The first time I read this poem, I felt freer at that moment. Ever since, I've shared this poem with a lot of people, with the intent of gift in mind, even if it only meant sharing a photograph of the physical poem. There have been instances where I've wanted to share it with people, but I didn't have the book with me, and online searches for the poem were dead ends. Today I opened the poem and decided to learn it by heart, so I wouldn't need to read it.
A sudden strangeness tickled me. The kind that Jane Hirshfield wrote in her poem Once, I
As-ifness strange to myself, but complete.
This is an attempt to write about who tickled and what. What is the strange thing about love? You can pause here and think about it. No answer is wrong answer of course. If you feel like sharing, you can message or tweet at me. I'd love to hear what you thought.
My spiritual master makes a property of love — that might not be obvious when we think, talk, discuss about or feel love — evident. He says
Love is so enormous. And for ages, people have tried to express their love and finally, they felt they cannot. Even the great sage Narada said, 'Anirvachaniyam prema swarupam'. You cannot express it.
What he means, and he has said over and over again, in different talks and scripture discourses, is that – one can't fully express it.
Love should be planted like a seed. If you sow the seed too deep into the earth, then it won’t sprout. And if you keep it on the surface of the mud, then also it won’t sprout; it won’t take roots.
When I read the poem it reminded me of this property of love.
My Guru also throws light
on the fact that love hurts (without wisdom).
It is not love which is giving you pain. Jealousy, hatred, greed, arrogance and attachment are all love’s distortions. Love by itself doesn’t bring misery. That is why knowledge and centredness are so important. If you are centred, you can handle all these distortions, they come for a while and they disappear. Feelings are like clouds. They are like the waves on the surface of the ocean. They arise, they come and they go.
When I read the following lines, I mentally jumped out of my chair and danced
The strange thing about love
is that you disagree,
and then figure it's wiser
When I thought about it again today, I remembered endless conversations I've had with my best friend Amrita, who's made me see myself in truth's light like a mirror over all these years. How we could talk through a rainbow of emotions, sometimes after, without getting affected by it ( if we did, it undo-ed with wisdom of being able to let go, sincere apologies, sharing and time ).
I remembered the numerous times I shadowed anger into playing hide and seek when mother yelled or complained for whatever reasons. I just assented and quickly diverted attention to something else, so that her mind won't dwell into a habit, and instead tackle the same things pestering the mind with a spirit of scientific enquiry.
The numerous times my oldest friend could forgive me for all the truths I held back, and ultimately decided to let me go with that forgiveness still intact.
It is a strange thing about love, that when mixed with wisdom and tools to get to know the tendencies of the mind and how to stay centered amdist those disagreements, it ultimately leads to knowledge that it's wiser to dance, because we haven't got all the time in the world to keep at it, if you are getting the drift.
What does this dance look like? For me it is: not taking life too seriously even in the most chaotic, unfavourable, desperate times. Getting up in the middle of zoom calls, muting, switching camera off and dancing in fits and starts. Catching up with old friends. Acknowledging and understanding the state of the mind, and delaying responses so that they weren't reactions. And just you know…laughing and smiling without any reason.
Here's a wonderful detour about the paradox of love and truth:
The Paradox Of Love And Truth
Excerpt from the book Celebrating Love
Why would someone tell a lie to their dear ones or to their beloved?
This is question often asked by lovers. Love cannot stand untruth; it causes relationships to fall apart. The answer lies in understanding the paradox of love and truth.
People tell lies just to save and maintain their love. Lies are a result of fear that truth might damage the love between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, parents and children.
In love you feel weak byt truth brings strength. So why do people prefer love over truth, weakness over strength?
No one wants to sacrifice love. Thus people are ready to give up the truth for their love. Love takes the luster out of truth. Sometimes truth can make love bitter; while in love, even lies can appear sweet, like Krishna's lies to his mother, Yashoda.
The truth that does not nourish love makes no sense and the love that cannot withstand the truth is not true love. When you are assured that your love is so strong that the truth can neither break it nor cause bitterness, then truth prevails and love shines.
With truth there are judgements, but true love is beyond judgments. Thus true love makes you weak and yet it is the greatest strength.
— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Bangalore Ashram, India
February 22, 2002
Good job done reading through this heavy duty stuff. Here's a song for you to dance on: Dance Around The Room With Me — Ana Egge. Go go! Dance!
The strange thing about love
is that it evicts you
from the land of echoes
you thought was home
and leads you to
under the stars
The part of the poem that resonated with me the most 🔗The Strange Thing About Love
is that it melts you
into an amateur,
never again a professional
on the subject of yourself.
I'll quote the last few lines from the article that I shared before
When you want love, that want itself is turning or delaying love from manifesting. So all that you need to do is to let go and relax. You will see your nature is love. Love is always there. It will manifest when it should. Like the ☀️ is always there but it comes at its own time. In the same way, all the beautiful feelings in your life are there with you all the time. You can’t forcefully manifest them
They will manifest at different times in life. And that’s why be more relaxed and take them as they come. You ARE Love. You cannot make an effort to love, either yourself or anybody. You simply have to relax and realise that you are love. Love is the shadow of the Self. The bigger the Self, the bigger the shadow, and the bigger the love. When the love is cast over the entire creation, then you are the Big Self. That is Lordship. When Lordship dawns on the Self, there is a perennial celebration.
Meditation ( Sahaj Samādhi ) and Sudarshan Kriya have been the tools using which I've been able to relax and let go. In that constant state of heightened awareness yet deep relaxation, the fact that our very nature is love dawns unexplained irrevocably. One experiences the Self that is mentioned above. I've seen couples married and otherwise practicing both, and work towards one common goal, while acting on their own individual goals, happy like the song, for years.
Once that deep love is experienced as Self we turn amateurs on the subject of ourselves, asking the most fundamental questions like: 'Who am I?', but with a sense of sincere enquiry and wild celebratory wonder. The avenues previously even not thought of, talents, events, manifest outside of the made identities before. So in a way, the experience of love can help us surrender and then act.
Okay? That's it? Are we done yet? 🔗
Yes, we are done, phew! I'll keep refining the expression of what I've written overtime of course. You would be able to see when the latest revision was made by the date at the start of the post.