Thoughts on Love
McLeod Ganj Travel Blog› entry 4 of 37 › view all entries
following short story came to me while pondering Santiago's dilemma in
the Alchemist. "He tried to deal with the concept of love as distinct
from possession, and couldn't separate them....Maybe the dessert birds
could explain to him the meaning of love without ownership." With some
hesitation, I share it with you.
many years of traveling the Man happens upon a beautiful Lake, nestled
in the crest of a mountain, and surrounded by trees and a large
meadow. The Man had never seen a place of such magnificence. He sits
by the bank, the soft sand accepts him and the cool water eases the
pain from his weary feet. The Man sleeps deep, deeper than he ever
remembered sleeping before. When he awakes, he is overcome with an
emotion. At once he realizes that he loves the Lake, and the Lake
The Man grows hungry, and pulls a fishing line from his pack. He drops it in the water, and within a few minutes, he has a fish - the fish having never known the treachery of man. He eats the fish and is nourished. The Man truly loves the Lake.
Man builds a small simple shack by the Lake, and every day he awakens,
and opens the door to see that the beautiful Lake is waiting for him.
Months pass, and one day the sky grows dark. There is a thunder, and the sky opens and rains pours onto the Man's home. He never saw the Lake like this before, and he thinks to himself, "Why does she do this to me?" But the Lake is quiet. His roof never contemplated the rain, and it leaks. "I'm wet and cold, and not happy."
soon the rain goes away and the sun returns, and the Man loves the Lake
again. It is the way he remembered her that first day he found her.
A few months pass, and the Man awakes cold. He looks outside to discover the ground is white with snow, and it is cold, colder than he's ever seen it at the Lake. He shivers and the still air is pierced by his scream, "Why are you doing this to me!" But the Lake is quiet.
The Man shivers through countless days, cold and bitter days. He is often angry and sometimes yells at the lake, "Why do you do this to Me; now I'm cold, what happened to the Lake I remembered?" But the Lake never answers him. She has been this way all along, the Man just failed to see her this way.
Eventually the snow melts, the grass grows green, and the Man fishes the sunny bank. He loves the Lake.
One day the Man awakes and is startled to see, on the other side of his Lake, a man resting on her shore. "Just a passerby," he thinks to himself. But the whole day he watches him and cannot think of his own happiness. "Why is he here and what does he want with my Lake," he thinks to himself. "I was here first, " he mutters in his own suffering. He goes to sleep that night wondering why the Lake needs someone else, "Was I not enough?" he thinks as he falls asleep. The Lake does not answer - she she is just a Lake as she has been since birth.
horror, the Man awakes to see that the Traveler has built a home over
the night and is fishing the Lake. Overcome with jealousy, the Man
paces the shore thinking, "Why won't he leave so I can have my Lake
back, my fish back. I want this to be like I remember it, like I first
found her. This Traveler has not suffered the rain with her, he has
not endured the cold and bitter snow." "Have I not proved myself?" He
says allowed, startling himself.
But the Lake is quiet. She has been herself with all her beauty for as long as she knows. The Man just happened to see her and recognize it, and he loved her, but her love and beauty and gifts were there always. Though the Man tries to fish the next day, he thinks, "The fish do not bite like before, they must now know the treachery of man." He is sad.
He lies in bed wondering whether he should leave the Lake, though he loves her. He wonders whether it is acceptable to share the Lake with the Traveler, who has only recognized the Lake as the Man once did so long ago when he was but a traveler too.
breeze of cool air covers the Traveler and Man. So it is with love; we
see what we want to see. Love is a gift, not something to be
expected. Misery is in the possession, and thinking that love is only
for one, for it is everywhere, to be shared and passed on.
And with that I'm off . Tomorrow I dive into a 10 day silent vipassana meditation. I have never really meditated before, so 10 days of silence, and 10 hours of meditation a day, should be interesting.
I'll keep you posted...