The Art Of Love

Laitman_201_01Question: Who hasn’t fallen in love in his life? Powerful forces are hidden in this feeling. These are forces that move all of us and activate an entire chain of inner drives. Within these states of ebb and flow are included various components we do not know how to work correctly with.

On the one hand, falling in love is a strong sexual urge, and on the other hand, it is a deeper feeling, love, something that requires a more intimate and internal feeling.

What is love composed of? Which colors are found in its spectrum? What causes this diamond to sparkle, and how do we refine it so that it will sparkle more and not fade? It seems that if people don’t learn this, they will continue to sink into the obstacle course that a shared life presents to them.

Today, as in all areas of life, even love has been hurled into a crisis, and we begin to understand that basically love is an art that we must acquire. We lack the skills for love.

Answer: First of all, it is necessary to define what love is. After all, what we consider to be “love” is, in fact, a sexual drive that awakens from within and demands satisfaction, as in all animals.

The feeling of falling in love is not connected to true love. It is no accident that it is written in the Torah, “… shall not wander after your hearts and after your eyes…” (Numbers 15:39). This is not love.

This type of general crisis was caused by our beginning to call the sexual drive, “love.” As is understood, it is necessary to satisfy it, but, in any case, the sexual drive is like the rest of the drives for food, family, money, respect, control, and knowledge.

The typical sexual drive is unique in the human species. With animals, it is dictated by seasons for reproduction or other limitations and is designed only for the continuation of the species, whereas, with us, it is not connected to the seasons of the year, for after all, a person transcends the natural life cycles and, in general, is disconnected from nature.

One way or another, this passion develops together with us and takes on different forms according to historical periods. For example, in ancient times, homosexuality was fashionable, but later religion wrote its own laws in this area.

In principle, what motivates our development is the ego that has grown from generation to generation. Accordingly, sexual desire began to burn in us more and more, together with additional impulses in all kinds of directions. Over time, we really have changed our egoistic desires for personal pleasure to various degrees.

Yet, today, the situation already has worsened. We no longer are prepared to live with one another for a long period of time. Statistically, after a number of years pass, something like an explosive is created between us, leading to an inevitable explosion and severing of the connection.

So, in our day, public opinion is inclined toward the possibility of living without a family or replacing it after a particular period of time, and with this the wasted familial potential is renewed from time to time. Also, what must be taken into account is that we live twice as long as they lived in previous centuries, and this brings additional problems.

Yet, in fact, there is no connection between sex and a true family, between sex and true love. Sex, itself, is only a physical drive. If I understand myself correctly, then, when I am guided by this drive on the background of the values of society, I notice some “object” appropriate for me to “unload.”

Whatever we might call this dominance by hormones, of course, we are not speaking about love, which we want to associate with sex. Sex is basically a drive that has its place in normal life.

However, if we want to talk about love, it is irrelevant to what we are used to imagining to ourselves about sex, but it is indeed relevant to family.

Question: Is love completely separate from our previous concepts or is it built as a new layer above them?

Answer: Sex will be connected to love, but love is created without any connection to hormones. Specifically in this way, we can create something positive, powerful, deep, and eternal.

Question: In other words, it is a continuous and powerful connection of loving hearts that do not start from “hormonal passion”?

Answer: Right, we are talking about an absolutely different way to connect that need to be taught about developing new relationships formed above our ego, above our desires. This is a passion for an inner connection with a person who becomes a friend to you, a true friend, someone who gives you his shoulder, reassurance, and understanding, completing and accompanying you forever.

However, this is on condition that this connection is eternal and not “replaced” by other alternatives that simultaneously exist—as happens in sexual relationships—that today are subject to momentary impulses and free from obligations. Love cannot dwell above them. On the contrary, only when there is true love, an inner connection between people, is it possible to connect sexual closeness to it.

Question: Does this mean that sexual values are derived from a general course of development like every other human passion?

Answer: Of course. For example, our nourishment today is absolutely different from the nourishment that people consumed 100 or 200 years ago. In the past, people ate simple things, whereas, in our day, the average family sets a table that kings would have envied and enjoys an unprecedented range of products.

Question: The data of today truly makes it possible to define passion as hormonal stimulation as a result of which the person is “ignited” by someone.

Answer: Some are used to connecting with a particular partner. Others, on the contrary, are not prepared to reach sexual satisfaction with the same partner. According to his nature, someone requires several partners or a new partner all the time; that is how he is constructed. It is not possible to uproot this inclination.

We are witness to these deviations, to various differences that already are considered normal and legitimate today.

