Both women and men have served as burnt offerings on the altar of patriarchy. Both sexes have lived in bondage under the present social system. The violence against and subordination of women is well known and heavily documented. The violence of men toward other men (via war, crime, murder) is the other side of the same useless coin. The advent of the women's movement has proved invaluable but in the New age we will have to go beyond theory and doctrine and protocol - because ideology tends to point fingers, and designating fall guys and whipping boys (and girls) are roles that are counter-productive and no longer need to be played out. We have to start untangling and resolving shared human issues and dilemmas - the anger, the travail, the paralysis that both women and men are encountering.
Throughout the ages relationships have proven to be the most consequential and indispensable educators of both men and women. They have been pedagogical drill sergeants leading us into the boot camps of sacrifice, self-discipline and teamwork - as well as servitude, anguish and abuse. They have also been empathetic schoolmarms keeping us in class after hours to propagate and instill the seeds of forgiveness, passion, love and commitment. And simply because we are entering a New Age doesn't mean that these lessons are going to become uncomplicated and effortless and mastered smoothly and conveniently.
Despite the progress made during the past few decades, if you walk into the average high school today you'll find countless young women obsessed with their looks and eager to do anything to be loved and accepted. You'll discover even more young men playing their macho games and willing to say whatever it takes in order to get laid.
In the workaday world single adults appear to be vesting their emotional dollars into what seems more like a Mutual Fund than a possible partner/lover, hoping for instant dividends and then panicking when the market takes a nose dive. There still appears to be no lack of confusion and, eventually, indifference.
Best Men / Maids of Honor
Near the end of a recent popular movie our hero tries to woo his ladylove back into his arms by ending his tremulous oratory with the phrase - "You complete me". Depending on one's emotional state of mind during this scene, tears may drop from the eyes, a lump may materialize in the throat, or a trip to the medicine cabinet may be the next order of business.
A literal interpretation of this expression is illustrative of one of today's most common (and, in fact, eternal) misconceptions. We have a myriad of men and women walking around like breathing rebus puzzles with a piece missing. They are searching for that especial someone to "complete" them, to fill that whopping 'hole' they sense in themselves so that they can finally be 'whole'. They are yearning for Oneness.
Each man and woman is a work in progress. When people who are too fragmented and rudimentary get together there is bound to be disillusionment. If I am expecting you to fulfill and complete me and it doesn't happen then my disenchantment and chagrin could result in me implicating and reproaching you for my own shortcomings and weaknesses.
Balance should be the objective in every aspect of life and especially when it concerns the equilibrium of animus and anima, our innate male and female energies. How many of us have stopped to analyze and get in touch with our innermost emotions? It is that unconscious sentiment that oftentimes gets projected onto the significant other and the consequences can be anger, perplexity and an attempt to remold the other instead of reconstructing and transforming oneself.
The person who is your best friend/spouse today is the "right" one for you (though not necessarily the right one next year). This is because relationships are a reflection of our own growth experience. Yes, many times opposites attract because of the allure of certain characteristics in the other which we feel we are lacking and which are keys to integrating our own temperaments. All our hopes and apprehensions are mirrored in the faces of our wives, husbands and partners. Couples that grow and evolve in concert learn to recognize and honor each other's totality (the endearing characteristics as well as the traits that require polishing). Couples that are unable or refuse to let go of those images which they have projected onto one another will continue their quest with different paramours until those relationships are also sabotaged or until the lesson is learned by heart.
Relationships erected on a foundation of neediness are doomed to failure. Any woman who is looking for a mate to fill the void she is feeling within herself should temporarily take herself off the "market" and instead concentrate on enhancing her own assertiveness, independence and prepotency. Any man in a similar situation should do likewise and focalize on augmenting that vestigial nurturing tenderness and sensitiveness.
Centuries of fear-based censure and moral stricture against sexuality reaped a harvest of guilt and repression. The pendulum swung the other way and the sexual revolution reciprocated with promiscuity, disease and rampant infidelity. It's anybody's guess what the sexual climate will be like in the future (Lamaze classes in grade school? Or going back to wearing scarlet 'A's on our blouses and shirts?).
Sex as Promethean life force should be honored and relished and treated with more veneration than is presently the custom. Morality (however one chooses to define it) is not the issue. Two consenting adults who have just met in a bar and go home to partake in an hour of 'recreational fornication' have not fallen from grace and sinned in the eyes of the Lord (unless you are comfortable with guilt trips and other quasi-mythical venereal transgressions concocted by a bevy of septuagenarian patriarchs). However, what is probably missing from the aforementioned coupling is the element of the sacred. Sex with someone you deeply and passionately love involves all of the body's psychic centers (including the important heart, third eye and crown chakras). Ask people who have experienced tantric union with their soul mates and most of them will agree that after such experiences it's difficult to go back and simply rub body parts together with total strangers.
