There have been times, I know, when I have felt loveless. But I know that without being able to revisit the feeling. Nowadays there seems always to be a tenderness welling up in me. Sometimes pleasurable, sometimes painful. But always there.
For much of my life I was troubled by it. Along with the tenderness there used to come a hunger, and a sense that there was something I should do in response to it. I felt all the more isolated: all that love, and no way to say it, no way for it to flow from me to you.
I think that of all the things practicing the Dharma has brought me, the most valuable has been the understanding that there is nothing that needs to be done in response to it. That it already does flow from me to you. I was stuck in a narrow materialism, I believed the boundaries of my self where absolute and impermeable. And I was so alone.
Of course I am usually still hungry. I want everyone for a lover. I want to embrace every stranger who smiles at me, and every stranger with sad eyes. I want to hold everyone, feel them fall asleep in my arms. And the rules that say I mustn't do those things -- well, I guess I accept them now: I understand, at any rate, that those rules have never been the source of my loneliness, and that abolishing them would not have filled my emptiness. But I don't think they will ever feel right to me.
Life is so short, after all, and the gale is blowing all the time, that tearing wind fluttering the hair and grabbing at the clothes, and all we have to hang on to is each other. Someone comes along and says, oh no, you must hold on to just these people. Not those people. And I want to say, for God's sake, don't you feel the force of that wind? Don't you see how important it is, that we be able to hold on to each other?
But no. They don't feel it, they don't know it, they don't see it. All right. Then I just need to hold on another way. I will hold on with words, and with the sanctioned touch of supposed therapy -- as though sickness were what made touch necessary! -- but yes, I will solemnly nod my head and pretend to be a therapist, rather than someone who holds on to people so they won't be blown away by the storm. And so I won't be blown away by the storm.