“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Spring is upon us and as Lord Albert Tennyson reminded us, it is the time of year when young men’s thoughts are on love. Couple that with Valentine’s Day on February 14thand it seems it’s on all our minds.
So I thought it only right that I should talk about finding your true love for this edition.
Not in the usual sense of exciting first dates, romance, hearts and flowers, but on a deeper level, one beyond the initial flush of being in love.
So I did what I always do when I want to go deeper into a subject I turned to Buddha, for wisdom and this is what I found.
He spoke of there being four elements of love that make it ‘true’ love and that we must have all of these elements in our relationship to make love true and long lasting.
I don’t believe that these four elements are magical or require a spiritual faith, they are simply behaviours that we must adopt equally and must be shown by both in the relationship.
So let’s start with Kindness he explains that we should both have the desire and the ability to make each other happy. It’s not good enough to just want to make our partner happy we must actually have the ability to do so. You can harness this by truly looking atthe one you love and developing a deeper understanding of who they are as a person. By understanding the person you love, you will, in turn, learn how to love them. This understanding is based on their ambitions, their desires and their troubles. Learning more about your love helps to open the door to understanding them, and how to love them in a meaningful and fulfilling way.
Next we must develop Compassion for each other, this is the desire to ease each other’s suffering. This is also based on understanding, but the understanding of the suffering of your love. Only when you truly understand their suffering will you be able to help in alleviating and easing their burdens.
Thirdly, there must be Joy and Happiness in our love for each other, if there is no joy or happiness then our love isn’t true. If your love upsets you or distresses you, then it is, in fact, not love to begin with, or the love has been lost. Love must be fulfilling and bring joy and happiness to those who feel it. When we are in love and we experience joy from it, our love grows stronger, and this is a sign that the love is true. Once there is no joy or happiness in love, then there is no longer any love.
Finally we must have Freedom. When love is true, both people within the couple should have freedom, and feel free within the relationship. Each person should feel free to be an individual to allow them to grow and develop in their own way. This allows you to be yourself and have time alone, safe in the knowledge that your love is doing the same. There should also be freedom within the relationship, being able to feel comfortable to share ideas and thoughts without fear of judgment. Having freedom whilst also being able to be a part of a couple is a sign of the truest love.
The Buddha spoke of many things, but love and life were of huge focus. His teachings on love show us that true love should be something positive and enlightening, bringing joy and freedom to our lives. Keeping these four elements of love in mind may just make it a little easier to find true love for ourselves.
This spring I wish you all true love in your lives.