Monday, January 23, 2012

Love - Arranging Priorities for Love


Think about any great experience: What made it great? Follow your feelings to their headwaters and you will agree: the most important thing about all significant events has something to do with love. Even if the experience itself is not social, the first thought is always, "With whom can I SHARE this?" In a moment of great personal victory, what stands out is not the victory itself, but its HUMAN RAMIFICATIONS -- measured in love units.

There is literally nothing in the world we can acquire or attain which is meaningful to the human spirit apart from its relevance to love -- be it cosmic or human. All else is empty and meaningless. We live, breathe, work, and play for love. And when we neglect to do what maximizes the potential for love in a given situation, we will likely lay awake that night with regrets.

What takes precedence wins

Love succeeds only when love itself -- as a cosmic as well as a personal commitment -- has highest priority. Every human being has plenty of energy to manifest whatever is on top of the list, but all else is less certain. Therefore, whenever someone is dissatisfied with the quantity or quality of love in their life, it is almost certainly because they have placed at least one priority above love. The top priority might be a desire, a concern, an ambition, a persuasion. But it makes no difference what the senior priority is -- ANY higher priority can sap the dedication, energy, and commitment that the fulfillment of love requires.

Why is love unfulfilled? Because someone has placed something above it.

Other priorities not only drain attention and energy away from love. They can also, at times, lead us to make choices that are NOT in love's best interests. For example, if security is our highest value; if feeling good is the star we steer by; if pleasing others is most important to us -- any of these may sometimes appear to conflict with what love requires of us. When those times come, if love is not our highest priority, love will be sacrificed to whatever is.

Granted, most of us have made what we CONSIDER to be a total commitment to finding or keeping a love relationship at some time in our lives. If it didn't work out, we were probably shocked. Oftentimes, the unsuspected cause of disappointment in love was a priority conflict so well hidden we may not have had any idea it was there.

How values get turned upside down

A great fitness enthusiast attracted a lot of women with his fit physique, but he was never able to make his romances last -- because women always seemed to get in the way of his exercise program!
The irony is that when we have a conflicting priority, we often feel that it is an absolute PREREQUISITE to love. And we may be right about that. A great deal of what we do in this world, we do for love -- at least initially. One person may seek to be physically fit, another may pay careful attention to their wardrobe, another may pursue financial security, still another may delve into therapy or read self-help books -- all to be more attractive; all in the name of love.

Sometimes you have to get the prerequisites handled before you can do the thing they are supposed to make possible. And yet, we must take care that our priorities don't get muddled in the process. The strategy backfires if we get more attached to the means to get love than we are to love ITSELF.

When it comes to love, it is dangerous to confuse prerequisites with priorities.

Sadly, many of the things through which people seek love -- the jogging, the beauty, the money, the self-understanding -- sometimes become more important than love itself; more important, even, than the people who actually love us, and whom we love. When that happens, love relationships usually fail, because love no longer holds a high enough place to survive.

Example: A man wanted to create a dream house for himself and his wife -- a love nest. However, he became obsessed with the house. Between working on the house and earning extra money to pay for the mortgage and the materials, the house took literally all his time for years. His wife told him, then begged him, to relax about it, but he would not. Consequently, their marriage fell apart as the house came together.

Second fiddle feelings

Human beings do not like to be second to anything. Whenever a human being is valued less than something else, that is felt as -- and in a very real sense is -- a form of rejection. And it's not just competing lovers we worry about. People feel rejected if any hobby, interest, or concern you may have takes precedence over them in your life. Human beings do not even like to be second fiddle to what you are doing for THEM -- nor should they be.

Oftentimes, we chalk that up to insecurity, and rightly so. Insecurity may be part of the reason our loved ones complain about needing more from us. People can also be self-centered and demanding. We can feel it when these impure motives are present. But even when they are, there is another part, a valid part: HUMAN VALUES.

Love belongs to those who value it above all else. They alone will have it.

