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What Really Is Love? Part One


I’m going to give voice to my inner Lover archetype for this and the next post. We had an internal, “active imagination” dialogue while I was driving from Denver to Colorado Springs last night around the topic of Love.

I mean, really, who am I to speak of love? Apart from spiritual, unconditional love, which I do have abundantly from many decades of spiritual practice and positive relations generally, this is a topic that most would see in the context of romance, marriage and family, and I consider myself “post” relational, except nowadays for deep Friendship with my dog and cats, family, and close friends. I “did relationships…” but I have relinquished that pursuit for over 13 years—as I mentioned in the last post I have a Shadow Lover facet of Self going on…

Anyway then, Part One (this week) as an expression from my Inner Lover to the page is a Better Endings story that She/I like a whole lot and have never forgotten. Part Two (stay tuned!) will be an open expression from my Lover persona archetype about ‘What Really Is Love?’ that we will subtitle: ‘If I could live but only in the Moment.’


A Better Endings Story about ‘What Really Is Love?”:

One of the best love stories I have ever encountered was in a late night movie I happened to catch some 30 years ago on TV. It was titled “The Man Eating Tiger” (or something close to that). It was about a mercenary sharp shooter during WWII who was hired by an African village to track down and kill a Bengal tiger that was terrorizing the community and had already killed many residents. Now as the story goes, there was also a female nurse serving the village who just happened to be a woman the mercenary had been in love with before his best friend and war buddy had married her instead. She was the person who had recommended him for the job of taking down the man-eating tiger. As a plot twist, this nurse’s husband had gone Missing in Action from the WWII  front lines as an Army infantry soldier, and it had been months already since anyone had heard of his whereabouts so that he was considered to have likely been killed.


Now then, the plot thickens as the Mercenary is once again stricken with feelings of love for the nurse, his missing best friend’s wife that he now sees daily but only for so long as he will stay at the African village to complete his mission and take down the Tiger.  He becomes deeply conflicted—as does she but less so—about whether to act on his feelings in his friend’s absence (and probable death). Should he proclaim his love?

The scene I like so much and that I will never forget from this story involves an evening walk that the Mercenary takes with an Indian woman he has befriended, also a nurse in the village. He is able to open up with this wise Indian woman about his deep feelings of love he has for the Nurse and how conflicted he feels about being in the village without being able to declare his true feelings. He WANTS her; he sees the condition of her missing husband as an opportunity to have what he most desperately wants in his life: Her.

But the Indian friend speaks to the Mercenary about the true meaning of Love.  She tells him she has observed Americans and other Europeans to have gotten the reality of love all mixed up and topsy-turvy. She points out that to Europeans, what they—including the Mercenary—think of or speak of as love is much too often little more than possessiveness. They pursue one another by wanting to possess the love “object.” That is wrong. Instead, if they truly were meant for one another, if they truly held genuine and authentic love for one another, they would want ONLY that which would be the very BEST for their beloved. They would be willing and happy in fact to LET GO, to detach from any relationship less than fully conducive to the total freedom and happiness of their beloved.


images are from

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you the rest of the story as it was portrayed in the movie. I will tell you that the husband does come back and that in the jungle whilst the Mercenary is about to catch up with the Tiger, his MIA friend shows up (not yet having arrived at the village to present himself to his wife) and the Man Eating Tiger is about to pounce on him! What do you believe the Mercenary will do? Will he shoot the Tiger and save his rival friend? Has he yet learned what Really Is Love?

Can you relate to this story metaphorically?

I welcome your Comments and Stories!