I never thought I’d ask myself what love is, but after so many failed attempts at trying to love myself and others, I’ve reached the crossroads. I look to the left and right and see hate; I look forward and see an unpromising future filled with regret; I look back with bitterness.

All my life, I’ve striven hard to be a better person. I’ve tried everything: Medication, counselling, religion, self-help books, mindfulness and yoga. But I’ve failed in every sense. I’m hardwired to anger; prone to destruction and addicted to self-loathing. I’m a lonely man with a mind that has fallen into despair. I want to be different; I want success; I want beauty and truth, but I’m slowly coming to terms with failure.

Depression is my mistress. She comes to me unexpectedly and beds me when she feels like it, and I’m henpecked. I’ve tried balancing our relationship, but she’s a lover I’ll never get over, and hence, there is no equilibrium. There’s just chaos and debauched awkwardness. There’s sadism and masochism. Leather, whips and a depraved dominatrix is what our relationship is all about. I’m the crying boy on a leash, and she’s the older woman who takes the keenest pleasure in barking something like: “Sit! Now that’s a good boy!”

In my life, I’ve been a dreamer, but never the optimist. Perhaps that makes me the realistic dreamer. The guy who knows he’s falling into a gutter, but still thinks of purple sunsets and halcyon days. “Qui n’avance pas, recule!” You’ll find me forever regressing; getting worse by the day. Sure, I’ll tell you about my dreams. I’ll say that I’ll finally get a grip, and hell, move one step forward and dream about it, but I’ll never do it. I’m fighting a strongman named Fate. He despises me; floods my mind with eight streams of thought that prevent sleep and give me the most debilitating stress; fills my heart with rage; troubles every iota of my soul and sees that I’ll never get up.

Yeah, I take a shower these days; brush my teeth and read, but what’s the point? I’m a horrible person. I hate the people who love me. I claim that I love them, but my words never translate into action. I’m always angry; I’m forever playing the victim, and I have no love in me. Perhaps losing naivety has something to do with not loving anymore. When I was naive, I had a heart. I was foolish and extremely idealistic, but I cared. Now, I’m a skeptical, dubious man who judges everyone and everything. I’m vindictive, rough and callous. I’m edgy and apprehensive. And I hate myself for it.

Today, I’m twice the son of hell my father ever was, and it appalls me. My temper, my self-loathing and my love for drama revolt me. I’ve become a deceitful, angry young man who uses Machiavellian manoeuvres to get what he wants. It’s so sickening, but enough complaining! There must be a way out! And after a lifetime of introspection and madness, I’ve realized that I must find two things: Love and inner peace.

Coming back to my first sentence, what is love? Is it emotion backed by action? Is it obedience and discipline? Is it recondite truth known to a few? Is it empathy? Is it sympathy? Is it saccharine, lachrymose longing? Is it unconditional support? Is it a puritanical obsession? Is it forgiveness? Is it trust? Is it passionate amour? Is it lust? Or is it all the above?

In my brief stay of 31 years on this planet, I’ve learnt many things from both real and imagined experience, but I still don’t know what love is, and that makes me the greatest failure there is. If tomorrow, I was to wake up in a Leprechaun’s pot of success, and still not know how to love, I’ll be worse a failure.

I’ve written so many love poems and short prose pieces, but a gush of emotion is all that inspired them. They may or may not have depth, and they may feel real or ‘to-the-bone,’ but you can throw your tomatoes now and boo me off stage because I’m a peddler of dishonesty. I’m a bigger hypocrite than the people I call out so aggressively. I don’t know how to love. I’m stoic and emotionless most of the time. I used to feel sadness, but these days, I feel numb. There’s a hard heart within me. It’s heavy and weighs me down, and I want it to soften and love and care. I want it to feel again. I want it to know beauty and hope and truth. I want it to be crazy about the people who care about me.

