gatineau morning.

gatineau morning.
photo by douglas mcarthur.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Love is an Avalanche.

As a result of my last blog offering, I learned a valuable lesson.  I must never say; ‘don’t ask.’  I wrote; ‘…don’t even get me started on the subject of sex.’  And I immediately received several messages requesting me to do just that.  And, for the most part, they were strangely adamant that I clarify my position. 
Frankly, I have no position.  I haven’t had a position for ages.  Suffice it to say it has been a long season without rain.  Please don’t misunderstand.  I am in favor of sex, at least in principle.  After all, I would not be writing this blog if it weren’t for sex.  Luckily, my parents were in favor of it, at least for a while.     
In any event, I have no intention of discussing the issue further other than to suggest moderation in all things.  I would be happy, however, to write a little bit about love.  I understand that love and sex go together, unless of course one is referring to ones pet German Sheppard and then hopefully not.  I just want to steer this essay in a direction that I feel more comfortable with.       
A couple of weeks ago I read, on the internet, several very interesting and often amusing answers to the question; What is love like(?)  The question was put to a class of grade-school students.  The answer I liked the most was from a 9-year-old boy who likened love to an avalanche.  When he was asked to explain that, he allegedly said; ‘Love is like an avalanche because it’s very exciting, but then you have to run for your life.’  I thought that was an insightful answer, although I couldn’t help wondering how a 9-year-old boy could have become so cynical so early.  He had me beat by at least three or four years. 
Be that as it may, the quest for love is a driving force within each of us.  One of several misbegotten ideas I had, upon leaving Kullu in ’98, was to create a family of some sort.  I had not gone so far as to envision actually fathering a child.  Rather, I considered the possibility of becoming a surrogate father to an existing creature while squiring his or her mother around town.  I admit it was not a particularly well thought out plan, but to that end I embarked upon a futile series of coffee dates, mostly by meeting ladies through an on-line dating site.  While I was unsuccessful in developing a relationship, I did develop a troublesome caffeine twitch, which didn’t help my overall presentation. 
It soon dawned on me that, as an ageing yogi, the odds were pretty well stacked against me.  Meanwhile, I had many of the usual experiences of internet dating.  One lady had clearly gained about two-hundred pounds since posting her photo.  I met an undeniably beautiful lady whom I was instantly attracted to, until I witnessed the disgraceful way she treated the waitress.  Another, upon taking one look at me, immediately exclaimed; ‘Oh, you’re not what I’m looking for at all!’  Ouch.  One of the last women I met for coffee told me, as I began to twitch like someone with Dropsy, that she was actually psychic and perceived that I had a problem with my God, whatever that meant.  
I met ladies who obviously had lied about their age, their weight and/or their education.  I met many others whom I wished had lied.  Then, on the very day I turned fifty, that long-held desire left me.  I recall sitting outside, on a lovely summer Sunday reading the newspaper, very aware that something within me had just changed.  I felt free again, fortunate, quite content with my lot in life. 
At that precise moment, however, the phone rang.  It was a lady who had first contacted me a week earlier.  She had been attracted to the fact that I had lived in India for so many years.  That in itself was usually a red flag.  And, just as I feared, she had a bundle of spiritual concepts.  For example, she told me that she had cut off all her hair.  I asked if she had short hair or was actually bald.  She answered by saying that there was more hair on her legs or under her arms than on her head.  That was worth a few flags all at once.  Multiple red flags were fluttering in the wind by then. 
Still, for some odd reason, I allowed myself to accept a coffee date with her for that Sunday, not realizing how I would feel on the day, my 50th birthday.  Unfortunately, I had completely forgotten about the date by then.  When the lady called that morning, she asked what I was doing and, after I told her, she said that she never read the newspaper or ever listened to the news.  So, aside from having just mildly insulted me, yet another flag was heaped on top of the pile.  But, what could I do?  As well, she insisted on coming up to Wakefield, which horrified me.  Apparently, she loved the village.    
I didn’t want to take her to the restaurant where I normally hung out, so I suggested a place called Sandy’s Pizza.  She responded in the negative, saying that she would not go there because people smoked in the restaurant.  So then I suggested another place called Chez Eric.  She again responded in the negative.  I was a bit surprised because, as I insisted, there was no smoking allowed there.  However, the scrupulously spiritual woman pointed out that there was smoking allowed in the yard outside and she would not go anywhere near people who smoked.  I couldn’t help wondering where in Quebec she could ever go. 
You may have guessed what I did then.  I had a very rare stroke of genius.  I told her that I smoke.  The conversation went like this;
‘You smoke!?’
‘Like a chimney.  In fact, I’m smoking right now as I talk to you.’ 
‘But, but, your on-line profile clearly states that you are a non-smoker!’
 ‘Well,’ thinking quickly, ‘I had stopped, but then I started again and now I can’t stop.’ 
‘Son of a bitch!’
‘I beg your pardon?’
‘In that case we can’t meet.’
‘It’s my loss.’
‘Let me know when you quit.’
‘You’ll be the first to know.’
And that turned into the best birthday of my entire life, although I did absolutely nothing.
Baba Hari Das once wrote; ‘I never met a householder without problems or a monk without problems.’  So, in the end, I would like to humbly offer a recipe to help remain free and content in whatever situation you find yourselves in.  I recommend taking time every day to sit somewhere comfortably, where you can remain undisturbed for a while.  Close your eyes and dwell upon some person, pet or even a thing that you have loved deeply in your life.  If he, she or it has died or left you, even if the memory is painful, trust me here, it’s still all coming from the same love, the same place. 
Next, I suggest letting go of the object in your mind and dwelling on the feeling itself.  Follow that feeling with your mind’s eye, so to speak, to its source within you.  That feeling, that space, was there before the object of attraction ever came in front of your vision.  It has always been there, will always be there.  Meditate on that space inside, let it pulsate slowly through your whole body, beyond, and then back again to its center.  Let it fill your being with all the goodness that love holds for us.
I know what many of you, who know me personally, must be thinking.  You are probably thinking; ‘Just one cotton pickin’ minute. Isn’t he a married guy?  Yes, it’s true.  I am a happily married man.  A couple of years later on, I met and married a beautiful, charming, good-natured lady whom I still adore.  And I enjoy every minute I spend in her lovely company, which is approximately twenty minutes per year.  Don’t ask. 

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