People who have cut themselves off from passion have switched their allegiance to something else almost as strong. Because the flow of life won’t be stopped, a counterforce must be called in to oppose it–the counterforce of fear. Fear of life is extremely common whenever someone complains of ennui.
Fear at any level of the psyche makes it much more difficult to trust that passion is safe. If my wife criticizes me, a warning voice that I hardly notice will sap my desire for her. If my husband dislikes the way I keep house, I will feel inhibition about fully expressing my sexual needs. Thus existential issues are activated by everyday obstacles.
In relationships where two people have allowed the underground war between fear and desire to go on too long, suppressing passion becomes an actual life goal. In fear’s warped value system, getting “too close” seems like a problem instead of the solution. As nature created us it is normal to seek pleasure; a fearful person avoids pain instead.
The reason that falling in love is so passionate is simple: desire is no longer a choice. Romance bursts the dam of inhibition. Its erotic power proves too much for fear and repression to hold back. At the deepest level people never fall in love accidentally. They simply grow tired of living without passion, and having made this unconscious decision they open up once more and allow themselves to receive love.
Without waiting to fall in love, you can rekindle passion by imitating this process. When the passion is gone from a relationship, both partners must be honest in stating that they have desires. The critical step is to eliminate your partner entirely as the cause of the problem and take responsibility for your own feelings.
Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).