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Romance is the intensity of adventurous emotion which forgets the present and future.

— Karmayogi

Level 7 - Mental love

Real love is a pure and special vibration between people that differs from the intense longings and passions many describe by the word. It is difficult to sustain vital forms of love without strong positive encouragement from the other person, whereas mental love does not depend on reciprocity. The power of Mind arises from an organization of ideas. Mental love is based on an idealistic conception of what love is and a perception of idealized values in the other person. Mental love gives rise to unwavering loyalty. It involves a lasting commitment to the other person which does not depend on circumstances, personal contact or even the response of the other person. We can love another person as an individual only when we fully recognize and respect the ways they are unique and different from ourselves and value them for those differences rather than trying to change them or mold them into our ideal image. Mental love may lack the intense sensations of previous stages, but it brings a lightness, sweetness and refinement of feeling that is uplifting and more deeply fulfilling.

An Angelic Goodness (Gone with the Wind)

The relationship between Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara is glorified in the public imagination as the quintessence of romance. But the real love story in Gone with the Wind is not between these two selfish, self-centered characters whose passion torments and ultimately ruins the happiness of both. It is rather the quiet, idealized love between Ashley and Melanie Wilkes that depicts the true qualities and power of love to nurture, save and protect, even in times of extraordinary upheaval. Scarlett has set her heart on marrying the refined and cultured Ashley. But he chooses instead his mild-mannered and frail cousin Melanie and marries her just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Then he is called to serve in the Southern army and they are separated for the duration of the war.

 

Melanie lacks the captivating beauty, energy, vitality, and feminine wiles of Scarlett. But her gentle heart is made of pure goodness and possesses extraordinary power of goodwill that protects Ashley through the long years of fighting and imprisonment. She combines goodness and goodwill with a capacity for total self-giving to those she loves, which makes her one of the most remarkable women in life or literature. Incapable of a selfish act, she yearns only for the well-being and happiness of her husband, family and friends. Incapable of suspicion or recriminations against anyone, she loves Scarlett even though she knows of Scarlett’s secret yearning for her husband and on her death bed urges Scarlett to care for Ashley. The suffering and destruction wrought by Civil War leave little scope for pleasure or happiness of any description, but through it all Melanie’s unshakeable loyalty and commitment to those she loves creates a cocoon of sweetness and affection which nurtures and protects. Ashley is devastated by her death. Only after her passing, does Scarlett realize the immense power of her idealized love.

A Queen’s Love (First Knight)

Can a person truly love more than one person? In the movie First Knight, Lady Guinevere is torn between her deep, idealistic admiration for the good and noble King Arthur and her passionate emotional attraction to valiant Lancelot. Her love and loyalty to her husband King are juxtaposed to the yearning of her heart and body for the knight who has twice saved her life. Her love of Arthur is the mind’s idealism which cherishes all that is true and noble. Her love of Lancelot is yearning vital-emotional passion. Though very different in nature, Guinevere’s love and loyalty to Arthur are as real and compelling as her powerful physical and vital attraction to Lancelot. A human being is capable of loving more than one person, but few have the energy and intensity to maintain it. In this case, Arthur dies so she can live out her love with Lancelot.

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