Love is Profound Interest

February 14, 2008
How would you define love?

“Love is profound interest”

Isn’t that a great statement?

I read that in an article that came with a request for me to review a book called Essence of Tantric Sexuality by Mark Michaels (Swami Umeshanand Saraswati) and Patricia Johnson (Devi Veenanand). Though I’ve heard about Indian Tantric practices, I didn’t know much about them. The authors, who have been teaching Tantra and Kriya Yoga together since 1999, note that, “Although the number of Tantric texts that deal directly with sexual activity is quite small, most Westerners associate Tantra with love, sex, and relationships. While Western ideas about Tantra are thus somewhat misguided, if you can bring a Tantric sensibility to love and relationship, your love life will be richer and more fulfilling.”

If you have read my blog on Soulmates and Solemates, you can see that I liked what they said about love, although I don’t think one needs to follow Tantric practices to have intimacy with your partner. Here are a few quotes from the article:

“Celebrating Valentine’s Day is controversial in 21st-century India. This is due, in part, to the rise of Hindu fundamentalism and objections to the holiday’s Christian origins. More importantly, conservative Indians view Western ideas about romantic love as alien and immoral. Arranged marriages are still very much the norm, even as India becomes a technological superpower, and in arranged marriages, love is a fringe benefit, not a necessity.

… Tantric love involves focused attention, awareness and reverence for the other.

By contrast, the contemporary romantic model treats love as either superficial and fleeting or full of drama, pain, and suffering, while insisting that it is the basis for any good relationship. The romance industry would have us believe that the only valid form of love is the kind that leaves us light-headed and swooning or that we must seek completion in another, that a single soul-mate is out there in the world and that once we find that special someone, everything will be all right. This can not only set people up for disappointment and an endless search for the “one,” it can also lead to the belief that the intensity of early infatuation is the only kind of romantic passion worth having. In reality, this intensity is fleeting; our biology guarantees that it will pass after three to six months.

… The Tantric approach is radically different, and the ancient tradition of spiritual partnership remains relevant today. In this model: “The relationship between partners is one of mutual aspiration, effort, and assistance. The two are equals, with neither one regarding the other as inferior or as an object to be manipulated for selfish purposes.”

Protecting Broken Hearts

January 30, 2008
Explore whether you have tried to keep your heart intact by shutting it away

Broken heartWith Valentine’s Day coming up shortly, on some of the blogs between now and then I’d like to focus on love in its various forms. Today I’m bringing you a quotation by C. S. Lewis as the introduction to several questions about broken hearts.

“If you want to make sure of keeping your heart intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken – it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the dangers of love is Hell.”

Since few of us have gotten through life without ever having our hearts broken, I suggest you look carefully at the following questions to explore whether you have tried to keep your heart intact by shutting it away.

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS FOR UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF AND FOR STRENGTHENING FRIENDSHIP AND RELATIONSHIPS

Is a broken heart the price one pays for being human?

Have I been able to comfort myself when my heart was broken so that I would not be afraid to open my heart to love again? How did I do that?

What has a broken heart taught me about myself so that I am a better person than I would have been had I not experienced that loss?

What has a broken heart taught me about others?

What do I allow to stand between me and accepting love fully from others? Why?

What part did I play in the circumstances that caused my heart to break the last time it was broken? Why?

If my heart has been broken many times, is there something I have failed to learn from the experience that makes me unnecessarily vulnerable again and again?

If I have carefully wrapped my heart in “hobbies and little luxuries” as a way to avoid entanglements so that it will not be broken, is that security worth the price of the love I might have had instead if I had worked toward a satisfying relationship with someone?

NOTE: The broken heart comes from Embroidery and Digital Printing, a company with a wide variety of embroidery styles for any occasion. (No minimums and no setup)

Valentine’s Day All Year Long

February 14, 2007
Giving thanks and finding love.

My Valentine’s gift to my husband will be a fresh batch of caramel brownies without nuts because he doesn’t care for nuts in his brownies, cookies, cake or ice cream. Since I think you should have nuts in everything, this is a good example of the compromises that have helped us stay together for forty-seven years. And because he doesn’t need an expensive Valentine’s card to know I love him, I’ll cut a heart out of red paper and that will do for my be-my-Valentine card.

Over the years I’ve noticed that many people on Valentine’s Day get caught up in the belief that receiving one particular gift means you are loved more than you would be if you got another gift. And as Noel Coward once said, “Don’t give unto others what you would have them give unto you. They may not have the same taste.”

Not only do we all speak a different love language, we do well to remember that it’s not the gift we give or receive on one specific day that proves we love or are loved. It’s how we express our love in small, and sometimes more significant, gestures the other 364 days of the year.

Opening to Love 365 Days a YearTherefore, recognizing that giving and receiving love is a full-time job, I’m glad to recommend a special love and romance book—and/or newsletter—by a husband-and-wife team of love and marriage specialists, Judith Sherven, PhD and James Sniechowski, PhD. Their book, Opening to Love 365 Days a Year, contains a daily brief meditation, one-sentence affirmation, and quotation.

Go to Amazon.com and take a look at all the five-star reviews the book has received. Then buy the book to get valuable perspectives on how you can keep love and romance in your life every day. Or, if you’d like to get an e-reminder of these same pieces of love tips, for free, go to their website and sign up for their daily newsletter. Each day you’ll get the same great advice, but in an every-day form.

Learn how to give the gift that keeps on showing your love long after Valentine’s Day.

A gift that keeps on giving is always gratitude, and here is gratitude that fills my heart and soul with love not only today but every day:

I give thanks for life.

I give thanks for whoever designed the blood pressure cuff, so that I can know every day if I need to take medicine for my blood pressure.

I give thanks for the training and skill of pilots.

This last thanks arises from my trip back from Eureka through San Francisco on Monday. Right as we took off the man ahead of me shouted that a smaller commuter plane had taken off right under us and 200 feet to the right! I hadn’t noticed, but he apparently knew a lot about the airline and even knew the name of the pilot, Chris. All I noticed is that, while most planes speed up after take-off, our plane definitely slowed down. Then, as the plane banked left, making a wide circle over the bay, the pilot calmly said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve been given permission to give you a tour of the bay.” Then he proceeded to describe points of interest. That’s never happened before. So when I say I am thankful for skillful pilots, I mean it. Don’t know if the other plane took off without permission or if the control tower made a mistake, but I’m sure glad someone knew how to put distance between the planes.

Hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day and that you continue to show your love 365 days a year.