By and large, this speaks about a corporeal characteristic that must be satisfied like hunger. Therefore, society must be constructed so that it is possible for a person to satisfy these kinds of corporeal needs just like his needs for nourishment.

Question: If so, how must congenital or acquired characteristics of a person be integrated with environmental influence?

Answer: The environment influences only the form of expression of natural desires. For example, someone prefers a vegetarian diet from birth, someone else prefers grains, a third prefers fish, and so on. The influence of the environment cannot really change innate tastes that are conditioned by physiology and even connected to typical characteristics of the person.

Similarly, the sexual drive is mostly genetically determined, and external influences essentially cannot change its form of expression. A person’s nature determines his sexual habits exactly like his dietary habits.

However, regarding the degree of the growth of the desires, the environment can influence them more, and acquired habits become second nature in diet, sex, familial relationships, and so on.

However, ultimately, I put all of this to the side. I attribute this to the corporeal characteristics of a person and don’t grant them further significance. They are inevitably conditioned by our physiology. Desires can be increased or reduced through the injection of hormones. There was a time when it was very difficult for me to accept this, yet, ultimately, I absorbed the physical aspect of the emotions and sensations that all of us experience.

I suppose that these insights are lacking in the youth of today and not only for them. This is talking about things that are absolutely clear, scientific facts. However, we don’t want to know about them. Perhaps, it is because we prefer a mysterious vagueness instead of unequivocal truth. After all, then the value of a multitude of books and Hollywood movies would be negated. It is pleasant for people to connect the concept of love with the sexual drive.

Question: Let’s go back to the right relationship with a partner who can become, as you said, a faithful partner.

Answer: This is a partner of the opposite sex, both physically and mentally. I feel that we complete each other. Yet, this is not a sexual desire, and I am cannot complete it with a partner of the same sex.

A man can become a dear friend. “Haver – חבר (friend) is derived from the word “Chibur – חיבור” (connection), and in these relationships love is different, the love of friends. However, here, this is talking about love that is supported by nature itself. After all, together with my partner for life, I complete everything that is connected to food, sex and the family. Moreover, along with this person, I acquire money, respect, and knowledge. Therefore, I materialize all of my inner desires in a mutual connection that is absorbed with true and deep love.

Love is a space in which I acquire the correct form for my desires, and that is the place for my wife (or husband), and in a wider sense, love is a mutual inner connection between people. When I have friends and am connected, linked to them internally, then a sensation is developed between us and takes us over, which is called love. If I want to give pleasure to another, satisfy his desires and needs, if I am ready for this, it is a sign that I love him, and in general, the feeling is mutual.

Question: Going back to the connection between a man and woman, you are describing a very intimate connection between the partners.

Answer: It is a connection that is so full and stable that a third person cannot enter into this area. No one sees the embrace of souls. No one can feel how much they are woven together, are absorbed in each other. This is a particular type of physical closeness that is copied onto the level of the soul.

Essentially, the physical coupling must awaken in us the need for this “game,” to search for each other’s desires, to awaken an appetite for internal connection. This romance between souls obliges me to understand what my partner would like to receive from me. How can I provide that, to help him? How we can search together, one within the other, for the living tools without which we feel empty?

All of this is happening precisely in the emotions on the level of the soul and not between bodies.

Question: Psychologists call this connection “romantic love.”

Answer: Their romantic love is based on hormones, whereas we are the opposite. First, we cultivate true emotion and, after that, add the hormonal aspect to it.

On the other hand, we actually turn to people in whom a physical connection already exists. So, it is up to us to deepen and expand the existing connection as is customary in the world, to convey “threads” from one heart to another heart.

Question: So, let’s move from the first outburst of emotion, from the arousal of falling in love, to relationships that have stabilized later. In these relationships, there are two components: sexual passion and a desire to strengthen a more intimate connection.

Answer: I suppose that this is a very fragile desire that comes with the spirit of romantic movies. People don’t understand that, in order to truly realize it, one must invest enormous strength, mutual understanding and kill the ego within them to make it possible for the partner to enter me and as well as gently penetrate him.

Question: How is a deep and intimate connection created between two people? Where does one begin?

Answer: Here, there is a need for educational talks about human nature and psychology as well as about our soul, about the constant yearning for deeper love, where it comes from and why. After all, passion is characteristic only of the human species.

These explanations are integrated with workshops that reinforce the understanding of the material and arouse people to an inner search so that they would try to build the tools, the yearning for love, in themselves.

I want him truly to love me, with the soul, so that my partner would enter inside, would be filled, understand me, envelop me with concern, support me, and strengthen me like a mother who constantly is concerned about her small child. I expect that he would discover more and more possibilities of giving me pleasure, bringing me a sensation of security, a warm embrace—in brief, inner fulfillment.

