November 25

The Song of the Lark

November 25, 2008

Personal Growth

Recognizing Imitation Love

I once met a woman named Andrea, who had been in one miserable relationship after another, and she was looking for help in breaking this unproductive pattern. 

As I described the principles of Real Love to her, she was relieved and excited to discover an explanation for the previously confusing events in her life. She understood that her behavior stemmed from a lack of Real Love, and I suggested that she spend time with people who could love her unconditionally.

At first Andrea was enthusiastic in her response to my suggestions, but within a few months she had vanished from the conference calls and was no longer making any effort to reach out to people individually.

Understanding Andrea’s behavior is important, because it represents the response of a great number of people to the principles of Real Love.

Andrea had never been unconditionally loved. When she was a child, her parents and others had demonstrated acceptance toward her only when she did the “right” things — when she was obedient, quiet, cooperative, and otherwise made them feel good.

As an adolescent, she matured sexually and discovered that if she were sexually attractive and available, she could consistently feel even more accepted, important, powerful, valued, and “loved.”

But the pleasure of buying the affection of others was very fleeting, and it never made her genuinely happy. Surrounded by men who showered her with attention, she still felt alone and miserable, and her relationships were shallow, unfulfilling, and short-lived.

When Andrea began to tell the truth about herself to those who were capable of loving her unconditionally, she tasted her first morsels of Real Love, and at first she enjoyed this very much. But she was unaccustomed to this new experience, and before long she stopped her efforts to be genuinely seen, accepted, and loved.

In order to explain Andrea’s behavior, allow me to compare our initial experiences with Real Love to the distant song of a lark, soft and sweet. Unless we listen for it carefully, we may not hear it. The closer we get — and especially the more closely we listen — the more clear and beautiful it becomes.

Similarly, Real Love is often a distant and subtle song, but with desire and experience this power can fill us and change us completely.

The Overwhelming Distraction of Imitation Love

By contrast, the sounds and feelings of Imitation Love are usually loud, intrusive, and distracting, like listening to a rock concert at high volume. Under these conditions, we’re utterly distracted and can’t hear anything else. We can’t hear other people’s voices, approaching footsteps, or even a siren down the street.

Certainly we can’t hear the distant song of a lark. While under the distracting — even overwhelming — influence of Imitation Love, it is virtually impossible to feel the comparatively subtle feelings of Real Love, at least initially.

When Andrea first experienced Real Love, she was intrigued. She even experienced some of the sensations of feeling unconditionally loved, but she remained distracted by the continued blaring of the rock band of Imitation Love in her life. She couldn’t fully sense or accept the Real Love she was being offered because her entire being was accustomed to a different feeling.

She was “listening” — emotionally and spiritually speaking — for the louder and coarser sensations that she had always received from the praise, power, and pleasure of sex, for example. She was used to these feelings, like old friends.

These feelings were like headphones clamped to her head on full volume, shutting out all other feelings. The feelings of Imitation Love in her life were so distracting that she couldn’t hear the song of the lark. She couldn’t feel the Real Love that was being quietly offered to her.

Make Conscious Decisions to Step Away from Imitation Love

We can learn to hear the song of the lark. We can learn to listen for the “sound” and feeling of Real Love as we practice telling the truth about ourselves. 

We must also make conscious decisions to step away from the incessant banging and distractions of the Imitation Love around us, or we’ll never sense the life-giving chorus of Real Love even when it’s nearby.

We must make conscious decisions not to manipulate people for praise, approval, money, sex, and power but instead to reach for the song that will bring us joy.

As we find the song of the lark, we also discover that it can become a symphony that has the ability to drown out the distraction of all other sounds.

As Real Love fills our souls, we can teach others how to listen for it.

Finally, we can learn to sing the song ourselves, each of us with our melody, harmonizing with those around us. It is a song of great power — with the ability to heal, to connect, and to bring unlimited joy.

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