At a deep level, there is something profoundly problematic about placing any human being below competing values. We natively understand that whatever is second is in real danger of being forgotten. Thus, the kind of intuition which says, "I am threatened by your preference for ________" is the height of realism. And what at first seems like paranoia may well be a righteous struggle for love's survival against tough odds.

Has it happened to you?

No matter how distressing a loved one's complaints may be, we have real reason to be grateful for them: love can slip from first place more easily than we realize. It could start with a simple matter of scheduling. When some other commitment -- even school or work -- gets a large slice of our time, as these things often demand, our affinities subtly shift. We become more and more immersed in the other commitment, and a little more out of touch with our love interests. Because human beings are naturally most comfortable with what is most familiar, we tend to give even more time to the competing priority and less time to love as a result. Soon we may even begin to feel slightly uncomfortable or out of place at home. Thereafter, our value on our alternatives suddenly sky rockets!

Of course, as we said earlier, not all complaints are valid. But does that mean we can afford to ignore them? We might be able to sense insecurity and selfishness between the lines, but even so, we should be careful not to be too quick to question the motivations of others. Better to wonder if our priorities need rearranging?

Use your God-given intelligence to see when your mind betrays your heart! Here's a clue: It is much easier to know how we ourselves feel than to correctly judge the feelings of others. Do you feel defensive, irritated, or guilty about your handling of your intimacy, or about your other activities, or about the complaints of your intimate? If so, those defensive feelings suggest that your heart may be sending its own message of disapproval. Listen well!

Mind-heart conflict must be resolved

Understanding and resolving priority conflicts of mind and heart can go a long way towards insuring the heart's fulfillment. Such conflict has raged within ourselves, perhaps even DAILY, whenever we have not done and said what we should have -- whenever our heart recommended one thing and our mind recommended another! The back and forth; the inner struggle involved in not letting the heart rule; the unfeeling existence dictated by the heartless priorities -- all this the mind accepts, but the heart never can. The issue must not go unresolved if we indeed wish to find fulfillment because, surely, there is little fulfillment in dilemma and self-conflict.

The problem is best expressed as, "No man can serve two masters." It all comes down to a matter of allegiance -- allegiance to the mind or to the heart. We can control our destiny with regard to love by choosing which leader to follow in our quest for happiness.

It is a wise and fortunate person who honestly observes how the priorities of the heart are swept under the rug by the mind. Our hearts argue for love at the top of our priorities. Ignoring the heart's only priority, the mind places its strange and unsatisfying priorities over love. To make this observation, to face it, to feel all its implications -- even though that vision may feel uncomfortable or disorienting -- constitutes a giant step towards love's fulfillment.

Mind under heart

When we SEE what we have chosen, we see the OTHER choice at the same time -- and we see what our choices MEAN. Ultimately, no choice but the choice of the heart truly prepares us for love, and helps us to succeed in loving, because all other choices really only postpone the decision for the heart -- and thereby delay love's fulfillment another day.

No more waiting, no more hesitating! Clearly, the mind CAN exist in service to the heart -- and it SHOULD. Indeed, the mind IS a servant of the loving heart. From the very beginning, the moment of choosing to love, choosing the heart as the higher priority over the mind, is an act of the mind -- but it is an act of servitude. Mind under Heart. Heart over mind.

Love is our choice

Of all the decisions a person can possibly make, only a decision for love can stand!

The truth is, the only decision which can possibly be a permanent decision is the decision for true love. Thus, all choices which are not choices for true love are temporary and destined to be revised in the light of truth. That is why a man who has chosen career for his first love is destined to regret his choice. And likewise, a woman who has chosen a loveless relationship with a man is destined to continue searching, at least in her mind.

Every priority that opposes or supercedes love will someday be abandoned. Such is the way of the heart, and the way of the heart is the ultimate destiny of all -- because nothing less will do. You are spirit, you are not lower mind. You simply cannot get behind anything other than an absolute decision to make love the ultimate priority in all your choices. Since no lesser decision can satisfy you, no lesser decision can stand.

Finally, make no mistake: a choice for true love is but a choice to love truly.

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