Battle Against Possessiveness Of all the manifestations of love, possessiveness is the most colourful. In saying so, I am confining myself to only love between two people and no other, like love of money and other material things. Many people tend to look at possessiveness as a kind of by product of extreme love. They contend that it is one of the many ways that love expresses itself. But the question is not about the justifiability of possessiveness in a union of hearts but whether it helps love to progress. Possessiveness within moderate limits can be beautiful and there may be freaks who may even get turned on by a show of insane possessiveness but, like excessive sugar in the blood that wrecks silently all the vital organs in the body, it can wreck love over a period of time. "Let there be spaces in your togetherness," says Kahlil Gibran, "And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.... Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping" Let’s now look at what Osho has to say on love, the real and professed ones. You "love" a person means you possess a person. You "love" a person means he cannot love anybody else. If he loves anybody else he is insulting you; he is proving that you are inferior, that there are better people, more lovable people than you are. It hurts the ego, it hurts your possessiveness, it hurts your monopolistic idea. And basically it is cowardice, because you are not trying to face the facts about your love in a straightforward manner. It is not a question of your lover loving somebody else; the question is, do you love the person? And you are not brave enough to face that question. And that is the real question to be asked. If I love the person then nothing matters. Love allows freedom. Love allows that whatever he feels like doing, he can do. Whatever he feels to be blissful, it is his choice. If you love the person, then you don't interfere in his privacy. You leave that person's privacy undisturbed. You don't try to trespass his inner being. You don't want that he should say where he has been, why he is late in the night. That is not right at all. It is his life: where he goes, and whether he comes late or not.... You have loved the person as he is -- and this is the way he is. Both these great men lay special emphasis on giving space in togetherness. When possessiveness takes over, the space gets reduced to nought and suffocation ensues. It is the root cause of sundered hearts. A possessive person is quite aware of the damage he is causing to his love but he is helpless about it. The more he resolves himself not to be possessive, the more possessive he becomes. It is like smoking. No amount of warnings, statutory or otherwise, can stop a smoker. The award-winning Broadway play, "Children of a Lesser God," tells an interesting story of how love can go wrong, even when it seems like it's going right. The story focuses on a spirited young woman who is deaf. Intelligent, sensitive and wounded, she resists most attempts to help her, until one day a gifted teacher, a man her own age, enters her life. For a while she resists both his love and his efforts to help her, but eventually trust grows in her and she opens up to him. They fall in love and, for a while, things are wonderful and he helps open her to the world. But then the story takes a curious turn. At a point, a huge tension begins to grow up between them. She feels guilty about it, sensing she should be grateful, even as resentment and anger continue to grow in her. For his part, he can't help feeling angry because he feels himself being pushed away after all he has done for her. The tension eventually produces a storm, a big one, lots of anger, lots of shouting, lots of recrimination, and a calm afterwards. In that calm, she, still feeling guilty, apologizes and tells him she feels badly because he has been such a great teacher and she owes so much to him. But the storm has taught him its lesson. He now knows the reason for her resentment. In essence, he puts it this way: "I've been a good teacher and have loved you, up to a point, but now I realize what I was really doing. In effect, I was saying this to you: 'Grow, but not so much that you don't need me any more. Understand yourself, but not better than I understand you. Be free, but not of my expectations for you.' I offered you my love and help ... as long as I could dictate how you use them." Perhaps the deepest struggle we have (psychologically, morally and spiritually) is with possessiveness and what that triggers in us --- restlessness, jealousy, greed and manipulation. Something inside our very DNA makes us want to possess whatever is beautiful and to have exclusively for ourselves whatever we love. It's no accident that there are two commandments against jealousy. From a toddler's tantrum over his mother's inattention to the sexual jealousy so universal in adulthood, we see that it's hard to respond to what attracts us only with gratitude and admiration. For this reason, when we should be feeling wonderful, we often feel unsettled, restless, obsessed, and jealous in the face of beauty and love. Etty Hillesum gives us an honest expression of this in her insightful memoir, "An Interrupted Life": "And here I have hit upon something essential. Whenever I saw a beautiful flower, what I longed to do with it was press it to my heart, or eat it all up. It was more difficult with a piece of beautiful scenery, but the feeling was the same. I was too sensual, I might almost write too greedy. I yearned physically for all I thought was beautiful, wanted to own it. Hence the painful longing that could never be satisfied, the pining for something I thought unattainable, which I called my creative urge. "I believe it was this powerful emotion that made me think that I was born to produce great works. It all suddenly changed, God alone knows by what inner process, but it is different now. I realized it only this morning, when I recalled my short walk round the Skating Club a few nights ago. "It was dusk, soft hues in the sky, mysterious silhouettes of houses, trees alive with the light through the tracery of their branches, in short, enchanting. And then I knew precisely how I had felt in the past. Then all the beauty would have gone like a stab to my heart and I would not have known what to do with the pain. Then I would have felt the need to write, to compose verses, but the words would still have refused to come. I would have felt utterly miserable, wallowed in the pain and exhausted myself as a result. "The experience would have sapped all my energy...but its beauty now filled me with joy.... I no longer wanted to own it. I went home invigorated." These two stories teach us that an understanding of the root cause of our feeling of possessiveness would help us to overcome it Be it selfishness or lack of trust or feeling of insecurity, let us be honest to admit it and then start working on it. Can a cure ever be possible without a proper diagnosis? In the battle against possessiveness, both parties have an equally important role to play. So once the root cause is understood, both must be up in arms against it. It is a battle to save love and no sacrifice is too small in this epic struggle. May love always be victorious!