December 18, 2006

Love and Freedom

They say that... if you love somebody, set that person free. If he comes back he is yours.

I believe in it.

This line of thought has a hidden meaning encapsulated in it. Not many notices. Yes, the conspicuous and obvious subjects of that thought are lovers. But there are other relationships, bound with love, which comes within the realm of that philosophy. Relationships like parent-AdultChild, sibling-sibling, husband-wife, friend-friend etc. can't escape from the gravitation pull of it.

When the definition of love is taken in a broader sense and the element called 'control' is brought into picture, the hidden meaning rises from obscurity.

Control!? Yep... the nemesis of freedom: Your grown-up-son loves adventure sports. But you don't like him doing that because you fear it will kill him. Hence you control him! Your husband loves golf. But you hate him playing that. Hence you emotionally blackmail him and control him!

How many times have you tried to control your loved ones? How many times have you tried to prevent them from doing what they like, because you dislike what they enjoy? How many times have you tried to emotionally blackmail them... all this because you don't agree with what they do! That 'control' might work for a few times. Not for ever. Initially, 'control' did well because it had the backing of 'love'. And that 'love' takes the beating when you start exercising 'control'. Love - that bound you with you deared ones - fades away into oblivion, and control will soon find itself lonely, unable to exercise its power anymore.

The best way to control a person, if you ever want to, is to hand over the rein to him and not even dream of controlling him - a tough ask! Assuming you can reason out with that person, let him know that you don't agree with what that person does. Let him also know that you support what he does because you know that he enjoys doing it. When you say that, MEAN EVERY WORD OF IT. Full stop! Now hold the hands of patience and see how beautiful life can get. See how beautiful turns it can take you through. Love sans control can gift you the most beautiful life you could have ever dreamt of.

Control is a cage. Love can't survive in that cage. That simile reminds me of Paulo Coelho's Eleven Minutes. He narrates a short story that conveys the same message. Here it goes...
Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers. In short, he was a creature made to fly about freely in the sky, bringing joy to everyone who saw him.

One day, a woman saw the bird and fell in love with him. She watched his flight, her mouth wide in amazement, her heart pounding, her eyes shining with excitement. She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two traveled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird.

But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains! And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird. And she felt envy, envy for the bird's ability to fly.

And she felt alone.

And she thought: 'I'm going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.'

The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.

She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: 'Now you have everything you could possibly want.' However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest. The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.

One day, the bird died. The woman felt terrible sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds.

If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.

Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door. 'Why have you come?' she asked Death. 'So you can fly once more with him across the sky,' Death replied. 'If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him even more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.'

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