The choice of love

When it comes to our emotions, do we chose them or do we have them handed to us?

Photo: Pixabay

It’s as good as any acid trip. The world starts to glow. All of a sudden, you start to notice the astounding beauty in everything around you. Like an amateur-edited photo, the colour saturation of the world becomes impossibly vibrant. You notice how stunning the clouds are, clouds that have always been just as stunning.

Your heart is filled with warmth and love and pride and goodness. You love who you are. You become acutely aware of the amazing people in your life, and how utterly lucky you are to have landed where you have in this world. You start coming up with beautiful ideas of ways to show gratitude to your loved ones. You acknowledge (the greatness in people). You feel immensely social, abnormally grounded among large groups, unflinchingly certain of your own greatness and your contribution to others.

You are Louis CK hilarious and Mother Teresa compassionate. You are all smiles and glowing kindness. You connect with everyone you come in contact with; the post office lady, the server at The Modern, even the man walking his dog on the greenbelt. You have an inexplicable, arcane understanding about the world and everything in it, like someone just let you in on the secret to the meaning of life. Money stops mattering. Music and dancing start happening. Your mind bubbles with inspiration for creative outlets. You write. You dream. You appreciate.

LOVE. It’s been said before, it’s one hell of a drug. There’s nothing else as powerful. It can literally transform douchebags into darlings. It’s behind some of the greatest works of art in history; millions of cheesy songs and movies, brilliant paintings and extravagant architecture.

If you believe the yogis of the world, this state of giddy romantic love is an experience that we choose. We can have it at any time, regardless of whether or not we have “someone” in our lives. They tell us that happiness is an inside job, completely independent of any external forces, and feelings are a matter of choice.

It’s a nice idea. But how does it translate to the real world? In the same way that you don’t get the trip without the acid, it’s hard to imagine experiencing that “love drunk” state of happiness without the love affair. To what degree are we in control of our emotions and to what degree are we helpless victims of them? What does our society think about this? And the law?

A 2004 case in the Missouri Supreme Court indicates that the legal system (at least in the US) does not follow the teachings of the yogis. The case presents a scenario where a truck collided with an on coming car. Upon checking on the family in the car, the truck driver came across the body of a two-year-old girl who had died in the crash. He later sued the family for the emotional stress that their dead daughter had caused him.

So according to the powerful decision makers in our world, our emotional experiences are in fact dependent on external forces. We are at the mercy of events that occur around us. The yogis on the other hand are still telling us we’re in the driver’s seat and we should take control.

It’s challenging to choose a side of the fence for this one. But I have to say that I like the idea of conjuring up the blissful feelings a new romance on any given day.

—By Anonymous

This article first appeared in the July issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.