A Different Kind of Love;
Exploring the Purpose of Love
Tamar Atri Raine
What is Love? True love is having love for everybody. True love is non-possessive. The very nature of God, or the inner Self is Love. Love without conditions, love without a sense of duality—i.e. you/me, him/her, she/she, he/he. In true love you accept the other person fully as she is without trying to change her, without expecting her to be a certain way, you can just love her for who she is. Just accept everything about her knowing she is your very own Self. You can share you life, your love together without binding each other in a relationship…
I am struggling daily to understand these great ideals; meditating, thinking, learning from everybody daily, going within and rooting out jealousy, lust, and seeing why I love somebody so much. The person I love has all the good qualities I look for in friends and lovers; kindness, caring, compassion, gentleness, and a wholesomeness that is hard to come by in the people I live and associate with daily, it’s hard to define, but is seems that this person is very grounded and doesn’t withdraw or space out all the time, appreciating the whole of life—just a very earthy person who is comfortable being around others, who isn’t afraid to show affection…a mirror for myself…
Lines from a Joan Baez song filter through my mind:…”If love means forever expecting nothing returned, then I hope I’ll be given another whole life time to learn…” Then yesterday somebody showed me a flyer from the Center for Attitudinal Healing, which lists its principles; one of which is; giving and receiving [love] are the same thing—and when you take that to the ultimate understanding which is that there is only you, and you are God, and you can see the other person as God, then you are giving your love to God, you are giving love to yourself; then it doesn’t matter whether or not the love is returned, the only thing that matters is that You have that love, that You feel that love.
This is difficult for most Westerners to understand, believe me I know, I’m approaching my third decade of life, and I grew up on the typical, not-so-healthy diet of television and movies, heterosexuality everywhere. On popular music which proclaims that a woman without a man is like a fish out of water, that being alone is a terrible thing, that life would be so great if only he loved me, and on and on.
There have been a few gemstones among the songs, Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”—for instance….”Don’t go changing the color of your hair, don’t change the style of your clothes—I love you just the way you are.”
It’s not easy, I know. It’s not easy not to have expectations, desires, hopes….We think we Need somebody, somebody to care for us, somebody to care about us, somebody to give us that love which we are so hungry for. Theses are concepts that have been ingrained in us from the time of birth. In limited or romantic love, in exclusive love, there is always fear; fear of rejection, fear of losing the person we love, although in truth we never really have that person. In divine love, however, there is no fear, there is only that love.
If you saw me walking down the street, you might think I was drunk. If you happen to call me on the phone you might think I was a kid playing a joke, or perhaps that I was sick. The garbled, guttural sounds I make might scare your children, and they would probably stare at me while you looked away, trying to ignore me and hoping that you never have a child with cerebral palsy.
My mother did not give birth to a child with cerebral palsy; I was born perfectly normal, however, I did sustain brain damage as an infant while I was ill with Hepatitis and Jaundice. That’s what cerebral palsy is; brain damage to the central nervous system which controls all the muscles in the body and how they interact with each other. Most of the time it doesn’t interfere with a persons intelligence or emotional responses, although because the disabled tend to be isolated from society there are often inadequate social skills among the severely disabled. I used to feel I was “behind” until about four years ago; I don’t anymore, life itself is the best teacher—if only you will put yourself out into the real world It’s not always easy, but the rewards can be great.
Growing up disabled is difficult, but like any other child there are good days and moments of joy and elation, as well as the frustrations, the struggles. This is where the family attitude comes in; you can help disabled children by loving them for who they are, giving them a sense of responsibility and by showing them they can live a fully life even if they are disabled or physically different. It’s not the end of the world to be disabled, believe me, I know, I’ve had cerebral palsy all my life. I know all the struggles, the stares, the cruelty, the laughs, the rejection, the physical barriers, the barriers of attitude, but I’ve come to see that this life is to teach me something about patience, compassion, understanding, and also to looking beyond the physical body and getting to the core of humanity which is the Self within, the God within. Being disabled does not mean anything, anything can be positive or negative, it’s your own attitude towards life which makes it positive or negative. In a sense the cerebral palsy has been a gift.
