I used to believe in the common saying, “Love is blind.” But last night, I realised love is not blind; rather, I am blind to love.
Yesterday, my very dear friend underwent a lot of trouble to make me a beautiful birthday cake. The moment I saw it, my heart jumped. It looked deliciooouussssss! I couldn’t wait to take a bite of this rich-looking fudge dream. I blew out the candles, cut a generous slice, and dug in heartily. But instead of the carob, caramel and berry explosion I had expected, my mouth greeted a dry, flavourless mix of perhaps coconut and a little sugar. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I’m no good at hiding my emotions. My gloomy facial expression clearly communicated the letdown. To make matters worse, I told her, “The cake you made for Kate was much better than this.” Her face fell as she replied, “At least, there is a cake.”
I felt like such a monster! But what could I do? I didn’t like the cake.
That night, while lying in bed, I reflected on the incident. I wondered, how had I not liked the cake, despite knowing the love and the effort my friend had put into making it? Why had I not appreciated her love and affection? If she really loved me, she would have made me a berry cake, oozing with caramel sauce, not a plain old carob and coconut cake, I justified. But after an hour of arguing with myself, I finally realised how blind I had been to love.
Because my friend’s cake did not appeal to my tongue, I had completely disregarded the love with which she had made it. Forget saying a few words of appreciation; I’d had the audacity to devalue her effort!
Shows how much I know about love. I have always measured someone’s love for me by how they express it materially. If someone loves me, then they should execute My Desire list. If they buy me the gifts I want, make me the food I like, pamper me, praise me, then they love me. And, if they don’t fulfill these desires and expectations, then it obviously means they don’t love me. As for true love, this occurs when one exceeds my expectations.
My conception of love may sound selfish, but who is to blame? The only way I understand something as intangible as love is when it is expressed through tangible matter. And isn’t that what society teaches us anyway? Love her? Gift her a holiday. Love her? Gift her a ring. Love her? Gift her a voucher. And how do I give love? By using a bartering system! However much love you give me, that’s how much I shall give you. No more, no less. Well, maybe a bit more or a bit less depending on how my day is going.
Doesn’t quite sound like love, does it? So what is love? Google time. According to reference.com, love is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” Uh oh. Going by this definition, I would say, my love is subject to a simple condition. Like in a computer program, it’s binary logic:
IF you satisfy my desires and my expectations, I love you.
ELSE, “Don’t waste my time—who’s NEXT?”
I know my love is conditional, but I often wonder if it is possible to love unconditionally. In Sanskrit, also known as the language of enlightenment, pure love is known as bhakti. I’m exploring this bhakti-yoga type of love, the yoga of unconditional loving relationships. Bhakti-yoga acknowledges that no one can live without loving someone else; it’s every person’s natural propensity to love, but where to situate that love so that everyone can become happy and peaceful?
So until I find out more, sorry my dear friend, my standard of conditional love does not allow me to like your cake. Sounding selfish? I’m guilty as charged.