I got a letter from a friend who was ostensibly writing to apologize for crimes that were (as far as I know) imagined. The regret was sincere (unnecessary, but sincere). But the “takeaway” (I’ve been in Marketing too long) was all about the pain he’s putting himself through. Pain like that can’t possibly be *all* self generated. I’m going to venture a guess that someone unloaded a cargo-ship’s worth of blame on the guy.
So let’s talk about love again. Love and relationships and some truths that you can apply universally…
In consensual relationships between adults that don’t involve violence, there are no victims and no perpetrators. Mistrust any explanation of events that places 100% of the responsibility on one person. An unequal distribution of responsibility denies both parties of their autonomy, their ownership, and their ability to effect positive change in the context of their own lives and within a relationship.
The universe demands balance. It is in every molecule that exists, in every physical law we know. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Matter can be transformed but not winked out of existence. The universe denies imbalance. Carry forward with an imbalance long enough and, like a rubber band stretched too tight, it’s going to snap back with a forceful sting. Know that, trust that, and allow yourself the foresight of boundaries and balance. Anything that is categorically out of balance is also categorically false.
There are reasons for everything. Perhaps not all of the reasons are sitting on the surface and apparent to everyone, but there are reasons. Reasons for the people you meet. Reasons for the choices you make. Sometimes you don’t even know what your own reasons are, but unless we’re talking about extreme violations of karma – violence and/or an abuse of power – we’re where we’re supposed to be, doing the things that we’re supposed to be doing, on a path that pushes us towards a greater capacity for compassion and for joy. You can’t have the light without the dark. But if you give it enough time, both will move you to a place where you can observe the darkness and revel in the light and find them both necessary in their own way. The dark gives us depth. The light gives us strength. All the best people I know have both in equal measure.
Do not trust any voice that speaks to you in absolutes or extremes. There is an agenda in promoting your fear and your despair. Love, real love, even at it’s bitter end, does not seek to drive the loved one to their knees. Ask this marketer: your best motivator to close a sale is fear. Love is no place for marketing.
So maybe my philosophy leads me to the conclusion that my friend must be left to his path. As much pain as he is experiencing right now, he’ll find the joy in equal measure. If we’re all where we need to be, then that applies to him here and now. I just hate to see someone in pain, particularly when it sounds very much like this pain is not organic but is being driven by a second party’s agenda. But I had to learn this the hard way myself, so…
If nothing else… let me be the seed. The beginnings of a voice in the back of your mind, the sliver of doubt when you are handed a wholesale condemnation of your core that asks “what is the agenda here, and who is the beneficiary of my fear?”