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Unbekannt
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This concept seems simple enough doesn't it? I don't believe humans are wired this way, though. I actually see it in kind of the opposite way. One must be fully in touch with oneself and embrace oneself first before being able to give to another. Giving to others feels good. In fact, for me, I receive the very most by giving. I love to give. By giving to others, it's as if we discover and light up aspects of ourselves which we normally wouldn't. And this makes us feel good too. Also, allowing a partner to give to you may actually invite them to care about you. Giving begets more giving and with giving there is receiving on both ends. Human beings can't help but have feelings about their actions and the reactions of others to those actions. So I would say that love does very much make one feel good. When I love another, I am loving myself. Just some of my own personal thoughts...

Love isn't giving.

There are those spiders in which the mother actively solicites matriphagy (http://pah2.golding.id.au/2005/09/26/graphic-spiders/ as one example).

This appears to me the ultimate form of giving.

I am assuming (didn't find that confirmed anywhere) that there must be some kind of stimulus to the mother spider to give herself in that way that she experiences as pleasant, some type of reward to the individual showing this behavior and be it just an impulse registered as pleasant in the nervous system so that it can overcome that drive to preserve its life which seems to be inherent to all living.

Yet a spider doesn't love, I am quite sure it doesn't have the necessary ability to perceive self to be able to experience love.

Giving doesn't equate love and giving also isn't a sign of love. It can be, but it not necessarily is.

What it is is difficult to describe, language forces us to use words that incompletely describe the concept of an emotion as powerful as this one. The only way I have found to remotely put it in words is metaphorical or within poetic language, which is not accessible by rational, logical thought. You can examine the writing's attributes by logic, but not experience its meaning that way.

Within human experience many emotions are called love, like what the child feels for the mother, or the mother for the child, or the husband for the wife. I am sure in those experiences can be love. I'm also sure that in many of those experiences is no love, that they are biological reaction purely driven by hormones or a behavioral pattern dictated by social convention. In fortunate circumstances all meet, the love of the mother for the child and the hormonal response of the mother to the child and the child to the mother or desire of man and woman for each other and the dictate of society. But love is not the desire of the child to find safety and unity within the mother's arms or the wish of the mother to protect her child at any price. And love is not melting with the beloved. It is not giving up of self, it is not expanding of self either, it is free of self. Love also not is I in despair creeping back into the uterus of the mother to experience oneness.

I can sometimes describe certain limits, demarkation lines 'here is love' 'here is no love', but I am totally lacking to describe it independently. How to put it, I do not know its truth in terms of logical rational words. The only way to get close for me is in metaphors.

This is Rumi, he's better at it, then I am.

From "When a man and a woman become one."

When a man and a woman become one

that "one" is You.

And when that one is obliterated, there You are.

Where is the "We" and this "I"

by the side of the Beloved.

"You" made this "we" and this "I"

in order that you might play

the game of courtship with Yourself,

that all "you's" and "I's" might become

one soul

and finally drown in the Beloved.

(quoted from "the pocket Rumi Reader" edited by Kabir Helminski)

I am not eliminated in love, only self is given up. To love yourself is a gift. Joy is a lingering shadow of love, a new emotion that can be the residual experience staying with us when the moment of love has left. All feelings are impermanent. We only can experience them for a moment in the here and now and we might wish it so much, but we can not hold on to the experience. The moment of love passes, to be re-discovered and experienced anew. Yet to attempt to love somebody else with the intent of receiving joy as reward is impossible, even though to experience joy after we experienced love is a subsequent effect.

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Love isn't giving. Giving doesn't equate love and giving also isn't a sign of love.

I hadn't intended to imply that love was giving. What I was getting at was motivation. When I say I feel giving I mean that I want to give of myself to another. I want to comfort them, ease their pain, take care of their needs, bring them joy. I want to help them feel good about themselves. I cherish them and want their pleasure and happiness.

Yet to attempt to love somebody else with the intent of receiving joy as reward is impossible, even though to experience joy after we experienced love is a subsequent effect.

This is exactly the argument that I brought up in therapy with my former therapist. I believe now that there is both a premeditated desire to receive joy and a subsequent effect. I tend to think (my opinion) that there are always at least some self-serving motivations for everything that we do. Likely we're not consciously aware of them most of the time, but nonetheless this is how I believe we operate. And this is okay. A huge lesson for me in therapy. Motivating factors are really inevitable, I think. We store memories in our unconscious minds and the emotions from those memories and cannot help but to react in the now as to what we know from the past.

And love is not melting with the beloved. It is not giving up of self, it is not expanding of self either, it is free of self.

I'm not sure that anything can ever be free of self. I remember my therapist once telling me, "We're in everything we do." This thought awakened a realization in me. I believe it to be true. Again, this is my opinion and I understand that yours is different from mine. I completely respect that.

