Advice, Agape, Attached Love, Brotherly Love, Erotic Love, Human Nature, Life, Love, Mature Love, New Love, Parental Love, Passion, Philos, Poetry, Romantic Love, Unconditional Love

A Flock of Sparrows for Majel: Love Sold Here by the Pocketful

A Flock of Sparrows for Majel

(About a 3 minute read)

People say “Love is a precious rock of great price”.
I can see that’s true enough — so far as it goes.
But saying that is like starting to tell a great joke,
Then suddenly trailing off into silence before the punch line.
It’s like a mathematical equation that isn’t balanced yet.
It’s like a lonely young man or woman without a partner.
It’s like the proverbial eight fast and furious minutes
That is sex the scientists say for most of us much under the age of 35.
But I suspect there’s so much more to love than that.

Continue reading “A Flock of Sparrows for Majel: Love Sold Here by the Pocketful”

Attached Love, Awe, Bad Ideas, Education, Erotic Love, Human Nature, Ideas, Knowledge, Learning, Love, Mature Love, New Love, Parental Love, Romantic Love, Science

Do the Sciences Rob Love of Beauty and Mystery?

“It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery … It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.” — Carl Sagan

SUMMARY: I reject the notion that the sciences rob love of beauty and mystery.

(About a 4 minute read)

Love is probably the best thing most of us will ever experience in life.  This fact is made even more astonishing when you consider that life also includes blogging, and yet love amazingly edges out blogging even in the minds of otherwise sensible people when it comes to the best things in life.

But what is love?

There seem upon examination to be so many kinds of love that it would be perfectly understandable if the question, “what is love”, made us all go off into a corner, suck our thumbs, and whimper.  At least, I think it would be perfectly understandable.  But then, going off into a corner, sucking my thumb, and whimpering is what I do with about a quarter of my day, especially after reading the news headlines.

Continue reading “Do the Sciences Rob Love of Beauty and Mystery?”

Abuse, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Human Nature, Life, Living, Oppression, Parental Love, Religion, Religious Ideologies

Rising Above Human Nature

“Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we were put in this world to rise above.” — Katherine Hepburn, African Queen.

SUMMARY:  Our cultures need to be doing more to ameliorate the effects of our negative human instincts.

(About a 4 minute read)

It’s my impression that most of us these days are at least dimly aware that human nature can be out of joint with human happiness.  That is, we can have a disposition or inclination to certain feelings and behaviors that more or less inevitably lead us into unhappy situations, and even misery.

Warfare is an example of that.  While humans apparently do not have an actual instinct to war upon each other, we do indeed have a full set of instincts that mean war is all but directly hardwired into our DNA.

Continue reading “Rising Above Human Nature”

Agape, Attachment, Consciousness, Enlightenment, Human Nature, Ideas, Life, Living, Love, Mysticism, Parental Love, Quality of Life, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-Integration, Self-Realization, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

SUMMARY: There is a relatively rare form of love that is more of a perception — or way of perceiving the world — than it is an emotion.

(About a 6 minute read)

There is a kind of love that — even if it were unpleasant — would be worth experiencing.

This is what I call, “unconditional love”.  Buddhists, I believe, call it , “loving-compassion”, and Christians call it “agape”.  Many people around the world consider it the “highest” or most “pure” form of love.

Some other folks call it “altruistic love”, but I find that term misleading, not because there isn’t an element of altruism in it, but because altruism is so poorly understood, largely perhaps because it is so difficult to explain.

Many folks who have never experienced it do not believe it exists, or even reason that it logically cannot exist.

Unconditional love would be worth experiencing even if it were unpleasant (at least in my opinion) because it brings with it great insight into people and things, compassion, and a feeling or sense of renewal or rebirth — among other things.

But what is it?

Continue reading “Unconditional Love”

Agape, Erotic Love, Goals, Human Nature, Life, Love, Mature Love, Meaning, New Love, Parental Love, Philos, Purpose, Religion, Romantic Love, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Sexuality, Society, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love

How Love Transforms Us

(About a 7 minute read)

One of the curious facts of human nature is that, if we are not rather frequently reborn through-out our lives, we suffer, and suffer greatly, for not having been reborn.  Equally curious is the fact the truth of that is not more widely recognized and understood.

Nearly everyone it seems has at least heard it is important to be true to oneself, or that a purposeful and meaningful life is a life worth living.  But the fact that life must involve a series of rebirths — that is largely missing from our general awareness of spiritual truths.

Continue reading “How Love Transforms Us”

Abuse, Butch, Ethics, Family, Friends, Goals, Happiness, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mature Love, Meaning, Morality, Morals, Parental Love, People, Purpose, Quality of Life, Rae, Relationships, Romantic Love, Sex, Sexuality, Shannon, Society, Tara Lynn, Tomoko, Values

Butch and Rae: An Unlikely Love Story

(About a 16 minute read)

Butch was such a nondescript man that he surely did not need a crowd to be overlooked by most anyone of us.  He was of average build, and just under average in height.  There was nothing either ugly or handsome about his face.   Blue eyes, a bit narrow.  Sandy hair.  Pale complexion.  Not only was he easily overlooked, he was even more easily underestimated.

