Love, Desire, and Broken Hearts

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We do not want to confuse superficial emotions or sentiments with love and wisdom. Based on various emotions and sentiments we can act foolishly, but actual love is never foolish. Love can powerfully affect the emo­tions, but it is not an emotion—it is the transcendent light and power behind our best decisions. What I mean here by “love” is love-wisdom, a spiritual energy at the heart of everything. This heart is not sentimental, but fiery and wise.

It may satisfy our sentiments to always act sweetly, in ways that make our loved ones and us comfortable, or in ways that accede to someone’s desires. But this may or may not correspond to love and wisdom. A decision based on senti­ment, or imagined love, may just as likely bring eventual harm as help. For instance, although pseudo-love or sentiment may move us to give everything asked for, re­gardless of long-term effects, wisdom knows better. And wisdom knows when to be disagreeable, and when to use a “yes” or “no.” In love and wisdom we find a far-seeing vision that senses the right type and measure of giving.

If we look carefully we may discover that what we sometimes call “love” is not love at all. Instead, we have a desire for love and a desire to love. And we are willing to do all kinds of things to get others to see us as desirable and attractive. We love the im­age and the ideal of love, even when we are not quite sure what it all means. But this psychology is human rather than transcendental and is based on desire and sentiment rooted in self-interest. If we are honest with ourselves, we may discover that much of what we called “love” is really our self-inter­ested desires in disguise.

We see a good example of how emotion can work if we consider the semantics of a “broken heart.” What breaks is not love or the heart, but our persistent and intense desire. We want what we cannot have and cling to desire in the face of frustration until it ruins our emotional life. But such pain is at a self-centered emotional level and not the level of the soul or love. Our so-called broken heart is caused by our desire. Love is the cure and not the cause of a broken heart, and when we really love, and love more truly and broadly, our broken heart is healed.

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