I am not eliminated in love, only self is given up. To love yourself is a gift. Joy is a lingering shadow of love, a new emotion that can be the residual experience staying with us when the moment of love has left. All feelings are impermanent. We only can experience them for a moment in the here and now and we might wish it so much, but we can not hold on to the experience.

I guess it really depends on how you look at things. I see things a bit differently. I don't believe all feelings are impermanent. I also believe there are many ways to hold on to our experiences. My potential is always within me. The connections and feelings I have for others have helped me to grow into the person that I am today. My love is always within me. As I feel the aspects of myself which others have brought to light, I feel that love once again. Points of light, always there...knowing this has helped me to heal and find serenity with myself.

Thank you for the interesting conversation. I understand that we have different thoughts, but the discussion is intriguing.

No, the old stuff has to be REPLACED with better stuff. And how is that done. I think the answer may lie partly through practising mindfulness, and also perhaps partly in actively trying to imagine how one might feel ... if one felt better. I have a list of things I work on imagining, for example, because being angry and expressing anger are so hard for me, I imagine feeling free to be angry at people ... and then getting over it. I also imagine what it might feel like to give and take freely, without counting tit for tat. I have about 10 things. I intend to do them daily for 10 minutes and frequently forget. But I think it's a useful exercise.

I am sorry, d1963, that I got off track here with this. I think what you wrote here is very wise. Sounds like a great place to start. I hope things look up for you soon with this.

I wanted to edit this to add some additional thoughts. I'm not sure there is one "right" answer to thoughts around stuff like this. Even if there were, maybe answers aren't what matter most anyhow. While this new way of looking at things and perceiving the world has been very beneficial to me, what fits for me won't necessarily fit for others. What's important is how each individual person feels around their own beliefs. Different minds, different thoughts. I'm all for learning more and listening to different points of view and perspectives. That's one of the great things about this board. My apologies again, d1963. I had just wanted to clarify that.

Edited by IrmaJean
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Trying to respond to this got more involved then I thought. I couldn't organize my thoughts well enough, so I thought I fall back on C.S. Lewis "The Four Loves" in which he actually categorizes love (something I say almost hesitant, but then think "why not?"). In trying to paraphrase him I came to the realization that I didn't remember the book very well and had to re-read it. It is impossible to take it out of the religious context. I do not believe in God, but I also don't believe that God doesn't exist, I just don't know.

So I can go and look with Lewis's eyes and don't feel contradicted when he says that the ultimate Love is God. The observations/thoughts about love he makes in the book are quite worthwhile for me to understand the phenomenon. I also thought that perhaps access to his writing might be easier then to Rumi's, because he's a Westerner too and speaks more in 'our' language.

I do think though it will fall more or less apart, if you feel contradicted by his final insight in the nature of love which is "God is Love". I am thinking, though not entirely sure about it because I haven't thought it really through, that everybody who is not an atheist should be able to access his thoughts.

When I reached the final chapter in the book, I realized, it doesn't help me at all. I think our main difference in the discussion is about the question what is going on in the consciousness.

I hadn't intended to imply that love was giving. What I was getting at was motivation. When I say I feel giving I mean that I want to give of myself to another. I want to comfort them, ease their pain, take care of their needs, bring them joy. I want to help them feel good about themselves. I cherish them and want their pleasure and happiness.

Here I think Lewis can help me. This is what he named "Affection" which he describes as the paradox of being both at the same time "need-love" and "gift love" (need love is like the love of a child who needs to love the mother, because all it's existence depends on her, and gift love is the love of the mother who she gives as a gift to the child). The need part of it is that we grave the affection of others and the gift part is that we are giving the affection to others.

But this is categorization of love. I think this was the moment when I suddenly got a glimpse of why I struggled so much to respond.

I completely agree with you ;)

Yet I thought, 'but that's not what I was talking about!'

Hm.... 'well what are you talking about?'

'what is going on in my head'.

I think it has to do with the understanding of consciousness, of our own understanding on what we are doing at a certain point.

There is this awareness of 'presence' being such a very difficult to determine point of time. We all know it's somewhere between the past and the future. In let's say a political and social context we might consider the decade we live in as 'presence'. In terms of the remodeling project I'm discussing with the handyman I consider presence probably a little depending on the size of the project as either 'this month' or 'this week'.

In relation to my husband presence has such a quite sweet somewhat changeable quality. I came to realize that when I read how somebody described how she celebrated with her husband certain moments that commemorated their relationship (the first kiss, the first time said to each other 'I love you', that so infamous 'our song', little mementos of that nature). In a way we stretch 'presence' there a little to make it the time 'in-between' first occurrence of the commemorated event (the past) and the future day that marks another year past since.

