Why are we so obsessed with the idea of romantic love? Is ‘happily ever after’ even possible?
The Unfair Expectations that set us up and let us down
“The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”
Sadhana was struck into a shocked silence as she read Rumi. The words of the 13th century Persian poet and mystic seemed to speak to her with the freshness of a rose just bloomed.
She didn’t fully grasp the full quote. Her breath was caught on just the first words..”the minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you…”
It seemed as if her breath had never moved away from that raw quest since.
Rumi knew…her deepest secret?
She had been married 10 years and slowly it was dawning on her that she was still looking. Despite having had a wonderful whirlwind romance with a most eligible bachelor, a ‘prince charming’ who married her and provided for her in every way.
Once the heady haze of the honeymoon period was over, she had suddenly felt a flat emptiness. No matter how hard she struggled to bring that ‘in love’ feeling back, the cooking and housekeeping after the commute to work and back was pointing to a different kind of reality. The joke ‘after the ecstasy, the laundry’ suddenly made sense and wasn’t funny.
As he became a focused provider, holding down a steady job, managing the finances, and rising up the corporate ladder, she felt less and less seen and met as a desirable, charming woman. She had to find the romance she craved in mushy tele-serials or novels she got absorbed in late into the night. Not to mention that it was also safer than having an affair!
These days it seemed as if she lived two lives; the one the world saw, where she was a dutiful, domesticated wife, and another, the secret life of her dreams where she went searching for an unnamed Beloved, whose face she longed to see.
Not knowing what to do with this yearning that wouldn’t go away, she came to her Altar. Her one refuge. “Mother, why can’t I be happy? Despite having a faithful husband who provides so well for me…What is this longing? Why do I feel as if something precious is tantalizingly close but missing in my being? Why do I feel dry, like a desert waiting. Waiting to be quenched. By torrential rains?
Shakti speaks: Do not despair my child. Your longing is my longing, for the ecstatic, life-giving union of body and spirit. I am your life-force seeking to dance with my Lord inside you. He is Shiva, your awakened consciousness. When you merge with Him, like a river finds the Ocean, your thirst will be finally quenched. Do not expect your husband or any man to fulfill you. That is the most unfair expectation and will only lead to certain disappointment. Pay attention instead to the rest of Rumi’s quote:
“…lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They are in each other all along”
Wake up to Shiva. The Beloved we both seek is within. And He has loved you all along. He is the morning Sun caressing your upturned face. The cool showers on your parched lips. The fragrant warm earth after the first rains. The flowers blooming along your path in Spring. The hot embrace of your husband in cold Winter nights. He makes love to you all year round. He has penetrated you so deeply, possessed you so completely. Don’t you see?
Sleeping beauty, open your eyes and see the face of your Beloved. He has been waiting for you to wake up and take you to pleasures beyond anything your innocence could conceive.