The Litmus Test of Love

From The Way to Love by Anthony DeMello . . .

It is commonly held that it is only when you feel deeply loved yourself, that you are able to go out in love to others. This is not true. A man in love does indeed go out to the world not in love but in euphoria. For him the world takes on an unreal, rosy hue, which it loses the moment the euphoria dies.

His so-called love is generated not by his clear perception of reality but by the conviction, true or false, that he is loved by someone – a   conviction that is dangerously fragile, because it is founded on the unreliable, changeable people who he believes love him. And who can at any moment pull the switch and turn off his euphoria. No wonder those who walk this path never really lose their insecurity.

Someone else controls the switch and when it is switched off the glow fades away.  As you use the sword of awareness to move from attachment into love, there is one thing you must keep in mind: Don’t be harsh or impatient, or hating of yourself. How can love to grow out of such attitudes? But rather hold on to the compassion and the matter-of-factness with which the surgeon plies his knife. Then you may find yourself in the marvelous condition of loving the object of your attachment and enjoying it even more than before, but simultaneously enjoying every other thing and every other person just as much. That is the litmus test for finding out if what you have is love.

Far from becoming indifferent, you now enjoy everything and everyone just as much as you did the object of your attachment. Only now there are no more thrills and therefore no more suffering and suspense. In fact, you could  be said to be enjoying everything and enjoying nothing. Because you have made the great discovery that what you are enjoying on the occasion of each thing and person is something within yourself. The orchestra is within you and you carry it with you wherever you go. The things and people outside you merely determine what particular melody the orchestra will play. And when there is no one or nothing that has your attention the orchestra will play a music of its own; it needs no outside stimulation. You now carry in your heart a happiness that nothing outside of you can put there, and nothing can take away.

Here then is the other test of love.

You are happy for no reason that you know.

Does this love last? There is no guarantee that it does. For while love cannot be partial it can be of temporary duration. It comes and goes in the measure that your mind is awake and aware or has gone off to sleep again. But this much is certain, once you have had even a fleeting taste of this thing called love, you will know that no price is too high, no sacrifice too great, not even the loss of one’s eyes, nor the amputations of one’s hand, if you can have in exchange the only thing in the world that makes your life worthwhile.