So just in these few examples 'presence' has such a variety of meaning regarding its duration, but still that isn't even what I mean. I wasn't speaking of love occurring during the period of those differently defined 'presences'.

There is that 'other' presence. The one that I think is the one that really counts. It's the one in our head, the one of consciousness, the one of the experience of "I am". I once had a book from a scientist who had done some experiments trying to figure out how long typically that moment lasts, how long it is that we consider it to be, sadly I don't have the book anymore and I couldn't find it anymore to properly quote and reference (since I don't remember either author's name or the title). The conclusion he came to (if I remember right) was that it actually is the duration of the ultra short term memory, the time that passes until an experience is passed within our brain to the short term memory. In so far it would be just a function of the neurons.

When do we interact, when are we, when do we truly experience and not just reflect either in a memory of the past or an expectation to the future?

In the here and now.

How long does it last?

I don't know for sure, it's short, the time it takes to become aware of an impression or a thought to arise.

This indefinite undefined moment it is what I mean when I talk about experiencing love.

This is exactly the argument that I brought up in therapy with my former therapist. I believe now that there is both a premeditated desire to receive joy and a subsequent effect. I tend to think (my opinion) that there are always at least some self-serving motivations for everything that we do. Likely we're not consciously aware of them most of the time, but nonetheless this is how I believe we operate. And this is okay. A huge lesson for me in therapy. Motivating factors are really inevitable, I think. We store memories in our unconscious minds and the emotions from those memories and cannot help but to react in the now as to what we know from the past.

I agree, there are self serving motivations in everything we do. And I agree too, that there can be the desire for joy that motivates us. I don't think that either of them has anything wrong to them as long as we avoid the obvious pitfalls.

Only the nature of love prevents it from being generated by such motivations - love is something different then the response to self serving action. The experience of that feeling in that moment of consciousness. It is not caused by a desire for joy. It is caused by the beloved. For it to be love it has to be selfless.

Now if I experience the love and then feel that being a motivation for me to do something for the beloved there the self serving element will enter. I don't think of that as anything negative or to be rejected. I experienced that love for my husband. I want to make his life a bit better if I can. I buy the milk so he doesn't have to buy the milk. I enjoy that I can give this to him. And it makes me ridiculously happy if he acknowledges that I did this for him and lets me know that it gives him joy.

See the love, that emotion, the feeling in that moment was not self serving. The action that is caused by the emotion has clearly self serving elements. Sure I want to feel that joy and happiness! It makes my day bright!

I am not entirely sure even if we are of contradicting opinion here, it might just be a question of the depth of discrimination.

I'm not sure that anything can ever be free of self. I remember my therapist once telling me, "We're in everything we do." This thought awakened a realization in me. I believe it to be true. Again, this is my opinion and I understand that yours is different from mine. I completely respect that.

How to put it, I know that it is your opinion. I mean, you wouldn't say it if it wasn't your opinion :D

Please dare to be bold and trust me in being able to defend my point of view. I will not be blown over just because, but you might be able to convince me of something new, show me, teach me something new and that I yearn for.

But there is the devil of the but (from "When Nietzsche Wept" by Irvin Yalom), I will fight you every step of the way and not accept a word to become my opinion until I'm convinced.

I know it is your understanding that is clashing with my understanding. I know and trust it is not 'me' fighting 'you' or 'you' fighting 'me'.

All too often women tend to diminish their own statements by relativizing them because we fear the repercussions of those whose ego is challenged by them. Please, my brain is challenged, I'm invigorated, you are making me read books I haven't touched in years just to be able to communicate at my fullest. I love it! But I do not wish to lash out at you (and will do any effort to not do it), I am not afraid of being put down by strong thoughts.

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I guess it really depends on how you look at things. I see things a bit differently. I don't believe all feelings are impermanent. I also believe there are many ways to hold on to our experiences.

This is the point I think in which we truly differ.

My first thought was (I was a bit grinning), "if I look at it, it's already over!"

I mean that moment of presence that I tried to define a bit earlier. That one moment of existence, in which truly an experience takes place, in which also truly our interaction with others takes place.

We can not hold on to it. We can not extend it's duration. If we are lucky we are carried by an emotion like love for a few consecutive moments of this awareness, but it won't last.

In a way indeed I mean love to be lasting as well, when I say "I love my husband" that doesn't mean that it is only a few of those elusive moments during which I feel that emotion, but it indeed means a life-time, a commitment that will last for as long as I am, but also trust and a knowledge of the joy it gives me, his response and the expressions of his moments of loving me. There is a whole array of different emotions and interactions meant which are motivated by the mutual experience of loving each other.

But the actual experience of "I love you", this moment in which I feel that love happening is just for the duration of this moment of presence.

