DEMAND – a forceful statement in which you say that something must be done or given to you; a strong need for something; something claimed as due; a seeking or state of being sought after; urgent need
CALLING FORTH – to call to someone to come out or come forward; to draw a particular quality or induce a particular behavior.
Often when we think of love, what comes to mind is acceptance, caring, sweetness, warmth, forgiveness, generosity and kindness. Most spiritual traditions and spiritual teachers have taught us the value of unconditional love and acceptance – a love that doesn’t ask anything from the other, a love that is compassionate and embracing. Clearly we need to discover our capacity to love with this level of fullness and unattachment. But there is another aspect or dimension of love that is exquisitely demanding, unquenchable in its desire for you to give all of who you are, always. This kind of love draws forth your soul’s depth into its arms. It is the force of love that is connected to infinite possibilities – the love that is moving as the force of eros, the evolutionary impulse unfolding the potentials of existence.
This love is innately selfless – it allows you to want the other person out of love, not as an expression of some need I have for you to be something for me – but out of truly wanting ‘YOU’. When this force of love flows through us, we see and love the other person, we know you are infinite and all we want is for you to continuously fulfill your highest nature. To be wholeheartedly loved in this way is truly life changing. Many people shy away from this dimension of love because we are afraid of the unhealed aspects of our immature, demanding ego-selves. The part of us that just wants what it wants like a hungry child screaming for it’s mother. But it’s worth taking the risk to engage and work with the unhealed wounds that can arise as you let the power of this force of love come through you. This is the power that true spiritual teachers have when they commit to your awakening and development. This rare kind of of love is what makes reading Rumi nine hundred years after his death so compelling and inspiring.
Generally we don’t let ourselves care that much about anything, much less another person. Either we place expectations on the other from a place of egoic judgment or personals needs or we accept each other and are careful not to ask for too much. It’s good to feel loved, accepted and supported to be as we are. It is an important dimension of love. Clearly we need to continue to learn how to love each other unconditionally, without the pressure of our selfishness contaminating our connection. But if we want to fulfill our higher potentials individually and together, it is also important to recognize and include the demanding dimension of love and know its power.
Psychologists studying child development have confirmed the importance of both forms of love that I am describing. It’s well known that children need a safe, accepting, loving ‘holding environment’ in which they feel taken care of, protected, understood, loved and supported. What is less widely understood is that they also need a figure in their lives who recognizes their unique nature and potential and is able to call forth and support that potential to grow and develop. The same is true for our development – we need to be both supported and held and asked for more.
I’ve only met a few people in my life who had this demanding channel of love open towards me. Those are the relationships that changed me forever. When you are truly loved from this place, you experience being wanted in a way that allows you to come forward and to risk what it takes to really develop and discover the fullness and power of who you are and who you can be. Through that other person, you know that the universe cares that you are here and wants- in fact, demands – that you give yourself fully to life, because it matters.
When I met my first teacher, Werner Erhard at the age of eighteen, he had that quality of calling forth and demanding my potential in a way that allowed me to discover how powerful and miraculous I could be. Later, this role was taken up by Peter, who unceasingly and relentlessly called forth the depths of beauty, divinity and love I didn’t know I could even access, much less embody. It felt like coming in contact with the heart of God that wants us to have everything, if we could only humbly attempt to make ourselves available. It demands that we not only open but fiercely allow our boundaries and limitations to be destroyed. God wants us to become divinity itself.
This kind of mutual engagement activates an extraordinary arising of generosity. If I could have given Peter the world and the stars, I would have. It invokes an escalation of giving and receiving that attracts beauty and abundance in its wake. It has no boundaries, doesn’t understand limitations – it blindly wants you to not only be who you are but give yourSelf fully and completely. We need to work to become mature enough to activate this love and practice it so often, so completely with each other, that we come out from the recesses of our hidden selves into our full glory and can shine together.
With love & appreciation, Patricia