Is our assumption about love blocking our realization of love?
Love is what novels and movies talk about. Such depictions of love conjure images of sensual highs and emotional crests.
But real love is more about giving of ourselves to another person; it is about service and sacrifice, about selflessness and absorption in another. And real love is that which lasts and lasts forever. That love is possible only at the spiritual level, because that level of reality alone is eternal. As souls, when we direct our love towards Krishna and through him to all living beings, then the resulting love floods and fulfills our heart eternally.
But because we are too attached to material things, as the Bhagavad-gita (15.11) we can’t perceive the momentous changes happening in our consciousness at the spiritual level. We assume that when we practice devotional service, Krishna signs a contract to take care of our material life on our terms. This assumption prevents us from relishing Krishna’s love at the spiritual level of reality, but also prevents us from raising our consciousness to that level. Drowning people when rescued get relief not by the removal of water from the ocean but by the removal of their own soaked bodies from the ocean.
Similarly, devotional service provides us relief not by changing the nature of material reality, but by giving us an experience of a higher reality and thereby changing the nature of our relationship with material reality. When we open-mindedly and whole-heartedly serve Krishna, without expecting our service to act as a subconscious bargaining tool to get him to agree to our terms, then we discover how his terms and his plans for us are far better than what we could ever have thought – and his love is far sweeter than what our fanciful notions of love had conjured.
"The endeavoring transcendentalists who are situated in self-realization can see all this clearly. But those whose minds are not developed and who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try."