Monday, December 10, 2007

The Path of Love by Deepak Chopra

DC became a major guru of mine when I read Quantum Healing (I think that was a couple of decades ago). That was the first time I was really aware of a highly-trained scientific person freely admitting that he didn't know a lot of vitally important things. He had an attitude of wonder towards the universe in general and the human mind-body-spirit in particular. "WOW!!! That's too marvellous for me to comprehend!"

Since then, DC has wandered in many different directions and explored many fields of knowledge. I had a glimse of him on the Oprah show, and wasn't impressed at all. My personal fantasies don't respond well to the shock of the real thing.
The Path of Love was written in 1997. The photo on the back cover was taken in 1996. I gazed at it for a long time, and decided that I really like his eyes. DC has the same eyes as my friend Dr. M., who considered himself an enlightened being, and did me the honour of naming me one as well, despite the fact that he was a Moslem and I was not.

Those liquid brown eyes of Dr. M's once convinced me to undertake an impossible mission: to convince the husband of one of his patients to check himself into a psychiatric facility. He explained why this had to happen, and then said, "Will you do this for me?" It wasn't really a question, because he wasn't going to take not for an answer.

The weird thing is, I succeeded. It took about four hours of patient conversation with a person I barely knew, explaining the options and asking for a decision. The decision became action when I phoned the psychiatrist's office. The doctor answered the phone -- how weird is that? -- and we made the arrangements. The long-term result wasn't quite what any of us imagined, but it was positive.
Dr. M. sent the right person to complete his mission. He knew who to send because he cared about his patient and he knew I did too. I'd say that is a definite symptom of enlightenment.

Whenever you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future. The past is closed and limited; the future is open and free.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I've seen this sentiment expressed in many ways, but the contrast between prisoner and pioneer resonates with me. Most of the time I feel like a prisoner; but when I am seized by passion for something or somebody, I forget that I'm afraid and forge ahead.
One idea that's intriguing is DC's insistence that the worst that can happen has already happened -- our fear of the unknown is simply a shadow from the past. It makes sense to me in a convoluted way -- how can I be afraid of something I haven't experienced? I've been addicted to fear all my life. I imagine the worst possibilities so I won't be caught off guard when disaster strikes. What a monumental waste of time! Most of the things I so carefully prepare myself for never happen.
My friend Weneen took swimming classes repeatedly, but, try as she might, she could never trust herself to the deep water. One day, while we were at the pool together, she had an "oh, what the hell" moment, jumped into the deep end, and swam across the pool with ease. Experiences like that are great to watch and even greater to live through. Tonight, I've been asking myself what deep water I long to brave. Being a pioneer of the future is vastly superior to being a prisoner of the past -- in theory.

Things I would like to try (or try again):
1. horseback riding
2. drawing
3. choir directing
4. acting
5. writing a play
6. publishing a book
7. line dancing
8. visiting New Zealand
9. visiting Greece
10. dog sledding
11. playing my father's fiddle
12. driving across Canada
13. using a potter's wheel
14. starting a seekers' support group
15. taking a university class
It costs nothing to dream! Our dreams rarely come true without some serious effort on our part, but all our actions necessarily start as an idea.

However good or bad you feel about your relationship, the person you are with at this moment is the "right" person, because he or she is a mirror of who you are inside. . . . When you struggle with your partner, you are struggling with yourself. Every fault you see in them touches a denied weakness in yourself. Every conflict you wage is an excuse not to face a conflict within. The path to love therefore clears up a monumental mistake that millions of people makke -- the mistake that someone "out there" is going to give (or take) something that is not already yours. When you truly find love, you find yourself.
-- Deepak Chopra, The Path to Love

I think this applies to all relationships, not just SO's. The warrior's greatest battles are waged in his (her) heart. We are attracted to people who are fighting the same battles as we are. We want to help them, and at the same time we want to crush them, change them, revise them to that they don't offend us any more. If we succeed, chances are we'll leave them and move on to renewed battles with someone else.

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