A gift? You must think I’m nuts. It is a different concept certainly, but it is true that suffering is a great teacher of compassion. And since people can’t readily understand my speech, I’ve had to develop patience in repeating myself, or finding other ways of communicating. I’ve developed a will to live my life as fully as possible and if that includes falling in love, so be it. I’m just like any other young woman, I have all the same passions and desires, a need to be loved as well as a need to give love and to share my life with someone special.
Finding someone special is difficult, how many people will even take the time to talk to me and get to know who I am? How many will take a chance—how many can see beyond the physical problems? How many people can truly accept me as I am? Very few, and even fewer are the ones I will trust my heart to; I’m not just looking for a lover, but for the qualities I like; a friend…I recently met somebody who seemed interested in me and who also had all the qualities I look for. He is a very sweet man and I love him dearly, and our friendship is still growing.
To say that the person I love doesn’t love me is wrong, I know he loves me (in the true sense) and he likes me, he has never said any harsh words to me, never deliberately or knowingly hurt me, he is a very patient and good-humoured soul. I just want to give him everything I can, want to be friends until the end of time. I’ve cried a lot this past month, and at times it felt my heart would break, my heart did break, but it broke open in a beautiful way so that I could love this man in a very pure way as well as my love for everybody deepened to a new depth; this is the true love, the true spirituality. For in all my pain, there has been something deeper and stronger sustaining me, I had to go very deep within my own being once again and discover my own love, find my own center.
And in that center, in that Love, there is no anger, no resentment, if I have been angry at this man, it has totally been dissolved in that Love; anger has no chance to build up, there is really nothing to be anger about, but the mind keeps trying anyhow. All my anger is being rooted out of me, dissolved and turned into Love…A different kind of love. And it’s so amazing—I’m still amazed to see how deep this love can go, I’ve been practicing Siddha Yoga for over four years now, and the love is still growing, deeper and deeper. I keep wondering how much deeper can it get? How can I hold it all in? It takes a certain kind of strength—you know how overwhelming it can be to feel love for one person, imagine feeling intense love for many people all at once. The love has to grow, the strength has to grow to hold it too. The inner strength is actually God, so what’s growing is the awareness of God, or the Inner Self—the awareness of our own inner source happens through meditation on that inner source as well as divine Grace. I am lucky to have that living Grace in my life.
If we want to know and love God, we must first know and love ourselves in the deepest sense, because God dwells within us—for us, and AS us. By loving ourselves as well as the Inner Self of all, we can love others much more fully and deeply than we normally experience. This life is nothing more than a drama, an illusion. God doesn’t take anything in His creation seriously, why should we? It’s only because we are trapped by the veil of Maya (illusion), that we think this world even exists. Still, we are here in this physical plane to grow and evolve into our highest potential which is a state of union with God, and to help us evolve and grow, we must go through certain processes, and so we must learn the lessons of true love and compassion, which is why we fall in love—have you ever thought about it really, why do we fall in love? What is the purpose of falling in love?
I will tell you what has come to me through my introspections; when we fall in love, it means our heart has opened up to someone—for whatever reasons—most of us have only a limited amount of love most of the time for a small number of people. But when we start on a path of meditation or Yoga, we start feeling more love for everybody on a universal level, then one day you see somebody and boom, you think you are “in love”. The truth is that what you are responding to is a reflection of your Self, the other person may or may not feel the same way, right? It’s all in your own consciousness that this love is taking place, the other person hasn’t yet crystalized in you mind as “real,” but then as you get to know this person, you start seeing the quirks, the habits, things your ego doesn’t like, and you’re not in love anymore…unless of course, your love is true. True love goes beyond the carnal desires, beyond the quirks, to the essence of the Being within, true love is not exclusive love for only one person or a group of people. Love is the highest religion, welcoming others with love and respect is the highest worship. This was Swami Muktananda’s teaching, and it is what his successor teaches.
Tamar Atri Raine is a devotee of the revered Indian Siddhas master Swami Muktananda, who before his death in October 1982, passed on the power of lineage to Swami Chidvilasananda, Ms. Raine has continued along the Siddha path in her own growth process with Swami Chidvilasananda. She is afreelance writer—poet with cerebral palsy who is currently working on a book about her life both as a seeker and a physically challenged young woman.
Epilogue: This flirtatious romance is now over, I learned a lot from it, learned a lot about myself, and about men. I still care very much for the guy, and hope someday I’ll be able to look at him, meet his eyes without having the passions and the disappointment come up. I know that time and Grace will heal all wounds.