I know for myself when I'm thinking logical thoughts, that can be doing a math problem or memorizing my shopping list or as right now trying to express my thoughts and opinions in a way that they are understandable for others I do not feel, I think. For me at least these two do not take place at the same time. I thought I saw somewhere a blog entry on mentalhelp.net outlining that a bit, but couldn't find it anymore.

So this is one instance where my experience of love doesn't take place.

But then there are the everyday situations, like when I wash the dishes or go shopping and am pre-occupied with not forgetting something, finding the best deal, not bumping my cart into something else, all those little everyday things, that sometimes have emotions attached to them (like I really hate to wash dishes, or why are they hiding the soap I want always at the bottom of the shelf, or I can't stand those long lines at the register) sometimes are again more thinking functions that swipe the emotions out (like I need to make sure to not forget the milk for my husband). But you see in all those little moments during my shopping trip I don't feel "I love you" or just "love". If I hold on for a moment in that shopping trip and think "why are you getting that heavy milk? - It's for my husband! - He could get it himself. - But I don't want him having to run out when he comes home from work to get milk when I can do it. - That must mean you love him!" there is a realization of that love in the very mundane action, an understanding that some of my actions are carried by love for him. But even in a moment like that I typically do not experience "I love him", I experience joy at remembering that I love him, I experience that little jolt of satisfaction in knowing that I can do something for him that is something to make his life a bit better. I think commonly we sum those feelings and experiences up under 'love' if we think of it as becoming a motivation for our actions and decisions, but I do not in every given moment experience the love.

For me it has become quite important to cultivate the awareness of the here and now, so that I truly am who I am right now. The awareness of those feelings and thoughts has helped me to -how to put it- develop a 'switch'. By that I mean when I realized that certain of my actions are inappropriate, I came to learn what are the 'triggers' for that inappropriate action/reaction. In having the awareness of the trigger, in being able to notice "this is it", I became more able to chose an action after experiencing the trigger instead of routinely act the drama out, being subjected to acting out the inappropriate action without having made a decision to do so and suffering from the consequences it has for me. So I can use the switch to turn off the unwanted action and instead chose an action consciously and aware.

Now, that sounds quite great, but I slip a lot.... when I started to lament that my therapist at one point told me "Are you telling me you are just normal? And making mistakes like all of us?"

So it is not a 'perfect' someting.... it's a work in progress... but my live got already a lot better, so I think it works (though far from perfect).

I tried to line out what I mean with 'experiencing' love. It is that one moment of awareness in which I feel love.

The interesting thing is, and I think he were go back to C.S. Lewis again, when I feel love it is love. It doesn't matter if I love my husband, if I love my neighbor, if I love my knitting, if I love the process of making bread - the feeling in that one moment is the same. And I think that is what Lewis means when he says that "In my love for wife or friend the only eternal element is the transforming presence of Love Himself". That emotion has the spark which makes it being what it is even though it is experienced in quite different contexts, and only if it has that spark it will be true and not become a pitfall that causes suffering to us and others.

My quest for Love actually is trying to express the experience of that one moment. The moment in here and now in which I experience love.

If you look at the awareness of emotions, if you look at "I feel love", "I feel boredom", "I feel anger" - we can clearly distinguish those feelings. We know when we love, we know when we are bored, we know when we are angry.

We can describe these feelings by the consequence they have to us. Like you said when you love you want to give yourself to the other. Wanting to give yourself to another is the consequence of that emotion. It describes one of the motivations that can be arising from feeling love.

I also can describe it comparatively, how it is different to feel love then it is to feel anger. Or I can describe it by exclusion "it is not like..."

And there we come to the crux of it, to my quest, my plea, what are the words to describe it?

The only way I have found is poetic, in metaphors, in creating a language that actually attempts to awake the feeling in you while you read or listen, language that calms down the 'thinking' which prevents the experience of a feeling, which also guides us away from other emotions until love (or other emotions) unfolds in the moment of the here and now. I firmly believe that the only way to truly communicate an emotion to somebody else is by evoking it in the other. Quite frankly regarding emotions of hate, boredom, anger, hopelessness and others of the kind I am happy to not attempt that, though I do sometimes enjoy to read some of that poetry. In a way it almost allows me to 'artificially' experience the emotion so I can 'taste' it to learn to recognize it, without having anything that its negative energy is directed towards.

I found that only poetry and music have that ability of making you feel what their creator tried to express and in such a way make it possible to communicate what reaches past the ability of words.

My potential is always within me. The connections and feelings I have for others have helped me to grow into the person that I am today. My love is always within me. As I feel the aspects of myself which others have brought to light, I feel that love once again. Points of light, always there...knowing this has helped me to heal and find serenity with myself.

I think that is how or why I am so fascinated with love. It has a potential to heal, to step out of the self caused misery, to enable us to do some really difficult and painful work.

