Falling Out of Love
There’s a thin line between love and hate, or so a good friend of mine told me the other day as I relayed my most recent divorce woes. Perhaps she is right.
What I perhaps found more interesting is how we, or more specifically I, fall out of love.
If it is truly love, you can’t exactly fall out of it – not if it was real in the first place. So when two people are no longer together, where does the love go? Or maybe the question I ought to be asking is, what is the opposite of love?
Oddly enough, it is indifference.
I used to adore certain types of food. I am now indifferent to it. It’s not something I expected to say, but when it is brought in front of me, it’s as if it doesn’t exist. As I realised with the food, this is a very powerful place to be. I would like to think I can do it with everything that has the potential to get under my skin. I have quite some way to go.
So what keeps me in love? Or what keeps me attached to something? (Yes, it is attachment, not love.) And so, given it is attachment that I am really talking about, the question to ask is, where is the payoff?
Drawing on Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, the question I ask is whether this thing or person is spending time with me, saying nice things to me, doing nice things for me, spending money on me, or touching me.
As I write that, I think about cigarettes. A patient of mine once remarked how it was the only thing that consistently spent him with him, and he was able to call upon it anytime, any place, anywhere. It was a friend that would always be by his side. An extension of his masculinity, if you will. I guess this is how any kind of addiction works. With the dopamine hits that it brings, romantic love is no different.
And so, the remedy remains, indifference.
Which brings me to something a teacher of mine once shared as signs of progress on the spiritual path: shanti (peace), samtosha (contentment) and samaadhaana (evenness of mind).
In English, the word indifference can feel like something negative, comparable perhaps to apathy. It is not. This idea of peace and evenness of mind is much closer. It is a place where you are content, but you are not grasping, because you know that the thing you want is there, but you choose not to use/eat/be with it. You are operating from an abundance mindset where you can have anything you want.
And when you can have everything, strangely, you won’t want anything (and, most crucially, this is when you can have everything). I have been there many a time. The trick is to have practiced this habit so many times that I am able to stay there.
Suddenly I hate Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 times. But then I figure I can take this as an opportunity, much as a follower of Osho might: to do something so much that it no longer has a hold on you; that you thoroughly exhaust that vasana (inherent mental conditioning).
So with that, true to my addictive tendencies, I am off to overdo something. Today, it seems to be fried food that is calling me – something I probably last enjoyed somewhere circa 1998. Evidently, there is work to do.
I’m on it.
Falling in Love Trilogy: