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It All Arose and Fell Within Me – The Physiology, Psychology and Pneumatology of “Romantic Love”

Dec 24, 2017

By :  Dr. Richa Chopra (M.Sc, ADPSc, Ph.D), Director, Academic Quality Development Cell, Chief Counsellor, Vivechana~The Counselling Space, Sri Sri University & Senior Art of Living International Teacher.

“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”

 Nicole Krauss, The History Of Love


The vicissitudinal journey of “Love” that almost griped three decades of my life across all its stages of “crushes”, “infatuations”, “limerence”, “unconditional love” and a host of all world labels one can think of, now brings me to a stage of sheer amusement…

Recollecting all my smiles, each time I would talk about a new entrant in my life, or a loss of appetite, roses alighting my cheeks on the brink of a mention or the heart beating beyond its capacity!

Acts of repetitiveness, psychological states of a make-belief world, gallons of chemical reactions running across the length and width of my medium fragile frame…

All this being such fun and yet equally depressing when caught in the maze of one-sided puppy love amid seemingly happy couples around. Social comparison can be a nasty part of human nature!

Surpassing all of this and standing firm over a Galore of “Experiences”, the enlightened me now objectively mulls – “These Romantic Episodes that arose and fell within me was in its truest sense all about My Physiology, Psychology, and Pneumatology…”

“That it was the dopamine, created in my brain and adrenal glands that enhanced the release of testosterone. It was this dopamine again that affected not only certain organs including the sweat glands but also the senses, moods, and emotions.”

The Testosterone in me increased not just the innate desires, but also fueled aggressive behavior so as to pursue the one who was fueling this intense response.

And as if this were not enough, the neurotransmitters “norepinephrine” and PEA (phenylethylamine) lead to focused attention goading me to “zero-in” on the person of desire, and at the same time, often have a feeling of euphoria. Norepinephrine, the stimulant also caused me to feel alert, potentially unable to sleep, and enabling notice and remember even the smallest of details of my loved one. And when the relationship did not last, these PEA levels fell and were partly responsible for the feelings of depression.

“Puppy Love”, I now realize was a significant experience in the process of my maturing that showed up as an attraction to one of my teachers making me “greatly moved with emotions” and spending much time in daydreaming and wishful fantasies. Yet the good thing about this Crush was that it gave me a new sense of individualism. Though the old humor goes that “If you marry on the strength of puppy love, you’ll end up leading a dog’s life.

Next came the experience of being in a state of “Limerence” (also infatuated love) – a cognitive and emotional state of being emotionally attached or rather obsessed that was involuntarily characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of the other’s feelings—a near-obsessive form of romantic love.

I remember that was a phase of being in a state of over emphasizing on the perceived exceptional qualities and a devotion with the person in context yet at the same time, abundance of doubt on my feelings being reciprocated. This would lead to “personal incapacitation expressed through unsettling timidity in the presence of the person”, something which would cause misery and galvanize desire.

What eventually destroyed my limerence was a suitably long period of time without reciprocation.

Heroic things, silly things, kind things, hurtful and passionate things – beyond all these struggles in the name of love, it finally boils just to one realization – “I am Love” and “I myself am Infinity”.

My finally found “Liberation from Seeking Love”, is embedded beyond my inner shackles of Physiology and Psychology. The excruciating drill through these decades and vicissitudes has truly been worthy. All my adorations are virtuous of a thousand salutations as I stand with both my hands extended into the universe as a conduit of “Unconditional Love”.

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