Anthony de Mello, in his last meditations(a pocket book called: “The Way To Love”) on ‘loving without attachment’, said that in ANY relationship, we should be able to say the following to the other person if we are to be able to truly love them…. “I leave you free to be yourself, to think your thoughts, to indulge your taste, follow your inclinations, behave in any way that you decide is to your liking.” Now.. see this in the context of the following from Anthony’s book……
“Here is a mistake that most people make in their relationships with others. They try to build a steady nesting place in the ever-moving stream of life.
Think of someone whose love you desire. Do you want to be important to this person, to be special and make a difference to his/her life? Do you want this person to care for you and be concerned about you in a special way? If you do, open your eyes and see that you are foolishly inviting others to reserve you for themselves, to restrict your freedom for their benefit, to control your behavior, your growth and development so that it will suit their interest. It is as if the other person said to you, “If you want to be special to me then you must meet my conditions. Because the moment you cease to live up to my expectations, you will cease to be special.” You wanted to be special to someone, didn’t you? So you must pay a price in lost freedom. You must dance to the other person’s tune just as you demand that other persons dance to yours if they want to be special to you.
Pause now to ask yourself if it is worth paying so much for so little. Imagine you say to this person whose special love you want, “Leave me free to be myself, to think my thoughts, to indulge my taste, to follow my inclination, to behave in ways that I decide are to my liking.” The moment you say those words you will understand that you are asking for the impossible. To ask to be special to someone means essentially to be bound to the task of making yourself pleasing to this person. And therefore to lose your freedom. Take all the time you need to realize this.
Maybe now you are ready to say, “I’d rather have my freedom than your love.” If you could either have company in prison or walk the earth in freedom all alone, which would you choose? Now say to this person, “I leave you free to be yourself, to think your thoughts, to indulge your taste, follow your inclinations, behave in any way that you decide is to your liking.” The moment you say that you will observe one of two things: Either your heart will resist those words and you will be exposed for the clinger and exploiter that you are; so now is the time to examine your false belief that without this person you cannot live or cannot be happy. Or your heart will pronounce the words sincerely and in that very instant all control, manipulation, exploitation, possessiveness, jealousy will drop. “I leave you free to be yourself: to think your thoughts, indulge your tastes, follow your inclinations, behave in ways that you decide are to your liking.”
And you will notice something else: The person automatically ceases to be special and important to you. And he/she becomes important the way a sunset or a symphony is lovely in itself, the way a tree is special in itself and not for the fruit or the shade that it can offer you. Your beloved will then belong not to you but to everyone or to no one like the sunrise and the tree. Test it by saying those words again: “I leave you free to be yourself….” In saying those words you have set yourself free. You are now ready to love. For when you cling, what you offer the other is not love but a chain by which both you and your beloved are bound. Love can only exist in freedom. The true lover seeks the good of his beloved which requires especially the liberation of the beloved from the lover.”
If this ‘clicks’ with you, and you would like to read more… read ‘Awareness’ and/or ‘The Way To Love’… both by Anthony De Mello.
‘The Way To Love’ is hard to find these days, but I have a few copies… just ask! 😄