A poem by the famous Persian poet Rumi from the 14th century, entitled Lovers, describes love: "Everywhere the murmur of departure; the stars, like candles thrust at us from behind blue veils, and as if to make the invisible plain, a wondrous people have come forth".
Love is basic. A need? An instinct? A life force? A form of spirit? Yes, love fits all of these definitions, and more. Our lives envelop us in the series of images about love that we carry individually and collectively. These images appear in art, literature, videos, movies, dreams, tales, myths and stories. And, in relation to love they reflect the myriad of pathways for integrating the unconscious love feelings with our conscious life.
Love constellates positive, negative and challenging elements to the personality. Love opens us to the truths about the human condition, particularly the pain and confusion that can erupt in relationships. The intensity of love and its travails experienced personally are similar to the archetypal motifs and mythic patterns that we encounter along the path of self-discovery.
Recognizing the mythic dimensions at the basis of our personal experiences unites us in the universal nature of what it is to be human. Love leads us down the alleyways we might otherwise avoid. It takes us into ourselves. It shakes our foundations. It is rude, shocking and enlightening. Love rocks our world and sets us on the path of the unexpected.
We all can recall the tales of childhood where the princess and prince united a then lived happily ever after. But we often forget that these stories from all over the world require many tasks by both the heroine and hero. Each on their own develops strength and ability. They are tested and have to do what seems like the impossible. Only after they have left home and found who they are through the trials experienced alone they then unite or re-unite with each other.
You may wonder how this applies to you and our modern times. However, these tales and stories contain universal motifs held in our psyches. They depict the age-old patterns that we all go through in one way or another to discover who we are and how to intimately unite with an other. These are not childhood stories but life stories. They portray the unfolding of life with its bumps and problems, stressors and difficulties. They show us how to get through and they demonstrate development of personality through various sorts of adversity.
As an example, Eros, the god of union, pierces the heart with an arrow, making an opening for love to pour through. This opening alternately also leaves room for a broken heart as through it we explore the meaning and the healing of our heart’s wounds. Especially when the opening is painful, we wish it did not have to happen this way. But, it is through this portal that consciousness pushes and shows the way of our development. Along the path, we realize we have no choice but to tackle the seemingly impossible within ourselves and with our partner to attain the fullness of life that we desire.
The psychological depths require personal work and individual timing. This is the place where we gain consciousness of the energies that hound us. Becoming conscious of these energies and using them in helpful ways prevents them from destroying us. Rather they assist in our growth, as they are emissaries of the transformative nature of love.