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Kahlil Gibran on love

Kahlil Gibran was a Lebanese poet and painter who lived between 1883 and 1931. His most famous work is the booklet ‘ The Prophet ‘ (1923). The life wisdom in this booklet has touched and inspired millions of people for years in their spiritual quest. In this article I want to put some of Kahlil Gibran ‘s wisdom in my own words . I hope that in this way a new group of readers will find their way to his writings. This article is about love.

‘When love beckons, it follows, though its ways are heavy and steep. And if her wings envelop you, let you go, though the sword, hidden in her feathers, should wound you.’ [1]

There was a time, years ago, when I couldn’t read this sentence without tears clouding my eyes. Anyone who has experienced deep love knows that the pain of loss is proportional to the depth of love. The euphoria of the encounter and the heart that opens simultaneously invites life lessons to enter. Love holds up a mirror to you and what you see is not only nice.

In this time when many people feel that they encounter soul loves , these encounters are often accompanied by pain, rejection, the resurgence of old traumas and disappointments that you already thought you were ‘done’ with.

I wrote before that these encounters sometimes have very different intentions. The incentive is to give yourself (yet again) full surrender to love, even if you run the risk of injuring yourself.

‘Cause if love crowns you, it crosses you too

It has taken many years in my life to discover that love consists of peaks and valleys and that these alternate organically and that this is a natural process.

So I know love with deeper valleys than peaks in which there was more struggle than harmony and so it went more and more downhill over time. I know love that in the course of time flattened into a vast landscape that initially enchanted me but eventually stimulated less.

It is a true search for what love means to each of us.

Intense love is a lively process in which a mixture of contradictions all have a place, such as recognition and alienation, connection and jealousy, harmony and strife. Love is not only there for fun and romance but mainly serves your inner growth. And growing goes by trial and error, with fits and starts, with blood, sweat and tears of both happiness and sorrow.

“But if in your anguish you should only seek her peace and her pleasure, you had better cover your nakedness and get away from love’s threshing floor.”

Love is meant to discover and unlock the deepest of yourself, the most hidden room in your heart so that you participate fully in the depth of life, so that you are life.

Living in love is a life in which it is not only and continuously spring and summer, but also the gloom of autumn and the cold of winter are part of it and have their own value. Living in love is accepting and living through all seasons. Only in this way can you feel what real joy is and what is real pain.

After disappointment and pain in love, it is difficult for many people to surrender fully to love again. However, the fear of pain and disappointment again makes life in love more and more difficult.

‘Love only seeks to fulfill itself’

True love is unconditional, universal and possesses nothing and no one. This is written about by many spiritual teachers. And it’s hard to understand. Loving the people around you without conditions is already a challenge, let alone for people who are further away from you.

This does not mean that you have to like everything. A teacher once told me that true love is unconditional, but the form is not. A form, such as a relationship, a friendship or a family bond, has contours and boundaries, otherwise there would be no form. This also gives you structure and security.

I often think of love as a river, I live near one and it is a great mirror for me. If there were no dikes, the water would flow in all directions, shapeless and undirected. Thickes provide boundaries and also give the water depth and bed. It should flow freely in it without us going to send it. You see in areas where major floods occur and where man once forced this direction to his will, that the water is looking for the old original flow again.

Love can be seen as a continuous flow of which you do not determine the course, but vice versa. That is a very difficult task for almost all of us. Our love is generally limited and governed by conditions and is very personal. We like to package our love in one or more one-on-one relationships that we connect with written and unwritten rules. Because it should be or from our limited conceptions of what love may and may not be.

Kahlil Gibran invites us to learn to experience love as a pure flow of power that is given to you and not as something that you can dispose of as if it were your own.

[1] Quotes in this article by Kahlil Gibran are from De Prophet , (1929/1976), translation Carolus Verhulst, publisher: MIRANANDA, Wassenaar


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