Addicted to Love

The soul harbors a fierce passion for the Divine. When we mistake the mundane for the spiritual, we court addiction to love. To whomever or whatever we believe can satisfy this longing of the soul. The deepest desires of the heart then get attached to that person, project, experience or thing.

Since transcendent experiences of love, communion, peace and freedom come to us through the world of form, it is natural to confuse the source of the spiritual nourishment we crave with the medium through which it comes.

Whenever we attach our yearning for the Holy to anything, however, we make it into a false god or an “idol.” Unknowingly, we bind ourselves with chains of steel to whatever we have idolized.

In our romance obsessed culture, many of us misinterpret our yearning for union with the Divine as the futile search for “the one.” We spend our lives addicted to love searching outside ourselves for the idealized partner who will complete us and take away the hollowness inside.

Or we lament the relationship we have, disappointed that the other person hasn’t quite given us the love and security we hoped they would. In this mistaken longing for an idealized partnership, we hardly realize we have been forsaking our own souls.

Withdrawal of love: a neurophysiological storm

This is one reason when we lose love, we may crave the other person like an addict craves a drug. The more experiences of bliss, connection and intimacy we have had with our partner, the more likely we are to have confused them with our Source. We have mixed them up with the divine love that entered us through heightened moments in the relationship.

The betrayal of intimate trust reveals how much we have misplaced the treasure of our own heart. It is no fun, but we have been thrown into a serious detox with a chance to recover big pieces of our soul that have been wrapped up in the things of this world.

When the idolized dream of love is shattered by abandonment or betrayal, many factors contribute to the terrible feelings of withdrawal. Physically, our bodily rhythms have been in sync with our mate, and go into disarray. Rejection also stimulates both the pain receptors and the drive-oriented addiction centers in the brain. We find ourselves living in a neurophysiological storm.

We are like orphans left alone in a strange city and naturally seek out our former source of support to calm and soothe us in such a crisis. And we suffer their indifference and unavailability. Few things are as painful as the unfulfilled desire to be near to another you love.

Only a greater love can satisfy the heart

Yet, ultimately, beyond a quick fix, it is time now to learn only a greater love can satisfy the deepest yearning of the heart. We have a chance to know in our bones that the “other” (the person, the drugs, the ideology, the money, the power, the sex) cannot satisfy the heart’s deepest longing. Until this truth sinks deeply in, we will keep looking in all the wrong places to quench this misplaced thirst for the Divine.

In the throes of betrayed love, we have all the ingredients to embody this difficult lesson. Our relation with another person may point the way to our spiritual home. But no matter how compatible they are, or how ethereal and profound the connection, they can never fulfill the existential emptiness at the core of our being.

Betrayal causes so much suffering. To endure it, we discover our deep need to focus on the mystery at work in us, the invisible reality moving through us as our life, beyond our lost love. Mindfully enduring the cravings, the grief, the emptiness, the rage and the hurt, we learn how pain itself becomes a prayer.

For me, it became a imperative for my well-being to listen daily for the prayer in my hurting heart.  Who knew?! Glimpses of what I wanted most began to dawn through the murkiness. That gentle attention brought on miracles. The hurt itself unexpectedly lead me back to a ocean of tenderness all around me, my true love and home,