During one of Tara Brach’s guided heart meditations, she quoted a beautiful truth by Arne Garborg: “To love someone is to learn the song that is in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten.” I love this because it captures qualities that accompany love: i) a desire and receptivity to learn, ii) attention to the beloved on her/his/their terms, and iii) reminding them or assisting them in uncovering their life-force.
In early stages of romantic love, we can feel we “know” our partner and become disappointed when things aren’t quite as they were perceived to be early on. In family life and friendships, we can perceive others whom we love in our past experiences and understandings of them, sometimes blocking both relational growth and learning the many facets of our loved ones as they move through their life acquiring new understandings and wisdom from their experiences. Love is ongoing learning and deep curiosity to experience self and others anew.
As we attend with curiosity, we may notice attachment and avoidance in different areas. We tend to give our attention to what most pleases us. But love involves commitment-even when we don’t feel like it. It can mean recognizing what brings forth ourselves to the beloved more spaciously in mind and heart, and what constricts/narrows or creates distance between ourselves and loved ones. Attending is not construed as time and proximity-although it can be. It can also mean the emotional/psychological sense of presence.
Finally, love uplifts: “Singing the song in their heart” can take on so many different forms. Isn’t it true that in the presence of Love, creativity flows. And, most poignantly, the felt-sense of being well-loved, fully accepted, may be the song that awakens in them all the favorite “songs in their heart,” some delights that go way back, others emerging in joyful resonance.