True Love

True Love
by Art Ticknor

                     
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Romeo & Juliet
Romeo & Juliet
I was talking with some friends the other day about rapport and remembered my first experience of it. I had taken my son for a vacation in the Bahamas to celebrate his nineteenth birthday, and the small hotel we were staying at was populated mostly by college students on spring break. Our first evening there we joined a group that had congregated around the courtyard pool and found immediate acceptance from them.

There were a dozen or so of us, about evenly split between males and females. We fell into a pattern of doing things together in smaller groups during the day then meeting at the pool around dusk. After indulging in relaxed merriment and comparing notes about our adventures while apart, we'd all head out to some public place where there was music or to a private party that someone knew about.

One of the group was a young woman from Boston who I noticed would always be sitting quietly next to me but with whom I'd had no direct interaction. On what may have been our second evening together, the whole group moved from our hotel to a club in one of the large, colonial-era hotels, which had a dance floor and live music. The quiet girl, Lorna, again sat silently next to me when our group spread itself among available tables. So I asked her if she'd like to dance. She said yes, or possibly just nodded her head, and we moved onto the small dance floor. It was a slow dance, and as soon as we embraced, there were no longer two minds. There was one mind encompassing two bodies, each of which was experiencing the same thoughts and feelings, knowing that the other body was experiencing the same thoughts and feelings, and knowing that the other body also knew the same: almost like an infinite regression between two mirrors. As soon as we had embraced, it was as if a wave went out from us and radiated across the room. It was felt by one of the musicians in the combo behind me who said, sotto voce, "True love."

That diminishment of separation is an indicator of what we're intuitively looking for, which is to escape our painful identification with a separate creature that was born, is under constant threat of annihilation, and is inevitably going to die. But it didn't last. When the dance was over and we returned to the table, so was the rapport.

The next evening when we gathered at the pool and saw each other again, it was almost as if Lorna and I didn't like each other. George, a hotel employee with whom we'd become friendly, volunteered to take our group to a local club, and we all jumped on the offer. It turned out to be in the boondocks and was populated strictly by local folks, who looked unhappy to see us there. But they became friendly after the initial shock wore off, and we had a good time. After that we returned to town (Nassau) and found a crowded, disco-type club. Lorna and I were still avoiding each other, but I eventually spotted her in the crowd when a slow dance started and asked her to dance. As soon as we embraced, we were again one mind. It was even more intense this time. We ignored whatever music was playing, barely moving our feet as we held each other tight for what may have been an hour or more, until the club closed. Then we walked back to the hotel arm in arm, silently.

The next morning, the entire group assembled outside the hotel to say goodbye to Lorna and her friends when the taxi came to take them to the airport. She and I didn't exchange information to keep in touch. Altogether we probably hadn't said more than ten or twenty words to each other.

Is it possible to find the complete and full satisfaction that experiences like the above point to? Ironically, what we're looking for – love, security, permanence, meaning, or however it becomes represented in the mind – is what we find when we recognize our true identity. Seeking conscious awareness of our essential being, and helping others do the same, is the real purpose and meaning of our lives. Our real identity is that which we're seeking: True, never-ending Love.


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