Hatred and love are opposite sides of the same coin as long as love is conditional. Love can flip into hatred the moment we feel that our expectations are threatened. In love of this type, it remains love only as long as the conditions remain as expected. The moment the conditions change, the love also changes.
Often what we believe as love is actually related to time and space. So long as the distance between lovers is large and the time of contact is minimal, they feel love towards each other. However, once they get closer and spend more time together, they feel that they are not so much in love after all! That is why they say ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Familiarity can also convert love into hatred. To transcend both love and hatred, we first need to drop expectations. Expectation is the first enemy of love. We all go through several stages of relationships in our lifetime. If you observe very closely, whichever stage we are in, when we ask for love we are actually asking only for the other person’s attention. When we say a person doesn’t love us, we actually mean that the other person doesn’t give us enough attention. The basic need for any human being is attention from others. The attention-need, along with our dependency on others for survival, is what we experience as love.
The dependency on others might be psychological, physical or spiritual. For example, when you expect someone to lend you a shoulder to cry on, you are dependent upon that person psychologically. When you expect someone to provide you with money or fulfill your bodily pleasures, you are dependent upon them physically. In whatever way people may fulfill this dependency, what it boils down to is the attention that they give us! The whole idea of love is nothing but getting the attention of the other in some way.
I ask people to make an honest list of at least one or two persons in their lives who they really love. Usually in the beginning, people come up with a big list: husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister and so on. They include people whom they would like to please or need to please in order to be happy themselves. As they hear me talk about real love, they start crossing out names from their list – one by one! Understand, if you cross out something, then it was not truly there in the first place. Many people include certain people in their love list because these people give them a ‘feel good’ feeling. What do I mean by a ‘feel good’ feeling? It is a certificate saying, ‘You are good. You are this, you are that’ etc. We love anyone who pays us compliments, is it not? We think twice before arguing with them. We secretly nurture our good name with them in the name of love. If they go back on their approval of us, we might fall into depression, so we continue to please them and love them. Like this, there is always some hidden reason for our love.
Some people tell me, ‘No Swamiji, I don’t love my son or daughter for any of these reasons.’ I ask them, ‘Alright, if your son suddenly starts to make his own decisions, if he suddenly doesn’t fit into your framework, if he doesn’t follow your guidance, if he doesn’t live according to your rules, will your love for him be the same?’
They tell me, ‘No, it will not. My love will be reduced a little!’
What does this mean? We love our next generation as long as they are extensions of our life. As long as they fall into our pattern of thinking, as long as they live in accordance with our conventions, we love them. We simply fulfill our own desires through them. We fulfill our lives through them. Whatever we couldn’t accomplish in our youth, we try to accomplish through them. If we wanted to be a doctor and couldn’t for some reason, we inspire them to be a doctor. As long as they act and live as an extension of our life, the relationship is beautiful. But the moment they start deciding on their own, the moment they feel we are suffocating them, the moment they stand up and say ‘no’, the relationship takes a different turn.
As long as our love happens towards a particular object, even if the object is a person, we will try to reduce that person only to the level of an object. That is exactly what we do when we feel possessive or attached to another person. In the way that we try to possess furniture or a house or any object, we try to possess the person also. We want the person to be just how we want him or her to be, which means we are actually reducing the person to sheer matter. So understand, whenever our love or our attention is towards something in particular, we will be only materialistic, creating suffering for ourselves and for others. We will only suffocate the object or person. Instead, if we turn our attention towards the experience of love itself, we will be liberating the object and we too will be liberated from the object. That is the beauty of love that happens just as love and not for the sake of any object.
When you start possessing someone, you bind yourself also. If you are walking holding your dog’s leash, be very clear that you are also bound. Don’t think only the dog is bound; you are also bound. Don’t think that only the dog cannot run away, you too cannot run away! You may be thinking that you are holding the rope and the dog may be thinking that he is holding the rope. Who knows?
The next time you are with someone, when you are with your friend with whom you are completely open, remember to practice this technique. Just sit next to him or her. Don’t bother about what you are going to do or what you are going to say. Just sit, that’s all! That is the technique. Actually, speaking is nothing but avoiding the other person. Because you cannot look into the other person’s eyes, you go on speaking. That is the truth. The other person listens so that he can start speaking whenever you take a break! If a person is listening to you, it means that he is either thinking of something else or he is preparing for his turn. He sits there so that he can start once you finish.
Now if you try this technique, it can take you to a different space altogether. When you are with the master or your friend or your beloved, whoever you feel deeply connected with, whoever you are very open with, you can try this technique. It will straightaway lead you to enlightenment. Be very clear, I am not teaching this technique for you to have better relationships or for you to develop your personality. No! I am giving it to you to straightaway experience the pure love that can lead you to enlightenment.This technique will take you through a quantum jump from the form to the formless, from possessive love to causeless love.
When love happens as causeless overflowing, you simply liberate yourself and the other person from your own attachment and possessiveness, because possessiveness as you know it, binds not only the other person but you as well. It tortures the other person as well as you!
Real love simply liberates both of you. It gives freedom to you and the other person.
When I travel around the world, people ask me, ‘Swamiji, did you sleep well last night? It is a new place for you.’ I tell them, ‘Only when you have attachment to a particular house does another house become a new place for you and you struggle. When you don’t have attachment to any house, you feel at home wherever you go!’
I never feel any place is mine or not mine. I feel totally at home anywhere. The comfort is always within us, never outside us. When there is no comfort within us, we look for comfort outside us. Feeling comfortable within us is the result of the causeless love energy. When we don’t feel attached to one home, we feel at home in the entire world.