Falling in Love

20 Apr

The following is an excerpt from Byron Katie’s book “I Need Your Love – Is That True?” (pages 61-65).

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Falling in Love

The search for approval from friends, associates, and family members is a full-time job with no vacations. At its center lies the search for ultimate approval, the search that all the songs are about, for the person who will look at us and say, “You’re the one.” We call this “falling in love.” In this chapter we’ll look at falling in love and becoming a couple, and we’ll see who is really “the one.” 
     Falling in love is usually understood completely backward, like so many other important things. There’s no mystery to falling in love. We have fallen out of the awareness of love and are ecstatic when we find our way back, misunderstanding how we did it. Remember the little girl doing flips in the corner of the playground? She has the key. Look at her face, lit up with the excitement of perfection. She’s overjoyed just to be there with her legs and arms to play with. There is absolutely nothing more that she wants or needs, and she’s too absorbed in the moment to realize it. The flip she does is an expression of love itself. When she does the flip again, looking to see if she can win applause, she shifts her focus outward and cuts herself off from love. But love doesn’t go anywhere; she just loses her awareness of it. Later in life, people call experiences like this “falling out of love” and think that they’re about the other person.
     The little girl is innocently misdirected. She begins to think that the way back to her happiness—to a perfect moment—depends on the reaction of the other kids. Even though the awareness of love is always available, years might pass before she has it again, years she devotes to searching for love and approval outside herself. 
     When you’re constantly trying to be likeable, you leave no gaps in your life in which you can just breathe and notice what you already have, no chance to experience the unlimited options that those gaps are filled with. Even after you’ve attracted admirers and supporters, you’re still busy seeking results. You have to make sure that your friends do all the things friends are supposed to do—invite you to parties, send work your way, console you when you feel depressed. And it‘s never enough. You’re constantly on the lookout for any evidence that you’re not approved of or adored. 
     “Falling in love” is a powerful experience. If you look back, you may remember it as a moment when you stopped seeking. You stopped because you thought you’d found what you were looking for. Your mind was no longer filled with the effort, the desperation, of seeking. What you found is what you had in the corner of the playground and never really lost. But now you think it’s coming from another person, someone who is “the one.” 
     Many people fall in love for the first time as teenagers. By that time the simple playground joy has vanished (actually you left it, but that’s not how it seems). Dark thoughts appear—anxiety about how you’re not all right and how no one can ever love you. Then the miracle happens: Suddenly there is someone to love, and you can stop searching. Maybe it’s a boy in your chemistry class or a singer you saw at a rock concert. Maybe it’s a movie star or your best friend’s new girlfriend. With this kind of love you’re just as happy when there’s no hope of return. You don’t mind if a kiss is completely out of the question because you have braces on your teeth, or because you would never betray your friend, or because there is no possibility of meeting the rock star. These may be the very reasons that you let yourself love completely. 
     When you look back on that first crush, it’s possible to see that the girl you adored had nothing to do with it. Years later you can run into her again, stare at her all you want, and not have a clue what you saw there. You would have done anything to marry her, and now you’re grateful that she never noticed you.
     If the love isn’t coming from the other person, then who does that leave for the love to come from? There’s only one person left: you. You gave yourself the experience. The blissful feeling was not caused by how wonderful or sexy your best friend’s girlfriend was. It was you who felt the wonder and the excitement. Someone held up a mirror and showed you your heart. 
     There are those who say that a crush is a delusion, that it wasn’t real because it all came from you. Another way to look at it is that the crush was as real as any experience you’ll ever have: you just made a mistake about where the joy was coming from. The source wasn’t the brown-eyed girl or Leonardo DiCaprio; it was your own long-lost capacity to experience pure joy. When you had the crush, you found your way back to the child doing flips, just for herself. That’s the one you abandoned in order to seek an identity that you thought others would recognize. What we may think of as “first love” really takes us back to love itself, which is what we are to begin with.
     You find other ways to fall in love when you get older. As you leave your teens, the worst of your awkwardness diminishes; your approval-getting skills get better with practice. After many trials, you may find someone who approves of you so much that they tell you, “You’re the one.” You like that. You like to be approved of that much. And maybe you approve of them for other reasons as well (and maybe not, and even that won’t necessarily stop you).
     Since you’ve been approved of, you can ease up for a while: there’s much less straining to please and charm. Without your efforts getting in the way, love just flows. You bask in the happiness of it. Sometimes it seems like there’s enough love to include everyone and everything you meet. Again, you’ll probably think it’s all about him, the one who thinks you’re the one. But the happiness is really you returning to yourself. Love was there all along; only your painful thoughts obscured it.
     How long does that joy last? Grownup love is like the crush—it lasts only until painful thoughts cover it over. “What if she doesn’t really love me?” “He doesn’t listen.” “She shouldn’t have flirted with that guy.” Any one of these thoughts will destroy your happiness. And one way or another, that happiness will have to vanish as long as you believe the thought that love—the joy you stumbled into—depends on the other person.
     Most people believe that having love in their lives and escaping loneliness depends on finding some special person. This is an ancient belief, and it takes courage to question it. But if you do, you’re in for a big surprise: You can feel love either with or without someone in your arms. And no, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have a partner. Why would it? When with and without are equal, you notice that both are good: life allows all flavours, and all of them turn out to be your favourite.
     The old song asks, “Why do fools fall in love?” Actually, only fools don’t fall in love. Only a fool would believe the lonely, stressful thoughts that tell him that anything could separate him from another human being, or from the rest of the human race, or from birds, trees, pavement, and sky.

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One Response to “Falling in Love”

  1. An Urban Mystic April 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Thankyou for the share 🙂

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