Love from a Buddhist Perspective
Have you ever felt that lonely? I have.
Today I'm alone
Nobody comes, nobody sees, nobody understands.
Only Me to rely on.
They all left,
I won't get attached to anyone anymore.
I would refuse getting attached to my boyfriends or lovers anymore, because I had been hurt and disappointed.
I felt abandoned, not worth of being truly loved.
Surprisingly, that “failures” helped me figure out that forgetting, or even being forgotten, doesn't say we didn't have perfect times before. It doesn't question the strengths of the feelings, the beauty of the moments. Most of the time it just shows we were not made to follow the same roads afterwards.
That’s how I decided to surrender on being afraid of losing the loved ones, of leaving or being left. I decided to enjoy moments and opportunities as a way to embrace life fully.
What does the Buddhist vision teach us about love, detachment, and happy endings?
1. About reaching happiness through ourselves
“Peace comes from within. Don’t seek it without”. Buddha
I had been living with a persistent delusion that people and things would provide me with more happiness and satisfaction than they really can. And this is where I used to get tripped up.
For example, how much am I using my partner’s love to fill a void in my own self-esteem and acceptance of myself? I have understood as time went by that a truly healthy individual is one who is complete by herself, and doesn’t need to depend on something external as a necessary condition for my happiness. Of course, I don’t mean we should go through life all alone, and isolate ourselves from the vibes of the others.
The Judeo-Christian education I received had conditioned me that way. I thought finding true love meant starting an ever-lasting relationship that would “help” and “be there” till the end. I don’t say this isn’t possible, of course it does exist, and it’s not always contradictory. Staying with someone forever doesn’t necessarily mean to stop striving on becoming a more complete individual, able to stand on her own.
But real contentment can only come from ourselves. This statement implies accepting we won’t fight our loneliness or insecurity through the others. That we won’t use them to heal our scars, to cover our personal demons.
The Judeo-Christian views clearly put aside the fact that people are evolving creatures of nature. As a result we grow, we change through the experiences we undertake and the people we meet along the way. Our boyfriends or lovers don’t always evolve the same way. We are our own life's guiding principles.
Striving to remain attached to our partner, if we don’t share the same goals or visions, is out of nature from a Buddhist perspective. It’s seen as wasteful.
2. About surrendering on getting attached to avoid suffering
“Everything that has a becoming has an ending. May your peace with that and all will be well”. Buddha
When I agreed to lose control on moments and people, to stop making future projections or wondering what could happen next, when and how the story will end, I discovered another kind of love. The one that doesn’t rely on belonging to one another to bloom.
This freed my soul from its chain, it thus became a lot easier to enjoy moments because I wasn’t expecting anything else.
Accepting Love is of course accepting uncertainty. It’s agreeing with the fact what we live may go as fast as it entered our lives, and may never come back. But this is not a reason to stay away from what Love could bring.
Attachment is for Buddhists quite the opposite of love. Attachment says “I want you to stay and make me happy, you’re my pill” – while Love says “I want you to be happy, and I’ll be happy for you, even if you’re elsewhere”.
What’s bring suffering in Love is the feeling that people belong to us simply because they love us, that we have the right to know what they do, what they think. It’s getting identified with something outside of ourselves.
Endings bring so much pain as we compare them to a loss. However when something dies, we don’t lose it, quite and simply because we have never owned it. We don’t own people.
From a Buddhist perspective, authentic Love is whole, complete and in essence, beyond suffering. The absence of Love is suffering. The illusion of loss leads to suffering. True Love does not leave a wound when it is lost, because true Love can never be lost. It stays in our memories. The way to avoid suffering is not to avoid Love and its risks, but to stay away from attachment and its illusions.
A few of the men I got to meet and had great stories with left indelible marks on my soul. Sometimes short romances have tended to change me, or to help me find my way more than long-run ones, they went deeper in the soul.
That’s why I have never regretted a second what happened when I decided to embrace life and its opportunities, even if sometimes I knew from the beginning that life would make us go on distinct road.
In the end, that’s how my life turned progressively into a beautiful road, paved with gemstones, each shining one representing an intense and energetic soulmate of the past.
“I don’t ask you to always love me like this, but I ask you to remember. Somewhere inside of me there will always be the person I am tonight". F. S. Fitzgerald
The charming Zelda Fitzgerald