Sexual urges are as normal as our other physical appetites and their gratification can never inhibit or adulterate our spiritual evolvement (forget about what certain Eastern gurus and yogis say about complete abstinence as a steppingstone to illumination). Huxley had it right when he wrote that it was amazing the number of people who found themselves with only a couple of alternatives - "promiscuity or asceticism - two forms of death". You certainly can live a full life without sexual pleasure but that energy should then be channeled into other creative pursuits.
Hopefully when people look back hundreds of years from now they'll shake their heads in disbelief when they read about some of our sterling carnal achievements (date rape drugs, phone sex etc.). With luck there will be a planet replete with the type of self-actualized people that Abraham Maslow talks about in 'Toward a Psychology of Being' - men and women loving at a higher level, not motivated by neediness and self-deficiency, enjoying life in all its aspects and not "only stray moments of peak experience".
To summarize, the way to bring an honest, strong, warmhearted person into your life is for you to develop and radiate those same qualities yourself. Growing into and during a successful relationship is eminently attainable when one whole person meets another whole person in an atmosphere of mutual esteem, forbearance and expectation. Remember, we do not usually draw to ourselves the person that we DESIRE. We attract the person WE happen to BE.
Experiencing divine love equals to drawing freely from the universal fountain of the ongoing and ever-flowing transcendental interconnection of our very being with it all and the beyond. This is the most genuine and the purest form of love which in my opinion any being can possibly experience. There are many different ways to access this energy. It can be through inner calmness, contemplation of our constant flow of emotions, thoughts and feelings, communion with nature, any form of art or creative endeavor, natural living and pristine-pure eating practices, some drugs or whichever experience brings one closer to the divine source of our being.
Whenever we find ourselves at this state of deep communion with something beyond ourselves and there is plain and pure love flowing through our hearts directly from the universal source, our love vibrations are at their highest. It is at this point when we are automatically drawn to those beings who are in a similar state of highness or at least a similar frequency. It's very much like tuning in a radio, like waves connecting and two channels being simultaneously receptive of the same waves. When beings are vibrating at a similar frequency they are drawn very much like magnets towards those beings to connect with them and experience this mutual divine communion. It's the universal law of attraction I guess: positive attracts positive, and negative attracts negative to put it into a generalization...
Very frequently we cannot logically understand how this process of inexplicable attraction happens since it seems as if an external force literally was pushing us and drawing us together beyond our comprehension and willingness. And very often, as a result of the confusion created by such out-of the-ordinary experience we try to respond with behaviors which are the ones by which our society has taught us to communicate or express those strange yet overwhelming feelings of mutual interconnection .
The first reaction is to confuse this with love in terms of what society has labeled or understands as 'love.' What I mean is that immediately as we experience those vibes we want to grab on to this feeling, we want to personalize it or cage it by limiting it to the person whom we've been drawn to.
This is because we have learned that love belongs to a person and we need to protect it and make it exclusive. When in my opinion, the truth of the matter is that love cannot be ever owned or possessed. It can only flow freely when given total openness from two or more people's heart to flow through them in an ongoing motion not 'from' themselves per se but 'through' them from a source which transcends them both. The minute 'we' get on the way, tinting it with our personal need to own it, limiting it or interpreting it with our minds, restricting it with past-learned labels to cage it in a socially recognized relationship format and control it through the possession of that love we actually lose it instantly; or at the very least, we diminish its purity and natural intensity. This is because from the very moment we do that we are restricting and limiting what once was pure sincere and genuine universal love in its most perfect divine essence and making it "personal." By personal I mean belonging to two people and obtainable from them personally only. When I believe that love is the exact contrary of that personal ownership.
This is where I derive my theory of why love deteriorates in the large majority of long-term relationships or why the "falling in love" initial blissful feeling wears out. Usually it is a direct consequence of that trying to restrict it and put it into a shape, into a defined relationship instead of allowing it to continue to just flow freely from that same center where it first started. Most people seem not to be able to do this. I believe because they just can't trust or have enough faith to believe that it will continue getting replenished as it is allowed to flow and they get scared and just do not seem to be able to let go of the need to grab it or grasp onto it. So at the immense fear and risk of losing this great feeling of love most people right away want to claim its ownership and make it theirs. What a silly thing to do!
When two people are experiencing what in society is referred to as: "falling in love," what happens is that both of those beings were experiencing complete flowing love through them from the universal center and letting it pass though them to one another and then continue to move on at this point without judging it, without even understanding it, without controlling it, just by allowing for that connection -pure love- to be channeled and freely move from one another and through both beings and away it'd go...
