4 of 4 – EcoSex @ U Conn – Anapol’s The 7 Natual Laws of Love – Student Responses: John’s Take
The EcoSex course at U Conn is in process. It’s a great experience. We are reading amazing books. Thinking out of the box and across disciplines. Students are sending their responses in, with discussion questions. In class, we connect the dots: a holograph of what we’ve read together, the “required readings.” Multiple perspectives and good synergy. Here, we offer a glimpse. Deborah Anapol’s The Seven Natural Lawsof Love, was one of two introductory books. We got four responses: from Alissa, Rhiann, Adam, and John.
Contrary to others’ expectations, I liked this book and not just because it had footnotes and all. (The difference being that Dr. Anapol is talking about esoteric topics here. You can talk about esoteric things all you want without citing statistics or sources but it certainly helps; Weiss was declaring numbers and scientific experiments without actually saying where she got her information from before making alarmist claims). I really like the idea of applying spirituality to solving material problems. Thich Nhat Hanh, His Holiness Dalai Lama XIV, and Aang Sun Suu Kyi are all on board with this idea, all of them subscribing to Engaged Buddhism.
I really have no criticisms of this book. I think it’s an interesting philosophy. It’s one that she not arrives logically and experientially, but also provides Exercises to put her Laws into practice (something a lot of philosophers fail to do).
That said, it was something of an emotional read. Dr. Anapol writes on pg. 20,
… sometimes people have the experience of hearing the words ‘I love you’ but inwardly feeling the words are a lie. Instead of trusting the gut feeling, they believe they should feel loved. They may judge themselves for not being open to the love or decide that they are damaged and unable to tolerate being loved. If they later learn their intuition was accurate, they may go on to become mistrustful of others and doubt that the words and the love could ever be congruent.
I’ve experienced this in different forms. My mother, for example, was so sensitive to the tiny phrase “I love you” that she wouldn’t even allow the word “hate” in the house (in any context) saying that it would invite us to hate each other. She once accused me of loving our dog more than her, which made it difficult to respond, “I love you.” Accusing is typically not a loving action.
The same thing happened with my relationship a year ago. The woman I was in love with encouraged me to say those words as if they held a certain magical power. Apparently the only power they held was to unravel the relationship. As soon as we said them to each other, our relationship fell apart. My friends remember that time saying I was “less than a month away from alcohol poisoning.” I’m still trying to work through the exact definition of “love” and this book helped me move past that incident just a little bit.
Obviously, I found a lot of stuff in this book that directly applied to my own experiences. My most recent relationship ended just before reading this book. We hadn’t spoken in days precisely because we didn’t know how to talk to each other any more. Our conversations always became offensive or taken in the wrong context. We slowly retreated from each other because we were always walking on pins and needles. Finally, when we finally decided that we needed to address our communication issue, we became completely honest with each other, explained our hurts and attempts at communication and why we were so unresponsive, there was a strong connection that suddenly developed and breaking up seemed like a horrible idea, but a necessary one. Then this line on page 78 hit home,
Have you ever noticed that whenever someone honestly expresses whatever they are feeling – with no blame, defensiveness, self-deception or hidden agenda – you feel a surge of love? Even if what’s been said is not what you wanted to hear, the very act of vulnerable self-disclosure draws love like a magnet.
This is the perfect description of what happened between us. It’s something that I’m not sure I would have been able to fully understand without experiencing it first hand, and I’m very happy I did.
I really enjoyed reading this book and feel like I need to go through it a second time to digest fully the experiences Dr. Anapol had with these spiritual masters.
Questions for Discussion:
1.Did you find any quotes that you might not have understood without experiencing them first?
2.Are there “types” of love? For example, is there an inherent difference between the parent/child love and what one would experience during an intimate sexual relationship?
Let “nature” be your teacher in the arts of love. Education is the heart of democracy, education to love. Come back for more wonders: Students Responses to appear every Tuesday. Book Reports scheduled every other Thursday. Check out our summer offerings: Ecosexuality in Portland, OR, July 17-21. Info and Registration here!
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, PhD
Gilf Gaia Extraordinaire
Author of Gaia,Eros, and many other books about love Professor of Humanities