At the same time having this feeling withheld from us when we are the most vulnerable can be destructive with consequences for the rest of our lives. Which almost makes you despair on love, but there Lewis comes in again with "There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken." And that applies to the need love of the infant, that unrealized feeling of the little being that barely has a sense of self as of yet. There is nothing the child has to stand up with against "I do not want your love" "what you feel is not love but just need" or "I'm so disgusted in you I can't stand to be around you". There love broke our heart and the trace of that fracture like scar tissue will remain.

Something strange happens with the experience of having no lovable qualities. In the moment we meet love in that condition, we experience it as love that reaches beyond the lack of qualities that would make us worth to be loved, it is an experience of love in it's purest form. The broken heart is the open heart. But it is a shitload of work to deal with.

Thank you for the interesting conversation. I understand that we have different thoughts, but the discussion is intriguing.

Thank you, too.

You have allowed me to revisit some of the books that I find a profound source of wisdom and in their application a help to master my own life. I feel very much like a stumbling fool trying to express myself here and am definitely humbled by love itself, but also by some of the thoughts that I encounter in this context.

Thank you for letting my mind grow.

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I moved the posts to here in The Lounge. I'm hoping this was the right forum to choose. It seemed as though we were just having an interesting discussion and I didn't want to deter from anyone who has been needing immediate support.

Unbekannt, I have a lot of thoughts about what you've written and will likely return to add further to this discussion. I wanted to start with what you'd written here...

My first thought was (I was a bit grinning), "if I look at it, it's already over!"

I mean that moment of presence that I tried to define a bit earlier. That one moment of existence, in which truly an experience takes place, in which also truly our interaction with others takes place.

We can not hold on to it. We can not extend it's duration. If we are lucky we are carried by an emotion like love for a few consecutive moments of this awareness, but it won't last.

I think what happened with me in this is that I had to find a way which worked for me. So not necessarily the "right" way to think about this, but the best way for me. I was struggling tremendously with loss and my methods of coping and ways of thinking weren't working for me. I then thought of what I was needing to move through my losses. I considered my need to not "lose" another. So I began understanding that my love for someone was an energy from within myself. The energy is always there as potential. I may always connect with and re-experience my feelings of love because they are a part of me. My therapist and I had a very healing therapeutic relationship in which I became in touch with some of the best aspects of myself through my interactions with him. Whenever I think of him now, the energy I found within myself in sharing space with him lights up from within and I once again feel the very same love I'd felt in the past. The feelings are a reminder of past experiences and connections that remain with me as I live life in the here and now.

Ever see the movie Avatar? There are places along the ground of the sacred forest which light up when someone steps on them. This is kind of the way I feel my love is. I meet people and they step on the lights. There are those who enlighten one area and others who enlighten another. Some touch many places within me. As the energy and places of beauty from within myself come to light, I feel inner joy. I am connecting with myself through the gifts of another. So loving another is also about reaching the deep parts of yourself and letting them shine. And they shine most brilliantly when they are being shared with another. These inner lights are part of me. I had a friend some years back who was suffering greatly with emotional pain. She lit up the parts of myself that wish to nurture, love and accept others for who they are. After having had this realization within our friendship, I am able now to reconnect with her whenever I access this aspect of myself. It's almost as if another has left their fingerprint on your heart.

Anyhow, it is very important to me that I am able to reconnect with feelings and lost loved ones. So this was what I came up with in my thoughts and it has worked very beautifully for me.

I am very happy to know that things which I have written here have not upset you. Part of my stuff is not wanting to hurt others in any way so I am often concerned about this. I have more thoughts and will return at some point in time to express them so that we may continue this intriguing conversation.

Edited by IrmaJean
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I find that visual arts also has the capacity to evoke rapture....

What you were saying about love was difficult for me to hear.... I know this love, especially with a husband, being able to open yourself to another with trust, and with a husband it's not like with anyone else. It pleased me, I liked how it made me soft, and I could just settle into it comfortably. And then I found out he had married a 20 years old back home and I was in a polygamous situation. All that lovely light that used to emerge when I stepped on the earth electrocuted me, and now I find myself afraid to get close to love. I feel as though I was raped by my best friend. It is more than the loss that pains me, it is the distortion in the love wavelength now, I don't know how to return it normal... I feel very destabilized. It is one thing to say I can accept others for who they are, but this one I don't know what to do with. I have distanced myself and that has helped, but I have not been able to stop the <love> has flowed towards him for 15 years. It is creating incredible tension within me, I don't know what to do with it.... any advice?

Symora, that sounds very painful. ;) It sounds as though your feelings of love now remind you of having been hurt. This must be even more excruciating when it happened as a result of you having allowed yourself to be vulnerable with someone and to trust them, only to have your trust betrayed. I am sorry that this happened to you.

