Is love an art?
If that is it, then the one who wants to master this art is required to know something and to spare no effort. Or is love just a pleasant sensation that happens by chance, something that "falls into your lap" when you're lucky?
Not as if one thought that love was not important. People are starving for it; They watch countless films about happy or unfortunate love stories, they listen to hundreds of cheesy love lids - but hardly anyone assumes that you have to do something if you want to learn to love. This strange attitude is based on different preconditions that contribute individually or together to keeping them alive. Most people see the problem of love first and foremost as being the problem of being loved rather than loving and loving.
Therefore, it's all about how to achieve love, how to be loved. In order to reach this goal, they take different paths. The one way, especially pursued by men, is to be as successful, as powerful and rich as your own social position makes possible. Another, especially women preferred way is to be as attractive as possible by cosmetics, beautiful clothes and the like. Other means used by both men and women are pleasant manners, interesting conversation, helpfulness, modesty and good nature. Many of these means of making oneself adorable are the same as those used to succeed, to "make friends". In fact, most of our culture's people kindly understand a mix of popularity and sex appeal.
Second, there is the assumption that the problem of love is an object, not an ability, because of the attitude that one does not have to learn to love. Many people think that loving them is easy, that it is difficult to find the right partner to love and love. This attitude has several causes that are related to the development of our modern society. One cause is the strong change that has occurred in the twentieth century regarding the choice of the "love object". In the Victorian era, love - as in many traditional cultures - was not a spontaneous personal experience that might later lead to a marriage. On the contrary: a marriage contract was concluded either between the two families or by a matchmaker or even without such mediation; The conclusion was made on the basis of social considerations, assuming that love will be established after the marriage.
Closely related to this is another characteristic feature of our culture today. Our entire culture is based on the desire to buy, the idea of mutually beneficial bartering. To look at shop windows and to be able to afford everything you can afford for cash or on installments - in this thrill lies the happiness of modern man. He (or she) looks at people in a similar way. The man is behind an attractive young girl and the woman is behind an attractive man. Here, "attractive" is understood as a bundle of nice features that are currently popular and in demand on the personnel market. What makes a person particularly attractive depends on the particular fashion - both physically and mentally. Thus, two people fall in love with each other when they feel that they have found the best object that is affordable for them, given their own market value. As with the acquisition of a piece of land, viable and hidden opportunities often play a significant role in this business.
In a culture in which the marketing orientation predominates, in which material success is the highest value, it is hardly surprising that human (love) relationships also follow the same exchange methods as those used on the commodity market. and labor market prevail.
The third error that leads to the assumption that loving does not have to be learned is because one confuses the initial experience of "falling in love" with the permanent state of "loving". If two people who were alien to one another - as we all are - suddenly let the dividing wall collapse between them, when they become intimately united, when they feel one, then this moment of oneness is one of the happiest, most exciting experiences in life.
The"active" character of love is evident in the fact that it always contains the following basic elements in all its forms:
Love is the active concern for the life and growth of what we love. The essence of love is to "work" and "raise something" for something. Love and work are inseparable. You love what you strive for, and you strive for what you love.
Sense of responsibility
In its true meaning, responsibility is something completely voluntary; it is my answer to the expressed or unspoken needs of another human being. To feel "responsible" for someone means to be able and willing to "answer". The loving person answers. He feels just as responsible to his fellow human beings as to himself. The mother's sense of responsibility for her child relates primarily to caring for his physical needs. In love between adults, it mainly refers to the psychic needs of others.
Respect for the other
Respect has nothing to do with fear or awe: it is the ability to see somebody as he is and "to perceive his unique individuality". Attention refers to having a "real interest" in the other being able to grow and develop. Therefore, respect implies the absence of exploitation. I want the other to grow and unfold for its own sake and in its own way and not for my sake. When I really love the other, I feel one with him, but the way he really is, not how I use him as an object for my use. It is clear that I can only have respect for another if I have achieved independence myself, if I can stand and walk without crutches and therefore do not need to exploit another. Respect is only on the basis of freedom: L'amour est l'enfant de la liberté it says in an old French song. Love is the child of freedom, never the master of freedom.
Respect for another is not possible without a real knowing the other. Care and responsibility for others would be blind if they were not guided by cognition. My realization would be empty if it were not motivated by caring for the other person. There are many levels of insight. The realization, which is an aspect of love, does not remain on the surface, but penetrates to the core. It is only possible if I transcend my own interest and see the other as he really is. For example, I can feel that someone is angry, even if he does not show it openly; but I also know him even more deeply, and then I know that he is scared and worried that he feels lonely and guilty. Then I know that his anger is just the manifestation of something deeper, and I see in him then the frightened and confused, that is, the suffering and not the angry man.
We know each other - and we do not know each other again, however much we try to do so, because we are not a thing and because our fellow man is not a thing either. The farther we go into the depths of our own being or that of another, the more we fail to know what we want to know. Nevertheless, we can not suppress the desire to penetrate the mystery of man's soul, the innermost core of his true nature. There are desperate ways to achieve this: with violence, power, sadism, cruelty and destruction. Cruelty of all kinds is motivated by something deeper, by the desire to get behind the mystery of all things and of life. The other way to recognize "the secret" is love. Love is an active intrusion into the other, and one's own desire to know it is satisfied by union. In the act of union, I recognize you, I recognize myself, I recognize all the others, and I "know" nothing. I recognize the only way in which man can know the living: in the experience of oneness, not in the knowledge that my mind gives me.
