In our culture we are not taught to see falling in love as a spiritual event, yet for centuries that was the accepted interpretation.
When the question “Where does love come from?” was asked, the universal answer was God. The lives of saints of every religion have demonstrated love in its spiritual dimension; at the same time the humblest person who fell in love also realized he was treading on sacred ground. Over the centuries, particularly in the West, the divine connection was lost.
In spiritual terms falling in love is an opening, an opportunity to step into the timeless and stay there, to learn the ways of spirit and bring them down to earth.
All openings are temporary – this is not a limitation specific to falling in love. The real question is, What should we do with the opening? The highest spiritual qualities – those of truth, faith, trust, and compassion – grow from the tiniest seeds of daily experience. How can we tend this fragile opening of the heart, nurture it until it develops into more substantial stages of growth?
We must examine romance, the first stage in love’s journey, as part of a timeless cycle that brings greater and greater knowledge of spiritual reality.
There are four distinct phases of romance: attraction, infatuation, courtship, and intimacy. Although not everyone can expect to experience them exactly the same way, all four naturally emerge once your feeling for someone else go beyond friendship to passionate attachment. These four phases of romance occur in a natural, linear sequence, but at the same time they come full circle.
Although it happens spontaneously, falling in love isn’t accidental – there are no accidents in the spiritual life, only patterns we haven’t yet recognized.
All love is based on the search for spirit.
Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).