Our Bloggers

Christian Meier

Love and Insecurity

Together in love Together in love

Not long ago, I fell in love with a beautiful woman. Gently, we became a bit closer. She rejected me, right at the moment, when I was SURE that we had just opened up for each other, and I thought I could FEEL the love she also had for me. At first, my mind reacted with complete disbelieve. It told me that this must be some kind of error. Something within her must have closed down, she might be just not able to face the love and affection for her. When the rejection was confirmed, it really hurt. I was left with the pain of feeling cut off something really precious. And I couldn’t escape facing some of my deep-rooted believes around love and relationship. Which turned out to be a great opportunity for development.

 

Confronted with the pain and that huge question “what does all that mean??” echoing in my mind, I started an investigation. As my teacher had suggested it again and again, in my contemplation, I tried to rest on the mere sensation, following its trace inside. What was that deep longing I felt all about? That longing for RESONANCE, for resonating on the same wavelength of love and affection, for SHARING experiences, feelings, discoveries, insights ... This desperate urge to take part in the experiences, in the inner world of the other one, and let the other one take part in my experiences, insights, inner world. And the firm believe that this kind of sharing is actually possible.

Looking closely, I began to understand that my perception of my "loved one" was based on a whole bunch of assumptions and interpretations. I began to understand that the fact that I have an experience of bliss in a certain moment, or even the notion of consonance, does not imply in any way that the other person experiences the same or even something similar at this moment. It’s just an interpretation of something I see, hear or sense, based on my own feelings and anticipations. And even if she would have a similar experience, the conclusion made from the experience is very likely a very different one. Deductions like "oh, this feels somehow blissful and uplifting, what a perfect foundation for trying a relationship!" or, "wow, there is a strong physical resonance as well, this confirms our emotional and spiritual bondage!" are just constructions of my own mind and have nothing to do with the other person in the first place.

After a while of looking closely it became obvious that, in fact, I am fundamentally alone in a sense. Even in the most intimate situations. Even when I feel so close. We all are alone with our own experience. By interacting, I stimulate certain feelings, thoughts and mind patterns in the other person, which then manifest in a certain way, which is again interpreted by me. Sounds complicated and I'm pretty sure it actually is. But chances are that all this is far away from a real "understanding" as I meant to experience it.

Now, all this is not COMPLETELY new for me, but the whole extent and the vast implications were not obvious to me. (Maybe for you, the reader, it’s all pretty apparent.) From this viewpoint it is a miracle that even the most basic communication, let alone a "love relationship" works at all in the slightest way. It leaves us pretty fragile, uncertain, thrown back on our own. And I remember that I have heard that before in one or another comment of a teacher. Fortunately, for most of the time I am able to see that insight as a kind of a breakthrough, a liberation from foggy stuff impeding my view. But there are also moments when I feel very lonely and completely isolated.

Trying to fully understand and accept this – where exactly does my deep longing for RESONANCE then come from? Well, I suppose in this regard I'm still on my way to find an answer. But there are at least some assumptions, some first insights. Maybe there is a deep knowing about the possibility of boundless love within me, which shows as that longing for unity. Then there is very likely a deprivation of affection, reaching back to my early childhood. But there is also this fundamental feeling of just not being WHOLE, of having to affirm my own wholeness through another living being, who then receives my special affection. This one will probably not finish before I find my own “completeness” through insight and meditation.

Reflecting on this, "by chance" I stumbled across a teaching (see below) by Dzongsar Khyentse, a comparably young teacher with a refreshing and pretty unorthodox way of teaching and looking at things. And in this talk he says very clearly that the way we approach relationships is very much based on insecurity. Our insecurity makes us look for the “right” partner to live a romantic tragedy – which is doomed for failure, otherwise it wouldn’t fulfil the criteria for a romance. He goes as far as to say that there is no such thing as successful communication – there is only successful or unsuccessful miscommunication. When the misunderstanding does NOT work, we have a good time. And he says, in Buddhism there is no such thing as “sharing” – you can do your best to describe your experience, but in the end you have no way of knowing the experience of the other person.

In a way, I feel relieved to hear this. Makes it look like I’m not on the wrong track with my reflections. At the same time it doesn’t throw a very gentle light on love relationships at all. Hearing this, one could actually be very happy if one has successfully AVOIDED being in a love relationship. And there are quite some days when I actually feel like this. But then he also says, when a relationship comes to you, you shouldn’t fight it either. Be confident and let it flow. And it often comes from the least expected direction, at an unexpected moment.

So, it seems like there is again no place for extremes, no need for another homemade drama. Looks like it’s best to be open and meet courageously whatever happens. Being always aware that we can only share the insecurity. And, knowing all that, keeping a good sense of humour.

P.S. The talk I refer to, you can find on http://www.khyentserecordings.org/namo/Podcasts.html It’s the last one in the list (No. 18).