There seems to be much confusion about the meaning of impersonal love. In fact many people become upset at the suggestion that there’s no room for personal love in a relationship; to them impersonal love is cold, perhaps almost uncaring at times. However, the impersonal nature of love only appears cold to the warmth of personal love, which is based mostly on sentiment and emotional attachment to another – and which will eventually turn to pain.
Personal love is the realm of normal relationships and vacillates between a positive or negative feeling. There are no feelings in impersonal love; this is not indifference but the spiritual discernment of the needs of a situation. However, it’s impossible for someone to have the knowledge of impersonal love until they’ve passed through the conditions of personal love. The conditions include frustration, jealousy, resentment, self-doubt and the fear of being surrendered to love’s inviolable mystery. It’s impossible to feel love for someone all the time, but it is possible to have the uninterrupted knowledge of love for another implicit within the being.
Impersonal love is intimate as a spontaneous exchange of honesty in the moment. When love is personal it’s impossible to be honest with anyone as there’ll be a consideration or fear of arousing another’s feelings. And it’s the same for any relationship unless there’s the resolve to be true to the principle of love within each other’s being before anything else. This impersonal virtue is so often demonstrated by a mother who stands firm against her child’s emotional demands. Being true in this way serves the whole of life and not just a part of it.
Normally in relationships there is a subconscious disturbance in not getting things straight immediately something comes between them. When left to fester, any emotional residue adds to the nucleus of pain within the body. One of the negative effects arising from this is that people are often psychologically absent when making love or even when just together in each other’s company. Personal love loses its vitality and shimmering intensity very soon in the light of dishonesty and compromise. But this will be difficult to address unless an individual has subjected themselves to much inner observation of the workings of their own emotional self.
Love is a principle of supreme integrity and infinite compassion, which can be seen in so many people who help or care for others without expecting anything in return. This is love operating beyond any human feelings of duty, obligation or social conscience. Love is beyond the consideration of anything which would detract from its divine purpose. However, this remains elusive while it’s assumed that there’s something to be gained in a relationship to assuage the insecurities and expectations of the person. Love that is personal, which means it has the taint of self, always holds back from giving all in the sacred exchange of love between people.
To go beyond the limitations of personal love can be extremely distressing, even traumatic. The ignorance of personal love is so ingrained in the human psyche that it takes tremendous courage and integrity to remain vertical against the forces of the world. And this is the experience, more or less, of everyone who has ever had to be true in their relationships where dishonesty to love could no longer be tolerated. Feelings are interpretations of past emotional experience and create movement in the mind. This disturbs the equilibrium of love, which results in doubt and confusion. Since emotional suffering is universal, why is it so rare for someone to come out of the other side of the emotional tunnel? The reason is that people become dependent on their feelings as a measure of their love and wilfully refuse to give them up.
Eventually, personal love has to be transcended for the simplicity of divine or impersonal love to be realised. Through the experience of pleasure and pain, we’re all eventually compelled to confront what makes us continually suffer in our relationships. This is the gradual depersonalising of love into the new octave of impersonal beauty and the realisation of the unity of life as a conscious state of being.