So much of my life has been concerned with observation of human behavior and asking questions surrounding love, relationships and why people are the way they are. I’d like to think I was a pretty normal kid, having said this, but I also realize my clock ticks a bit differently than most. I just wanted to understand what made people tick. Most behavior can be predicted when you understand what motivates someone. To understand this, take Maslow’s needs scale and a precursory history; major events, fears, etc and you have enough to predict someone’s motivation. What does this do for us? For one, it offers a sense of control. When taken to extremes, it is manipulation. On the other end of the spectrum is setting ourselves up for success…or at least recognition of outcomes. There is, however, one (or two, if we’re nitpicking) need that stands above all others and changes everything I’ve said to this point, and that is love and connection.
Why are love and connection such game-changers? Look at the scale of needs. There are basic necessities; the things that keep us alive, like breathing, eating, water, sleep which run primarily off autonomic processes, and then there is the need for love and connection which are spiritual or purpose-driven needs. This is what causes so many to hypothesize that humans are all connected…or that everything in the Universe is connected. But what else goes into the game-changing magic of love and connection? Let’s look at a few ideas behind what love and connection are.
There are different kinds of love: Sexual, Brotherly, Familial, love of Self, love for a Creator or something we view as greater than Our Self or Humanity. Whatever the type of love we experience, there is an energy that comes with love that nothing else can match. Yes, every feeling, every substance has a different frequency, but that which comes with love is above all else. What else is love?
Love is the absence of judgment. Love is felt in a profound way. Love makes us see the best in people because we see the best in ourselves…and that is connection. Connection is a form of energetic magnetism which is one of the keys to life. Some take the biological track and focus on the chemical nature of love; pheromones and bio-electrical attraction, while others turn to love and connection as products of destiny or fate; some predetermined outcome. There are a multitude of theories about what life is and/or how it works. The fact is, even with science, there are far too many gaps for us to truly know and that is what makes all these things so fascinating…and frustrating.
As I age, it becomes clearer to me that we all go through stages of figuring life out and that said stages are not neatly parceled and arranged. As with Maslow’s needs scale, these stages can be used to help us understand someone’s “place” or experience level in life and how their views/beliefs are affected. For example, a teen who says he/she is in love is driven by hormones and impulse, in most cases. Can this love be real? Of course it can. We all know high school sweethearts who are still together decades later and are still in love. But most love at the first couple stages of life is finite. It has an ending that each party, sometime before, would have bet you a good sum would only be brought about by death. How can such a powerful feeling steer us down a path of unpredictability? How can an emotion that seems to be the key to life so often lead to depression, anxiety and despair? Why do we spend so much time focusing on finding love and connection?
The answer can be summed up in the following: We all seek, on some level, to understand who we are and why we’re here. We want to feel safe, secure, worthy and validated. This all happens when someone loves us. When someone genuinely loves us, they want to know the real us and this validates our existence. When someone loves us, they accept us, faults and all. This gives us confidence and the desire to become fully actualized and there is simply no feeling that can top this. There are other motivations for this, of course, but without love and connection, it is like trying to light a firecracker with a wet wick.
I am not sure where I picked this up, but about 25 years ago my favorite equation came to me and it is 1+1=3. I believe it to be the most powerful equation to a successful love connection. Successful not being defined by time, but by advancing both parties forward on their paths; learning lessons, accepting, change, becoming better and achieving goals. One partner added to another partner equals the two individuals plus the new whole. It is crucial to keep our self identities; our paths and purposes that are separate from the relationship AND we have a new entity to nurture. True love starts with self love and when we love and respect ourselves, we can do this with another. This equation tells us not only that we have a greater product but that there is more work to be done. I hypothesize that this is why most relationships fail. Our desires for immediate gratification and superficial distractions (keys to addiction, which is now being suggested by experts to be the opposite of connection) cause us to lose focus on this equation. But let me be clear: Having a true love of another is being able to put their needs before your own like a reflex…but not forgetting your own path in the process. An important aspect of this equation is that the other person is employing it, too. They put your needs before their own. When you’re both doing it and both honoring yourselves, the relationship is nurtured and you each become actualized and follow your individual paths.
There is no greater intimacy than this; no greater love. It is unconditional and unwavering. And being that most of us are so beleaguered by stimuli, distractions, responsibilities and other stresses in today’s world, we often struggle with self-acceptance and self-love which, as stated, hinders any ultimate love connection we may desire. See yourself as beautiful, know yourself as interesting, exciting, passionate…articulate your strengths and weaknesses and work on both. In other words, know and improve thyself and forge the relationship you want with someone else with the incredible person you see in the mirror. If the wounds are too deep or the process too difficult, work with a professional.
There is nothing greater than a feeling that you experience in every part of your body, down to the cellular level. A feeling you know wields a power you’ve never felt before; one that can overcome you, knock down all barriers, heal you, etc. To feel love, intimacy and connection that is so powerful, it humbles you and brings you to tears, softens your scars, reflects the best in you back at yourself and thus fuels your self esteem. There is a reason for the saying: Love makes the World go round. It’s because it does. Like everything in the Universe. Love moves, it spins and cycles and it wanes…but it has something that cannot be explained by known laws of physics. It has exponentially greater power than the sum of it’s parts AND the ability to regenerate. So, as the Universe slowly decays to it’s end…as it’s outward spread is into further chaos and entropy, we have one thing that as a point of focus can make everything else irrelevant and that is love and connection, the keys to everything.
Paul Gerst L.Ac. is an Acupuncturist and Natural Health Practitioner of 20 years practicing in Middleboro and Plymouth, MA and may be reached at 774-283-2726. Visit the website at nenhs.com and sign up for the occasional newsletter and health/clinic alerts. Paul also teaches Meditation and does corporate in-services. For more information, please call the number listed above or email through the website.