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If You Want Love, Go to Match.com
Govind: Dear Ram, I did read the chapter of your book that Annete Nibley put up, actually – it was great. I am also in the middle of your article Discrimination between the Self and Non-Self. Your discussion of the causal body and the little story of the First Man and First Woman love tryst has totally opened up a door in my mind. The “woman issue” has been a major source of pain and suffering in my life – whether I’m with a woman or wanting a woman. Either way it’s painful. I go to visit Sailor Bob here in Melbourne regularly, and he thinks I should get myself a girlfriend, but to me that whole thing is just a cesspit of misery. The desire is still there… but I’m also realising that the pain only comes from the “entity” that hankers after it. Beyond that it is just a “part of the natural functioning,” as Bob would say.
Can you shed a bit of light on this?
~ Cheers, Govind
Ram: Hi, Govind. Of all the possible causes of suffering, the one I hear about most frequently is the love issue. There is a Buddhist sutra I read many years ago that said, “The desire to love and be loved is the root of all suffering.” The gender overlay adds another confusing dimension to the issue. The short answer to this question is: if you love yourself properly and it is your karma, you will not have problems in relationships. There will be a long queue of people ready and willing to love you. And you will respond to their love without fear and desire. The obvious question then is what does it mean to love oneself.
It means to know yourself as you are. But what does that mean? It means to see that you are beautiful. So what does that mean? It means that you understand that as you are, nothing is missing. If you argue that you will not want a love relationship if you know that, you are correct. So if you feel you need to complete yourself through a relationship with somebody else it means you have a self-love problem. You have a self-love problem because you do not understand that love is your nature. To say that love is your nature only means that you are whole and complete. When you see that, you no longer identify with the unlovable part of yourself, the part that wants love. Not that there is actually anything unlovable about you. You picked up unsubstantiated beliefs along the way that there was something wrong with you and you meditate on them, so you are not attractive. You send the wrong message. You will get women who feel sorry for you and want to redeem you with their love – mother love – but this never works. It is one of the supreme human vanities that your love can turn the love object into something attractive to you. You are attractive only when you feel that you are okay. You give off a radiance, some call it charisma or self-confidence, that is like a hormone and people come running eager to love you. Not for your sake, mind you. They just want a piece of the action. It can even be a problem if you live in society. You have to beat them off with a stick. Some problem, you say!
I don’t know this Sailor Bob guy, although some people say he is enlightened. He may be – or not – but I would not go to an enlightened person for advice about love or money or anything other than the “who am I?” question. You can never know more than you know at a given moment. You are always constrained by your ignorance. So if you don’t know you are love, you are not going to learn how to love by being in a relationship. And if you get two people who do not know that they are love looking for love from each other, you can expect a tragedy. There is a story about a man who went to a holy man to get a wife. The holy man was reluctant to fix him up and told him to go away. But the man persisted. After the third or fourth request the holy man relented, just to get rid of the fellow. He played matchmaker. After a few months the man and his new wife were at each other’s throats. The wife was insanely jealous and tried to kill her husband because she suspected him of cheating. The police locked her up. The man was a little irritated at the holy man for giving him such a dud, so he went to complain.
The holy man said, “If you want love, go to Match.com. If you want to know who you are, come to me.”
If when Sailor Bob says it is part of the “natural functioning” he is trying to say not to make a big deal out of it, I agree. Anyway, how do you “get” a girlfriend? It is not like women are commodities sitting on the supermarket shelf. It makes you wonder if God is some kind of pervert, doesn’t it? He/She/It could have make it all so easy, but instead this maya evolved in this peculiar way and we all get to suffer.
So I say forget looking for love outside yourself. Find out who you are and problem solved. Yes, I know this is not easy, but your own experience is telling you that it doesn’t work. It is so strange that in spite of hard and fast experience to the contrary, people will keep trying to get happiness where there is no happiness. I am not saying that you cannot find some kind of satisfaction in a relationship with the opposite sex – maybe you can – but you would be surprised how many “happily married” people come to me wanting to know what is next. So it is not really a solution. This is probably not what you want to hear. I can hear the lonely hearts out there saying that I am a cynical, bad man, that I must have grown up in a dysfunctional family, that some woman fucked me up, how could I possibly be so down on special love relationships? But I am not up or down on them. They are what they are. And I know that the scriptures never lie. If Vedanta says love is to be found in a relationship with another person, you can bank on it. But this is not what it says. It says, “You are love. Discover it.” So there is no easy solution to this problem, Govind. Only the lonely pursuit of the truth.
Anyway, that is the best I can do. I wish I had a secret love mantra that I could give you that would fix up this problem. All I can do is recommend my book. I don’t know about the postage or the price at Amazon.com, but google the book and see what it costs to get it to Australia. We have sent some to Australia, and I think Lida said it cost about $30 – $16 for the book and the rest for postage – with the postage from the US. She is on the road now and can’t sent it, but I have some copies in England and can send you one from there in a couple of weeks when I get back. I am in Turkey now, way out in the boondocks, and it is not possible. Anyway, let me know. I do not think you will be disappointed. It is in its second printing even though has been out less than a yea,r and I cannot keep up with the inquiries. It is about self-love. Anyway, thirty bucks will not send you to the poorhouse. I hope this has been helpful.
~ Om and prem, Ram