Had you seen him during the time we knew each other, you most likely would have thought, “janitor”.  Arms too thin for construction, looks too unpolished to be a professional or even a store clerk.   And you would have been right.  At that time in his life, Butch was a janitor.

He was also one of those curious sort of people you sometimes come across in small towns and rural areas.  An honest genius with no more than a high school education, and no ambitions for himself.

Continue reading “Butch and Rae: An Unlikely Love Story”

Family, Logic, Love, Parental Love, Reason

My Rational Mother

(About a 4 minute read)

Almost certainly because I composed a poem about her this morning, I am missing my mom, who died a year ago to this month.  And as so often happens, one of the three or four top things I’m missing is her rationality.

I’m under the impression most folks simply do not closely associate rationality with their mothers.  I hope that’s more because they value other things, such as love, so much more than because their mothers were not very rational.  But it would not be much of an exaggeration to say, my mother was, not merely rational, but hyper-rational.

Continue reading “My Rational Mother”

Emotions, Family, Love, Parental Love, Passion, Poetry

Of All That Her Heart Ever Past to Mine

(About a 2 minute read)

I am grateful to my mother
For her last words to me
Which she spoke months
Before her death at 99.

She was by then bound
To a wheelchair, her body
Scared from operations
And with parts missing
That had betrayed her
Long before the day
She last spoke to me.

She was not always there,
Drifted in and out at times.
Mostly out. Long ago
Her wonderful mind
Began confusing itself.
Her personality changed too.
Now she could be rude
And aggressive, callous
And cruel.

It froze my heart,
Hurt like ice on fire,
When she was like that,
So much someone else.
So much already gone.

Though she was never
Like that to me.
Only the kind staff
At her final home.

And I resented
That I’d lost her —
Her wisdom, insight,
Humor and advice.

I could yearn,
Like an infant yearns
To suckle a breast,
To hear her witty
Observations again.

My brother called me
From her room
But she was too deaf
To hear me over the phone,

And maybe didn’t know
What was going on at all.

Then she caught on

And I heard “Is that Paul?”

Suddenly her voice was young,
Twenty years younger and clean,
Clean as a huge boulder
After a mountain storm.

Crisp as a Hawk’s beak,
And out-stretching to me
Like an eagle’s wings.

Her voice rose
Like a sacred breeze,
And she with passionate force,
So forceful that I felt
Her turning her head
Towards the phone:

“I love you, Paul!”

The words were words
Commonly said by moms
But they were alive.

Yes her words were true,
But also a final summation
Of her life with me,
Of my life with her.

Of all that her heart
Ever passed to mine,
Of all of the gifts
My mother ever gave me,

None was finer than
Her last.

This poem was inspired by Tylor J. Mintz’s Love From Another Place.

Agape, Altruism, Art, Authenticity, Awe, Beauty, Being True To Yourself, Brotherly Love, Children, Community, Creativity, Dance, Education, Emotions, Enlightenment, Erotic Dance, Erotic Love, Ethics, Extended Family, Fairness, Family, Free Spirit, Freedom, Freedom and Liberty, Friends, Fun, Giving, Happiness, Honesty, Horniness, Human Nature, Humanism, Humanities, Ideas, Love, Lovers, Loyalty, Mature Love, Morality, Mysticism, Nature, New Love, Parental Love, Passion, Peace, People, Philos, Redemption, Romantic Love, Science, Self-determination, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Self-Realization, Sense of Relatedness, Sex, Sexuality, Society, Spirituality, Talents and Skills, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love, Vacilando, Wisdom

The Importance of Redemption

(About a 5 minute read)

I sometimes get the impression that plenty of us tackle the big ideas in life almost the day we escape our cribs for the first time.

“Gurk! Life is mine to seize! I see it clearly now.  I shall be my own hero. Gerp!” Or, “Poppels! But our capacity to love is what most defines us as moral. Twurks!  What’s this?  Why, it must be what what ma-ma calls, ‘poo’.  And look!  It’s endlessly shape-able!”

Continue reading “The Importance of Redemption”

Agape, Brotherly Love, Erotic Love, Health, Infatuation, Love, Mature Love, Mental and Emotional Health, New Love, Parental Love, Philos, Romantic Love, Society

Love is Subversive of More than Just the Social Order

Love is subversive.  Recently, Sagarika Ghose wrote eloquently on her blog, Bloody Mary, that “…in our country [India] love has always been a socially revolutionary force destroying taboos of caste, class and religion.”  She is by no means the first to notice that peculiar fact about love.

