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The Folly of Love and Wisdom

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Allegory of Love and Wisdom, by Isidoro Bianchi, 1610 AD

Allegory of Love and Wisdom, by Isidoro Bianchi, 1610 AD

I seem to be focused on the idea of wisdom and its folly. I knew I wanted to speak more about this today, so I went in search of an image on the Internet to perhaps better illustrate the concept of wisdom. I found many brilliant images that were found in both Christian and Buddhist contexts. Then, I came across this image by Isisdoro Bianchi and knew that this was the  image that I needed for this post. If anything, this can serve as an image of my neurosis with regards to wisdom.

If I was wise, I wouldn’t find myself tortured by love. And be assured, each of us tortures ourselves and can not blame the other for the suffering we endure in the name of love. Somehow the simple fact of being present and not trying to force, manipulate, structure, protect, negotiate, etc., has rarely been the preferred choice. I, and probably everyone I know, wants to own, to possess this thing called love. I want that ultimate peace and satisfaction that love graces me with when I forget for a moment that all I need to do is breathe in and breathe out and simply be fully in the moment without having thoughts about pleasing myself or pleasing the other. Simply being present, two people being present with no agenda or rules or masks or fear is all that is needed. What emerges when one dares to risk the total nakedness of body, mind, and soul by simply being fully present and breathing is beyond description of words or ideas.

I can hardly call myself wise when I do my part to turn love into suffering for both myself and for those I love. I have to admit to trying to manage love to meet my needs. I believed, and for the most part still act out of that old belief, that love came from others. That is the folly of love. Love comes first from a lack of compassion and acceptance of one’s self. What we get in the disguise of love from others only hints loudly at what we fail to give ourselves. As a result, we are unable to give away love, unconditionally to others.

We must learn to be gentle with ourselves in spite of the flaws, the hurts, the darkness that lurks within and the suffering that we have consciously and unconsciously participated in with others. With compassion and acceptance we can find the will and the path to be present without fear of being exposed for we are already are exposed and vulnerable. Laying beside one’s lover, one dares to show all the flaws, the scars, the wrinkles, the imperfections of the body – but, dare we show the psyche and soul with the same honesty? If you are anything like me, the answer is “not so much.” There seems to be too much to risk. We don’t want to be broken-hearted so we seal our hearts and our minds and pretend that love is all about the body. We don’t trust ourselves and because we don’t trust ourselves, we can’t trust others.

We need an escape route from this viscous circle of suffering. That escape begins with something very small – breathing. Breathe in; be aware of breathing in without forcing the breath. Breathe out; be aware of the out-breath without trying to shape it. One begins to be present and to learn about compassion through this. Accepting the breaths as they are is a gentleness. We learn to accept and let go of control for breathing will continue . With letting go of control, breathing becomes easier and the body relaxes and rejoices. It’s just a beginning, but in that beginning is where one learns about love and compassion.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

March 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

One Response

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  1. Ah yes, so much easier to be intimate in body only. Possibly the mind/soul, but the heart…always last to give in, fully. To be honest, it’s only lately…through much hard learning, that I’m more willing to open up. One realizes that living only partially is unfulfilling. However, even knowing that, it is difficult. Being forgiving of self is the key, and thus being able to accept and love one’s self.

    Thanks for the post Robert. 🙂


    March 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm

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