when you do fall for someone, you have the natural tendancy to want to see them all the time, spend time with them, be intimate with them, etc.. but is that bad?
We have to ask, what actually happens when you fall for someone. And so we have to go back to the experience of the moment itself, where two human beings come together, and there is something unique there. Something that makes the mind say yes I love this person. There is a connection, not only with this other person but with the moment itself, and this connection can only be felt and experienced when there is no demand on the moment, no argument with reality. And so experiences unfold within the presence of another human, and these experiences feel so pure, so right. Its more than physical attraction, its more than lust/sex, something deeper which on the level of soul is recognized as natural, there is an absence of self, an absence of self-concern, an absence of the movement of mind yearning for or running from some other experience. Hence I call the romantic experience a potential gateway to the Self, as the unawakened mind can see that true love does not stem from an "I" loving an "other", but from an experience which itself is absent of the false self.
But the mind, so used to "thinking" of itself as a separate person, reflects and projects, fragments the experience of love into the "thought" of loving another person. The mind also intuitively believes this other person caused the experience of no self, and thus is needed to recreate it. When we get attached, we are really getting attached to our thoughts of another human, an image. When dealing with attachment issues, its important to realize the mind has created the attachment to its own thoughts, not the human being. No human, no experience, is needed by the Self. The Self is That Within Which Experiences Arise.
I do feel that seeing and understanding the dynamic between experience and thinking about such experience is HUGE. That said, attachment is not something one can simply inquire away, God knows Ive tried. It can be suffered away, however. Yet, we must be willing to experience our attachments fully. Be willing to be hurt. Be willing to have your heart broken a thousand times over, you'll be no worse for the wear. It is the fear of a broken heart which leads to issues like control, jealousy, and all that love is not. So within the romantic experience exists a huge opportunity to learn how one's own mind fragments experience through thinking, fragments other human beings into thoughts, disconnects from the moment through a story of separate self. I believe Gangaji states something like, by living in fear of a broken heart, you live in a state of brokenheartedness. Thats always stuck with me.
Its ok to want to spend time with certain individuals and share experiences with certain people. Are these desires personal, of the false self, sure. If these desires are causing suffering for yourself, or suffering for someone else, then something is not being accepted, there is some personal control being exerted on life, and when this happens, you are at the mercy of life, and a student of love. Be willing to learn what you are not during those times, that life doesnt have to be any certain way for you to be at peace, and you are well on your way to whereever life may be taking you. Its that desire to take life somewhere which causes life to turn the tables on us. Its obvious when you look at it, quite another thing when youre an emotionally vested participant in it.
the experience of falling in love and being present with one's self seem like two opposing forces.
Quite right. Presence, the Self, has nothing to do with a separate self falling in love. That is merely part of the illusion of the false self. So yes the experience of falling in love contains many learning opportunities for the egoic mind. But for every land mine we step in, the false self loses a limb. Stay learning and you cannot possibly go wrong. Cultivate a faith in love as you would in life. Know that everything that happens in life and love is exactly what you need for this step on your journey, and be willing and ready to jump any hurdles life puts in front of you. What else can you do?