I am deeply interested in love, the experience of it, the transformative power of it and the essential place that it holds in the depth of human life. I am especially interested in the various expressions of love including romantic love, expressions of erotic love, love of family, deep friendship, fearless acts of kindness, love of sangha, service, love for animals (not eating anything with a face) and love of life, such as dedication to environmental ethics, love of the arts and creativity.
Jesus, William Shakespeare, Rumi , Carl Jung act as my major mentors on matters of the heart, on romantic love, on fearless love and the power of Eros to transform lives. We need inspiration, courage and illumination. The Buddhist world has not given this subject the attention that it deserves. Let us not forget we take birth due to love and passion. (yes, yes there are rare exceptions).
Since 1998, I have taken a daily interest in the nature of love when I had some moments of inspirational insight that directed me in fresh ways to explore love and its extraordinary potential for awakening, particularly the force of love called Eros between a man and woman (and, of course, same gender for some others). I meditated, reflected, shared with others and listened to others on theme of intimate love.
I read books. Some I pulled out of the bookshelves of shops in the English speaking world or at airports. Friends recommended books to me. Between the summer of 1998 and the summer of 2007. I had two partners. Both partners had books they appreciated which I read. I read books by David Deida, John Gray (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus or is it Authors are from Mars?), Stephen Levine, Barry Long, Robert Johnson (She: Understanding Feminine Psychology and He, Understanding Male Psychology) and books on Eros, shadows, archetypes, Indian Gods and Goddesses, Greek mythology, the history of Western love, love and the sacred. Fascinating stuff. Some of the books were insightful, some of the books were very lightweight, some books were riddled with simplistic generalisations. I have also been blessed with the opportunity to integrate theory with practice. Always very challenging and worthwhile.
Finally, I have found THE book on love, romance, passion, Eros and its transformative power. There was a small advertisement for it in the London Review of Books magazine that I subscribe to. Title of the book is Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters. Sub-title: “The Power of Romantic Passion by Ethel Spector Person, M.D. It is intelligent, incisive and reveals a genuine depth of inquiry. Chapter titles include Falling in Love, How Love Develops, Struggles, Disillusionment, Love and Power, Transference and Love that endures. There are quotes from a range of authorities on these and other aspects of intimate love, quotes from other books on the subject, from fiction, from poets and the world of psychology. I learnt a lot about the love lives of some of our writers and deep thinkers and a lot about myself. The book addresses the heart with the support of serious academic research.
If I have one small quibble about the book, it is the title. The sub-title The Power of Romantic Passion captures the theme of book. While the sub-title could be Reality of Love, Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters. Ethel Person has really looked deeply into matters of love. She has written an illuminating book on a challenging subject – a book to read and read again. I can open it at any page and find some invaluable truth in it. Read paragraphs slowly. I regard it as an indispensable resource. Need I say more? More on this book and its application in a month or two ….