Doesn’t time make us the greatest cynics? We look at society and its charlatans, and we all become George Carlins. At least he constructively criticized society. We, on the other hand, end up isolating individuals and making their lives miserable. But when you look at the big picture, we’re all sociopaths and narcissists. We’re all proud and ambitious. We’re all addicted to our stories. Nobody is good. It doesn’t matter if we’re optimists or pessimists; if we laugh at people’s misery or cry with them. In the end, if given a choice between good and evil, we’ll choose evil in a heartbeat.

“Oh, precious light! Oh, look towards the beautiful light! Oh, look within and change and then look yonder in peace and happiness!” Sayeth the new age prophet who’s probably secretly an occultist casting spells. I ask, what light? What happiness? What peace? What on earth are you rambling about? “You’re too engulfed in darkness, and you want the light! It’ll never be yours!” Sayeth the ’empath.’ Define it, man! Tell me what the light is! Express it clearly! Don’t make it some Delphic, Gnostic nonsense! Bring it to layman’s terms and tell me what it is! Don’t laugh and say, “You’ll never know!” because if you do, I’ll laugh at your defense mechanisms. I’ll laugh at the madness of it all. And don’t get me wrong, I’ll laugh even if you were to explain it eloquently because I know what you’ll prattle about. Yes, you’ll go on about ‘energy.’ Why do I laugh at something so beautiful as ‘energy?’ It’s simple. If quantum mechanics hasn’t found the energy you’re talking about, then all your bracelets, charms and mad theories are hogwash. And if it’s hogwash, then you have no light. And if you have no light, you have no love.

So, I come back to the meaning of love without answers. Now, some of you might ask me about traditional religion. Well, monotheistic religions preach a wrathful God. Polytheistic religions only give you metaphysical postmodernism, and enlightenment is spiritual obscurantism, and Jiddu Krishnamurti has a self (whether he likes to admit it or not.) In the end, I find no ladders leading up to heaven’s door; no rivers that I must sail across; no roads that I must travel upon and no one to hold me in the desert.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

8 Replies to “This thing called love”

  1. Love is someone holding your vulnerable heart, and treasuring it.

    Light is the divine spirit of God within each of us, and is most apparent when we do not hide nor bury it.

    God is only wrathful to those who fear He is.

    1. I partly agree with the first statement because I doubt my heart is vulnerable. It’s vindictive sadly. I don’t know what to say about the second, and I don’t agree with the third because that would involve bringing God down to our level. God is love to some and wrath to others. Our emotions don’t change who he is. That’s my view at least.

      1. I hardly seek to bring God to our level, but know He seeks for us to eventually reach His. I can’t see any benefit in the persistence of unachievable perfection and hands-off adulation.

        For me, in a similar mindset to your own, such views and others led to distrust, resentfulness, and atheism.

        Obviously God does not change. We do. You’ve read; every author has a voice. Every human has his perspective.

      2. I don’t believe that one can ever reach God’s perfection because he is spirit and infinite. That’s the reason for eternal heaven. It takes eternity to get to know all his attributes. God isn’t like man. He didn’t strive to become who he is. He is who he is. He always has been and always will be. Even noble men like Job repent when God confronts them.

        If confronted with an eternal perfect God, you’ll praise. But to praise him, you need him to elect you. Otherwise there’ll only be theological discussions about the nature of God and no worship. You cannot love or praise God without God choosing you. As unsettling as that is, it’s the truth. It’s Christianity.

        My problem lies with doubt regarding whether I’m chosen or not. And anger because I feel I’m not. I’m probably not because otherwise I’d be singing praises. If I was chosen I wouldn’t even be here writing. People get saved and completely change. They become obsessed with loving God and knowing him more. Here’s another unsettling truth: For the Christian, the Calvinistic view leads to worship because he understands that he’s a mere servant of God in his heart, and he marvels over God choosing him of all people. He understands his depravity and God’s goodness. He understands that irrespective of how hard he tries to win salvation (being kind, loving others and trying hard) he’ll never get it. He realises that grace alone saves him, and realises that Christ lived the life he never lived and died in his place, and Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to him for nothing he did. He’s a criminal set free because God’s wrath was poured out on another man. A perfect man. For the reprobate, however, everything is different. He hates God and blames him for not electing him. He justifies his evil by saying, ‘God didn’t elect me, so why should I be good?’ Or he tries hard to be God. He leads what he thinks is a perfect life with a hard heart. He’s not even aware of his heart’s condition. He thinks his good deeds will get him into heaven and disdains grace and worship. He talks a lot about God, but it’s all arguments and discussions. He might even know theology and learn everything, but I assure you, he’s going to hell.