Maybe try and separate the love from your ex and think of it as your love. The wonderful attributes he brought out in you still represent your potential. Love itself is not to blame but rather the behavior of your former husband. It sounds to me that at that point in your life he was not deserving of what you had to offer. He did not respect the purity of your gifts. I can see how this would make you fearful of getting close to another once again. His actions do not reflect on you, Symora, or your ability to love and offer love to others. Try not to attach his betrayal and disrespect to all that you have to offer. That light is still within you. Perhaps in the meantime give it to yourself by treating yourself with kindness and respect. Maybe this wound has to heal before you can feel ready to offer your love to others?

You mention feeling tension. Do you want to elaborate on that and express what you feel is causing this tension? Did you mean that you still love this man?

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And love is not melting with the beloved. It is not giving up of self, it is not expanding of self either, it is free of self.

Free of self. The idea that my doing things for others was in part for my own benefit caused me a great deal of inner anguish in the past. I wanted my gifts and offerings to be completely pure and for the other. Anything less was almost sinful in my mind...a betrayal to my mother who I saw do nothing but give of herself. So any time I would feel something positive from giving, I would then condemn myself for having those good feelings. Not healthy for me.

Think of the concept of free of self. How can that ever truly be and, even if it were, why would we want it to be? When we are living moments we are inside of the moments and the experience and the feelings created by the experience. We have to be unless we disassociate from being. To do so would rob us of living and feeling. And I would much rather feel pain than nothing. I would much rather be alive. There are moments in life from the very beginning. There are feelings and reactions...from others and from ourselves. It seems that every moment and experience is stored in our unconscious minds. Eventually we forget consciously some of these memories, but our deep inner mind always remembers. And we often act throughout our lives on those past memories and feelings unconsciously. We come to expect what will happen and respond accordingly in the here and now. Sometimes this is healthy, sometimes not...but the reasons are always because we have lived and we remember living. Every moment of being becomes part of who we were, who we are and who we choose to become. When I make a choice now, this choice has motivations behind it that are about me. It may be because I enjoy giving or that easing the pain of others helps to soothe me. I can't help but to be within my own behavior and actions. Because I am a human being who experiences emotions I can't avoid having some emotions about my actions. I can't choose to forget these emotions or not make the correlations of my actions with my emotions. I can't clear my mind from basing choices on my knowledge and my wisdom gained from living and feeling life. So not free of self. I want to feel it and feel it all. Pain, sorrow, grief, sadness, joy, hope and love...

I find this new understanding of self and acceptance that my motivations may in part be self-serving to be much healthier for me. I don't want to punish myself for feeling good for being me. I like giving and this is part of why I do it and that's okay. I'm not a bad person for feeling joy when I give.

Anyhow, these are my beliefs now. My former therapist helped me to find this new place within my mind and I will always appreciate that. Life-changing for me. But if your beliefs around this do not cause you pain, then they are right for you.

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I've been trying to find the source of this tension.... Loving someone is not like a swith you can turn off. Loving someone is having them imbibbed into your being, at various levels depending on the relationship. A spouse takes up a lot of room in there. So you break, they are gone, life goes on, but they are still there, living inside of you. I want him out, I don't want to think about him, miss him, but everyday he continues to be there and I continue to be pulled this way and that. It's like there is this battle going on inside of me....

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I imagine this is why it's called 'heartache'...

You invest so much of yourself in the relationship, and it feels like losing a part of yourself. It took me a year or two to get over my last (intense) relationship, which wasn't nearly as long as yours, Symora. (It did, however, bring much good with it, to the extent that I know we're both better off.) I don't know if it was you, Symora, who said you seem to do better out of a relationship than in one (?) - that is definitely true for me.

Sorry, if I hijacked your philosophical conversation, Unbekannt and IrmaJean. Do continue. :o

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No, it wasn't me who said that, but I do understand it. I think I'm better off now too since we always had major cultural, financial and family issues that seemed irreconcilable, and this would unbalance our relationship and my head of course.... We are from different worlds. But as human beings we loved and cared deeply for each other, were each other's closest and dearest friend. Thus the internal struggle.... perhaps it is heightened by the fact that I also lost my mum and dad during the same period.... thank God I have kids right now or I'd go batty...

The original subject of the thread got me going, sorry if I took it over..... back to psychological theory...

Edited by Symora
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I've been trying to find the source of this tension.... Loving someone is not like a swith you can turn off. Loving someone is having them imbibbed into your being, at various levels depending on the relationship. A spouse takes up a lot of room in there. So you break, they are gone, life goes on, but they are still there, living inside of you. I want him out, I don't want to think about him, miss him, but everyday he continues to be there and I continue to be pulled this way and that. It's like there is this battle going on inside of me....

What do you think keeps you hanging on to him, Symora? Were things left unsaid? Unfinished business? What are you missing when you miss him? I guess I ask a lot of questions. Just some things to consider...