When the notion of romantic love entered Western Culture around 1200 C.E., the Catholic Church adamantly opposed it on the grounds that love was subversive of the medieval social order.  And today, in India, reactionary groups like the Sri Ram Sena are just as set against love as was once the Catholic Church, and for pretty much the same reasons.

Those who think the established social order is usually more important than the needs of the individuals who make up society quite often support artificial limits on love.   They try to bind the hearts of men and women, legislating  such things as, “You can love someone of your own race, but not someone of another race”, or “You can love someone of another gender, but not someone of your own gender”, or “You can love someone of your own religion, but not someone of another religion.”  But such rules are not laws of the heart.

Yet, as many of us know, love is subversive of much more than the social order.   Our love for someone can, in the right circumstances, lead us to question the whole range of our core values and beliefs.  It can lead us to question who we are, and to even inquire into the very nature of the self.  If water can be called the universal solvent of the chemical world, love can be called the universal solvent of the psychological world.

It is love, perhaps more than anything else in this world, that offers us rebirth.  Human nature is such that, without periodic rebirth, we stagnate and psychologically die: As Dylan sang, “He’s not busy being born is busy dying”.  Those who fear too much the subversive powers of love, often wind up stagnating.

(This post is a reprint and slight elaboration on a post from two years ago.)

Agape, Altruism, Attachment, Authenticity, Beauty, Belief, Brotherly Love, Compassion, Consciousness, Delusion, Enlightenment, Erotic Love, Freedom, Giving, Happiness, Health, Honesty, Horniness, Infatuation, Intellectual Honesty, Introspection, Kindness, Liars Lies and Lying, Love, Lust, Mature Love, Meditation, Mysticism, New Love, Obligations to Society, Observation, Parental Love, Philos, Pleasure, Quality of Life, Relationships, Religion, Romantic Love, Self, Self-Integration, Sexuality, Sexualization, Society, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Ugliness, Values, Wisdom

Jiddu Krishnamurti “On Love”

Jiddu Krishnamurti wrote about love with passionate urgency, with love and grace, and with unflinching integrity and insight.

Even merely reading his words, even now when his words are only frozen in books, you might still feel you are being swept into a current much stronger than you.

A current that possesses the power — if only you could allow it — to thrust you up upon some foreign shore, intensely alive with love, a complete stranger to your petty self.

Perhaps someone else has matched Krishnamurti by now, but I do not know who that would be.

Jiddu Krishnamurti “On Love”.

Attachment, Christianity, Delusion, Family, Fear, Happiness, Hope, Love, Meaning, Meditation, Parental Love, Religion

The Root of the Problem

“Who needs to feel they will survive their death, either as a transcendent conscious soul residing in heaven or reentering nature again and again? What we are given is precious enough – a moment of awareness.”

– Andrew Olendzki

A while back, a friend told me of a new and disturbing conflict within him.  He first  mentioned what I already new about him — that he had never been religious — but then he went on to state how he was now for the  first time in his life going to church.

After a bit of discussion, it came out more fully that the changes he was undergoing somehow arose from his love for his sons.  Most of his life, he had focused on building his business, and that was more or less enough.   But then, in his 40s, he had fallen in love with a relatively young woman, married, and had two children.  He soon discovered that his sons were the most important thing in the world to him, and he even began to resent the time that his business took him away from them.

About when he turned 50, he began to spontaneously consider the meaning of death, and how it would separate him from all that he loved and especially from his sons.   It’s then that he began to go to church, seeking metaphysical protection from mortality.

Now, as I understand my friend’s situation, he has become attached to the pleasure he gets from loving his sons.  With his attachment to that pleasure has come fear it might end.  To escape that fear, he has bought into the common and hopeful notion that something of us survives our death.  It does not seem very complex at this point.   It is even, in a way, pretty straight forward.

Faced with the same problem, I think I would address it by studying the nature of fear and attachment.  I believe to the extent you understand those things, they become manageable.  But understanding them does not so much involve thinking about them, as it involves looking at them,   Seeing fear and attachment for what they are seems key.

We seem to have a problem — especially in the West — that stems from our reliance on, and preference for, intellectual knowledge.  That is, we think thinking about something is the same as knowing it.   But is that true?  Does thinking about the more or less straight forward way in which attachment leads to fear, which leads to an attempt to escape fear, mean we understand the process?   I don’t think so.  I think to understand it, you must see it.

Now, let’s assume, for the moment, that my friend has lucked out and is actually right to believe there’s an afterlife.  Even if that were true, nothing has really changed because his life at this point is in thrall to fear.   He believes in his afterlife because of fear.  The same fear will soon — if it has not already — invade his relationships with his sons.  It will, if unaddressed,  work it’s poisons into everything.  All of this can and has been seen in other cases.  There is no reason to believe my friend is so special he will escape the bullet.  And that’s why I believe he must manage his problem — not by trying to escape from fear via the notion of an afterlife — but instead by working on the root of the problem.