A tribute to the work on romantic love by the “May-to-December” acharya (senior teacher) by one who experienced it

(Prologue: I’ve got first-hand experience that a real understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be beneficial!)

(Note: The phrase May-to-December in the title is a take-off on “May-to-December” romances that are based on the romantic love tradition of the Middle Ages.)

Before I go into a month-long in-house retreat from March 04 to the day before Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s parnirvana, I must thank Judith Simmer-Brown  (JSB) for her work on romantic love.  Had I not had her programmes and articles to refer to, my year of dangerous living <click here and here for details> could have been “dangerous” in a destructive way. As it was, I was able to navigate the dangers, not without pain, but at least with some awareness. This enabled me to use romantic love as a jump-off point to develop the beginnings of some genuine affection and appreciation for people as they are in any given moment, not for cardboard cut-outs and cookie-cutter templates.

The intelligent way of working with romantic love is to experience it fully, beginning with the romanatic passion, and then experience the disappointment and go on from there. We should understand fully what we are doing, being aware of our tendencies toward delusion when we are “in love.” <source: Judith Simmer-Brown: Romantic Vision vs Everyday Disappointment>

May this post benefit others besides myself.

JSB’s article entitled Romantic Vision vs Everyday Disappointment has helped me identify “where I’m at”  in this cycle. And where is that? I am experiencing what she calls “everyday disappointment.” I think of this as a broken heart.

To be a spiritual warrior, one must have a broken heart; without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability that is in one’s self and all others, your warriorship is untrustworthy. <source: Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche: Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior>

The challenge for me now is what JSB calls “staying with disappointment [which] requires a certain amount of bravery.”

In the article cited above, JSB makes disappointment sound almost as “delicious” — well, not quite — as falling in love, in the sense that “disappointment is a loss of innocence.” (I think of Adam and Eve being evicted from the Garden of Eden.) “And that loss can actually wake us up, if we are willing to stick with the situation.”

Put another way, warriors can take disappointment into the laboratory of mindfulness and transform it into what JSB calls “a very magical chemistry.”

In our society, “options” and “choices” are something we value. But what JSB refers to as “choicelessness” sounds like something I can embrace, in that, when you have lost your innocence, “There is a choicelessness that grows when you can appreciate the other person for who they are and give up trying to make them fit the image of your fantasy.”

The groundlessness I felt during my year of dangerous living, and continue to feel, is something that, while still frightening, is at least an opportunity for a healthy and mature relationship.

In a healthy relationship, you try to support the goodness and the dignity in the other person. You don’t allow them to cover up the situation again and again….You are willing to be a gentle reminder of the way things are, and allow them to be one too. <source: Judith Simmer-Brown: Romantic Vision vs Everyday Disappointment>

And of course, her wise warnings: “But there are no assurances about your respective roles.”

And: “…we begin to see that no one can take away our fear of loneliness. Our aloneness will always come up; even the best relationships end, through death or change.”

And:  “We should understand fully what we are doing, being aware of our tendencies toward delusion when we are ‘in love.’ “

As this weblog, Get a Lifetime, is an in-depth look at karma, I should state that, while acting with love and basic goodness creates merit, romantic love would not. Why? Because it is based on delusion.

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