I'm glad you added your thoughts to the thread. I am sorry if it stirred up painful feelings.

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..................

Anyway, got carried away again there ... everytime I talk about it though I do feel some of the inner conflict easing a little and it reaffirms why I needed to move away from it... thanks, I feel a little stronger now....

Edited by Symora
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Symora, I noticed you deleted most of your message and only found some of it quoted in IrmaJean's answer. I couldn't respond right away, things were busy.

I'm guessing now you rather would not have anymore mention of the specifics in the message, so I just skip - but wanted to acknowledge that it 'arrived'.

*hugs*

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Sorry, if I hijacked your philosophical conversation, Unbekannt and IrmaJean. Do continue. :)

Please..... no hijacking possible..... just add! The more the merrier! The very interesting thing is, we all are experts on love... we all truly know it in our hearts. So every aspect is an addition, every new view a new opportunity to learn.

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I can understand how this might feel conflicting and sad, Symora. Maybe there is a place in your heart where you can have memories of your husband, remember the joy you shared with him and allow yourself to miss him too. Sometimes life can be very complicated. There are choices to make which aren't always easy, but it sounds as if you did what was right for you. I hope that this loss doesn't stop you from opening your heart up to loving again. Take care, Symora.

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Free of self. The idea that my doing things for others was in part for my own benefit caused me a great deal of inner anguish in the past. I wanted my gifts and offerings to be completely pure and for the other. Anything less was almost sinful in my mind...a betrayal to my mother who I saw do nothing but give of herself. So any time I would feel something positive from giving, I would then condemn myself for having those good feelings. Not healthy for me.

Not for you and not for anybody, I'm sure.

Could you perhaps see, that your wish for it to be 'truly' selfless, to be truly without any reward for yourself was the biggest re-enforcer of 'self' in the interaction? Exactly that is what the experience of being free of self in those moments when love unfolds are not.

But again, I'm in this only contemplating the experience of love - not the action that is generated by having experienced this feeling and its subsequently emotional experiences

Think of the concept of free of self. How can that ever truly be and, even if it were, why would we want it to be? When we are living moments we are inside of the moments and the experience and the feelings created by the experience.

It isn't a concept. It can't be a concept. It's only an experience - feelings are not created by the experience but the feelings are the experience.

A moment, a non-maintainable state of being that lasts for that indefinite span of time of here and now when the flower of our hearts open into love. This is the moment of an emotion becoming manifest in our awareness. Not actions we take, not opinions we have, it's not thinking, it's not doing, it's not being, it just is an experience, impermanent and leaving us sometimes sad for having experienced it and not being able to hold on to it until the next moment occurs and the flower unfolds again.

I think you are trying to create a construct of a being that in eternal self-sacrifice gives up any concern for it's own being. I do not mean that, I think that's a foolish notion, I would never even wish to be that, I mean it sounds as close to hell as I can imagine.

I found one article by Ajan Lee, that is funny and gave me quite a few laughs, yet at the same time is thought provoking and insightful at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/consciousnesses.html. He also contemplates there 'self'. This is one sentence that I thought you might enjoy "Our goodness, when we let go of it, smells sweet in every direction. ... The mind lets go of its goodness. It doesn't hold onto the view or conceit that its goodness belongs to it." I think that is exactly what you experienced when you realized that it doesn't do the good you do any harm if there is a reward in it for you.

We have to be unless we disassociate from being. To do so would rob us of living and feeling. And I would much rather feel pain than nothing. I would much rather be alive. There are moments in life from the very beginning. There are feelings and reactions...from others and from ourselves.

Couldn't you just allow the thought, that both are not exclusive, being 'self' yet giving up self in the moment of love, of becoming "one, that 'one' is you"? In the moment you feel love (and I truly mean that moment, not the decisions we make based on that moment and the knowledge we will experience it again), there is no awareness of "I" or "me" or such in us, we drown in the emotion generated by the other, that is directed to the other, it is a complete focus on the other without focus on the self. Yet for this experience to take place there has to be self. To become you, to melt into one it takes substance, without substance none of it would be possible. You do not to the exclusion of self experience 'being you'. It isn't a dualistic condition in which the occurrence of the one means the not occurrence of the other.

It seems that every moment and experience is stored in our unconscious minds. Eventually we forget consciously some of these memories, but our deep inner mind always remembers. And we often act throughout our lives on those past memories and feelings unconsciously. We come to expect what will happen and respond accordingly in the here and now. Sometimes this is healthy, sometimes not...but the reasons are always because we have lived and we remember living. Every moment of being becomes part of who we were, who we are and who we choose to become. When I make a choice now, this choice has motivations behind it that are about me. It may be because I enjoy giving or that easing the pain of others helps to soothe me. I can't help but to be within my own behavior and actions. Because I am a human being who experiences emotions I can't avoid having some emotions about my actions. I can't choose to forget these emotions or not make the correlations of my actions with my emotions. I can't clear my mind from basing choices on my knowledge and my wisdom gained from living and feeling life. So not free of self. I want to feel it and feel it all. Pain, sorrow, grief, sadness, joy, hope and love...

