The Realm of Love

There is an interminable space between us, and when we lay in silence, our eyes lost in the indescribable mystery of an infinite sky, we are more akin to mingling souls than mere lovers. Our fingers might entwine, or our bodies press together, but nothing arrays our infiniteness so aptly as the confluence of her gaze and mine, which, when held in silence, alternately subsumes us in rapt hypnosis, or frightens us to look away.

She came to me in the numb softness of days when, suspended between two cities and growing false even to myself, my ambitions had paled and what remained of my soul’s longing was nothing more than an ember, slowly cooling in a hearth grown anxious with disuse. Soullessness is impossible, but far from impossible is the callous disbelief that sets in when we no longer take the time to sit by the hearthside and listen, when we no longer lose ourselves to the enchanting whispers of the flames of our soul.

She came to me without assumption, barely more than a stranger. And nor did I think anything of her coming – even as the hours passed and we fell as easily as snow into a familiarity that felt ageless and true. We drove through the day, and later through the night, toward something neither of us had expected, and away from things entirely different, things made silent in the corners of our minds. Lightening fell and the windshield became bleary with rain. We spoke in a continuous stream of unknowing. We drove half blind. And as the hours fell behind us, and the road, soon encased in ice, became impassable, we paused – still not knowing.

Had things been different, we would have fallen in love along the highway and relinquished ourselves to something beyond our frail individuality. Instead we only walked toward the edge of love, curled our toes over the brink of it, and stared down, with astonished relief, at its endlessness. We did this unconsciously. We did it with an authenticity untouched by thought. Several weeks passed like this, and for several weeks we gazed not so much at one another, as at the space between us, which was not vacuous but full of light, and mystery, and things long forgotten. Not long after, when things were different, we unfurled our toes, and leapt.

We fell, and lost ourselves to that which is indescribable, sacred, and impossible to possess. I found in her an endlessness that could never be repeated; I was both mystified and entranced. Had I continued to fall then, I could have fallen forever. Had I known for certain that I belonged to the endlessness that pulled so gently at my heart, I would have released myself to it indefinitely. And indeed, I felt at first I had. But time passed and something ancient and familiar began to voice its surreptitious presence in my heart and all the calloused disbelief, and all the cold disenchantment that I thought I’d left behind forever, resumed its thick presence around my heart. Just as the snow reaches the threshold of the earth and can go no farther, so too did I reach a threshold upon the surface of my being, barring me from the infinite depths of all we had discovered.

Fear suspended me in defiance of love, and sentenced me coolly to the belief that the infiniteness of love I had found in her was an infiniteness to which I could never fully belong. This is shame: that I, despite my soul’s urgent appeal, would be stricken by the dismal belief that I do not belong innately, and eternally, to love. Shame means nothing else.

We fell in love, as people would say. But shame, with feigned compassion, compelled me then to avert my gaze from the depth of her beauty and linger instead upon the threshold where something still akin to beauty lay, and where I, avoiding the truest depths of love, could tarry undisturbed by my illusionary lack of belonging. She remained a mystery to me for a while, as even along this thin membrane of her being, so much was unknown to me. But time passed, and what shallow love I had believed in myself enough to fall to, mystified me less and less. My ego, convinced of the validity of shame, had compelled my gaze from the endless depths of her soul, arguing easily that I could never belong to such a place, and offered me instead a view of her to which I could feel more at home. It offered me the same frail dissemblance of love from which my ego itself was also born.

I have wanted love all my life. And all my life I have been deceived by the belief that although love was an endless sphere of light, as infinite as the night sky, I could only ever hope to reach the brink of it and gasp with disbelief before turning away. Knowing only the arresting hesitance of my own disbelief, I have stood at the same threshold again and again, choosing a dissemblance of love wherein egos remain at play in ever cycling dramas, emotional patterns, insecurities, and trivialities until frail bonds tethered to shallow places have come undone, and again I’ve drifted out, not knowing.

She came to me over two years ago. And this is how it differs: in the early days, when she was still a mystery to me, I was drawn at first to her infinite soul, but found myself withdrawing to the threshold, where I tarried for awhile in disbelief. I wove a dissemblance from egoic thoughts, convinced by shame that love could amount to only this frail parade of emotions, and it too, as it always had, came undone, came crashing all around us until the ground was covered with shattered masks, and the empty shells of colorful balloons, and the discarded fragments of garish costumes, and the rustling pages of repetitive scripts, and the silenced horns of a once-continuous din, and the broken locks of once-held secrets; and every game of pretend was suddenly laid bare. And this is how it differs: we stood amidst the chaos of all our extravagant and fallen charades, naked and ashamed, our infinite depths exposed and devoid of all glamour; and rather than drifting out again, not knowing, rather than turning in fear and running with utter desperation, we held one another’s gaze. We stared into the endlessness of one another’s souls and though we were frightened, we did not look away. We did not scramble to the ground to gather the pieces, and build them up, to once again be lost in a cacophony of endless stories. We held one another’s gaze. We stood at the brink of the endlessness to which we belonged. And we surrendered.

Entering the realm of Love, we leave behind the coarse dissemblance of egoic pride; we release our shame and open the places within us most in need of love. We reveal hidden shadows and cover them with light; we call out the demons and finally see them as frightened children in need of our embrace; we arouse to fierceness the dragons we have feared and bring them at last to our loyalty. In Love our souls whisper their thin ribbons of flame and everything becomes illuminated. We roam through infinite meadows and endless forests and discover the full beauty of who we are. In Love we are home.

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