Lovers are those for whom no minute is like any other, people between whom nothing habitual takes place, just what is new, unprecedented, unexpected. In such connections there exists an almost unbearable happiness. When we understand our lives correctly, we can slowly grow into such happiness by preparing ourselves for it. When we love, we must not forget that we are beginners, bunglers of life, apprentices in love. We must learn love and that takes calm, patience, and composure. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Rilke reminds us, “We must learn love.” These seem like strange words from a poet known for mystical writings. In other words, love is a practice requiring the cultivation of cherished beliefs about the meaning of love. If you’ve ever traversed the territory to which Rilke refers, his words serve as reminders of inner qualities required of those who wish to love.
It is a great mystery that a process as natural as loving should be so frequently tricky. The art of learning to love well is one of the most demanding challenges we assume in our lives. After unsuccessful attempts to develop sustained, loving relationships, many conclude that they are not up to the challenge. They may believe they’re not the type to settle down with one person. Instead, they forego their dream rather than risk the prospect of pain, frustration, and disappointment.
Why is it that loving relationships can be so complex for us to create and sustain? Is it true that there are very few good candidates out there who can relate authentically? Is it possible for us to unlearn defensive patterns that served in childhood but now cause frustration and isolation?
These and many other complex questions arise once we decide to embark upon the path of love. The further along we are, the more formidable the concerns. Many people believe that the opposite should be true, that the more profound the connection we develop, the easier it should be. And if it’s not getting more manageable, it’s because something is wrong; wrong with them, wrong with me, or wrong with us.
Not necessarily. Deep interconnections can bring out the worst and best in us: our deepest fears and greatest hopes, selflessness and possessiveness, kindness and insensitivity, generosity, and self-centeredness. In working consciously with these emotions and impulses, we develop more trust in each other and gradually let down defenses that shield us from emotional distress.
Great love, great sex, and great intimacy are hallmarks of great relationships. Great relationships are a by-product of living life in a way that supports the fulfillment of that intention. Appreciating the kind of relationship we want and the kind of person we want to share that relationship, are essential steps in realizing our dreams. We have the be the person of our dreams if we want to nurture the relationship we desire. It’s about who we become in the process.
When we identify our qualities we’d to strengthen, the likelihood of attracting the right person increases dramatically. Being a great lover has less to do with technique than with our quality of being. As we cultivate presence, generosity, compassion, commitment, and trustworthiness, we can integrate those qualities in our lives, and our relationships will naturally become enhanced.
There is truly no limit to what is possible when two people partner to support each other in a quest to discover possibilities on their journey. Yes, it does take effort, time, and energy, but as anyone who has stayed on the path for a while will tell you, the result is worth every ounce of energy and much more. More than you can imagine. So, what are you waiting for?