Love, aloneness, the relativity of emotion and a beginner’s mind

Ramon Thomas today wrote a post about Osho’s Love, freedom and aloneness. It struck a cord seeing as (as everyone on Facebook knows) I recently had a change of relationship status, and I also happen to be reading the book.

I was musing on the topic as I drove around the Peninsula today, and looking at the mountains, in as close to a state of bliss as I can imagine, thinking how relative our emotions are.

When things are getting better, we’re happy, when they’re getting worse, we’re sad. We associate happiness with external things. Crime (to take one factor in isolation) is getting worse, so we become unhappy. A Nicaraguan woman I met recently grew up in a civil war of such brutality I cannot imagine. She told me how she likes South Africa, but finds South Africans complain too much. She can never understand why, having come from a situation so much worse than here.

I remember learning this lesson once, in 1992. I was travelling the UK, and trying, without much success, to find work (these were the days before South Africans could easily work there legally). After weeks of living on white bread on peanut butter, with a banana every few days as a treat, living in a tent 2 hours walk away from my job as a dishwasher, supporting two people, I decided enough was enough.

I splashed out, and bought a pizza for the two of us.

The sensual ecstasy of that pizza, even if I could objectively realise it rated on the lower end of the pizza scale, was beyond belief, and the memory still brings tears of joy to my eyes.

No pizza I’ve had since has come close.

The pizza represented a switch from a pretty dismal existence to a new, more dynamic, happier one, and a dramatic change of external circumstances.

Looking at the mountains today I was reminded of this. I used to live in Capri (between Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Fish Hoek), and drove past those same mountains every day. In their familiarity, they never reached the heights they reached today.

Is our happiness so dependent on the new, on change? Zen has a concept of beginner’s mind, learning to see things as if you were seeing them for the first time, as a beginner would.

In relationships, the same applies, with many striving for that state of newness and excitement (that some of us mistake for love), going from relationship to relationship, chasing something out there that can only be found by a change of our own perception.

We can cultivate a beginner’s mind, I believe. But today no cultivation was necessary.

Or perhaps it was simply the caffeine coursing through my veins from the raw chocolate smoothie I’d had earlier.

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  1. Hey Ian, it does seem like all the connections we’re trying to make online removes the onus from people to make a connection online, or grow their connections with people in a face to face situation. I can’t imagine having a virtual relationship when I could have the real thing 😉

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