In the esoteric system of the Tarot, Cups represent emotions and the Ace of Cups represents pure love. This is a card of love-as-an-energy, pouring into the world out of thin air, magically filling our lives with wonder and ecstasy. The love isn’t, “attached,” to anything, it’s just there, existing by itself.
Love-as-an-energy is a notion that’s foreign to most Westerners, so it takes a little bit of work to wrap our heads around it. We can see a similar notion in Reiki energy healing. The Reiki practitioner directs healing energy (which we could call, “love”) to the person or situation that is sick. BUT . . . and this is a subtle and important distinction . . . the practitioner doesn’t tell the energy what to do. She just sends the energy and the energy solves the problems.
Huh? What in the hell does that mean?
Well, suppose we’ve got a friend who’s got kidney problems, or at least that’s what the doctor told him. So we sit down and light our white candles and incense and we try to visualize as much healing and love flowing toward our friend’s kidneys as we possibly can. Only the doctor our friend saw was distracted that morning because his mistress had left her purple thong in the back seat of his Mercedes and his wife found it and now his wife and his children aren’t speaking to him and his mistress wants her thong back and his life has just turned into a shit burger. So he accidentally grabs the wrong chart and diagnoses a kidney problem when our friend actually has exhausted adrenals.
There we are, then, sending tons of healing energy to our friend’s kidneys when his kidneys are perfectly fine and it’s his adrenals that need a little TLC. Instead of helping, we’re accidentally short circuiting the healing process because we decided what the problem is and we were wrong.
The Reiki practitioner, on the other hand, just sets the intention of sending the healing energy to his friend but lets the energy figure out what the real problem is and what really needs to be healed. In other words, he views the energy of love and healing as something that exists independently of the healer and something that has its own intelligence, an intelligence that’s far greater than ours. You send it, but you don’t direct it.
All of which seems completely weird to most of us, because we view love as coming out of SOMEONE. We view love as always being attached to a pronoun. I love YOU. YOU love me. SHE loves him. We view it as something that people generate themselves and bestow on others, not something that flows THROUGH us, but isn’t really ours. Even when we talk about divine love, we view it as a very personal transaction where God or the Goddess or the Angels or the Guides are personally sending us love because, you know, we’re really nice people and why wouldn’t they? We don’t just want the love, we want the hug that goes with it.
Ram Dass expressed a lot of the same ideas when he talked about love and relationships. What happens when we fall in love? We’re tritty-trotting down The Great Road of Life when we suddenly see another human being and, for whatever reason, something inside of us says, “YUM!!! I want some of that.” So, penises get hard, vaginas get moist, we leap into the nearest bed at the first opportunity and make love like bunnies until we fall over in an intertwined heap of sweat and hormones. Big, silly grins for everyone. Yay!
There’s a lot going on beneath the surface, of course. Our brains are pumping out oxytocin and we feel high as a kite because, “we’re in love.” That very feeling and all of those pleasure hormones predispose us to view the other person favorably and as someone who’s wonderful and magical and the source of that amazing feeling of being in love. Many times we’re totally puzzled because our friends see our love object as a schlub with a bad haircut, instead of the Amazing Wizard of Love and Happiness that we perceive, and so we begin to cut our friends out of our lives and our lover becomes the SOLE source of love in our existence.
What happens when our lovers die or we break up because we caught them playing hide the sausage with the neighbor’s teenage daughter? Grief happens. Deep, devastating, profound grief.
Ram Dass looked at that whole process and said, “Yup, that’s what happens,” but he put an interesting twist on it. He said that it isn’t the loss of the person that we’re grieving, it’s the loss of love. The person was just a vehicle in human form that GOT us to the love that we craved and we thought he or she was the source. Put another way, we mistook the car for the destination.
That’s basically seeing love-as-an-energy. It isn’t an energy that comes FROM our lovers, it’s an energy that flows THROUGH them.
None of that denigrates or diminishes the wonderful process that we call, “falling in love.” Falling in love seems to be one of the ways that nature has hard wired us to reach that state of love that heals us and makes us whole. It’s a good thing.
What it DOES do, though, is to remove a lot of the negative qualities that too frequently go along with that process. When we realize that love is out there, that it exists independently of other people, then falling in love loses its addictive and dependent nature. We don’t view the other person as the source of love, we view them as a portal in our lives – sometimes temporary and sometimes lasting – through which the love flows. We don’t depend on them for our source of love, like a junkie depends on his dealer for heroin.
If the other person goes away, that’s okay, because the love remains and we can tap into it any time that we want to, just by opening our hearts to that energy. In a very real sense, we become the source of our own love, because we’re the ones who are making the conscious decision to stay open to that amazing energy, no matter what happens or who comes and goes in our lives.
And then we’re living in love, instead of falling in love.
It’s a good thing.