Thoughts on Love

McLeod Ganj Travel Blog

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The 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. 


After 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 loves him. 


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.


The 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."


But 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.


In 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.


A 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...

sara_eckert says:
Here are my thoughts: 1) I've already figured out your future -- you can go home now, no more soul searching needed -- You should definitely be an author! Beautiful style, very enjoyable to read! 2)Your Santiago/Alchemist story is very similar to "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Great story. And, finally 3) your picture of the instrument at Jantar Mantas vaguely reminds me of a labyrinth. Take care! PS Love the beard!
Posted on: Nov 05, 2007
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McLeod Ganj
photo by: Stevie_Wes