Dear Yogini: How can love be sustained over the long term without expectations? - Tender Hearted

Dear Tender Hearted:

I cut some daffodils last week. I put them in a vase, gave them attention, praise, loving words, good water, sunlight, and clean air. They eventually withered. The daffodils that I left uncut lasted longer, but they too are gradually wilting.

New love has the exuberance of the daffodil: overwhelmingly beautiful and spontaneous, perhaps even a bit gaudy and overbearing. New love sweeps us off our feet so that everything looks like the garden in early spring. If we expect love to remain in its early spring exuberance, if we expect love to remain static, we are destined to failure.

Love can be sustained, but it will change, mature, grow, fade, hide, whither, struggle and rebirth itself. Love will take work: watering, weeding, feeding, tilling, sweat and dirty fingernails. Maybe a better question is: Can we learn to love through all of love’s stages? Can we love through the tough times, the grumpy times, and the unattractive times? Can we love through our own expectations?

The yogi’s tell us that our deepest truth, our subtle body, is bliss and love. Blissful love is our primal cause, our true nature. The world we live in presents obstacles, an abundance of citta vritti (churnings of consciousness), that distract us from our true nature. These obstacles tell us that love has gone away when it has naturally evolved. The citta vritti make us doubtful and insecure so that we turn away rather than staying and working through the difficult times.

We have to choose to maintain love. We have to commit to it. We have to allow it to evolve. Not every relationship is worth sustaining. If your relationship causes you pain, if your internal sense of self is undermined by your relationship, then let it go and try again. But if there is love, and if we love beyond the bloom, if we love the bulbs, the greens, the compost, and the soil, then love will rebloom. We will have moments of exuberance, moments of doubt, moments of rest and quiet, and moment of bliss.

Yes, love can be sustained. We will have to let go of our expectations and our citta vritti to experience that love is our deepest self.