Do we love?
Contribution by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain
I would definitely say yes. I would say that I love my parents, my children, my partner…However, I invite you to be more aware of it. We only love what we like for as long as it stays as we like it – can this be love? If a farmer only loved his fields when they produced a good harvest – would that be logical? It would be based on the yield of the crops. It would not be about loving the nature that is spread before him. A rational farmer sees what is there all the time, what is natural. He knows that every moment is as it is and not as he thinks it should be. However, we waste a lot of our time, our energy and our lives hoping to see things the way we want them to be. Is that loving life? Denying that things or relationships are as they are, requires a concerted effort, a great deal of emotional, mental and physical wear and tear. It may be that you believe that this does not apply to you, that you do not live this way. You are mistaken. Nearly all of us live in this way. Wishing for something that is other than what exists or being afraid of losing what you believe you have. Is that love? We say that we love but – is that true? A river that flows simply flows. It does not complain about the stones it finds on the way or about whether it carries a small amount of water or whether it is full of mud. We, on the other hand, complain about stones on the path, without admitting that the stone almost certainly has a reason to be there. I complain about my country, my neighbours, noisy children, about my child who does not study as I believe they should, about not having a partner or about the fact that the one I have does not meet my expectations. Too much energy is wasted on trivia. The river passes over the stones or goes round them and follows its natural course without trying to shape the landscape to suit itself and its preferences. I am not referring to the fact that someone ends up doing nothing, I am referring to an attitude of constantly rejecting what is before us, the life we live, and we complain and remain fixated on the obstacles instead of leaving them behind, without too much wasted energy, and pushing onwards. Maybe lots of us confuse this futile struggle with the meaning of life. A struggle that is full of conflict, we call it life and also love. I fight because I love you, because I want the best for you. But is it not the case that we defend our comfort, our peace of mind? Love, however, does not impose conditions. Love and beauty are in the attitude of those who experience them. Living with fear prevents love. When I am scared, I defend myself, I see problems, situations or people who may harm me. Fear makes everything revolve around it. In that whirlwind of fear there is no room for love. Fear compels us to act selfishly, that is, for our own benefit or survival. Is there room for love there? Love is a state of mind that is open to the reality that exists, in which no conditions are imposed, in which I do not want anything for my sole benefit. If I love, if I loved, I would not cling to anything; I would let things be as they were. In that way I could offer my help without hoping that something might change. You may think that this is impossible to do. If you believe it that may be because of the confusion in which we normally live. We confuse love with possession, control, security and peace. We imagine certain models of love, which are not true, like those in romantic novels and films, full of sentimentality, heartbreak and suffering. If those are our models, it is logical to suffer. A change of focus is just a question of attention, of observing what you are really looking for or that you fear in these relationships of “love.” If you really intend your life to be happy, you have to do your part, you have to be honest with yourself and observe what you look for in relationships with those you love: children, friends, a partner, family …and far beyond. When I manage to let go of my fear and my attachment, love emerges in a natural way. I suggest that you look into the conditions we set which prevent the openness that is necessary for us to be able to love. Nobody has said that it is easy, but there is no doubt….that it is worth the trouble.