Being single and alone was absolutely riveting for me. I had no desire to find a partner nor did I think I needed one to fill any gaps or inadequacies in myself. I’ve met a few amazing women the last 2 years that have proved my earlier musings on subconscious insecurities and fears wrong. I was still able to love completely and organically and cherished the mutual growth – and then let go. Spontaneity was essential. It is these connections that have subtly sparked this idea in my head that love might not be as expected at all – well, at least, not for me.
What is a relationship anyway? As I see it, people in relationships these days go on thinking they own the other person’s love and attention, for the most part, unknowingly. If love and attention is projected elsewhere or not enough is felt, jealousy or disappointment arises. Possession means one is objectifying the other. Naturally, objectification of the other is something no one would readily admit to nor even realize. It happens in all our relationships.
Take sex for example; when someone uses sex for his own pleasure, that is using the other as an object to satisfy his own physical desires, to deal with insecurities or to boost one’s ego. Friendships are also formed and lost because of objectification. Oftentimes it is very obvious when you have a so-called friend who wants to use you for his own good. Maybe having you around in his social circle will elevate his own social standing, or perhaps he hovers around you because you’re cool, materially wealthy, an awesome athlete or an eccentrically pleasing musician or artist. It may also be that you’re a comedian – the clown of the group – and he has a lot of personal issues he tries to avoid and wants to fill himself with laughter instead of tears, pain and growth.
It never used to bother me to use people as tools for my happiness. On the surface of our psyches, it was complete normalcy to act like this; almost everyone I knew operated this way, most probably unbeknownst to even themselves. Almost every time someone went to church, gave alms to the poor, participated in a charity, walked a pedestrian across the street or gave his girlfriend an expensive birthday gift, I have a feeling it wasn’t done for goodness’ sake or someone else’s; it was for his own.
So what would constitute a truly altruistic act? Would heaven still be open to all the faithful if God knew all his children acted out of fear of punishment and not out of bursting love and joy – that people acted to save their own skin or for some material or everlasting reward? The self-centered ego and identification with your (current) form prevents you from acting otherwise.
The question itself of the existence of altruistic acts shows how far separated we are from our true selves. Why is there a duality where some feel a unity? I speak of a total change in lifestyle. Altruism, love, bliss, enlightenment, presence – synonyms as far as I’m concerned – only happens when we wake up from the fool’s paradise of sanity that have been hounding us for lives and eons. What is sanity or normalcy? Nothing but our ability to adjust to the rest of society; this sick world conglomerate that is fuelled by fear and control.
Love for me is the opposite of what I thought it was. Not entirely, but fundamentally. It is not an effort, it is not a chore or some work you have to trudge through. Antithetically, it is the complete losing of one’s self into the other, an object, or even yourself. But, as opposed to Scott Peck’s notion of the “falling in love” phase, or the infant stage of a “normal” relationship, the bliss you feel comes from within you and not from the other person. It is already inside you, the other person only triggered it to surface.
His caution and aversion of the “in-love” stage caused him to altogether miss the point. It is that experience of ego-boundary-disillusion where your attention must be focused. The mind-made boundaries that separate us from each other and everything outside of our skin abruptly vanish.
That is why falling in love makes you feel so alive, so free and childlike. The same can be said for traveling to new places, for adventure and danger, for creating art, for sexual orgasms. Your mind loses control and your center of being is easier to notice because of its absence. Your sense of time dissipates and you are suddenly only in the present moment.
Some years ago, I came upon a shocking discovery. Who I thought I was was not real at all. It was only a form, an image – a complex combination of personal history, affluence, education, career, the friends I had, the family I was born into, the set of attitudes, behaviours and beliefs that set me apart from everyone else. Who am I, really? I saw thoughts and emotions passing through me as you would watch TV or movies and hear the character’s thoughts go through his head. But this was different; it was my own head and I could choose to accept them as myself or reject them as thoughts of negativity, just in the way the sky never clings onto the passing clouds, be they in one form or another.
Suddenly, I was separate from the trappings of the mind, and I saw that it worked in mysterious ways. I no longer clung on to the unchangeable past, never worried about the future, never got angry or sad, never had a problem. I started to see that all of these were mere fabrications of the mind and that the “I” that you think you are is only an illusion. What you and I actually are, is the consciousness that can observe all these “mind-games,” for lack of a better term.