I don't entirely agree with the unconscious part, I don't really believe that our unconscious is an indiscriminate storage entity within ourselves. But I can let it stand in the context as part of your view on how feelings arise or are generated within us.

But see, my specific interest is, how exactly do you put in words what happens in that moment you experience 'love'. How do describe it? Not what we do because of it. Not what motivations are created because of it. Not what it gives us in the long run. But just that moment when we are love, when the flower of our hearts opens up. What is it that you feel? Which words can you use to describe it.

How can we communicate love beyond the mere word?

I find this new understanding of self and acceptance that my motivations may in part be self-serving to be much healthier for me. I don't want to punish myself for feeling good for being me. I like giving and this is part of why I do it and that's okay. I'm not a bad person for feeling joy when I give.

Anyhow, these are my beliefs now. My former therapist helped me to find this new place within my mind and I will always appreciate that. Life-changing for me. But if your beliefs around this do not cause you pain, then they are right for you.

I am still surprised that you think I meant that love excludes to experience personal gratification in the context.

Well.... I'm trying hard to get away from the 'believe' part to the mere 'experience' part. That's the one I'm really interested in :)

Edited by Unbekannt
oops... didn't realize I had hit 'post' instead of 'preview' need to correct a mistake or two
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In the moment you feel love (and I truly mean that moment, not the decisions we make based on that moment and the knowledge we will experience it again), there is no awareness of "I" or "me" or such in us, we drown in the emotion generated by the other, that is directed to the other, it is a complete focus on the other without focus on the self.

Alas, you and I think differently. The moment when I feel love is to me a complete awareness of self. It isn't an out of body like experience. It's being fully embraced in everything that you are. It is felt from within and has a lot to do with ourselves. Loving another is very much about the self. It's about every positive light from within being aglow. It's about our hearts being completely open to another. It's about self-revelation and vulnerability and sharing of the self. When I first feel love I want to offer my gifts to the other. Through his gifts my own are reflected. When I know and recognize his attributes, I self-expand and feel my own. I feel effective in being myself.

But just that moment when we are love, when the flower of our hearts opens up. What is it that you feel? Which words can you use to describe it.

When we are love, we are ourselves. I feel giving, caring, gentle, tender, accepting, forgiving, adoring...I could go on. I feel the best aspects of myself. I want to embrace the other with myself and share myself with this person.

One might say that feelings are indeed part of an experience, but there are also actions and reactions...cause and effect. When I drive my car in heavy traffic, I become fearful and anxious. While my fear and anxiety are part of my experience so is the driving. There is also an anticipatory response, in which now I will become stressed before going out for the drive. This then leads to my having a desire to avoid these uncomfortable feelings by not driving in heavy traffic. I believe that the only experiences we have which are completely pure are our very first ones. This seems likely why they have such a great impact on us. Everything else is then seen through the eyes of what you already know and have come to expect.

You describe love almost as if its awakening is a separate entity of sorts. There is also an onslaught of chemicals released in our brains when this occurs which may then lead to feelings of euphoric bliss and such. I was not referring to this but more to deep, abiding kind of love. As far as its emergence goes, I don't believe it to be a sudden awakening. I believe it builds slowly little by little as one becomes familiar and appreciative of another. Moments of connection and understanding.

When I mentioned free of self as a concept rather than an experience that was probably a judgment on my part. I apologize for that. As long as we are living, breathing and emotional beings, I don't see how it is possible. Again, this is my personal opinion and understanding of things and what seems to work best for me emotionally.

I was rereading through this today and wanted to add some additional thoughts. I am very much about motivations, drives, desires, understanding the whys, so perhaps this is why my mind has focused on this aspect of things. When I first went to therapy I thought very differently from what I've written above. The opening of the mind can take some time...but I think mine continues to evolve...albeit perhaps not right away. It could be that we are looking at this from a different perspective or that I don't exactly understand your interpretation of free of self. I was thinking about this and perhaps what you mean is the feelings are transcendent of self. I would take that to mean not that they are free from the self, but that they are more than just the self. I can get that. I also tend to be a very emotional person and feel things very deeply so it becomes difficult to separate myself from my intense feelings. The other may generate the feelings. They may be directed completely at the other, but they still come from me. Anyhow, it takes me some time to process things. Perhaps you can elaborate some more for me sometime.

Does anyone else have any thoughts?

Edited by IrmaJean
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