Love is a quest for perfection. It is a ladder that can be climbed through conscious effort. On the lowest rung are physical attraction, desire, lust. The topmost rung of the ladder is prayer, surrender and union. Between the two is a long journey. If two people can together climb this ladder towards higher levels of perfection, their lives will be full of joy, ecstasy and freedom. On the other hand, if we are stuck on the lower end, our lives are full of pain, suffering, conflict, anger and possibly animalism. Yes, love can transport us to either heaven or hell - it can be the highest yoga or the basest of illusions.
The raw material for love is ‘affection’, which in a couple is reciprocal. This affection passes through three major stages. The first is the imaginary. When two people are attracted to each other, they come with a bagful of romantic imagination and illusions about each other. He may imagine ‘she is mine and mine only’, but one day he sees her laughing and having fun with someone else and this brings jealousy, possessiveness and a feeling of expectations being broken. It is these negativities which pull us down the ladder. Now the key word here is sacrifice. Every time a negative thought comes, we sacrifice it in the fire of pain we feel inside. On continuous practice, one day our affection will be free of these self-emotions.
The second stage of perfection is psychological. Within this, two partners practice making their differences and oppositions complementary. Whenever they disagree, one of them makes a conscious sacrifice. This leads to an understanding of the other’s state. Don’t say ‘I disagree with you’ but ‘I understand where you are coming from’. Reach a state where you are living where the other is coming from; then there is only understanding, never disagreement. It is very difficult to understand the idea being expressed here. Each one now experiences the other’s difficulties exactly as he or she is experiencing them.
The final stage in this journey is divine. Now it is not just ‘I understand him’ but ‘each moment, I live him’. This is a rising above the opposites. The dual nature of life has been transcended and the oneness of each other will grow into the oneness of all.