Wednesday, November 20, 2013

lust is as lust does


She kept saying:"I want you"; but I was right there.
What of me did she want? 
I was open, and waiting, and there for the taking.
But she didn't want me, not really.
She kept saying that, because--
Because she was looking, not for me, but for her.
She wanted to find herself inside of me.
But that's not how human beings work.
They don't exist in your mind,
To cavort inside your endless imagination,
They exist in the world outside,
A world which never belonged to you, and neither do they.
I am not a vehicle of self-discovery.
I am another I, to be discovered.

And maybe that is the definition of lust.
An unconventional definition, perhaps, but I am maybe halfway convinced that lust is when we seek to make ourselves intimate with another human being for any other reason besides the fact they are a human being there to be loved.
It's like forcing a secret out of someone.
When someone shares a secret with you, you gain that intimate knowledge of them that accompanies a shared secret. Because a secret is, by its very definition, and intimate knowledge that lies deep within one's heart, one's soul. It is your story—the essence of your heart that you share with only those you allow into your circle, into deepest circles of your heart.
But a secret that is forced to be shared is a violation of one's heart.

The horrid thing about lust is that it fools you into thinking that the capabilities you have for loving can only be used for lusting.
So you must see what a problem it is when you believe that your creative capabilities are destructive capabilities.
Human beings destroy with their hands as easily as they build with their hands.
The only way to teach your hands how to be creative is to create with them.

There is a cure for lust, and we call it love.

The only way to teach your heart how to love and to not lust is to love with it.
It is difficult, because the external actions sometimes look the same.
You cannot tell the difference sometimes between grasping and receiving from the outside.
But maybe the thing about being a beloved, you allow the lover to be closer to you than you are to yourself.
Perhaps lust is regarded as so insidious, because it seems to be so close to love.
It's like those poisonous herbs and plants in fairy tales that always look almost exactly like the herbs and plants that will heal you of all ills.
The kind sage always says: make sure to pick the red flowers with pink streaks and orange spots, for these are a medicine that will instantly heal your dying father; make sure never to even touch the red flowers with pink streaks and deep golden spots--these are toxic, and will cause your arm and face to wither off just with a single touch.
And you're like: thanks, Kind Sage, for making my job so easy.
[And then you roll your eyes, because that was sarcasm, and you are apparently a very angsty fairy-tale hero.]

Just like these healing flowers, lust can look so similar to love sometimes, but it is the exact opposite.
Instead of happening upon pleasure from the intimacy that comes in finding yourself so unbelievably close to someone else, the goal is to find pleasure for yourself, through happening upon someone else.
In lust, pleasure is the good sought, the human person the byproduct.
When you are in love, the human person, the intimate knowledge of them that lies in the deepest circle of their heart, the ability to actually be close to an eternal and unfathomable mystery incarnated in a physical being is the good sought, and pleasure is a natural accompaniment to your quickened heartbeat, clasped hands, and eyes that have come alive.

When you are in love, you do stupid things.

For example, the great monastic saint, Benedict, once threw himself into a brier patch, because he found himself thinking of a woman from his pre-monastic life, and he knew exactly what good would come of these thoughts, and that would be the same amount of good that my mother always told me happened after midnight: aka none.
To prevent himself from wandering further down the path of temptation, Benedict threw himself into the aforementioned brier patch, and rolled around in the thorns there, for I'm not how sure long. My source didn't specify; and I am absolutely unaware of exactly what amount of time is regarded as the correct length to roll around in briar patches.
Perhaps the fashionable psychologists would have plenty to say about the extremes to which ascetic monastics such as Benedict would practice repression of their sexuality.

But, imagine your beloved throwing himself or herself into a briar patch at even the first inkling of an imagination of a thought of another woman or man.
And now it becomes not an act of extreme repression, but an extreme act of love.
Perhaps an overly extreme act [although you probably aren't allowed to call something "overly extreme" just like you're not supposed to say something's "very unique." The modifiers are already implied in the meaning of the word itself]; but ultimately a very powerfully convincing display of love.
 I do believe that any doubts I had as regards to my beloved's faithfulness, or the depth of their love would probably be put to rest for quite some time.

People do crazy things when they're in love.

Not crazy always as in "jumping into briar patches" but things that, to those not in love, do not make much sense.
Such as living for someone other than yourself.
That is craziest of all endeavors.
If you are in love with someone, you move yourself out of "number one" slot, and put them in there.
Which is not a singular moment in your life, but a movement of the heart which must happen each day, until it becomes habit, which will make it easier, like breathing, but never, I would think, automatic.
For a human being's auto-pilot has been damaged, and was bent into grasping mode, rather than receiving.
Cultivating a habit of reception takes time, effort, a daily string of fiats, and most importantly, a daily effort to remove from out way the primary roadblock that keeps us from fully encountering one another.
That is, ourself.
Our self is our Sisyphean boulder that we must keep rolling out of our way.
And, perhaps it will always roll back down the mountain.
But virtue consists in the effort to keep rolling it out of our way constantly, every hour of every day.
Because, to paraphrase Mother, "We are not asked to succeed, we are only asked to try."
For we are all Beloveds, and our Lover is knit more deeply in our souls, is closer to us than we are to ourselves.

Where there is great love there are always miracles. 
--Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop


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