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Unformatted text preview: 61 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Of all the worn, smudged, dog-eared words in our vocabulary “love” is surely the grubbiest, smelliest, slimiest. Bawled from a million pulpits, lasciviously crooned through hundreds of millions of loudspeakers, it has become an outrage to good taste and decent feeling, an obscenity which one hesitates to pronounce. And yet it has to be pronounced, for, after all, love is the last word. Aldous Huxley Love is the most talked about subject in the world. Google yields more hits for love (1,740,000,000) than for sex (671,000,000), politics (349,000,000), and religion (389,000,000) combined. Despite all the lip service, love remains mysterious, a paradox that slips through the word-nets woven to capture it. Still, “love is the last word.” And the first. Love is the Word whose cognates include Meaning, Truth, Reality, and Life. Peace and joy come with discovering the Truth, that Love is Reality, without which Life has no Meaning. But I get out in front of myself. What’s the most important fact you should know about yourself? THE FUNDAMENTAL DYNAMIC: LOVE - LOSS OF LOVE The sorrow of the lover is continual, in the presence and absence of the beloved: in the presence for fear of the absence, and in absence in longing for the presence. The pain of love becomes in time the life of the lover. Hazrat Inayat Khan 61 One realizes that human relationships are the tragic necessity of human life; that they can never be wholly satisfactory, that every ego is half the time greedily seeking them, and half the time pulling away from them. Willa Cather You cannot hope to know yourself (or anyone else) without understanding how the love- loss dynamic plays out in your life. Our greatest need is our greatest fear. Because we need love so badly and its loss inflicts grievous pain, we (all of us) fear love. Freud writes, “We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so forlornly unhappy as when we have lost our love object or its love.” Whipsawed by longing and fear, constantly balancing the chances for love against the risk of loss, we push love away far more than we know. Limitations in loving create our misery, and salvation lies in raising awareness of them. Having lost love yesterday, we’re reluctant to open our hearts today. I was seven when they took my dog away. There were six of us, but Sissy was Mine. Both parents worked and my three brothers had better things to do than “look after your baby brother,” so I annexed Sissy. A Chow with rust-red fur and blue-black tongue, she would chew the leg off anyone not in the family, but I wrestled her, rode her like a pony, and napped with her in the yard. Home alone, I felt safe. She wouldn’t let anyone mess with me, not even my “evil brother,” Edgar....
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- Spring '08