Wednesday, January 15, 2003

A "Love Letter" to a Friend

Dear Xin,

To sum up Aster's view on love stuff, which I want to share with you, I am now writing on her behalf...

Aster is single, almost middle-aged, and sometimes finds herself craving for company in the form of a lover. On the other hand, she sometimes encounters friends who lament about being married, who are envious of her being a swinging single. She realised that just as singles sometimes crave to be married, the married sometimes crave to be single. Our feelings tend to alternate, our hearts fickle... in a seemingly endless cycle of attachment and aversion, of love and hatred. Being in love does not mean being in love all the time. Love in life alternates in wanting and not wanting. Such is the nature of us "Samsarans." True Happiness is breaking free from letting our desires control our happiness. True Happiness is neither guaranteed in singlehood or marriage; it is only guaranteed in letting go of wanting. This we have to understand, whether we wish to stay single, get married or "see how it goes."

True Happiness cannot be in having found love- for the dream of being in the bliss of love forever is an illusion, as nothing is permanent- it is only constant attachment to the idea that love brings constant happiness. This constant attachment is the cause of great suffering in due time instead. When one experiences the bliss of love most of the time (while being "naturally" attached to it), the moment of departure will be proportionately painful- be you are the one dying or the one watching your loved one die. It is unrealistic for unspiritual people to think they can have their cake and eat it- when they think they can be deeply in love and let it go easily when the final moment comes. If one can let go so easily, one wouldn't have clung on to love so strongly throughout; one would not even have chosen to be attached in love in the first place.

All we have now is this moment to relish, to live in. Aster realised how silly it was to wish the moment was other that what it presented. Why fret being single when single? Why fret being married when married? If the situation can be changed to what your heart desires, do it. If not, enjoy this moment without lament. Live happily in each moment, moment to moment. This is your life- now. Don't let it slip away. Any fantasy of another fantasy moment with a fantasy person is giving up happiness in this moment. So she resolved to be happily alone when alone, and happily with company when with friends... to be happy wherever whenever (hey Shakira haha) she was.

Sometimes I think you are in a win-win situation when it comes to love, though you are likely to disagree. You are on the path to Enlightenment, of relinquishment of all attachments. And you have the privilege of not being currently attached to anyone! Does this not make your spiritual path easier? Not being attached makes your practice harder only when you are attached to wanting to be attached! Not being attached also means you do not have someone you are committed to to relinquish (which can be very tricky due to attachment on both sides and other complicated feelings). Because of the above, you have a win-win situation! Then again, you do not need to have to be attached. All it takes is the desire to have something that you don't have at the moment. That is already attachment. The strongest attachments are to things you do not have yet. This desire to acquire.

In my chat with Aster, I concluded by posing a koan (a paradoxical Zen riddle used as a tool for attaining enlightenment upon its resolution), which she did not answer. A good koan is a realistic koan which relates to real life. Here it is... Now that you know you should try your best to relish the moment whatever it brings (meaning you open yourself to "all possibilities"), should you consciously open up your social circle to meet more guys? As you are very busy, not consciously opening up your social circle will hardly increase your chances of meeting potential boyfriends. In not opening up, you are as good as consciously ending your chances (narrowing "all possibilities" to "less possibilities")? Thus is the paradox- you should treasure the moment as it is; yet you have to make the effort to seek love if you wish to find love. But in the seeking, you are no longer treasuring the moment as it is- you are wanting otherwise. We talk about sui1 yuan2 (letting conditions be natural), but love does not always karmically arrive without some conscious effort. What should you do? My answer to this confounding koan is simple- it all boils down to whether you want love or not. I also have another equally simple answer- all this speculation is pointless. The fail-proof way to attract love is to be a loving person to everyone, even strangers. People love loving people; the unloving are more "unlovable." If someone is attracted to you in the moment because of your loving-ness (lovingkindness/ compassion...), relish the moment of being loved and make the next decision from there...

Relish the moment, yes. Relish being loved. Relish my love, my friend. Relish our friendship in the moment [ok ok I know you do :-] As you read this now, know that this is the only real moment. I write this lengthy letter of love and friendship because of love for you my friend. I have been all along offering you all I can except that which separates lovers from friends. It saddens me a little when you feel sad you have "no one". But what is love? What is friendship? I ask again... what is the difference? Is the difference that important? Can it be forgotten? Done away with? Even if there is a whole world of difference to you, make the best of this moment!

What fools we be for love! Maybe great perfect Bodhisattva equanimous love of all starts somewhere from imperfect loving of one person other than ourself? May we grow great in our selfless love. Whatever your decision is on love matters, whenever you have love-blues, I will support you best I can :-]

Metta, Zeph JoinMailingList4LatestUpdates/Reply

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