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Love Is Identification with the Beloved
Seeker: Dear Ram, I have not written for quite a while because I was so shocked that you didn’t want to be my teacher anymore. I was quite depressed, but now I am coming out of it and I think I partly understand why you resigned. But in my mind you will always hold that place, even if in life it isn’t being currently expressed. Maybe you would say that I am projecting a role onto you which you are no longer playing. Maybe you would say that I just don’t want to take responsibility for being a free being. Maybe you would say that I am being romantic about it. Well, it is what it is. I appreciate your recognition that I can take care of myself spiritually… thank you. I think the underlying fear is that of losing the love I feel for you, and the closeness… wanting to protect our relationship.
Ram: If you’d said that you were afraid that it meant that I was writing you off, that it was tantamount to saying that I no longer loved you, I could see how you might be worried. But that’s not how it is. I love you because of you, not because you provide me with an opportunity to teach you something. My love only depends on one thing – that you be you. So it is not going to go – because you can’t help being you. The love you mention sounds a bit conditional, as if it depended on my playing a certain role, fulfilling your spiritual needs and now that you are fulfilled spiritually there is the possibility that you wouldn’t love me. True love is centered on the person, the beloved. It is recognition of identity with the beloved. The relationship constantly changes because it is in time and the lives of the two people necessarily change because of completely impersonal factors – factors that have nothing to do with the love. I think it’s dangerous to associate love with a particular relationship. You would never choose to love Pat if she weren’t your sister. You will suffer great insults at her hand, yet you hardly tolerate a negative thought from a friend.
If you love me, you love me. You are finished love-wise because I am not going to be someone else. If you love me because I fulfill some special need then the love will go when the need is fulfilled. This is not what happened, but this is the ego-fear that you expressed.
I don’t see it as a projection from you or a role by me. I have lived well and assimilated life’s lessons, so my experience is valuable to others. If it is solicited, I try to share it. You seem to have assimilated the essence of my words because of your great persistence and diligence. I resigned as the guru because you are capable of answering your own questions and taking full responsibility for what you know. But when I take off that hat I’m still there for you – as a friend and as your own self.
~ Love, Ram