Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Deliberate Love

Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, California, USA

May 13, 2007

This essay, Deliberate Love, is the companion piece to It is also the second in a group of twenty one on Love:

The trouble with being in love is it's a trip. It's said when you're in love you take a tumble. I hope I'll never fall  in love again. Really.

Instead I love deliberately.

I've committed to distinguishing attraction  from love. I'm a lover of love. It's interesting to me confronting the biological automaticity  in my "great" love affairs. It's sobering for me noticing the mechanical no-choice magnetism  in my grand romances. It's eye-opening for me distinguishing all the machinery I once mistook for choice and creativity in the matter of being in love.

I love my biology. I love my body. I love my body when it's next to your body. And I'm noticing when I'm "in love" how much of it's really my biology - not me - speaking ie I'm noticing how much of it my body - not me - runs.

When I make a point of distinguishing it, the disproportionate imbalance of automatic behavior over free choice in love is almost too disappointing, almost too hard to confront. First I got the myth of the tooth fairy. Then I got the myth of Santa Clause. Now I see it's only my biology wearing the lover's mask. I don't want it to be this way. I'm not ready, yet, for this cherished myth to be exposed.

But it's this way nonetheless. Built in to the machinery, it's nature's way of ensuring perpetuation of the human species, of any  species actually. And the truth is when I uncover it in myself and in my life, there's about as much love in it, there's about as much romance in it as in two hamburgers programmed to procreate.

The way we're wired, we're craaazy  about being "in love" when in fact all we're "in" is biological magnetism. We're crazy about all those great feelings nature rewards us with when, programmed with biological magnetism, we spawn and reproduce. We're just crazy that way. One of the hallmarks of being crazy is the cessation of distinguishing. That's why (and how and when) the distinction between attraction and love becomes blurred.

Attraction is automatic, biological, programmed, and as such isn't a reliable foundation for creativity, for mastery, for deliberate  love. The best attraction calls for is allowing body, biology, automaticity, and machinery to be. In this way, there's only programmed, driven procreation machinery. It's not a foundation on which to reliably build a created life. Creativity based on automaticity, falters.

Love, on the other hand, calls for allowing being, presence, and acceptance to be. In this way, there's deliberation and the possibility of choice. This is a foundation on which a created life can stand. Creativity based on creativity works. Creativity based on creativity allowing body, biology, automaticity, and machinery to be  works even better. In this way, I'm love deliberately allowing for automaticity. In any other way, the automaticity is programming love, the inmates are running the asylum, the tail's wagging the dog.

This distinction is all the more pertinent because when I distinguish love from attraction, I also distinguish love from repulsion. Once I've trained myself to love deliberately and to create space for attraction ie once I've trained myself to create space for automatic, biological, and programmed patterns of behavior, then as a natural easy by product  of training myself this way, I notice I've also created space for repulsion.

Repulsion, the opposite of attraction, is similarly comprised of automatic, biological, and programmed patterns of behavior. I can create space for another's repulsion ie I can create space for being rejected  by another, allow it to be simply their expression, and let it be. It's not personal, and I don't take being rejected personally. It's not me. Repulsion, too, is machinery. And all repulsion's machinery, like attraction's, is on automatic.

When your lover breathes "I want you", a fitting response may be "Of course  you do. So what else  you got?".

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