Many people think ‘LOVE LIES’ as a title sounds cynical. That is not my intention.
I saw Andre as another kind of ‘Everyman’, carrying a bag of rubbish, unconscious of its existence. He wanted to feel better and thought ‘love’ was the answer.
C.G. Jung says we’re born with a black bag attached to our hip and in it we place everything we find difficult about ourselves. By the time we’re adult it can be miles long. Andre carried such a bag of dark stuff with him, but he didn’t know it. That really is the basis of LOVE LIES.
Things like love, romance, marriage, family and children are seen as doors to happiness. I got Andre to try ’em all. They failed, because he hadn’t opened that bag. He felt love had lied to him, and to Leonora.
Or simply, everywhere Andre put emotion seemed to draw a blank, because his mindset was lying to him. Andre didn’t realise he was in his own dark. Love lay outside his sphere of consciousness. All he had was pain inside. He tried ‘normal’ societal stuff, but everything lied to him. It’s like moving house to move out of awkward pain, it won’t work.
The novel isn’t about me making a sweeping statement of love telling us lies, but it’s my struggle to get to grips with Andre looking into his bag of dark stuff – whether it’s true or not – and still living a life, albeit a suffering one. That’s why LOVE LIES is a journal, Andre’s journal.
I suppose we need delusions to keep us hopeful – or do I sound too cynical? If only Andre had been able to go into his dark bag of tricks and learn to see and accept himself, just as he is! That is the path to autonomy. But Andre kept his dark places dark. He lied to himself. His ‘self-love’ lied to him.
With LOVE LIES I tried to open Andre’s black bag to liberate him from his past and allow him to become what he is, dark or light, happy or sad. Much as I wanted to relieve Andre of his turmoil, I put him through it so that he could learn to face himself and go on to embrace the world.
This ‘mindfulness’ of learning to see and accept ourselves just as we are, which came to me through writing about how we often lie to ourselves, inspired me to create ‘Mindful Writing’ workshops (see www.arnfridbeier.com). I hope to see some of you there to carry on this conversation.
P.D.Ouspensky, The Fourth Way, ‘The Psychology of Lying’, based on the Teaching of G.I.Gurdjieff, 1957, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London;
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are, ‘Mindfulness Meditation for Everyday Life’, 1994, Piatkus, London;
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, ‘A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’, 2001, Hodder & Stoughton, London.
(Originally published 26.08.2009.)