It was that undefined hour we don’t know if it is daytime or night already. Some stores were about to close. I hastened my pace on the narrow and winding streets of the ancient village close to the mountain that is home to the monastery of the Order. I wanted to find Loureiro’s shop still open, and invite him for a glass of wine and a chat. The elegant shoemaker loved books and wines. Philosophy and red were his favorites. His old bicycle leaning against the light pole in front of the shop was a sign that I was lucky. When I entered the shop, I bumped into a pretty young woman who was leaving. I noticed her sad face and her eyes red from crying. I was joyfully welcomed by Loureiro, as usual. Loureiro was a prince, his kingdom was the nobility with which he interacted with everyone, the elegance in his gestures and thoughts. He would say that “One must lighten the steps, not push into the abyss. Using words in the right time and manner is a skill for masters.” Without my asking, he said that the young lady was his niece, and had come over to talk about her recent separation. She was disconsolate.
We went to the tavern; after the first sip, I mentioned the fact that people open up with him. “Maybe because I don’t ask anything. I think that makes them more comfortable to talk about things.” We discussed a bit about why love relationships caused so much suffering. I took the chance to ask him something I had always wondered about: if love is so good, why does this precious feeling cause so much sadness?
The shoemaker was willing to face the issue: “Before anything else, one must understand what love is. There is no question love is the most powerful force in the universe, the energy that propels and transforms the traveler for the next stations of the Path. Love is the raw material of miracles since the beginning of time, the mortar that binds people; it involves the purest encounters; feeds mankind in its spiritual repasts. It is the meaning of life. Hence, let’s make it clear: no one suffers or kills for love.”
I said, jokingly, to the good cobbler that he should watch out, as he would be stoned by lovers and defenestrated by poets. “I know that much suffering comes from separations, but they are not out of love. True love is an inseparable ally of freedom; I would even say that love is the wings of freedom. Love respects the decision of the other in leaving, or in no longer keeping the relationship. ‘Ah, I loved her so much’… Well, keep on loving and admiring, but understand that no one owns the other. A soul cannot be the master of another. There is no domination of any type in true love. A wedding is not a deed of purchase. Everything can go wrong. Therefore, the suffering, in fact, comes from the illegitimate wish to possess what cannot be owned. One’s freedom cannot be curtailed due to the fears or wishes of the other person. Carelessness and ignorance in allowing your heart to manifest low-vibration emotions, such as jealousy, envy, pride and vanity are the only, actual reasons for suffering. However, these shadows, always deceitful and disguised, shirk responsibility, and blame it, unjustly, on love. For thousands of years love has been condemned for crimes it never committed. And we continue to believe the lie, wasting the beauty and grandness of love.”
I argued that every day the newspapers publish passionate crimes committed by disconsolate lovers. Loureiro shook his head as if saying it was all wrong, and said: “Jealousy is not love. One kills out of jealousy, not out of love. These are opposing feelings. Many a time I have heard that ‘who loves is jealous’. That is a lie. And a lie repeated a thousand times has the power of truth, which is regrettable, as it leads people to err.” I retorted by saying that jealousy was intrinsic to human nature. “Yes, this is true. Jealousy, envy, pride, vanity, fear are among other emotions that make up the shadows that hide in the core of each one of us. To transmute them is the big battle. There is he who kills out of jealousy, whereas the other takes a guitar and makes a song. While some people allow the shadows to be their masters, dominating them and deluding their wishes, others enlighten them, changing their old condition for good. Can you realize that while one took the route of insanity, the other made a beautiful work of art? Both had the same feeling as raw material, but they made different choices. Why? The response lies in the level of awareness. Only the understanding of the infinite possibilities of love sustains and expands the limits of wisdom, taking us to the High Lands of Fulfillment.”
“One must understand that the Law of Affinity rules the attraction between people. An energy frequency of feelings and thoughts vibrating in similar ranges attracts one to another. This may last a day or centuries. So, if you let go or if you go yourself when you feel the connections are no longer sustainable with the necessary intensity, this means that you are on different points of the Path. To respect the choices is to understand the journey. This is wise; it is an act of love. This makes us free for new stories and a new cycle. Separations are not losses, they are opportunities.”
I wanted to know where we tend to err, where we get lost? The cobbler replied at once: “To start with, we tend to focus on being loved, rather than loving without demands, inverting the natural logic of love, one that requires renunciation to spread out and shine in all its amplitude. We only have what we give with our heart, with purity and sincerity, with no strings attached, conditions or taxation. But I have seen people who have made a sort of ‘love ledger’, where credits and debits are written down, with the illusion of making a profit or, in the worst case scenario, to even out the ‘care and affection’ balance. Well, that was never love.”
Loureiro had another sip of wine and continued: “Another very common motive is passing on to the other the responsibility for making you happy in your love relationship. It is like assigning to the other a task you are supposed to do. You will only find happiness within yourself in a process of self-knowledge, of healing by the truth, of transmutation of the old forms of thinking and acting. This is a personal, nontransferable construct. To confer onto the other the obligation of making you happy? This is also wrong. Sheer fear of facing the battles for enhancement and evolution that must be fought within yourself, between the ego and the soul, shadow and light. Love requires giving, never demanding. In general, ironic as it may seem, one demands a lot when one has very little to give. We must share the love that flourishes within ourselves, and not suck it relentlessly for the other as a junkie who needs drugs”.
I asked the shoemaker about the suffering caused by losing someone we loved. He looked at me in disbelief, and immediately rebutted: “Loss? What loss do you mean, Yoskhaz? Until when will we insist in not demystifying death? Death is certain, period. Remembering every day that we may die at any moment is healthy as it expands the meaning of life, refines time, hones our choices. If we understand that death is not the end of a story, but a change in a chapter of the book of life, there will be no suffering. The missing of the departed will be the source of joy when you meet again. The bonds woven by love are eternal and will unite everyone further down the Path. This is the Law of Affinity in operation again. Otherwise, nothing would make sense. Meanwhile, we learn, transmute, and share to move on, able to take on new adventures of an endless story. The feeling of missing someone should be one of happiness, as one only misses those who were loved. Thus, let’s celebrate this feeling, as those who do not have it are empty. Therefore, the precise perception of the Laws of the Universe transforms suffering into stardust”.
I mentioned his niece, who earlier on had left his shop in tears. He told me with his soft voice, filled with compassion: “She is still stuck to social and cultural conditionings that overcast the pure dimension of love. She uses the sacred name of love and interprets it mistakenly. We evolve either willingly or due to imbalances life presents us with. Her refusing to look from a different perspective causes suffering. At some point, when she is tired of feeling pain or, better yet, when she understands it is unnecessary, she will review her concepts, ideas and behaviors. Then she will know the freedom contained in love, and will understand and experience love. Really”.
Kindly translated by Carlos André Oighenstein.