Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Learning to Love: Illusion

Gloria Ornelas Hall-

Illusions (lat.: absence of light) glow from the reflection of wishful thinking, much as the moon, having no light of its own, reflects moonshine from the sun. They can be deceiving, oftentimes desirable, but in the end, fantasy. Romance builds expectations from such phantoms. We see the attributes we assign our loved one, wishfully.
There is scientific evidence that validates optical, auditory or tactile illusions, as cerebral distortions of perception. However, their ‘reality’ does not make them ‘true’. Such is the differentiation that Hinduism makes of their term, Maya, which is an illusion, but neither ‘false’ or ‘true’. The sympathetic and parasympathetic response elicited by neurotransmitters stimulates or antagonizes pupil response, sensorial attentiveness, focused concentration and stimulates sensations that define our perceptions. Consciousness integrates these isolated memories giving them meaning.

I have lived deceived, and in self-deception all my life. Perhaps that is what differentiates subjective experience and makes us unique. I tend to project what I want to see on to others, displacing my imagination onto the images I perceive. It works for me, because I invariably validate my own reality in self-justification. It is a commodity that excludes all I wish to delete. So in romance, my lover is as I want him to be…smart, funny, hard-working, creative, kind, understanding….But is he really? I don´t think I want to know….and yet loving him with such subjective distortion perhaps only reflects my self-love, leaving him untouched.
To love another we must first see him/her in truth. Only then can we reach and touch them. However, in so doing, we have to face dis-illusion. The ego hurts when we don´t let it have what it wants, or let it have its way. It requires disenfranchisement from our right to vote or give our opinion. We have to peel off all wishful thinking and protective sheaths to face the stark-naked truth. Only then can our loving shine of itself, and not as a reflection of our desires and imagination.

So much for Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee?”
Let me count the ways:
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Risking sacrilege, perhaps with ‘dis-illusion,’ I would say:
I love your depth, breadth and height dispossessed of idyllic grace.
I love you, not to meet my dire need, but freely;
Not for praise; not in faith; not in wishful relatedness to saints.
I love your breath, your smiles and your tears in my life,
and in my living today and tomorrow.

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