How to Know if You`re Really in Love/Follow-Up to an Earlier Question


Dear Carl,
I wrote to you about two months ago, and you offered a beautiful way at looking at my situation and some instructions to contemplate the following thought:

"You can not change habits by knowledge or force of will; you can only change habits with a deeply diligent spiritual path of practiced awareness and new habits."

At first, I was confused because I thought you hadn't answered my question.  But as the days continued on and I contemplated your words, I realize you had given me so much more than "advice".  From then, I began a journey, with God, and started changing my habits.  Not through sheer will power, but through practice and commitment to growing wiser about my attitudes toward others and myself.  There is not enough time to go through the whole list of how my entire life has changed, but I want to thank you so much for helping me and also ask another question if I may.

Two months into this journey, I have been growing so strong in my love, forgiveness, and spirituality… I was at peace for most of the time, with a few minor things (lasting only minutes) here and there, before mindfulness took over and I was once again grounded.  But last night, that situation for which I initially wrote to you sprang up, and like wildfire it has quickly burned at my heart and spread to all areas of my thinking.  Although not as strong as before, I'm having bouts of disgust and anger when I think of that person and anything related to him.  I keep saying prayers and send blessings his way, and eventually I will come around to feeling peaceful again, but minutes later after I think it's over and I will go back to complete peacefulness, the angry thoughts return. I thought I was beyond this point.  I logically, and emotionally, know that this is only hurting me.  Any idea of what I can do to stop it and return to my peaceful state?

Thank you,

Dear Adelle,

It's so nice
To hear that
Love became you

It's not necessary to stay
In an uncomfortable love
Simply because you grew to love it more

Melanie Beattie said a good thing
She said confusion is a gift
I would tend to agree

When you don't know if something is right
You also know it is partially wrong
This is helpful
And can help
Help move you along

Sometimes its okay to remain
As long as your inertia keeps you there
Follow your feet then they go roaming
Roaming home

Another thing you could do is try to meditate on what this is
What is--really is--the nature of your discontent
Is it the problem, or your inability to move beyond it?

I am very happy you found room and ability
For spiritual growth
However, I have to ask
What is the nature of it

Does it emanate from within
From an understanding of what is
Or is it really a dependency on promises you believe in

If it is the latter, that is the origin of your discontent
For it depends on a paradigm of dualism
To really accept the universe and the people in it
We cannot have deep expectations
Especially built on dualism

Dualism prevents us from seeing reality
And this is why we are often disappointed

When we eliminate dualism
We can accept
When we can accept
We truly can forgive
When we truly forgive
We truly love
Then we can move on  

How to Know if You`re Really in Love

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Mando (Carl Atteniese Jr.)


I've read, thought, written, and taught about love for over eleven years. I've had thoughtful love-oriented relationships only--for about twenty-eight years. I struggle endlessly to be a supremely thoughtful, compassionate, fair, and empirical thinker. This is crucial. I believe in the feeling and process of love. This is also crucial. As an artist, a poet, and an essayist--as a teacher of ESL in other cultures--I have had ample opportunity for the analysis of love... personally and inter-culturally, and this has made my introspection and analysis of relationships--with original ideas and those of my favorite psychotherapists--very fruitful. I will tell you three things, which will help you now--before you even write to me: To have true love in yourself and with another, you must: 1. Be Free. 2. Be Adult. 3. Be Honest. 4. Be Disciplined. 5. Find numbers 3~5 easy, because you are overcome with love. 6. Be willing to do virtually anything reasonable (and many things unreasonable from the point of view of others).7. Never settle (in other words, be with someone you do not love), thinking that you will grow into love. 8. Never take a match made by another; your heart and mind must choose your love--period. 9. Never allow yourself to be put into temptation--ever (this is also natural--if you are in love). 10. Be able to listen like you never listened before--to yourself and to your beloved. 11. Love humanity--both the conditions & qualities, and all people.


I've been fortunate to have helped many people around the world and I love to do it. I will be happy to help you, too--no matter whom you are. If I am busy or unable to help you right away, consider these books to help you help yourself--until I can respond: "Being Happy", by Andrew Mathews; any books by Dr. Wayne Dyer; "The Art of Loving", by Dr. Erich Fromm; "Love", by Leo Buscaglia, "True Love", and "Anger", both by Thich Nhat Hanh. Also Read "The Beloved" and "The Prophet", both by Khalil Gibran. Read "The Road Less Traveled" and "People of The Lie", both by Dr. M. Scott Peck.... Learn more about me at

Amnesty International Partner of Conscience (, Union of Concerned Scientists ( and (htp://

Korea Herald (, New York Newsday, The Planetary Review, The Long Island Catholic, Wake Up And Laugh (, The Ocean And The Stars (, Cradle of The Universe (

Certificates in recognizing violence in the home and child abuse, in preventing violence in school. Raised with an emphasis on loving all people and to be politically active. Studied Zen at Hwa Gye Sa Temple, Han Maum Zen & Culture Center, and The Buddhist English Library of Seoul, in South Korea. Taught seventeen years in the US and South Korea. Teacher Training in the U.S. at Berlitz and the Center for English Studies, NYC, and at Inlingua, Princeton. Studied Drawing, Photography, and Painting at the School of Visual Arts, NYC, and basic Psychology at Nassau Community College, Long Island. Fifteen years of experience teaching English as a Second language--many of those years abroad--has helped as well, as people from other cultures help us see ourselves and other human beings in a different light.

Awards and Honors
My reward is knowing I have helped people.

Past/Present Clients
I have taught and counseled people of all ages, experience-levels, professions and religions, and consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity and thankful to those who have shared with me. Every such interaction is a learning experience, and an opportunity for growth and improvement.

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