Monday, January 21, 2008

Gita II: What Is Love???

What is love? Our world is filled with people and objects that we cling to and eventually grow to "love," or so we say. But how do you know you that you've reached the point of love. Looking back on the so called relationships I had in junior high and high school, I said "I love you" in just about all of them. I know now that I did not love them; I said it because either they said "I love you" first or I felt that it was just the next thing to do in our so called relationship. I honestly feel that I did care about them, but I was not in love as I so passionately thought. I do believe that you can fall in love at a young age, but I didn't.

Since I now know that I have never been in love, I struggle with the thought of "how do you know that you are in love?" I believe that it is something that just happens, and you have no control over it. I have deceived myself in the past with the though of being in love that now I don't think I will ever truly know that I'm in love. The Gita presents a concept of love that I have always believed was a component of being in love: constantly thinking of that individual. "When the mind in an unbroken stream thinks of the Lord, we have what is called para-bhakti, or supreme love" (76). It reminds me of being infatuated when you always think of a certain person. What are they doing? Are they okay? How is their day going? This concept has given me a big clue to the idea of being in love. I definitely will think twice when I meet someone and they are constantly on my mind. Besides just having that individual consume your mind, there are other actions that takes place when you are in love. Lord Shri Krishna elaborates on these actions in a conversation with Arjuna in The Sovereign Secret chapter . "Fix your mind on Me, devote yourself to Me, sacrifice for Me, surrender to Me, make Me the object of your aspirations, and too shall assuredly become one with Me" (77). So in other words, when all of your actions and thoughts are centered around someone, that is love.

Another aspect of love that I have learned is that it cannot be wavering. Either you love them all of the time or none of the time. It cannot be turned off and on like a light switch; love is present during the good and bad times. William Shakespeare elaborates on the continuity of love in Sonnet 116. "Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds Or bends with the remover to remove...Love alters not with his brief hours or weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom" (Sonnet 116). Reading these five lines of Sonnet 116 instills in me that I cannot run away from love once it gets rough. I have a tendency to run away from people or situations that have the potential to harm me. Love will be something that I cannot save myself from because it will basically hunt me down and not go away if I am experiencing pain from the one I'm in love with. I am actually now trying to prevent myself from falling in love with someone I have grown to care alot about. Now I feel that I still have control whether it reaches that point or not. So I definitely agree with Shakespeare's words of wisdom, but my present situation allows me to believe his words to a certain extent depending on the situation.

Reading the Gita and Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare, I feel that I have a clear definition of love and that I will be able to somewhat recognize when love is present in my relationships. Now I am pondering the concept of "love with detachment." Before our discussion in class, I had not heard the term "love with detachment." I have been thinking about this ever since class because I feel that if I can love with detachment, I would solve my issue of fearing what is going to come out of the situation. I grew up depending on myself and being responsible for the outcome of my decisions. Now that I am getting older and in the real world, I have learned that there are alot of things that I cannot control. I mentioned this in my first discussion about the Gita when I talked about God having an ultimate plan for us and how we have to continue through the obstacles life throws at us. Loving with detachment can definitely help us cope better with the outcome of a bad situation. For example, a divorce or a death in the family. Also, entering into our careers in the future will require some love with detachment.

My ultimate goal when it comes to choosing a career is to make sure everyday I am helping someone to better their life. In the field of law, where I believe I will ultimately choose to become a judge, I will have the priviledge of making decisions that will alter other people's life in good and bad ways. Being able to effectively do my job, I will have to set aside my emotions and do what is best for the individuals I am trying to help. I know loving with detachment will be challenging for me, but I feel it is the best approach to take when you put your heart into someone or something.

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