Thoughts on Love by C. S. Lewis, Kahlil Gibran, Henri J. Nouwen, David Deida, and others. . . .


Often my posts here and on my other blogs serve as missions statements of sorts. They reflect what I aspire to and the standards that I deeply hold myself to. (For example, see my other blog for a companion piece to this. http://theplacesthatscareyou.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/reflections-on-courage-and-truth-are-you-mentally-healthy-or-one-sick-little-puppy/)

My posts also reflect much of what I hope to find with a partner—the type of very intimate and loving relationship that I hope to one day soon help create and participate in and experience.

And so in that sense I would also hope that at least some of my writings (or my excerpting and abridging, lol, as is the case here) would appeal to and resonate very deeply with that certain special (future) someone who might one day enter into my life and I into hers. 🙂 ) The whole idea being, of course, that water seeks its own level, or that birds of a feather flock together, et cetera. Opposites may attract, but when they have significant differences in their fundamental values and ideals and the principles they want to live by, opposites tend not to stay together.

– – – – – – – – –

God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

Love Deeply” – Henri J. Nouwen (from “The Inner Voice of Love,” pp. 59-60)

Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply.

You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.

The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because of your love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. They will become part of your self and thus gradually build a community within you.

Those you have deeply loved become part of you. The longer you live, there will always be more people to be loved by you and to become part of your inner community. The wider your inner community becomes, the more easily you will recognize your own brothers and sisters in the strangers around you. Those who are alive within you will recognize those who are alive around you. The wider the community of your heart, the wider the community around you. Thus the pain of rejection, absence, and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear.

– – – – – – – – – – –

When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. . . .
[And] if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshingfloor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. . . .

– Kahlil Gibran, ‘On Love,’ abridged from “The Prophet”

.

There is No Safe Investment” – C. S. Lewis (adapted from “The Four Loves,” pp. 120-122.)

I am a safety-first creature.

Of all of the arguments against love, none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as “Careful! This might lead you to suffering.”

To my nature, to my temperament, yes, this argument appeals.

But not to my conscience.

If I am sure of anything, I am sure that Christ’s teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities.

Who would choose a wife or a friend—or even a dog, if it comes to that—in this spirit, on the basis of such prudential grounds—i.e. because the security, so to speak, is better?

Christ did not teach and suffer so that we might become even more careful of our own happiness. If a person is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloved whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so towards God whom he has not seen.

We shall only draw nearer to God not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in love, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; by throwing away all defensive armor.

If our hearts need to be broken—and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break—then so be it. Hiding away our hearts for fear of their being broken, is like hiding away a talent in a napkin and burying out back, and for much the same reason—because “I knew that thee wert a hard man.”

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; become a relationship nomad, run away and emotionally cut others out of your life at the first sign of trouble; and lock your heart up safe in the casket or coffin of your own selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; rather, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only alternative to tragedy, or at least the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The bliss of relationship is the opening of the heart. The work of relationship is what emerges from the opened heart.” – Tom Kenyon

I think it reads even better this way . . .

The bliss of relationship is the opening of the heart. The work of relationship is what emerges from the opened heart—and what keeps it open.”

– – – – – – – – – – –

Our life is an offering.
Our unoffered love is our suffering.
Our ungiven love clenches in us as stress.
Relaxing now into this moment
opens us and frees the gift
our love wants to be.
You and I are love’s means.
Will we die fully given?
Or will we die ungiven and still waiting?
Now is our chance.
If you are waiting for anything
or anyone
in order to feel more full,
more free, more open,
more relaxed, more happy
or more loving,
then you are wasting this moment of your life.

(David Deida, adapted from “Waiting to Love: Rude Essays on Life After Spirituality,” pp. ix-xi)

Advertisements

About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in C.S. Lewis, Courage, David Deida, Differentiation, Emotional Maturity, Gibran, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Henri J. Nouwen, Love, Love is a Choice, Love is a Decision, Love is an Act of Will, Love is Not a Feeling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments (feel free to speak your mind and even to disagree!)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s