“Love alone gives life meaning. That is: the more capable we are of living and surrendering ourselves, the more meaningful our life becomes.”
I like this quote for any number of reasons but two that pop out are the affirmation of love being the ultimate force that holds the universe together and number two – how to find meaning in life.
By “glue” and “holding together” I don’t necessarily mean this in a literal sense (although this too might be true) but in the sense that love is the centre round which everything else revolves. And meaning – this is something I still struggle with. I want my life to have meaning separate from love – not completely detached, mind you – but apart from needing anyone else in my world.
I want my life to have meaning in the existential sense that this soul is here for a purpose and that purpose will be fulfilled (and is being fulfilled) by its mere existence. This, of course, is nonsense. This is a manifestation of ego. It is also an effect of North America’s peculiar culture of individualism. We all admire the lone cowboy riding off into the sunset. A true hero stands alone etc. etc.
Wiser cultures in the world know that we do better collectively. And perhaps that is why socialism is so abhorrent to North Americans, particularly those raised with the never-ending cultural hero-worship of John Wayne and Shane – man against the elements – going it alone. How brave! Looking after your fellow man? Hell no – I pulled myself up by my bootstraps – let them all do the same.
We fail to remember that we are all connected – that my fate and my happiness depends on yours. We are truly filled with joy when we give selflessly – when we extend a helping hand to our fellow beings, whether those are humans or any other form of life. We are one with every living being in the universe.
So – back to love and meaning. If I look closely at all the things that have given my life meaning, they boil down to love. Because I value autonomy so strongly, I have had an ongoing battle with this. I took on the word “surrender” once for a year just because I found it so difficult.
I look at the line between looking after my needs and surrendering to the needs of another. When we have children and love them dearly, it is only natural to want to do whatever we can to make them happy – or at least, to provide an environment that gives them the opportunity to strive for those things that will ultimately make them happy. Happiness, after all, is a result – not an end goal.
I believe it is the same when we fall in love with another person. We want to make them happy. But in all cases, when we look at supporting the beloved and doing what we can to further them on their path, do we give up things that are important to us? Is that self-defeating? Or, in the end, does the happiness we give the beloved, make us so happy that we are, ultimately fulfilled?
These are questions to ponder. I do believe it is true that we must love ourselves deeply and honestly or we cannot fully love another. And we are connected.
More and more, as I make choices in my life, I want to make them thoughtfully. I want to take time with them. I want to make sure that every choice comes from love. I think that is at least part of the answer I am searching for.
And now, sun pouring into the house; sourdough bread rising in its proofing bowls; contented dog snoozing at my feet. A deep quiet settles over the house.
A sense of connection and love.