There is a story told by don Miguel Ruiz in his book, The Mastery of Love about The Man Who Didn’t Believe in Love.
The tale tells of a man who didn’t believe in love. By studying the love and relationships of others, even those long who professed to have longstanding, high-quality love affairs, deduced from the data he’d collected that there was no such thing as love.
He believed that love was like a drug which most people are addicted to. Once you’ve tasted of it, you must have more of it, and you might do just about anything to get it, even compromising your core beliefs, and denying your personal needs to get your addiction satisfied.
The man who didn’t believe in love gained the attention of many others whom he persuaded to subscribe to his point of view, “love does not exist.”
Then, one day, he finds a sad woman on a park bench, and asks her why she is so sad? She tells him she doesn’t believe in love, which piques his interest. She tells her story about how she once believed in love, married, went through all the motions to sacrifice everything for love. She took care of everyone, her husband, the kids, everyone but herself.
Now that the kids have all left the next, she and her husband discovered they had nothing in common. No love. Not even friendship remained. They divorced and went their own ways because nothing remained or survived their marriage.
She was left so terribly alone, with nothing to fall back on, because of her sacrificing everything for the relationship, as she awakened to the idea that there was no such thing as love and her life was wasted on forcing herself to propagate the idea of it.
This woman and the man who didn’t believe in love became friends. Their relationship was something special. Since they never believed in love, they became the best of friends, drawing ever closer together out of mutual respect for each other. They didn’t hold unreasonable expectations for each other, allowed each other to do whatever they wanted to do, together or apart, and they began to grow closer to each other trusting each other impeccably.
One day the man is walking through the park and he quickened by the thought that maybe love does exist, only maybe it’s not what everyone thinks it is. Maybe, just maybe, the relationship which he and this woman are sharing is love. It certainly feels more authentic and true than any other representation of love.
He and the woman are now living together, so he goes home to tell her of his epiphany, and she intimates that she had the same thought, only she was reluctant to say anything because he didn’t believe in love.
Then, one day, the man is walking alone at night with his heart so filled with love, looking up into the star-filled sky, a miracle happens. The most beautiful of all the stars descended. Floating down from its home in the sky the star sets itself gently into the hand of the man, then another miracle happens. The star’s light sends a beam into the heart of the man, and the man feels more love than ever before.
With his heart so full of love, the man rushes home to tell the woman of his miraculous discovery.
He tells the woman of the story, and so filled with love, excitement, and a yearning to share his love with the woman so she, too, can share in this experience. He places his star in her hands. Overcome by the magnificence of the star, still, the woman wonders if it could really be true?
In that moment of doubt, the star slips from her hands, falls to the ground, and is shattered into a million pieces.
Now there is a man who wanders the world who doesn’t believe in love, and a lonely old woman who had a chance to have all the love which could ever be imagined, if not for one moment of doubt.
I refer to this story often, as I can relate to it so well and so can others who hear it.
If you’re wondering wht the moral of the story is, you should pick up a copy of don Miguel Ruiz’ book, The Mastery of Love.