Why Must Love Be Judged?
Recently I watched a play based on a part of Elaf Shafak’s book “The 40 Rules of Love”. I haven’t read the book yet, but the adaptation has encouraged me to do so.
The play was about the friendship and kindred love of Rumi, the famous Sufi philosopher and Shams el Tibrizy (aka Shams of Tebriz), the all loving and devout Dervish.
I remembered, while watching the play, a conversation I had with a friend (about year or so before) regarding Rumi and Shams’ relationship. She told me that it was rumoured that they were actually secretly lovers.
At the time I wasn’t really in the mood to discuss things further, but I had also become so used to the idea of “secret lovers”, that I just told her “it’s a possibility, you never know.” However, even though I didn’t know much about their relationship, something in my gut didn’t really agree.
Some may take this to mean I’m being homophobic or that I believe that just because they were religious, that there would be no chance that they could have been lovers. But that’s far from what I felt, especially after watching the play. I know that it was adapted depending on what the writer deemed interesting or relevant – and that I wouldn’t really be able to build a fair opinion until I’ve done my own research – but I believe that there are certain truths that shine through anyway, although that too depends on the state of your own consciousness at the time.
I hadn’t really thought about Rumi’s personal life. I rarely think of any philosopher’s, guru’s or teacher’s personal lives. If the information crosses my path then fair enough, but I rarely go looking for it. It was due to my own experiences with personal celebrity information, gossip and scandals that tainted my perception of them and their works. So I decided that I would just appreciate them for what they create – it has nothing to do with what happens in their personal lives.
Over time, while I was working at letting go of living a life of expectations – one of the things I did was choose to let go of my judgement of the actors I enjoyed watching. “I don’t care about their personal life, that’s their responsibility not mine. Plus I can’t trust everything I hear from the media.” I learned to be more accepting and less judgemental. Think about it, do you care what a doctor does in his personal life? As long as he does his job well, does it matter?
Universal Unconditional Love & Judgement
Now, from Rumi’s words that I have stumbled across, from the play and even from my own personal self discovery journey, I felt that there was more to the relationship than my friend believed.
The whole thing got me thinking about the universal essence of love, not the washed out portrayal that it is today. When I talk about “Love”, I don’t mean the selfish, possessive, or needy love. The image of attachment and narcissism. Or the tool people use to get what they want. I don’t mean the passionate or sexual love. I mean the love that transcends simple association or description. Universal unconditional love.
The concept and the word Love, has become white washed and tainted by broken promises, romanticised literature and Hollywood imagery. Along with cases of incest, paedophilia, statutory rape etc… The world has become jaded by the representation and intention behind the emotion.
If a man loves his best friend, who also happens to be female – well they must be in a relationship or at least dated before. Two girls love each other more than sisters – they must be lesbians. A student and teacher adore each other – of course, they’re secretly having an affair. And the list of judgements go on.
It has become a trend that onlookers or outsiders look in and judge kindred spirits, best friends and platonic soul mates, as carnal lovers. The concept that people can love one another without sexual desire being involved seems to be a dying belief or perspective.
Have you ever had a friend, teacher, companion or student you absolutely loved just for who they are? Not an ounce of sexual desire involved? Do we not love our families in that way too? What about the love of a parent towards their child? Or a smiling stranger who makes your day? A child who lights up because you gave them a toy? Or an animal that makes you feel unconditional love and appreciation without saying a single word?
Isn’t all of this love? Love for nature, or other humans? Love for our countries, communities and tribes? We’re all connected in one way or another and in ways far more profound than that of the human basic desire.
We can love random people on the street. We can love animals, trees and oceans. We can love children, teens and adults. We can love our ancestors and all coming future generations. We could essentially love anyone and everyone including ourselves. And most of all we can love God or the higher source. So why must that emotion be tied in to sex?
I loved hanging out with my earliest and oldest best friend of over 16 years. We would sit out by the bus stop after school and talk for hours. We preferred spending our time together than spend it at home. We had found in each other a kindred spirit, a teacher, student and best friend. We love each other. We rarely say it, but we know it. Now I’m sure countless kids in school probably made jokes and insinuations about the context or extent of our relationship. It didn’t matter. But why is this the go to expectation or judgement?
Rumi and Shams when they first became friends, spent hours and days together, rarely interacting with anyone else. People insinuated things, others were blind with jealousy and some were curious. They both shared one thing, their love and devotion of ‘Allah’. The source and the destination of our souls. At the time, their appreciation for each other and Rumi’s declaration of love for his teacher and friend, wasn’t as strange in their time as it may be by today’s standards. People in their era had no problem expressing love and well, love had a different understanding and definition compared to today’s washed out meaning. Shams guided Rumi to see the world with the eye of an empathetic, compassionate and loving heart.
Is there someone out there that you love more than any sexual desire could provide? Is there a friend, cousin, partner or teacher, whom you’ll miss terribly if they disappeared? Someone you’re grateful for, because with them you felt warmth, acceptance and compassion?
Being judgemental is one of the easiest things a person can do. But truly knowing and experiencing love in its truest essence is something people can strive their entire lives in search for.
Obtaining Universal Love
Universal love isn’t something we obtain, but at best maybe taste and, with some work, eventually become a vessel through which it flows. Take a look at people who give without seeking anything in return. Those people, whom when you see them, seem to unlock something warm and fuzzy inside your chest. The room just lights up with their presence…and for a short pure period, you’re connected to something far more meaningful and powerful than the corporeal world we live in now.
Universal love flows through and out of us, connecting us to that essence that confirms there’s a higher purpose for all of us and that essentially we are all by nature, beings of love (I choose beings – because humans are by nature something else). There are people I have met that have an unbelievable capacity to love, that it can be absolutely frightening. When our Ego’s intervene, we become suspicious of that energy and the person’s intent. Because with love of any kind comes vulnerability and we have learned so well and worked so hard to protect ourselves. A universally loving person can be a threat.
Why? Because not only do we get a taste of the energy we had forgotten (or in some cases never experienced), it means we start to search for it or crave it – leading to the Ego’s loss of control over us. Thus we put ourselves in a state of vulnerability. That’s where the beauty of it all lies. In the vulnerability. In the honesty and the nakedness of the soul. Those who love unconditionally aren’t necessarily people who have never experienced pain or heartache. They’re often the ones that in spite all of those painful experiences, they kept their hearts open to something more, allowed themselves to overflow in the abundance of unconditional love and compassion. Eventually that energy touches those around them too.
What does Love mean to you? Have you ever misunderstood someone’s love for you? Have you ever judged others for their love towards each other? Do you believe that there is universal love? Or is love just chemicals in our brains?
Share your opinion and let me know what you think.