times.  Oddly, this problem no longer reaches me.

On a number of occasions throughout my life, I took a fancy to wild, care-free, beautiful women that I wanted for myself.  It seemed to me that the deep desire and passion that I had for these women was in itself something that should be, if not returned, at the very least valued.  When you hold unrequited love close to your heart, you wonder why the object of your affect does not appreciate all the love you could pour out upon them, if they only invited your love into their life.  You wonder:  Doesn’t all this love I have for them have value?   Sadly, the answer is no.

Loving someone who does not love you back is the sound of one hand clapping.  Unrequited love is extremely painful and it leads to jealousy.  It is the ultimate rose,  blossoming among thorns.  A beauty that tears at your heart, begging for understanding.  What would my older self say to my younger self, to help me understand?   The dawning of understanding came when I first read this passage from “The ballad of the Sad Cafe”:.

“First of all, love is a joint experience between two persons — but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countries. Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which had lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing. He comes to know a new, strange loneliness and it is this knowledge which makes him suffer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within himself as best he can; he must create for himself a whole new inward world — a world intense and strange, complete in himself. Let it be added here that this lover about whom we speak need not necessarily be a young man saving for a wedding ring — this lover can be man, woman, child, or indeed any human creature on this earth.

Now, the beloved can also be of any description. The most outlandish people can be the stimulus for love. A man may be a doddering great-grandfather and still love only a strange girl he saw in the streets of Cheehaw one afternoon two decades past. The preacher may love a fallen woman. The beloved may be treacherous, greasy-headed, and given to evil habits. Yes, and the lover may see this as clearly as anyone else — but that does not affect the evolution of his love one whit. A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp. A good man may be the stimulus for a love both violent and debased, or a jabbering madman may bring about in the soul of someone a tender and simple idyll. Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself.

I came to realize that there is in every great love, two parties: The lover and the beloved.  The lover seeks his or her happiness from the beloved.  The beloved is an object, something that brings forth happiness, simply from its possession.   The lover kisses and the beloved enjoys the kiss, but does the beloved feel love in return?  Often not.  Often the beloved realizes they are just the object that the lover obsesses over, and as such they feel a stripping away of themselves, they feel used and drained, as if the lover was a vampire sucking away at their happiness.

How then do we solve this problem?  How do we love without pulling at the one we love?  The answers are both simple and yet complex.  They can be summed up in simple quotes and yet if these quotes do not fill your heart with understanding then these quotes become mere words, useless and meaningless.

Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. ~ Quote, Dalai Lama

Just remember that what you seek you will not find, but in the path of your happiness, when you are loving life the most, what you were seeking will find you. ~ Xtac Quote

These two quotes speak to me of the need to be who and what we are at all times, defining our worth by what we bring to a relationship, and not define our worth by the relationship itself. They tell me that we must take personal responsibility for our happiness.   That we must bring all the happiness we create in to a relationship, adding to and multiply the joy of another.  We must never simply take our happiness from a relationship.  We must be both lover and beloved.  You must add as much as you take, and your love is not what you add. What you add are moments of happiness that is long remembered later, laughter and life that is shared.

Have you ever noticed that when you are single, you can’t find someone to be with, but when you are with someone then suddenly you are surrounded by people who it would be nice to be with?  This happens exactly because what you seek you will not find, but in your content moments, what you were seeking finds you.

I often say that the person who is the life of the party, the one who is laughing and joking and doesn’t care if anyone likes them or not, is the one surrounded by people who want to be with them.  This person, who did not care if they had a friend in the world, has all the friends anyone could want.  The one who sits in the corner, envious of all that attention will have no friends.  No one wants to be with the brooding, needy  person in the corner.  The “life of the party” got this way because they let go, they did not cling to a desire, they made their happiness, they projected that strength, and in doing so drew others to them.

In love, I am like a mirror. This is not a simple metaphor. It has taken me years to understand how to be a good lover. A mirror lives for interaction. When engaged, it is present, totally in the moment, and when left, does not pine or cling for the next interaction. No, a mirror is, completely content to just be, and like a mirror, when a lover comes to me, I am truth reflected, need reflected. I am all that you bring: desire, passion, compassion. I am there for, and completely with you; focused on and in that moment. There is much more, but put simply, to be a good lover, I must be a mirror. ~Xtac Quote

The mirror metaphor is the absolute best guide I have come up with on how to be a good lover.  It shapes my interactions with more than a lover.  You need to be fully engaged with everyone around you, not in a speaking role but in a listening.  Like a mirror, you reflect that which is brought to you.   You need to make a full life, interacting with what ever life brings you, and you must make wonderful moments of what ever life brings you.  It is in this path of not clinging, but being fully there in the moment of each interaction, of making your joy and bringing it to each encounter, that you become the strong and desirable “life of the party”,  the one others gravitate to because you have something special to offer.

Like the delicate grip of a fencer, who must balance their swords without holding too tightly, if you would be a person who attracts what you desire most, you must let go before it can come to you.

Does that mean you will attract the one you have passion for?  Maybe not.  But if you are living a rich and full life, surrounded by happiness you have created, what does it matter if the plans you laid do not come to pass?  Don’t look further than inside you for happiness.

The universe is an amazing thing and often brings unexpected joys from unforeseen places.  Make your happiness, let go of what you think you must have, and embrace what you do have.. oddly you will find that by doing this, you will have more than you ever could have hoped for.

Attracting what you seek is not created by desire, neediness or plans.  What you desire comes to you by projecting quiet strength, confidence in yourself, humility, and appreciation for the little moments of life.  All of this is already inside you.  Remember that you are free to choose but not free to choose the outcome of your choosing. Let go of the outcome.  Love the little moments what ever they may bring.  In the pursuit of loving life, your happiness and much more will find you.

Carpe Diem my friends,  Go make a great day, by being someone’s great day.

5 thoughts on “The lover and the beloved

    • I am pleased it works for you. At times It became a mantra of sorts for pain. I found myself repeating… I am a mirror.. I am a mirror.. It helped to focus on the moment, instead of looking forward or back.

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      • Yeah…that takes a lot of self awareness though… Maybe that’s why a lot of Buddhist wear a beaded necklace or bracelet. So when their minds stray they turn to their beads to bring them to the present.

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  1. You and I have discussed this before and I think there is great wisdom here. Perhaps tangentially related, I try to remember that one can not give from an empty cup, and that we attract what we put out into the universe. Taken together, this is informative.

    As usual, you spawn thought, and I thank you. 🙂

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