There is no doubt that love and friendship are the two most important feelings in human life that makes us happy and give meaning to our life. If a man has no love and no friend in this world, he can surely have no happiness and joy in life. Yet, it is also a truth that most of our miseries and pain are also due to the mistakes we make in the selection of friends and love. The poem "Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind" by William Shakespeare expresses this feeling beautifully.
Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! to the green holly:
Most friendship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
A famous proverb says "God save me from my friends – I can protect myself from my enemies." Why do we fail to select the right person as our lover or our friend? Why are we not able to retain our love and friendship for long? Do we really know the meaning of love and friendship?
Love and Friendship
Most of us are unable to distinguish between love and friendship. We often expect our lovers to become our friends and friends to love us. The result is confusion as friendship and love are not only different but they are opposite to each other in a very interesting way. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said,
"Sympathy treaties friendship; but in love there is a sort of antipathy, or opposition passion.
We make friends based on logic and reason. The most important thing that we look in our friends is the similarity of thoughts or the meeting of the mind. People can not become friends, if their thoughts have no meeting ground. Friends share common thoughts and common mind.
So you know the thoughts of your best friends even without his saying so. In the same way your friends are also aware of your thoughts. Often a friend knows you even better than you. Frances Ward Weller said,
"A friend can tell you things you do not want to tell yourself."
However, love is just opposite. Unlike friendship which needs reason, love is automatic and natural. It just happens. If you love a person, you simply fall in love without knowing any reason for it. That is why people call love as blind. Though, if you are a logical person, you would soon be able to find some reason for falling in love, yet these logics are nothing more than justification for you falling in love.
The cause of love is not reason but spiritual. Khalil Gibran, a famous poet expressed this mystery of love in following words
It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and without that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations.
Thus the attraction of love is automatic just like the attraction of north and south poles of the magnate or the positive and negative charges of material. It is so because nature has designed it that way and no human being can have any control over it. You just can not resist the forces of attraction of love. As far as the reasons for the love is concerned, they are often cooked up to justify the love to the outside world.
Friendship: The Physical Reaction
The foundation of friendship is thought. Here when the thoughts of the friends get changed, the friendship is bound to be affected. For example, if you are a person of simple habits and integrity, you are likely to have friendship with people of similar thoughts and habits. If your friend becomes drunkard, dishonest and cheat, you would find it difficult to continue with the friendship as now your thoughts are different than your friend. No honest man can ever have genuine friendship with a dishonest or criminal.
One of the hardest realities of the world is that we all keep on changing in our lives based on our experience with the world. Our mind is continuously in the state of evolution. The thoughts of most children are similar, and since they have no difficulty in making friends even with strangers. Adults, however, find it extremely difficult to make friends as their thoughts have become quite different from others based on their experiences and nature and since it becomes difficult to find friends particularly in a different or competitive professions. Most friends of adults are often from the same profession as they share common thoughts.
However, even in the same profession, the value of the person keeps on changing depending upon his company and influence. This greatly affects the thoughts of the people and the friends often depart from each other as they change. In any friendship, the friends maintain their individuality and their thoughts. They share their thoughts and feeling with their friends and seek their help and assistance in solving their problems.
Love: The Chemical Reaction
Love is an act of the synthesis of soul. People fall in love not because they are similar to each other, but because they are different from each other. Yet the difference is desirable because each partner lacks the attribute of the other person. Here is the love of all the others in a way that the lovers become one whole entity and become complete. The lovers are lost in each other like milk and water. And a lover says
Within you I lose myself
Without you I find myself
Wanting to be lost again.
Indian philosophers believed that soul is the cause and origin of the body and the mind of all living beings. The body and mind can not know the desire of the soul as they originate from soul and not otherwise. Therefore, the attraction of soul is manifested in the attraction of body and mind of the person. Thus physical attraction is the unavoidable consequence of love that originates from the desire of two souls to become one. In the same way, the mind of the lovers too can not resist the force of attraction. Thus the lovers find every thought of their love extremely desirable and logical. It is the illusion created due to the synthesis of soul. The mind can only speak the language of soul without actually understanding a word of it.
However, once the souls of the lovers become one, the forces of attraction start diminishing. How can you feel attracted to your own self? No one can feel excited and aroused seeing his or her own body. Similarly no one can get impressed by his own thoughts as he already knows those thoughts. In love, both souls lose their identity just like hydrogen and oxygen loses their identity when they combine themselves to create water.
Love is like like an exothermic chemical reaction wherein tremendous energy is created as all the participating atoms lose their identity and create a new identity called molecule having a distinct physical and chemical property. Yet the energy last forever. It has to diminish once the process of synthesis is completed. Yet few people can forget the energy and the attraction that love created during the process of falling in love.
Thus love causes the forces of attraction between the lovers to diminish which brings peace and tranquility in the life of lovers which is the sign of spiritual evolution of human life. Yet lovers wonder if their love is lost as their feelings have changed after love. They crave to get back their identity, freedom and passion which they have before the union of the soul. Such people get highly disappointed and evolution is always a one-way road. Just like it is impossible to become young again after you have grown old, in the same way it is not possible for a spiritual person to return to the stage of physical and mental level of beings. The result is disappointment and pain as the lovers fail to appreciate the benefits of spiritual life that love brings in their life.
Love is like a chemical reaction that eliminates the identity of the individual atoms by creating a new molecule. Love transform the person from a physical being to an spiritual being.
How to avoid Pain of Love and Friendship?
The pain of love and friendship can be considered diminished if only one can really understand the physics and chemistry of them. Friendship does help the person in the intellectual growth by sharing the thoughts and feelings with each other, yet it lasts only so long as the thoughts of the friends do not change. If the friends change, people must welcome new friends who share the same thoughts, believe and values. It is wisely said that "a man is known by the company he keeps". So beware of your selection of friends as they can gradually change your thoughts by their company.
The pain in love can only be avoided by knowing that love is a spiritual experience of the human beings that needs the partners to lose their identity in each other so as to play the complementary bars rather then same roles. Love transforms ordinary human beings from physical animals to spiritual animals by giving completeeness in their life. Love being spiritual can never die while lust being physical in nature can never remain the same. Alicia Barnhart has rightly said
"True love never dies for it is lust that fades away. Love bonds for a lifetime but lust just pushes away."
Thus the physical attraction between the lovers has to gradually transform into the spiritual unity which makes the lovers part of each other rather than having their distinct identity. It paves the way for the peace, tranquility and happiness in life that is the trademark of a spiritual person. The need is to value love over the sensual pleasure of lust and the dry ocean of logic and reason.