It is why I have my doubts about "romantic" relationships. There's a reason this illusion is so persistent and why we tend to glom on to such relationships whenever possible. But the reason is not necessarily to express true love.
It's often because we're focused on an image of a person created just for the hologram. We're not focused on the truth behind the image. The love we expect to receive from the image is just a reflection of real love. The love one image expresses to another image can never be totally satisfying. It is not the real thing, either. For most of my life, anyway, that has sufficed.
To introduce yet another metaphor, the love we experience as humans is sort of like copying a photograph. Every time it's copied, there is a loss of resolution. The graininess becomes more apparent. The image becomes a little less sharp.
Even reprinting directly from the negative (or digital file) is a loss of generation from the original vision we had when looking through the viewfinder into the infinite.
Yet we persist in taking the representation, running it through our personal Photoshop program, lightening up the dark spaces, cropping, color correcting, until we have the perfect image. Again, it is only an image.
The thing is, the best representations can still carry a lot of emotional impact, and that's where we fool ourselves. I can still look at an old picture of an ex-girlfriend, or my son, or another close to me, and feel a twinge of something in my heart or gut. But it is a reaction based on an image, on a memory of something that doesn't actually exist any more.
Which brings me to the hoariest of spiritual maxims -- love yourself and everything else will take care of itself. That's a tricky one.
My persona is as much of a constructed image as that of any other aspect I've created to populate my hologram, and unfortunately, it's run by as big an ego as anyone's, an entity that thrives on the vapor of thoughts, beliefs and illusions, like a cockroach that can live on the glue from a single postage stamp for two years.
So simply to say I love myself, is usually my ego playing off an image of myself and what I'd like to see or experience. Even to do something in the hologram to show that I love myself -- a hot bath with candles and Yanni on the IPod -- is a poor imitation of the real thing.
The only way to experience pure unconditional love is to tap directly into the source of it. Not through your children, not through your significant other, not through sex (although if you're going to experiment in the hologram, what the hell).
Going into silence is one practice that may open up the channels. But some of us are hard of hearing from attending too many AC/DC concerts, and the little voice of love may not be heard. Maybe heartbreak or some other form of disillusionment will do it for you, finally, like it did for me. Only you can figure that out.
Now how that loves come through the pipeline and manifests in your hologram is a whole different story. Diligent observation is required to check for impurities. If there is a cause for your love in the hologram, then it's probably impure. To love someone because they are handsome, funny and talented -- that would be me for illustrative purposes -- implies that the love is not pure.
To love someone because they are gorgeous, sexy and spiritual -- that would be some of my past girlfriends, again for illustrative purposes -- implies that the love is not pure.
To love a child is close. But as with the significant others, it's hard to separate the personal affection for a specific being from the true loving kindness for everyone we encounter.
If we do something because it makes us feel good -- give bum a quarter, drop off a couch at the thrift shop, give money to save babies in Africa -- it's probably not true love. I'm not saying don't do these things, just be aware that feeling good or useful or worthy or god forbid, spiritual, does not necessarily equate to love.
What I'm talking about is the jumping-on-a-live-grenade love, that is thoughtless and complete and without agenda. Most of us may never have that experience. I think the best we can do as humans is show compassion.
In practical terms, that means you realize at a heart level that we are all on difficult journeys. That is the truth of being human. Whatever pain you are going through, it is the same pain being experienced by six billion other aspects on this planet. The people and situations are different, but the struggle is the same. You are not special. When we truly grasp that, then maybe we are getting close to love.