Yet, on the other hand, as it is written, “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself…” (Leviticus 19:18), which is to say that I also need to develop the same attitude toward my partner, understand that the same passion, the same need, burns within him, only it is discovered every time in a different form. After all, in spite of it all, we are different people as well as of a different sex. Yet, in principle, the approach is identical. Both of us want the same thing, yet each one wants it in his way.

So, in workshops when I turn to the partner according to the principle, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” we examine how to realize this, how to discover this passion in the other, how one can penetrate into the other. This is not a crude invasion. Rather, I slide inward to fill the empty void. More correctly, I open it. I express desire like an appetite before a meal.

That is how each one examines this sensation within himself and tries to understand it in the other, and, suddenly, thanks to our mutual work, we discover spaces inside, vast spaces, which are the soul.

This is the greatest passion of the human species, to reduce the beastly level that requires corporeal, earthly traditional pleasures. This is what we need, and, if a person is ready to satisfy this desire in another while getting the satisfaction of his desire from him in return, then no needs, desires, or other inner voids remain for him. After all, in this way, he acquires full satisfaction. That is how we are built.

So, all of the problems of humanity—terror, wars, power struggles, arrogance, conflicts, all of this—result from our not being prepared to discover the inner spaces of love, abandoning them like empty, dark caves deep within the depths of the soul. If we begin to solve this problem, then we will provide a complete solution for everything. The key for success is specifically hidden here, and, as a result of using it, all other problems are resolved: wars, conflicts, perversions, and so forth.

We don’t need to wander anymore around the endless shelves of products for the ego, endlessly becoming confused by its whims. Instead, we begin to be involved with the main thing. We acquire a higher art, we build a higher culture that will give us everything. We begin to understand each other. We begin to look at people differently. After all, if love of friends or the partner burns within a person, he looks completely different, and this completely changes the relationships between us.

It is written, “…love covers all transgressions” (Proverbs 10:12). In our society, there are many defects and problems from which many people flee to drugs, sinking into depression and even commit suicide. For all of these transgressions, love is ready to cover them. Yet, this is only true love and not sex. Sex is only a short and negative stimulus that brings with it many related problems.

As is understood, I am not against sex. Rather, I am only drawing a picture of the situation that has been created today.

Question: Therefore, the art of love is ready to make humanity bloom anew and raise it to a new level of mutual connection between people. What about the relationship with a life partner? How can I and he/she learn this art?

Answer: I imagine myself as an infant in the hands of his mother. Specifically, love and concern are the key foundation for our growth, and, on the contrary, children who lack this have problems in their development and even their health. The relationship determines everything. We grow from the sensation of love, and here I lie in the hands of my mother, not understanding anything and not knowing anything, like a small animal, yet already feeling love.

When I imagine this situation in a workshop, I begin to describe the same thing. How is this? Which spaces are filled in me? I go deeper into myself and say what love is, without sparing words and feelings. I don’t just define love. Rather, I also pull on this thread and discover it more and more.

And then, this inner observation and self-study will reveal to me that the same voids, the same needs for an attitude of love and concern, are also in my partner, and then I begin to fulfill them like a mother.

So, with the help of a series of workshops, we discover what the sensation of love is. It comes to be expressed in the other, fulfilling for me all of the inner voids, desires, and passions that I used to feel as emptiness and dissatisfaction.

The infant is born with a desire. He wants them to take care of him. Following this, he feels the love of his mother and is relaxed by her hands, even though it would seem that, principally, nothing has changed. He yearns for her smell. He stops crying and softens.

All of this is because the need for love and relationship is born together with us and comes to be expressed already in the lap of the mother, and, now in the first workshops, it is up to me to understand, to clarify those same desires that I can satisfy only with the help of the concern of relatives: love. I want to find out about the negative sensations within me, the empty voids, the unsatisfied desires and the deficiencies that demand fulfillment. I search only for what I am lacking and that only can be received from others.

This is just like how a small child needs his mother and nothing will take her place. This is a sign that love is the main thing that we lack, even as adults. All of life, from beginning to end, needs to be accompanied by the sensation of love.

However, we block the flow of love because we haven’t been concerned about its existence. As I grow, I require less and less care by my mother, and so I naturally distance myself from her, and here it must be understood that, to the degree that we distance ourselves from our parents, it is up to us to nurture in children and youths a desire and a need for a true and deep connection whose name is love.

