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13547Re: Weekly Words ofWisdom-Love

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  • tarah513
    Jan 16, 2005
      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, medit8ionsociety
      <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > "Selfish love is not love. It's attachment, because you are doing
      > things for your sake. Real love has no selfishness in it. If you
      > really love somebody, it is completely selfless.

      > <snip>

      > H.H. Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidananda

      Dear List:

      The view of love being selfless and unconditional
      is, in my mind, a false view and actually destroys
      its sublime value. Every Valentine's Day we see
      this accepted falsehood (the idea that love
      is selfless) being propagated in a very pronounced
      manner. Actually, it is committed year-round, but
      its destructiveness is magnified on this holiday.

      Love, we are repeatedly taught, consists of
      self-sacrifice. Love based on self-interest,
      we are admonished, is cheap and sordid. True
      love, we are told, is altruistic. But is it?

      Imagine a Valentine's Day card which takes
      this premise seriously. Imagine receiving
      a card with the following message:

      "I get no pleasure from your existence. I
      obtain no personal enjoyment from the way
      you look, dress, move, act or think. Our
      relationship profits me not. You satisfy no
      sexual, emotional or intellectual needs of
      mine. You're a charity case, and I'm with
      you only out of pity. Love, XXX."

      Needless to say, you would be indignant
      to learn that you are being "loved," not for
      anything positive you offer your lover,
      but--like any recipient of alms--for what
      you lack. Yet that is the perverse view
      of love entailed in the belief that it is

      Genuine love is the exact opposite. It is
      the most selfish experience possible, in
      the true sense of the term: it benefits your
      life in a way that involves no sacrifice of
      others to yourself or of yourself to others.
      For instance, I never felt one moment of
      sacrifice for anything that I did for my son.

      I take care of my elderly father and
      definitely consider it a sacrifice on my part.
      A sacrifice I face because of decisions I made.
      This is NOT love. This is DUTY and honoring a

      To love a person is selfish because it means
      that you value that particular person, that
      he or she makes your life better, that he or
      she is an intense source of joy--to you. A
      "disinterested" love is a contradiction in
      terms. One cannot be neutral to that which one
      values. The time, effort and money you spend
      on behalf of someone you love are not sacrifices,
      but actions taken because his or her happiness
      is crucially important to your own. Such
      actions would constitute sacrifices only
      if they were done for a stranger--or for
      an enemy. Those who argue that love demands
      self-denial must hold the bizarre belief that
      it makes no personal difference whether your
      loved one is healthy or sick, feels pleasure
      or pain, is alive or dead.

      It is regularly asserted that love should
      be unconditional, and that we should
      "love everyone as a brother." We see this
      view advocated by the "non-judgmental"
      grade-school teacher who tells his class
      that whoever brings a Valentine's Day card
      for one student must bring cards for everyone.
      We see it in the appalling dictum of "Hate
      the sin, but love the sinner"--which would
      have us condemn death camps but send Hitler
      a box of Godiva chocolates. Most people
      would agree that having sex with a person
      one despises is debased. Yet somehow, when
      the same underlying idea is applied to love,
      people consider it noble.

      Love is far too precious to be offered
      indiscriminately. It is, above all, in
      the area of love that egalitarianism
      ought to be repudiated. Love represents an
      exalted exchange--a spiritual exchange--between
      two people, for the purpose of mutual benefit.

      You love someone because he or she is a
      value--a selfish value to you, as determined
      by your standards--just as you are a value to
      him or her.

      It is the view that you ought to be given
      love unconditionally--the view that you
      do not deserve it any more than some
      random bum, the view that it is not a
      response to anything particular in you, the
      view that it is causeless--which
      exemplifies the most ignoble conception
      of this sublime experience.

      The nature of love places certain demands
      on those who wish to enjoy it. You must
      regard yourself as worthy of being loved.
      Those who expect to be loved, not because
      they offer some positive value, but because
      they don't--i.e., those who demand love as
      altruistic duty--are parasites. Someone
      who says "Love me just because I need it"
      seeks an unearned spiritual value--in the
      same way that a thief seeks unearned wealth.

      And now, I see Valentine's Day (which is
      fast approaching)--with its colorful cards,
      mouth-watering chocolates and silky lingerie--as
      a means of giving material form to this
      spiritual value. It is a moment for you to
      pause, to ignore the trivialities of life--and
      to celebrate the selfish pleasure of being
      worthy of someone's love and of having found
      someone worthy of yours.

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