Love and Attachment

Love is the sweetest melody in the world. It is the greatest blessing. All the joy and beauty is present in this simple word ‘love’. Yet for most of the people love is simply a nuisance. For them it is the real source of pain and misery. It is a wound that is unhealable. It is the ugliest word for them.
            How does love cause misery? It does because it is confused with attachment. Love and attachment are very different from each other. In fact, they are polar opposites. The difference between these two words can be understood through the difference between aloneness and loneliness.
            Aloneness is a state of fulfilment whereas loneliness is a state of emptiness. Aloneness is self-sufficient whereas loneliness is a sense of lack, a sense of loss or a sense of missing something. On the surface, both appear same. We understand both as being without something. Aloneness means that there is no body or thing with us and loneliness also means that we do not have anybody or anything with us. They look alike. But qualitatively both are opposites. In aloneness, you don’t have anybody or anything with you, but you do not want anything. There is no want, there is no craving for anything. The absence in aloneness is not hurtful. It does not hurt you, it does not pinch you. In fact, you are at ease with this aloneness, with this emptiness. Whereas the emptiness of loneliness is hurtful. It makes you restless, it makes you want or aspire for something. It cannot let you relax. It compels you to go somewhere and get something and get rid of this emptiness. So in both aloneness and loneliness there is an absence, but in aloneness the absence is peaceful, in loneliness the absence is disturbing. In aloneness you can be wherever you are without needing anything, without wanting anything, without looking for anything, without running around. In loneliness you are fidgeting, something is pushing you around and you simply cannot be peaceful.
            Now, one who is able to be alone is able to love and one who is lonely can never love, he can only be attached. Let us try to understand these things. Aloneness means you are contended with yourself. You do not need anything, you do not need anybody and because you do not need your beloved, you can love her. As long as you need somebody, as long as you need your beloved, you cannot love. How can you love? You would just try to possess her, you would want her to be always with you because whenever she was away or he was away you would feel lonely, you would feel empty and that would frighten you. You are afraid of this loneliness; therefore, you fall in so-called love with somebody and then you start possessing the person. So loneliness always leads to possession. Why is possessing a person against the basic concept of love? Because when you try to possess someone, you start controlling his/her life. Unknowingly you start intruding into her life, you start dictating her life: the way she should talk, persons she should talk to, the way she should hang out, and everything. You make yourself the master planner of her life. And this ruins her individuality, her independence. What a destruction, what an encroachment into someone’s life! How can this act of intrusion be called love! This possessiveness is the fruit of loneliness. Loneliness means attachment and attachment means you cannot let the person go because if the person goes away from you, you will be left totally empty. Hence, one who is lonely will always be attached and try to possess and one who is alone will be contented and will be able to love.
            One of my friends fell in love with a girl and she also gave him the green signal. So he was very excited – everybody gets excited to see the green signal. Now a point came when the girl’s mind changed and she refused, and he was heartbroken. He came to me and told me his sad tale. I told him, “Have you also refused her?” He said very confidently and boastfully, “No, I have not refused her, she has refused me”. So I told him, “If you have not refused her, then you just go on loving her. She has refused you but you have accepted her, so you can still love her.” And he could not see such a simple point because our logic works very differently. He thought if she had refused him, he must also refuse her. This is what we call love! A business deal! Give and take. You love me I love you, you hate me I hate you, you accept me I accept you, you refuse me I refuse you. What kind of love is this! My friend went one step ahead, he generalized the entire womankind. He said, “Women are always like that, they are unpredictable, they cannot be relied upon.” So I just advised him, “Go get a man. There is no dearth of heartbroken men all around. You can always get one. Make a pair. Then you mend his broken heart and he will mend yours and both of you live happily.”
            Why was my friend unhappy? He thought he had loved somebody and this love had caused him pain. Love hadn’t done anything at all. What he thought as love was nothing but attachment. He was trying to possess the other person because he was feeling lonely. These words are interconnected, just try to see their connection. You are lonely, you want something to fulfil you, that something you call love and when that so-called love is taken away from you, all of a sudden you are afraid. It is not the going away of the other person that causes you this fear. The fear comes from the fact that you have been left alone again to live with your loneliness. Now you begin to believe that this loneliness has been caused by the other person. The other must have been with you to help you forget this emptiness. Because the other didn’t help you, you are filled with violence, you are filled with hatred for the other. You feel the other has let you down, the other has betrayed you. It is nothing like that. The other has done nothing at all, neither good nor bad. You were simply misled by your mind. Now whatever comes out of this loneliness, any relationships, any kind of bonding is always going to cause you misery.
             Now try to look at what kind of love comes out of loneness. Because you are so contended with yourself, you will not enslave your beloved. You will not try to always keep the person with yourself, you will not try to possess her/him, you will respect his/her freedom. The beautiful freedom that we call love flowers from aloneness. Freedom cannot be an effort. You cannot try to give somebody freedom. In fact, freedom is not the seed, it is just a flower. It is a flower of aloneness. One who has sown the seed of aloneness, one who has dared to meet his own aloneness, one who is courageous enough to be alone will be able to love.
            Now there are simple ways of knowing whether you love somebody or you are simply attached to him. If in your love, there is no want, there is no need for the other, if you are totally contended, you will simply give freedom. You will simply accept the other. You will not try to change the other because you are simply at ease with yourself. So you can be at ease with the other also. So in the love born out of aloneness there is always freedom, acceptance, beauty, depth, joy and bliss. In the love born out of loneliness, there is always hatred, violence, possession, jealousy and suffocation. These two very commonplace words aloneness and loneliness can be immensely helpful to understand our own love. The simple measure is to ask ourselves whether the persons we love, do we accept them? Do we give them freedom? Are we jealous when they go to somebody else? If you are jealous, be sure it is just an attachment.
            I am again reminded of something. Most of us like little kids. We enjoy their company. We love to play with them. Their smile and their innocent talks delight us. Now just imagine: if a charming little baby were to turn an old, wrinkled, bent back, coughing, old man, would he receive the same love, same attention, would people want his company as much? Perhaps not. They would start avoiding that old baby. What had happened to this person? Nothing, simply his form had changed. Only the outer reality had changed, the inner reality would be just the same. Then why does it happen that we start avoiding old people. Because it was never love in the first place, the so-called love for that baby was not love at all. It was just an attachment. Your own empty self was delighted, was filled with some kind of joy to look at the baby’s smile. Now that smile is missing, those bright eyes have turned into dim eyes and you start avoiding because you never loved the person. You simply loved the person’s form. This is what attachment is. Attachment is only to a particular circumstance, attachment is only always to a particular form, to a particular appearance. But if you had loved the baby, you would definitely love the old form also because love has its own eyes. Love would see that only the form has changed; the inner self of the human being is just the same.
            So love can be a beautiful experience only when you take courage to meet your aloneness. When you are daring enough to live with your own aloneness then the flower of love blossoms and then you will definitely know that it is the sweetest melody, it is the most beautiful dance.

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