I have been known to pick raging waterfall love over quiet river love in the past. Raging waterfall love is the kind that makes you lose your head, your focus, your center, and pretty much all your roots at the same time. It is the kind of love that gives you such an adrenaline kick each time that you cannot think about anything else except returning to the waterfall and drinking, drinking, drinking away your senses. Waterfall love comes like lightening in the night and leaves like fog the next day. It promises the world but leaves you tired, panting, and hollow at the end of the adventure.
Quiet river love is the one that demands patience, thought, hard work, and sacrifice. It is the love that requires you to be prepared before putting your boat in the water and rowing off into the sunset. It is the one that takes time and trust, and the words “I love you” are said in complete sincerity and truth. Quiet river love feeds your soul, heart, mind, and body and allows you to build on solid foundations. It permits you to make long-term plans and not feel like you are going to fall overboard and drown at any turn. It is the kind of love that inspires us to become better people, work on ourselves, and evolve at faster speeds.
In today’s world where instant gratification is encouraged, it is no wonder that our younger generation has found its way to such inventions as Tinder. For them, love is now defined as lightning in the night and fog in the day. I once asked a young English student of mine what she was hoping to find on Tinder and she replied, “I feel lonely so hooking up with random men makes me feel less lonely. I want to find true love but we all know it’s a fairy tale, so I might as well act like men do and not give a damn about who I sleep with.” Her response shocked me and it stayed with me for a long time. Was that what our generation was learning now? That relationships did not matter, that family life was out-dated, that true love was just a swipe on the right of a screen?
When we walk a spiritual path, we must learn to put our energy in quiet river love. This love will help us evolve and expand, maintain high vibrations, tear down fears and blockages, and unlock new doors. In waterfall love, we are prisoners of the lower chakras, directed by our hunger and thirst and desires. We delude ourselves to think that such love is healthy when in reality, we are chained to someone who has become a drug. Monica Drake conveys this well when she says, “The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation”. The right partner is the one that you feel most comfortable and peaceful with, not the one who makes you run around in circles like a chicken without a head.
Have you been addicted to waterfall love rather than quiet river love, and if so, what can you do to change this cycle? I recommend writing a list of your previous partners and noting their similarities and differences. Make links, trace patterns, analyse your love cycle. What are you learning along the path of relationships and how can you find peace in love? Once you have compiled a detailed list and analysed it, take time to visualize the perfect partner for yourself. What qualities are you looking for in your soul mate? What do you want to build together? Usually the qualities you want to attract are direct reflections of who you are and what you value most in life. Write down the characteristics of your perfect partner and post it on your wall, so that every day you are reminded of quiet river love that will bring you happiness rather than distress.
In the words of the Buddha, “In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you”. May we all have the courage to let go of raging waterfalls and embrace quiet rivers so that our hearts may be filled with joy and peace.
(As published in InnerSelf Magazine)