The next time you have an angry feeling rising up in you, be it from your dickhead colleague at work, your lover, or someone who cut you off driving at traffic, I urge you to stop and notice the thought and feeling rise in you. All you have to do is observe it. You only have to be sensitive enough to notice the separation between your consciousness and your thought patterns. And this is the only prerequisite to create a divide between the real you and the illusory you. The more you notice it, the easier it will be.
I shared this and many other things with some friends and family and although I did not get laughed at or ridiculed to my face, I received strange looks of pity and concern which made me feel alone in a mechanism of robots. People brainwashed by the dysfunctional system that is human civilization. It is a funny thing to feel one with the universe at my core and yet have no one in my immediate community understand what the fuck I’m talking about. I knew I wasn’t alone in the world because there exists a plethora of authors and great thinkers out there that get the same message across to millions more. Interestingly, I have been meeting more like-minded people at a highly exponential rate. People are waking up; with or without the use of the internet, psychedelics, religions and philosophies and even in isolation. Some say Gaia is calling us into action. But that is for another time.
In my belief, the further away I was from people who brought me back into the systematic hoarding of money, self-serving growth of fame and career or acquisition of sex partners, the better off I was. And my belief held true. I had never felt so alive, so real and free than when I was away from my home town, away from all the people I knew. The more I kept to myself away from all the drama, all the gossip and problems of normal people, the better I felt. I gained a lot of knowledge and wisdom in the process but lost touch with some essential aspects of being human and part of Gaia.
There was no compassion in me for everyone else that was nailed into the system – stuck in their own games of material progress and victims of a global culture and misused religions and philosophies that operate on fear, consumption and worship . I saw it as a lost cause and let people be as they please. When they are ready, it will come to them. I tried once and had no desire to try any more, lest I be locked up in a hospital basement with delusions of grandeur.
Another thing I took for granted was my love and connection with nature. Growing up in the busiest city in the Philippines, there was hardly any nature to cradle me amidst all the concrete, asphalt, faux-grass football fields and man-made parks in the city. The experience I had in these city parks was entirely opposite from what I felt on an empty beach, on a mountain hike or in a forest untarnished by the contagion that is capitalism.
There was an underlying feeling of wrongness that I hadn’t noticed before and only came to me many years later. What was clear to me then was the strangeness of the separation of work-life and holiday-life, or in a smaller scale, weekdays and weekends. Why did we have to separate our work from our play? The template felt amiss. Why did I live in a chemically polluted concrete jungle when the vastness of nature called out to me – all it’s wonderful landscapes, clever animals and deep blue waters? As luck or fate had it, I saw nature at it’s finest while traveling the world with my family.
Our home was a poor excuse for a community; it was gated from the outside world – a haven hidden both ways from the poverty and suffering of the populace on the outside. We lived in a bubble of luxury and stability my parents ploughed out for me and my siblings. I don’t take it against my parents or theirs. On the contrary, I thank them for all they’ve done for me.
The comfort and stability allowed me to expand my awareness. The BIG picture is a lot clearer knowing what it was like to be wealthy. The absence of hunger in my life enabled me to focus inwards. They clothed me, loved me and gave me everything they thought I wanted. There was some pressure to finish conventional schooling but that receded once I graduated. I was given time and money – both of which I didn’t need after all. They are advocates of learning and understanding with good hearts and intentions, and they still give me all the emotional support anyone could ask for. And thus, it pricks my heart to come to such epic realizations without them.
Once you feel love in it’s true form, there is no other. There isn’t anything or anyone you would want to keep it from. You would barely be able to contain yourself. Far from being the perfect example of such love, I struggle to exude it all consistently. For now, it comes easily with the support and energy of people who do the same and understand me. Conversely, it is a lot more difficult to exhibit when I’m back at my hometown, surrounded once more with all the people that I have used to feed my ego and whose egos I have fed. I fluidly go back to my old self, suffering from the mind-patterns I so abhor.
I have learned through this other lifestyle that the heart is not something that has limits on how much love it can give or receive. If you’re sensitive enough, you can feel love emanating from all sources continually: people, animals, plants, water, rocks, earth. At the same time, you can give off infinite amounts of love to everyone and everything. My love wants to spread out to every corner, touch every flower, wash every raindrop. No one or thing could contain me. I only realise this now being surrounded by lovely people pouring out insane amounts of love; the kind that could be seen in the eyes, felt in the clasp or heard in the voice of a fellow tribesman. Things are waking up in me I have never in this life experienced and I now see where I have to be, what I have to do.
I never really believed in destiny and fate, but now, how can I not?