By Stephen Mutua
ALWAYS remember, love is not attachment, love knows no attachment, and that which knows attachment is not loved. That is possessiveness, domination, clinging, fear, greed — it may be a thousand and one things, but it is not loved.
In the name of love other things are parading, in the name of love other things are hiding behind, but on the container, the label ‘love’ is stuck. Inside you will find many sorts of things but not love at all.
Watch. If you are attached to a person, are you in love? Or are you afraid of your aloneness, so you cling? Because you cannot be alone you use this person so as not to be alone. Then you are afraid.
If the person dies or moves somewhere else or falls in love with someone else then you will kill this person and you will say, ‘I was so much attached.’ Or you may kill yourself and you will say, ‘I was so much attached that I cannot live without her or without him.’ It is sheer foolishness. It is not loving, it is something else.
You are afraid of your aloneness, you are not capable of being with yourself, you need somebody to distract you. And you want to possess the other person, you want to use the other person as a means for your own ends. To use another person as a means is violence.
Immanuel Kant has made it one of his fundamentals of moral life. It is. He used to say that to treat a person as a means is the greatest immoral act there is. It is. Because when you treat another person as a means — for your gratification, for your sexual desire, for your fear, or for something else — when you use another person as a means, you are reducing the other person to be a thing, you are destroying his or her freedom, you are killing his or her soul.
The soul can grow only in freedom. Love gives freedom. And when you give freedom, you are free, that’s what detachment is. If you enforce bondage on the other, you will be in imprisonment on your own accord. If you bind the other, the other will bind you; if you define the other, the other will define you; if you are trying to possess the other, the other will possess you.
That’s how couples go on fighting for domination for their whole life: the man in his own way, the woman in her own way. Both struggle. It is a continuous nagging and fighting. And the man thinks that in some ways he controls the woman and the woman thinks that in some ways she controls the man. Control is not loved.
Never treat any person as a means. Treat everybody as an end in himself, in herself — then you are a religious person. Then you don’t cling, then you are not attached. You love but your love gives freedom — and, when you give freedom to the other, you are free.
Only in freedom does your soul grow. You will feel very, very happy.
The world has become a very unhappy thing. Not because the world is an unhappy thing, but because we have done something wrong to it.