There is a way to love that bears little resemblance to the way we define love in our current culture. It is more of a truth than it is a feeling. It has nothing to do with desire, attachment, not even trust. It is not about loving the self. It is about transcendent love for another. When we experience this love it is healing. It breaks open spaces inside of our hearts and it can be painful. If we haven’t experienced it before it can be very confusing. We teach each other and ourselves that love is supposed to be accompanied by desire, by attachment, by devotion, by sacrifice, by forsaking all others, by forsaking the self. That it is a state we fall into and out of. Transcendent love is transcendent because it is beyond desire, attachment, loss, devotion, sacrifice, forsaking, and beyond a state of relationship, it simply is.
When I love in this way, I love beyond my relationship to a person. It does not matter whether they are next to me or thousands of miles away or dead. It just is. It does not matter whether they are my lover, my friend, my brother, my enemy. It just is. It does not matter whether they have hurt me, could hurt me, could never hurt me. It is beyond my feelings, beyond fear, frustration, grief. It happens instantly, because it has always been. I recognize it when it happens because it creates in me a feeling of deep calm. I know it because it is not changed or affected by actions or feelings. I give it as freely as a person can who doesn’t possess it. I have no ownership over the hearths that others rest by in my heart. They are secondary fires sparked by a source that flows through me, something infinite.
My troubles with it occur in these ways:
- when I allow my ego to become attached to the way this love manifests
- when I confuse transcendent love for romantic love and act accordingly
- when I am so detached from the way this love manifests that I am mistaken for being aloof
- when I am so detached from the way this love manifests that when my ego is emotionally bruised I have difficulty holding the person accountable.
To love someone in this way is to want what is best for them regardless of your hopes, fears, wishes, and attachments. This means that romantic partnerships with people you love transcendently often require intense surrender and this can be painful. I have never personally had a successful long-term romantic partnership with a person I love in this way, though I have seen transcendent love between romantic partners. It requires a lot of effort, sacrifice and choosing. Parents nearly always love their children transcendently. I love my sister transcendently. I have several wonderful friends with whom I share a transcendent love and it has healed, strengthened and provided growth for us no matter the physical distance between us.
Who do you love transcendently? What doors has it pried open inside your heart? What have you found yourself freely giving that you thought impossible to give before?