I had a conversation with Karaj about the previous post. We talked about love and he told me to focus on nothing else. For a day or two afterwards, I was left with a profound connection to a love which I have never fully embraced, nor nurtured, nor deliberately explored. His message was that I should acknowledge that I am deeply loved, and that I need to see more clearly what is always there.
True, deep love feels elusive, but that’s only because we are too ready to accept low-grade imitations. From an early age we are showered with an abundance of its substitute, which survives and thrives because we believe it serves us well. In our desperation we sell ourselves short. We convince ourselves (and each other) that what we experience is the genuine article, yet deep down, if we were to stop and check with ourselves, we’d notice an uneasy feeling of hollowness perhaps, or manipulation. What kind of love contains desperation or deception? An impoverished, superficial love.
His challenge to me at the end of our talk was to see the difference and feel the love I know I’ve experienced. That’s all. He had told me the same 17 years ago in The Final Journal Entry. Back then I had struggled and fought against it, but he had insisted that:
’…if I can just focus on the love we have for each other – that is all we have in common – then nothing else matters. It is just a tiny grain but it means more than anything we have done together. More than the garden, the office, and the papers we produce. All that is pointless. There is only love. That is the only thing that matters.’
In contrast to then, this latest exchange made it clearer than ever how much I owe to his influence, his presence, and his love. He changed my life and set me back on my path. Knowing all along where it would take me and how difficult it would be, he walked beside me, correcting, encouraging and challenging me every step of the way.
Later, having left his guidance, I met her. And as I explained to Karaj in 2014’s piece, Still Working, when he asked me about her: ‘It’s the purity of love I experienced with her. I have never known anything like it.’ Fascinatingly, as I have acknowledged before, I would not have been able to sustain a relationship with her, had I not done the work with Karaj. His love allowed me to experience her love. Even there, however, I had to be directed. Early on, she had needed to make it clear that, despite my expectation of a particular kind of lower-grade love, she had no interest in manipulating or persecuting me. Which is what I had been used to.
In dysfunctional families, fault lines run through the relationships, created by the various Scripts each player brings to the dynamic. They give rise to a conditional love – manipulative, or resentful, or needy. That’s what I had known and that’s what I had acted out until I met Karaj, who made it possible for me to experience the fullness of everything she has to offer.
Those two people – the two to whom my book is dedicated – are the ones who have loved me in the most pure way. That’s why the previous entry is so important, because I have no time to be connected to an imitation; one which has to fight, control and destroy in order to survive. The irony being, of course, that real love is ubiquitous and plentiful, negating any need for competition or notion of scarcity.
We have things the wrong way around. We accept the lesser as the norm, whilst elevating that which is ever-present to something special. Karaj used to correct us whenever we described things as special, as in this excerpt from Becoming Stronger & Stronger:
‘I told Robert [his conversation with his daughter] was very special but Karaj contradicted me saying that such dialogue is not special, it’s normal. Most other communication is abnormal and heaped in game-playing. I see what he means. That’s the way we should all communicate. That is normal communication.’
The same is true of love. Unconditional love is normal. Everything else is heaped in game-playing. Even though it is everywhere and always accessible, we are so used to its counterfeit that when we do experience the piercing purity of the real thing, we often don’t know what to do with it. We fight against it, run away from it, or seek the refuge of the familiar. We resist and doubt, when all we need to do is stand still, breathe deeply, and embrace the truest expression of who we are. That’s all.