Unfortunately, most people lose this natural flowing connection in a few months to a few years time from their first meeting. I personally believe that it is possible to have that original love stay and to keep it forever. But the irony is that in order to have it one first needs to let go of the need to cage it, to possess it, to label it, to shape it or to personalize it. And how many people have you met who are willing to let go of love when they feel it so intensely? So far every man I've ever met wishes to claim possession of the love we channel together. Yet, I still believe that there are must be beings out there, freaks such as me who really feel and believe the opposite to be true and are willing to practice an alternative way of feeling and experiencing love than the dysfunctional ownership and controlling model of loving we've been taught to reproduce.
I believe my conception of how to maintain love is possible based on the very same way one person who is in tune with her/his divine essence can completely and permanently be in love with life, with all the surroundings, with the earth and with all beings as a result of an inner awareness of a communion with something larger than the self which transcends the ego/personal or separate being that in appearance we each are. I firmly believe that it is possible to renew and therefore forever maintain that joy every second of our existence. When a person can do this that person's heart is always singing and there is joy, peace, calm and harmony constantly running through it. This does not mean that the person at a practical life-experience level does not have to go through the normal ups and downs and cycles of life such as the various emotions resulting from exposure to: beginnings and ends, births and deaths, reunions and dis-encounters. However, underneath all the tides and seasons life puts one through, for a person who is grounded and in tune with her/his essence, there is an overall feeling or being-ness of peace and love flowing through under the roughest currents of life at all times.
I have worked very hard at reaching the above mentioned state of permanent divine communion, when the heart is constantly in joy and melodies are continuously running through and the spark of life is shining through one and reaching in and out at all times. Sometimes I lose it for a little while but for the most part I've become quite good at keeping the flame always burning. At this point the flow of universal energy, love or whatever term one uses to refer to the undescribable, flows freely and openly without restrictions, without personal attachments.
I personally believe that being in love and continuing a state of being in love with oneself and with other beings is fully and practically possible. I have experienced from this center of ongoing ground-ness in the very essential source of my being that I can experience divine love for all beings: for all men, for all women, for all animals, for all things. This does not mean that I necessarily like or approve of all the behaviors emanating from these beings. But behind their behaviors I can see their innate love and I can understand whatever comes from them: good or bad, awful or beautiful from a place of inner compassion and love.
Getting to this point in my life took a lifetime of inner work. Basically since I had consciousness I have been trying to discern and learn to separate what was true and genuine from within and what was added on by society, by culture by external sources in order to differentiate which areas or aspects were the 'true me' and which ones were not. In this way, I became a being who does not really fit into any of the stereotyped societal patterns or labels. I have my own path, which I dynamically create as I follow my own beat and inner guidance from within and choose a course of action in response to a full alignment and accordance to my soul and not according to some external rules of any kind. Achieving this required getting to a good point of balance between critical thinking and feeling at all times. The result of that equation is truth and genuineness and uniqueness at best and the rest of society believing that one is from Mars!
As a result of now being able to truly feel this universal love flowing through my heart I can now understand what 'bei-ng in love' on permanent basis with another can potentially be like. We all think of 'being in love' as something we 'do' when it is something we 'are' independently and bring together with another in silent sharing of the flow of something beyond ourselves. I still have not been fortunate enough to find somebody who would prove my theory right in a long-term joint intimate relationship with me. My insight and profound belief is that if two beings separately experience within themselves this state of joy and then are drawn together and attracted to share the flow of this love and manage to keep doing so as if channeling through one another something which is not really theirs or personal but which transcends them; then ongoing love can live and be forever among them. But this is a process of sharing and being in that mutual state of joy from that transcendental awareness rather than of necessarily doing things together or being the same. However, it takes two evolved or really surrendered souls to allow this love to flow freely without restricting it and making it personal. The minute one makes it personal, ironically it starts deteriorating or maybe a better way to put it would be it starts getting 'corrupted' somehow. In direct proportion to how corrupted it gets by blocks built by each persona and by the input coming from the ego-based demands of each of the people involved in the sharing of this divine flow, it results in the fact that eventually the love 'dies'= stops flowing because the channels are dirty.
The truth is that this love never dies. Love is infinite and it is forever flowing. What dies is the ability to let it flow and go through one or both of the people involved in the relationship as a result of ego traps, resentment, demands on each other or whatever thing of an external nature is put on the way of just allowing the ongoing transcendental flow of love to keep running through them. Most couples seem to get too comfortable and unaware and by the time they realize that the purity of their love has changed it can many times be too late to bring it back to its natural essence because it became mudded by things of the ego. It can be recovered by acknowledging and removing each of the self-imposed obstacles which have been placed in the once clear path of love.
