this morning i turned again to the beautiful words of martin buber, austrian-jewish philosopher and mystic. his i and thou is perhaps the most important book ever written about what it means to be in relationship.
the relationship between i and you – the stuff of love.
buber talks about contemplating a tree. (i have reprinted a little section in my previous blog entry, if you want to read it.) he talks about taking in all of the tree, about being in the presence of all of the tree. then it can happen, he says, that “as i contemplate the tree i am drawn into a relation, and the tree ceases to be an it.”
that is love in its purest form.
love is when the “you” ceases to be an “it”, when “you” is no longer an object, when “you” ceases to be something “out there” that i do something to. the beloved is no more a something that i can dissect into its/his/her various parts. the beloved is a creature, a creation of god, that i regard, behold, am in awe of in all of her/his/its entirety.
“i love you, warts and all.” that’s what it is.
i find it fascinating that buber starts this section with “i contemplate.” he does not say, “i look at”, he does not observe, or even see. he contemplates. quietly, he takes time to be in the presence of the “you”, with his eyes and heart open. this is why he is drawn into relation – drawn into love?
the action of loving is not easy. it takes patience and courage. most of all it takes a willingness to go back again and again into it because our tendencies to make someone an object are incredibly strong. we walk out of that place that is love all the time. the action of loving is to be willing to return to that place, to be willing and then to actually go there.
often, that seems like a long trek. but it’s worth it.
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