If you're like me, and you love L-O-V-E, you've probably hit a painful snag or two (or three) regarding LOVE. Doesn't it always seem like love leads to pain? But of course! It has to. Why? Because when we love, we are vulnerable. And it's not easy to allow ourselves to be so. However, LOVE still exists. Therefore, HOPE for humanity exists as well.
I "love" what Jung said about the connection between the will to power and love--gets right to the *heart* of the matter, doesn't it? If you look backward at your past love-relationships, you may see that if you were the one in love--the other person's "will to power" was the reason for the break. That "will" typically manifests as some kind of ambition--and it doesn't have to be the kind of professional ambition we usually associate with the word.
Maybe that love-lost was because either you or the other person in the relationship felt ambition to "love" more than one person...not very popular in monogamous love relationships and in my experience, the cliche, "Three's a crowd...," is a powerful truth when it comes to romantic love. Maybe it was ambition to move education and/or professional goals forward--and I don't mean losing a job and getting one in another state or country--especially in the current economic climate, it has to be a mandatory consideration that relocation may be necessary to obtain and/or maintain employment. Hopefully that's not a deal breaker (because if it is, LOVE is on the priceless side of the fence...). The problem usually pops up if it means one or the other partner has to sacrifice their own professional goals--which again, is a "will to power" issue. Another contender is a kind of family-ambition, an intense drive to stay close with your parents, siblings and childhood friends...which doesn't seem like a bad thing unless it interferes with the other person's life in the love-relationship. And you know, it can happen. There isn't a whole category of in-law jokes for nothing!Then, there is procreative-ambition; the drive to have biological children that is so deep, it overrides your love-relationship if your partner is either unable or unwilling to have children--for whatever reason. You've also got financial-ambition, where one lover has a differing opinion on money and its usage. Human-ambition is about as infinite as the universe and just as diverse. But no matter what kind of ambition threatens any level of love-relationship, all are about a certain will to power, and of course, often cause some of the greatest strife known to humanity when it comes to L-O-V-E.
Now that we've identified L-O-V-E's biggest enemy (ourselves...ahem), we can hopefully move forward with any level of a love relationship and acheive success...or can we?
Competition is at the crux of the human condition so is also at the crux of our LOVE problems. Joseph Campbell's "Hero Cycle" is not so much about heroes facing trials in all human-narrative--it is, but the cycle itself represents the human condition. And if you're familiar with the Hero Cycle" than you know that it's all about competition. There are a myriad of trials where the hero competes, usually for her/his life--the success of which leads to the ultimate prize in the cycle, a mastery of both the hero's past and present or in Campbellian terms, becoming "Master of Two Worlds." One of the trials in the cycle deals with romantic love; another centers on familial or fatherly love. So in terms of the trials faced in a typical human life span, L-O-V-E is right up there with "Ritual Death and Dismemberment." Nice.
Arthurian legend, or stories that center around the famed King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, mimic the traditional "Hero Cycle" by making the "search for the Holy Grail" an individual one. Yes, the knights set off together, but at some point, their companionship ends and we see stories emerge like Sir George and the Dragon (or Campbell's "Belly of the Whale" trial) and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (a "Ritual Death and Dismemberment" moment). We also see several common LOVE related trials represented in Arthurian legend like the "Trial of the Perilous Bed," made fun of in Monty Python and the Holy Grail following the Castle Anthrax scene, where "Launcelot" keeps repeating the word "peril" to Sir Galahad ("the Chaste") after rescuing Galahad from a bevy of able and willing beauties...between the ages of 18 and 24...asking for spankings...oh my!.
No matter where you look in the body of human history, you see how ambition or the "will to power" as Jung called it, basically sabotages our poor friend, LOVE. But ambition is nothing without our consent--so why do we do it? What are we afraid of when it comes to L-O-V-E???
Our fear comes from opening ourselves up to vulnerability a.k.a. the CONNECTION. If you become connected to a person through love--any level of love relationship--it means you are eternally connected to pain...even if the other person in the love relationship is 100% committed to the LOVE. And I'm here to tell you that it all boils down to this: You cannot have love without also having pain. It's like Lao Tzu's Yin-Yang concept--there's always a little Yin in the Yang, and a little Yang in the Yin, best represented by the Yin-Yang black and white symbol where each half, black or white, includes a dot of the opposite color.
Campbell called this the "duality" necessary for the hero to transcend and then acheive a "transformation of consciousness," in order to complete the cycle and gain mastery over both the past and the present.
Despite the ever-present enemy of love, human ambition, I still love L-O-V-E. And my fondest wish, hope and dream for each of you is to fall in love...at least once in your life--but if you're lucky, it will happen more than that. Surround yourself with LOVE. Become a love-addict. Make LOVE a priority in your life. And if you're in any level of love-relationship that is one-sided, move forward without it so you can find the love-relationship that WILL give you the joy, and pain, you need to make your life full and good.
With L-O-V-E...until next time, dear readers.....