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


Experience Of Love

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

February 22, 2022

"The moment when you really experience that you have created yourself being whatever way you are, at that same moment you will never have to be that way again."
"Love is granting another the space to be the way they are and the way they aren't so they can change if they want to and they don't have to."
This essay, Experience Of Love, is the twentieth in a group of twenty one on Love: I am indebted to Colin Goodman who inspired this conversation.

We were talking about his recent break-up with his girlfriend of five years. What he wasn't  struck by, was that the break-up happened in the first place, in fact he had been expecting it. What came with the break-up was the typical sadness and dislocation that we've all experienced at some time or another when a relationship ends, especially when we're not a willing party to it ending (willing or not, there's that old saying "It takes two to start a great relationship and only one to end it."). What he was  struck by was this: he said "It feels like she took something from me. How is that possible?". And it was in "How is that possible?"  that I heard him struck most.

I asked him "Indeed! How is  that possible? It's possible only if we assign the source of our experience of love, to the other. It's possible only if you assign the cause  of your experience of love, to her. But is that possible if you're clear you're really the source of your own experience of love?" (it was a rhetorical question: I was provoking, angling actually). After a moment of contemplation he said pensively "I loved her, I say. With my  love, I say. With my  experience, I say. If all that's true, it's not really possible for someone to take that from me ... unless a) I'm not telling the truth and / or unless b) I've allowed them to. Hmmm ..." with pursed lips.

Now that  was a great insight, right on the money in fact. He was being so brutally honest that I shivered. I suspected that he was seeing something for the first time ever, something epic, something pivotal. Ordinarily we assign the source of love and of loving, to the other person. When I say "I love you", it's ordinarily because I'm enchanted with something you do, or are like, or a way you be, or who you are. Yet unexamined, that's also a way of love and loving which produces the most sadness and dislocation when / if the other person leaves: when they're gone, all the good stuff is gone with them. That's the bad news. The good  news on the other hand, is after a period of Self-examination, it's easy to see that it's not a powerful place to love from (if you will), one which can easily be re-assessed and corrected.

So: if assigning the source of love and loving to the other person, isn't a powerful place to love from, then what is  a powerful place to love from, an extraordinary  place to love from? He already got it / knew it / had it ... yet hadn't examined it in the light of his own experience: the source of our love and loving, isn't the other person (pop songs, poetry, and romantic myths notwithstanding). Rather, we  are the source of our love and loving. We're the source of our love and loving and the fullness and joy which goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) our love and loving, regardless of another coming or going, what they look like, or what qualities they bring. Assigning the source of our love and loving to the other person, leaves us helpless over the experience - and hence leaves us sad and powerless when it ends. Experiencing ourselves as the source of our love and loving, is to own our love so that it's always here, always with us, no matter who comes, no matter who goes.

There's that famous line in the popular movie: "You complete  me ...". I don't want to sound like I'm putting the kibosh on the joy of being in love. But could it be (I mean could  it?) that "You complete me ..." as a measure of love, loving, and being in love, is actually a recipe for disaster? "What do you mean?" he asked, intrigued.

We spoke easily, relaxed, trustingly. If you complete me, and then you leave me, am I still complete? If I say you complete me, am I saying I wasn't complete before I met you? And if I wasn't complete before I met you, and by coming into a relationship with you, you complete me, what happens if, while we're in a relationship, I complete my own life for myself: do we still have the same relationship we once had? The questions are disconcerting ... yet only as long as I have it that you are the cause of my experience of love. Something extraordinary becomes possible for us when we share an experience of love in which we're each the source of our own.

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