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Falling In Love With Our Fantasies
What Karla loved was her fantasy about her boyfriend, not him. All fantasies fade, they have to - that is the nature of dreams. In the beginning the fantasy felt wonderful, though, and the beauty of it reflected upon her. She must also be perfect, she thought -- if someone like him could love her. Then reality set in.
To Karla, reality could never be perfect - only fantasy. Reality was an enemy. Daily life is an opponent of fantasy, it always forces us to be who we are and see what is before us, whether we like it or not. Karla did not like reality, and blamed it upon her boyfriend, not upon her own unwillingness to be with life as it is. Zen practice teaches the art of being with life as it is.
Like Karla, a young Zen student was shocked when she learned things about a senior student she had not known before. In a state of anxiety, she talked to a friend. "I loved him so much," she said. "I thought he as so beautiful, so perfect. Now my dreams are smashed."
The friend looked at her slowly. "You didn't love him at all," she said. "You loved your fantasies about him. If you can know the whole truth, and still love him, then that is really love."
Karla was unable to love the truth of life, to see the real beauty surrounding her. When we are ready to wake up from fantasies, we find love and joy everywhere. This is the work of Zen practice.
"Kabir says this - just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things and stand firm in that which you are."