Love at First Sight

An Instant Visual Attraction

Love at first sight? What does this entail? With a single glance, one forms an immediate attraction for another. Frequently both individuals will feel this same almost instantaneous 'love' for each other. It happened to my wife and I. Many, though not all, long term couples have had the experience of 'love at first sight'. Many times, this visual bonding initiates the relationship.

In other words, it is not an unusual occurance. In fact, global literature contains many examples of this peculiar phenomenon. In the Western tradition, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet see each other from a distance and fall immediately in love, even though they are from rival families. In the East, Hinduism's Rama and Sita develop an uncontrollable passion for one another due to a single glance. In both cases, this almost accidental glance had long term ramifications. These relationships were not arranged. Instead the meeting of eyes initiated the union.

The ‘Love at first sight’ phenomenon applies to many circumstances, not just love. It applies equally to friendship, habitation, education, exercise and even things.  One sees a fellow human, a house, a college, or a sculpture. This one glance can easily lead to a long-term relationship, whether as friends, living quarters, educational institution or material possession.  

For instance, the Author saw some individuals practicing Tai Chi in Golden Gate Park and immediately knew that he wanted to learn this form of exercise. He eventually realized his desire and has now been practicing Tai Chi for over 30 years. His 3 year old daughter developed an immediate and long term friendship with another 3 year old. They are still friends over 20 years later. Another daughter fell in love with Berkeley upon merely seeing the campus. She eventually graduated from this esteemed institution. Nearly everyone has had the experience of an immediate and enduring attraction for someone or something based upon sight.

The basis of ‘love at first sight’

What is the basis of ‘love at first sight’?

The scientific community is mute on the topic and the religious community considers it a nuisance, at best. However, the ‘love at first sight’ experience seems to be human universal.

Let us offer some speculation on the matter. The eyes are powerful information processors. No matter what level of the biological hierarchy, Life’s primary motivation is to fulfill potentials. The eyes, as the windows of the Mind, identify those environmental features that allow us fulfill these potentials. On the most literal level, the Mind might recognize a fellow soul mate through visual analysis alone. On more basic levels, this 'first sight' might identify food or sexual partners. On more sophisticated levels, the eyes might pinpoint an activity, an individual, or object that could somehow lead to self-actualization. We scan the environment, almost desperately, for this key to the Door.

Self-actualization is used in its broadest sense. It could entail something grand like enlightenment or fulfilling potentials as a artist. It could also entail living life more fully by having adventures or exquisite fun. In this sense, attraction at first sight occurs regularly.

This glance can lead us to fulfill our Dharma/Destiny. For instance due to his 'first sight' of Sita, Rama was eventually led to conquer evil in the form of Ravana the Demon King.

Differentiating Love & Lust

Of course, the notion of ‘love at first sight’ is not always reliable. Some instead call it ‘lust at first sight’. For instance, the Demoness in the Ramayana fell in lust with Rama as soon as she saw him. We see an object or situation and want it. The eyes see and the Mind desires, frequently unreasonably. Acccordingly, the most effective advertizing appeals to the eyes.

How is one to differentiate love and lust?

The first step is investigation. To dissuade the Demoness from her passion, Rama immediately informs her that he is married. While the eyes can identify a potential relationship, the reasonable Mind can negate the option. Unfortunately, out-of-control desires polluted the Demoness’ Mind. As a result, she took unreasonable steps to fulfill her passion.

For this reason, it is of utmost importance to regularly clean the Mirror of the Mind of verbal debris. A clean Mirror reflects potentials clearly. A dirty Mirror distorts the perceptions, leading to irrational decisions based upon polluted desires and imaginary fears. For the polluted Mind, ‘love at first sight’ is instead based in lust.

Cleaning the Mirror of the Mind

How does one clean the Mirror of the Mind?

Clean the Mind of personal Ego. This is the root cause of most mental pollution. We mistakenly believe that we are our Person. We tend to be proud of who we consider ourselves to be. We become angry or threatened when this mental construct is attacked. Our emotions are aroused, which in turn disturb our organs. They excrete inappropriate bio-chemicals that poison our system.

Our Person sees something and wants it. Attached to our emotional desires, we do everything in our power to make our Person happy. Unfortunately, our Person is a transitory illusion. The cycle of desire is endless.

How to rid ourselves of Personal Ego?

Stillness. Slow down. Reflect inwards. Relentlessly investigate the roots of our emotions. Realize that we are not who we think ourselves to be. Attempt to eradicate all emotional attachments, especially prideto personal desires. Rather than reacting automatically to external situations, investigate underlying assumptions. Don't be a victim of emotional momentum.

When the eye is attracted or repelled by something, survey the internal environment for alternate opinions. On a trivial level, our Eyes see a pastry that appeals to the Tongue. Certainly a case of 'love at first sight'. Rather than unilaterally throwing it into the Mouth, listen inwards. Perhaps the Stomach has an alternate opinion. Sated with a huge meal to digest, he registers a veto. Listen and respond intentionally, rather than automatically.

In summary, 'love at first sight' is a universal human phenomenon. Sometimes, this spontaneous attraction is a Key to our Dharma Path. Pursuing this desire leads to our Destiny. Sometimes this attraction is a Key to our Doom. Pursuing this desire leads to disaster. Unable to respond effectively to context, we crash on the rocks of Fate.

To differentiate the two, it is of utmost importance to clean the Mirror of the Mind of Personal Ego. To this end, we must slow down our reactive emotional momentum. Seek quiet time to listen inwards for the divine spark. During quietude, relentlessly attempt to identify underlying motivations. Attempt to purify ourselves of attachment to Self, the desires, fears and pride that we consider ourself to be.


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