In spite of the fact that most of our society seems to fail at maintaining love in long-term intimate relationships, including myself in the past, I still remain fully optimistic. I always rather see the glass half full than half empty and I would much rather vote for a possible life full of love in every aspect of my present and future relationships than devoid of it! So even when called an 'idealist' by many if not by almost all the people who know me I will live to the end of my days voting for universal love, wishing for the flow of this never ending infinite energy available to all those who wish to plug to it and let it flow through them to conquer the world with its beauty and power.
Love in all relationships in my opinion is more than feasible. However, there is only one secret ingredient to its proper working and it is that you have to surrender all control. One cannot possess it because the second one wants to make it of one's own or restrict it to one particular being or thing it starts to put a halt to its most pure flow. If we continue this process of pursuing its domain and ownership it finally escapes us completely bringing in a much less intense frequency and eventually leading to a final separation.
For many all this which I've been describing might sound like some foreign language. Well, you are not the only one... As I told you already, most people think I am from Mars! I don't care what has been said about the beginning and end of love. I still opt to vote for its ever-existing presence in all our lives and even for the possibility that two evolved beings willing to give each other the freedom to accompany one another in sharing this universal love can continue to experience the full initial ecstasy of this connection without having to posses it and make it their own. I'd much rather die a dreamer than have led my life without the blooming and fragrant sight of all my lively visions. However, until I find such eccentric person with this universal understanding I guess I'll have to be contended sharing within my own self and spreading to the world the universal love that daily flows through me...
Don't think by any means that I have fully perfected the art of loving... I am experimenting and searching and trying just like all of you out there wishing to give and receive love. When I met the person whom I first married almost 8 years ago I had the type of connection above described and I really thought that it was going to continue this way for ever, flowing... However, that dream went sour because both our egos and our personalities got on the way after years of losing awareness and not watering it and caring for it. Consequently, after a certain point of drought, it got stuck, corrupted and manipulated. Because nobody can possess love. Everybody has free access to its expression and free flow but the second you want to grab it, to cling to it, to make it dependent on just one person and limit love to one separate soul without sharing its true divine essence, unfortunately its path gets blocked and we experience what socially we refer to as : "the death of our love." Once more, I clarify that love did not end per se but the path through which it was running got unattended and full of weeds until love could not flow anymore.
Again, I am a true believer that love never dies it is 'us'='its channel' that get blocked. When we open the pathways to allow it to flow, when we keep our hearts open and stay vulnerable in spite of all sensitivities; then, all life shines, colors are more vibrant and we are in love not just with the one person with whom we are intimately experiencing the ongoing universal loving flow but also simultaneously with all beings, with all things, with all the planet. The trick is to keep the window of our hearts at all times open and keep emptying its vessel and clearing the channel of dirt from the ego and the personality so it may continuously be recharged and moving in a constant and free flow.
As per love in a two-intimate format is concerned, I still believe that it is possible as long as the love expressed is the flowing universal love. If this is the case, then the relationship will be in a constant process of becoming anew at all times since divine love flows continuously refreshing the vessel which it passes by. Just like a river whose waters as they pass by are never the same and flow forever a new and fresh, Universal Love can flow through two beings without every becoming boring or tedious as long as it is always allowed to flow anew and the awareness of its divine source remains clear and does not get confused as coming from the actual people involved in such dynamic and interactive exchange of love. In this case, a relationship would be like an open divine partnership formed by two people not owning or co-depending on one another but rather being fully interdependent beings sharing the full flowing expression of their freeing source of genuine universal love.
I encourage us all to allow universal love to flow freely through our entire being. Let's not restrict it to one person, let's not be stingy with it but on the contrary let's give it at all times to all who cross our path and if you can live this way I can guarantee you that you'll experience instant richness. Eventually, you and I might find other people who can choose to share with us the experience and join us in an intimate long-term universal-love-based relationship or not... This is what will give you the most naturally ever-renewing spiritual high to last you a lifetime!
Enjoy the ride and forever love and smile!
And for those who are skeptical I challenge you to try my formula since the obsolete one being used by society has proven to be quite ineffective in its most practical form. I am not an idealist because I know this works from my own experience, if it works individually we can also make it work in partnerships. Try it and you too will find out!
Not being able to feel this flowing universal love; and therefore, trying to fill that gap with other external things or actions is what become our well-known addictions, which are nothing less than our inability to just let ourselves fully experience love and give and receive the one fundamental ingredient which runs and beautifully binds together this complex spiritual and human collage.
Love and peace always!
Verónica Muñoz is a dreamer who believes that everyone's dreams can come true. She is a speaker on behalf of social, human, animal and environmental justice and peace on this planet. She is the author of Tales From A Dream Before It Happened and her website is www.artisticliving.com