Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Logan, UT
Actually, Angela, it is quite interesting that you brought up giving people freedom in the context of love, because I was thinking of sharing a story of my first girlfriend to show that love isn't always easy.
I'm sure most of us remember how we felt the first time that we fell in love; how we opened up our most vulnerable feelings to that person, knowing intellectually that the chances were that we would have our hearts broken, yet still giving ourselves entirely anyways.
Looking back now, I can see that it wasn't the best relationship to enter into. My girlfriend was very fickle, changing relationships with the season, yet I still fell in love with her absolutely. I have to admit, I was a complete nerd, so it probably wasn't very hard for me to become attached like I did.
Our relationship lasted for about three months. During that time, I was the first of my friends to get a car and a license, so I became the standard driver for my group. At the end of two months, though, my girlfriend started asking me to drop her off at another friend's house before school. As that month went on, she asked me to drop her off more often, and despite being in so much love, I wasn't blind... When she finally got around to telling me, I had already figured it out myself. I let her go without ceremony, just simply told her "I know," and let her go on her way. I think I only cried once, but my heart ached... yet because I loved her so much, I couldn't do anything that I knew would hurt her, despite how much it hurt me.
I think that being able to do anything to help another person, no matter how much it hurts, is a clear sign of love, but sacrificing yourself isn't a requirement of love. We may not be able to control who it is that we fall in love with, but until we can learn how to love unconditionally, it is best to love those who can return that love so that we don't need to face decisions between hurting ourselves and hurting those we love.
To answer the last question, whether love and peace is easy...
Well, computer guys like to use the phrase "it depends" a lot. I think it is appropriate here as well. With my wife, loving her is easy. It is easy for each of us to find joy in each other. I greatly enjoy giving her joy, just as she greatly enjoys giving me joy. I find no joy in war, so it is very difficult to find peace with it. I find joy in blogging, even though it has not given me any pleasure, so it is easy to find peace in blogging, but hard to find the motivation to do it, unless my motivation is for peace and joy. I am uncomfortable when cleaning, but I derive a great deal of joy from it, so it is hard to be motivated to clean unless I am motivated to have joy.
Similarly, I get pleasure from smoking, but I get no joy from it. I don't think that it is very surprising that I am motivated to smoke, despite it bringing fear, anger, and disease into my life.
So really, it depends on how much joy you are bringing in, as to how easy it is to be peaceful and loving. Pleasure is good motivation, but many people use it as a substitute for joy, rather than a companion, which makes them unhappier in the long run, and pushes them further from peace. If you aren't finding enough real joy, then work on yourself and your environment until peace comes naturally.