Maitri, Karuma, Mudita, Upeksha

Translation: “Loving-kindness, Compassion, Joy and Freedom”

According to Buddhism, these are the four aspects of Love.

As a Research Assistant in one of the biggest labs for romantic relationship studies in the nation, I experience, and take on, an interesting- sometimes more objective- approach to love. Though I never cease to be stumped by its incomprehensible magic. I come from a long line of divorce. In fact, I am not directly related to any one individual who has had a successful first marriage. So yes, I’m fascinated with Love’s ability to mend, heal, lift, inspire, create, and fill- but equally intrigued by its ability to drift away sometimes slowly, or occasionally abruptly, and without apparent cause. But no matter the fashion in which it left, it leaves the person different from when it found them.

So then, once it has left, how do we find it again? The peculiar thing is, we don’t want that same love again. And somehow society has placed on us this idea that once we lose love we are somehow less- a void has been created, a hole that we must fill. I disagree. I think, when love leaves us, it escapes like a dust. It wasn’t something that took up space- it was  something that covered us, whose gradient texture we grew accustomed to, and began to like. So when it leaves, that’s just it. It was only ever just a dust. And one can never find that again. So instead perhaps we shouldn’t search for it, nor desire it. It’s possible to assume that when we find ourselves in the right time and place, different dust, with a different texture, will fall upon us. It may not be what we’re used to, it may feel completely different, but there’s comfort in that.

What I find most compelling about these four concepts; loving kindness, understanding, compassion, and freedom, is their selflessness. We are to give out loving kindness, possess compassion, be joyful, and find and award, freedom through it all.

So the dust is abundant. We have enough to give out, we must share it with others, it must make us glad, but just as the inherent tendency of the loose dust; it must never constrict.

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