“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
I read an interesting article today on the Buddhist notion of love, and it’s really made me pause and re-evaluate my concept of what love is… and what it should be.
I must admit that in love, I can turn inwards, become insular, and all consumed. However I am coming to realise that love is really about helping one another to face outward, not merely inward.
“In the Buddhist tradition, there’s no “tying the knot.” There’s no two candles, two souls “becoming one.” Instead of facing one another, completing one another (Jerry Maguire) and living happily ever after (which only happens in fiction and even then they never show, they just tell), the Buddhist visualization of a successful marriage is this:
Two friends (who want to make out constantly) facing the same direction together, symbolically east—the direction of the rising sun—as in our awakening, fundamentally a-ok human nature. Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit.
I realise now that love is about more than the 2 people involved. It’s about loving each other enough to give each other freedom. And I know that’s an old cliché “If You Love Someone, Set Them Free. If They Come Back They’re Yours”. However the older I get, and the more experience I have, the more I see the truth in this statement.
But it’s not just letting them go, it’s about giving them freedom always.
It’s about sharing life together, but apart. Maintaining individuality whilst nurturing a relationship.
And that’s a balance. Too much “together” is stifling. Too much “apart” and really what’s the point?
I guess love is about having the internal strength to say to your other half: “be free. Do your own thing, and I will do my own thing. I give you the space to be yourself, to do what makes you happy, and I will do the same. And yet I will be loyal to you, to our relationship, and to our future. At the end of the day I will come home to you, and to us “.
It’s about spending as much time nurturing yourself as you do the relationship. Creating a strong foundation within yourself – so that you bring strength and stability into the relationship instead of looking for that in your partner.
“PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.” Gerald Rogers
Maybe this is truly the way to build a strong relationship.