        Now there was a time when I understood the beautiful truth of the gospel in my heart and became a Christian (or I think so at least). God changed me then. I stopped my addictions, I read the Bible and I delighted in God and repented. But it didn’t last.

        I fell when a family member I loved persecuted me. The parable of the sower lists four kinds of people. I think I’m the second. I say think because I’m hoping God restores me tomorrow. If he does, I’m outta here! If not, I’m gonna keep writing the stuff I hate, and I’m gonna hate God, and he’s rightfully throwing me in hell when he’s done with me.

      3. Nitin, I completely understand this perspective because I’ve had it. I’ve gone through it.

        From the point of someone who has, and would like you to not be in agony, I suggested the next stage I’ve come to in thinking.

        And I think I’ve mentioned to you before: the only possible way it makes sense for God to be perfect is if He is continually changing. Otherwise He cannot be “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

        Have you considered you feel the way you do and not the way the ‘converted’ do -not because you were rejected, but merely because your mind and soul are too complex for a simple answer?

      4. God doesn’t change Chelsea. If he did he wouldn’t be God. The Bible makes it clear that he doesn’t. An example would be Samuel telling Saul that he doesn’t, or God telling Moses to tell the Israelites that ‘I Am’ sent them. Thinking he does is bringing God down to our level. Human beings change. They can’t keep promises and they’re forever wavering. Their attributes change every day. We try so hard to fit a god we want into our minds, but the truth is we’re only worshiping an idol or ourselves. We shy away from the Biblical God because as the Bible says, darkness doesn’t want to come to the light for the fear that it’s deeds will be exposed. We differ because you think God had to reach perfection and has to maintain it, and I believe God is always perfect. He isn’t man. He’s the sovereign ruler of the world and God for a reason. We also differ because you believe that human beings are good. But the Bible makes it clear that every inclination of a man is evil from childhood. We also differ because you think the Bible was written by men. I believe God used these men like instruments like a child uses a toy. I also believe God is spirit. Yes, one member of the trinity became flesh, but he was/is still God. Fully God and fully man, He’s the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. We can either put our faith in this God who is the biblical God or believe what we want and face judgement. The answer is actually very simple lol. Read the Bible. It’s all there. I better too. In the end, I can’t think of any other view point except Calvinism (or traditional Christianity) which portrays God for who he is. And a word like viewpoint is actually wrong. A word like truth is more correct because Calvinism only upholds what the Bible says. We only use the term Calvinism because there are hundred different denominations and cults out there preaching nonsense today. I have known the greatest joy when I believed in Calvinistic Christianity from the heart. Yes it has tortured me, but that’s now. Once I delighted in the God the theology upholds. So, I only want God and his love in my life again. I want his joy in my heart again. I don’t want to change my view. I can’t! So we’ll just agree to disagree.

      5. :D I guess we’ll have to. Logically, it makes no sense to say God is forever the same AND unchanging; that God of the Old Testament is the same as that of the New; that He is and always was spirit and separate. He had to come from SOMEWHERE.
        Hence, my insistence on man’s perspective and the idea of an evolving deity.

        And I definitely disagree that all men are evil. The natural man is an enemy and all that, but is from God and his spirit is inherently good. We pull ourselves away from God; we perceive him how we will.

        You may have been happier as a newly-converted Christian but, since you can’t plug yourself back into the machine, you may find the happiness that is possible post-red pill by considering a new viewpoint and, especially, praying about it.

Leave a Reply