In the act of love, in the act of surrendering myself, in the act of intrusion into the other, I find myself, I discover myself, I discover both of us, I discover the human being. I have to know the other and myself objectively, to see how he really is - or, better, to overcome the illusions, the irrationally distorted image that I make of him. Only when I see another person objectively can I see him in the very act of love in his innermost being.
´Love is not primarily a commitment to a specific person. It is an attitude, a character orientation that determines the relationship of a person to the world as a whole and not just a single "object" of love. If someone loves only one other person and all other people are indifferent to him, then his love is not about love, but about a symbiotic attachment or an extended egoism - a selfishness for two. Nevertheless, most people believe that love comes first through an object and not through an ability. In fact, they imagine that it is proof of the intensity of their love when they do not love anyone but the "beloved" person. This is the same mistake that we have already mentioned elsewhere. Because you do not realize that love is an activity, a power of the soul, you think you just need to find the right object for it, and then everything else goes by itself. You could compare that attitude to a person's likes to paint and who, instead of learning this art, says he only needs to wait for the right object, and if he finds it, he will be able to paint wonderfully. If I truly love a human being, I love all people, I love the world, so I love life. If I can say to another, "I love you," I must also be able to say: "I love all the others in you too, I love the whole world through you, I love myself in you."
Requirements for learning and practicing the art of loving
I'll never do it if I'm not disciplined. If I only do something when I am "in the mood", it can be a nice or entertaining hobby for me, but never will I become a master in this art. In fact, the modern man outside the sphere of his professional work shows only very little self-discipline.
However, it is essential that you do not practice discipline as something imposed on you from the outside, but that it becomes the expression of your own will, that you feel it is pleasant, and that you gradually get used to a behavior that you would eventually miss, if you should give it up again. It is one of the unfortunate aspects of our Western notion of discipline (as well as any virtue, by the way) that it is considered quite laborious, and that one thinks it can only be something "good" when it strikes one hard. The East has long ago recognized that what is good for man - his body and his soul - must also be pleasing to him, even if some resistance has to be overcome in the beginning.
Concentration is even rarer in our culture than self-discipline. This lack of concentration is also evident in the fact that we find it difficult to be alone with ourselves. Sitting still without talking, smoking, reading and drinking is impossible for most people. They become nervous and fidgety and have to do something - with their mouths or their hands. Paradoxically, being able to be alone is the prerequisite for the ability to love. Anyone who tries to be alone with themselves will discover how difficult that is. He will feel an inner turmoil, get fidgety and even get scared. You have to practice being with yourself and concentrating - to be with yourself and to be happy with yourself.
Alongside such exercises, one should learn to concentrate on everything one does: listening to music, reading a book, watching a significant (non-shallow) movie, conversing with someone, or admiring a view. Only what we are doing right now may interest us, and we must surrender to it completely. When you concentrate on something, it does not matter what you do. Then all things, important and unimportant, take on a new dimension in reality, because we give them our full attention.
If you want to learn to concentrate, you should avoid trivial conversations, that is, those that are not genuine. If two people talk to each other about the growth of a tree that they both know, or about the taste of the bread that they have just eaten, or about a common professional experience, such a conversation can be quite relevant, provided they do what they have talked about, really experienced, and not dealt with in an abstract way; On the other hand, talking about politics or religious issues can be fun and yet trivial. This is the case when both interlocutors talk in common places and with their heart are not part of what they say. It should also be added that not only are there no trivial conversations, but that you should avoid bad company as much as possible.
Being focused on others means being able to listen. Most people listen to what others say, or even give them advice without really listening to them. They do not take what the other person says seriously, nor do they take their own answers. The consequence is that the conversation tires them. They imagine that it would make them even more tired if they listened carefully, but the opposite is true. Any activity performed in a concentrated manner will wake you up (albeit using a natural and soothing tiredness afterwards), while any unfocused, half-hearted activity will make you sleepy and, on the other hand, cause you to fall asleep badly in the evening. To be focused means to live in the present, to live in the here and now and not, while doing one thing, to think of the next one, which is to be done afterwards. It goes without saying that concentration has to be practiced above all by people who love each other. They have to learn to be close to each other without somehow running away from each other as usual. In the beginning it will be difficult to practice concentration; you will feel that you will never succeed. And here discipline and patience come to the train.
If you are looking for quick success, you never learn an art. But for the modern man it is just as hard to be patient as to be disciplined and concentrate. Our entire industrial system is just the opposite: the speed. Modern man thinks he is losing something - namely time - if he does not do everything quickly; and then he does not know what to do with the time he has won - and he kills her.
That patience is necessary to only learn the concentration, one hardly needs to emphasize. If you do not know that everything has its time and wants to force things, you will never learn to concentrate - not even in the art of loving. If you want to get an idea of what patience is, you just have to watch a child learning how to walk. It falls and falls again and again, trying again; he always succeeds better, until one day he can walk without falling. What could the adult accomplish if he had the patience and concentration of a child in matters that are important to him?
If the art is not of great importance to the apprentice, he will never learn it. At first you do not learn an art directly, but indirectly, as it were. Often, you first have to learn a large number of other things that seemingly have little to do with it before you begin with the actual art. If you want to master the art in any art, you have to devote your entire life to it, or at least you have to focus on it. Our entire personality must become an instrument for the practice of art and must be kept in shape according to the specific functions that need to be fulfilled. As for the art of loving, this means that anyone who wants to become a master in this art must practice discipline, concentration and patience at every stage of their lives.