Society, my partner and my relationship to the entire universe, the nature of the still, the vegetative, animate, and humanity, all of this, essentially should give me a sensation of motherly concern. It is not for nothing that we call nature a mother. That is how the surrounding world should treat me.

By perceiving a person in a workshop, how he is ignited, we consider what it is like to be an infant in the hands of his mother and, after that, grow by her side. What does she give me? How does she warm me and allow me to have a sensation of security? How does she take care of me and prepare everything for me that I am not ready to do for myself? It is still too early for me to eat solid food, so she prepares porridge for me. I cannot bathe, so she bathes me, and so on.

That is how concern for others comes to be expressed first of all in why I can’t do something for myself. That is how I discover the need, the continuous lack in relation to the warmth and concern of relatives, a relationship that I never would be able to provide for myself alone. I will not be able to fill the gaping void inside; only others can take care of that.

I want them to cherish me, to appreciate me. I want to feel special, wonderful. All of this can only be drawn from the environment. Otherwise, when we don’t receive this favor, we suffer all of our lives.

We don’t get any favor as soon as the environment doesn’t make up for the separation from the mother through the partner or the friends. In ancient tribes, people compensated for this deficiency. The child grew up in a large family and received a ceaseless relationship of love and concern from it, and, therefore, people were then much more whole, natural, and relaxed. Yet, their desires were also smaller.

However, this is not so with us. We are more defective, lack more, are found without essential fulfillment that society doesn’t provide to us, beginning from childhood. In contrast to the ancient tribes, beginning from the period of the tower of Babel, society developed egoistically and following that, created a great deficiency of love in us. The growing ego brought this emptiness to us.

This is the reason that Abraham came to a humanity that was beginning to be divided under the pressure of the egoistic drives and said, “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In this way, you will be fulfilled. You will complete everything.

Question: Isn’t this approach contrary to uniqueness and individuality?

Answer: No, on the contrary, everyone discovers within himself a greater space, becoming even more unique. Returning to unity between us preserves the uniqueness and individuality of everyone. The individual remains and blossoms under conditions of traditional care that makes it possible for him to discover a stronger desire for love from those close to him.

In fact, when examining the inner voids, I discover that only all of humanity can fulfill them for me. Through the initial contact with the partner, I discover new desires through the environment of friends, the community and the entire world. My love expands. It is supported still by the basic familial relationships, yet already reaches global dimensions. It is logical that I am living specifically in a space that opens for me with a new sensation of mutual concern.

This is truly living, mutual love, threads that connect the hearts. This is no longer my private space. After all, here I experience bestowal from outside, and from here I bring bestowal to everyone. I love them as myself. This reciprocity is maintained. Otherwise, I would not feel them, nor would they feel me.

So, love for others becomes fulfillment for me. The more that I love those who are close to me, the more that I bring them abundance, the more I am fulfilled. Our relationships become one complete thing, and there is no longer any difference between my love for them and their love for me. This is now the property of all.

Then, our inner spaces begin to connect, both their emptiness and their fulfillment, and the physical needs like food or sex become accompaniments and no more than that.

Ultimately, the person doesn’t feel any detachment. His desires grow quantitatively and qualitatively, and the society provides for them. As a result of this, he is devoted to society, loving everyone, and when he receives abundance from them by himself, he bestows that to those around him. There is no alienation. There is no cheating. There is no hatred. Everything flows naturally since love like this leaves no place for doing anything against the society. This sensation conquers us, dominates us, not by force, but by itself.

Question: I sense the emptiness inside of me, understand that it yearns for love, and only a true partner can fulfill it. What is next?

Answer: First of all, this speaks about the most natural, closest partner to me. In our relationships, everything depends on us, on the manner in which we develop our mutual connection absorbed in love.

So, first, I discover a void within me egoistically when I want it to be filled for me. Yet, after that, I begin to understand that the void will be filled only on the basis of mutual relationships. This means that I need to express the same attitude toward my partner.

Then, suddenly, it is discovered that when I am concerned about him, I also get pleasure from this myself. That is how we are found in a process of learning and common development.

A mother feels immense pleasure when she takes care of her baby. She has nothing more desirable, more sublime, or better. This is love. I am concerned for someone and get satisfaction, fulfillment, and stimulation from this, a unique feeling that doesn’t make it possible for me to be detached from concern for the person who is loved.

So, only on a foundation of inner emptiness, an inner drive toward love that I yearn to receive from the other, it is up to me to develop the same relationship toward him. This is the principle of, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and, when we begin to work on its realization correctly, I feel that the truth is that I get pleasure not in a situation where I lie like a baby in loving hands, but when I bring love to others.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 6/23/13

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