What Does Love Mean to YOU?
Both the words GOD and LOVE tend to come with their own baggage. Baggage essentially means established and entrenched ideas and beliefs about what a word means. For many people, but not all, the word God has the tendency to invoke ideas of religion and therefore division, of conversion and therefore of coercion, of conflict and therefore long wars, of penance and therefore suffering. The word love, on the other hand, tends to invoke ideas of romance, finding your soul mate, the 'broken heart', being with your 'lover', wedding bells and raising families. In both cases the true meaning of the words are almost entirely lost.
We all know there are many faces of love, many expressions that don't instantly come to mind when love becomes the center of our conversations. Care and compassion, patience and kindness, respect and appreciation are all faces of love that find expression and value in a much broader context than just a romantic relationship. However, when we can't or fail to find the person who is going to be our 'one love', the person whom we believe is waiting exclusively for us, or when we seem to lose that one special love/r whom we believed was exclusively ours, we start to notice how fast these faces of love disappear. Often they are replaced by animosity, resentment and regret, and sometimes depression. In such moments we signal to our self and to the world that we don't know love. We thought we had it, so we thought we were doing it, but we didn't and we weren't! If we were, then acceptance, forgiveness and appreciation would be the currency of all our relationships at all times regardless of the level of intimacy.
It's probably safe to say that most of us intuitively know that love is both a selfless intention and benevolent action towards another. Deep in our hearts we know it's an unconditional act. And yet, many find themselves worrying and even obsessing about, "When will I find/get 'MY' true love? Why has no one shown up to love ME? Why don't you love ME anymore?." Is this love talking or simply a selfish desire to be treasured and comforted by another.
Is Love a Fall?
When we do seemingly 'fall in love' with one other our consciousness tends to narrow into a mental obsession with them. We can think of no one else. And yet we also intuitively seem to know that love is not the energy of exclusivity. Love is known and shown by someone who is open and wide, broad and deeply able to demonstrate inclusivity. So perhaps 'fall' is the appropriate description after all, because fall we do when we only have eyes, thoughts and time for one other. But fall in love? Unlikely! Love is not what we fall into, it's more like the opposite, it's love that we fall 'out of' and attachment to the other that signals our 'downward fall'. Hence the passing of the honeymoon period, which is essentially the inevitable ending of the sizzling excitement of the others presence in our life as it fades into it's own routines! In many cases it's only then that 'real love' starts to establish and stabilize the connection.
This search for love also indicates that we have probably missed the deepest meaning of love. To want, to desire, to crave to be loved is to forget love is not acquired, it is something that we are here to do. How powerful is the societal myth that says love is a primary need of all humans beings? It's an idea that seeps into our soul and induces sorrow when our need is seemingly unfulfilled. Little do we realize that freedom from all our sorrows, sufferings and sadnesses can only happen when we awaken to the truth about love - we don't need to get it, we need to give it.
From Being to Doing
Many a tale has been told of those who do awaken to this truth. It is that moment when love is realized to be 'here', it is 'now', it is 'I'. From that moment onwards all is well ...all is well. Why? Because all problems in all worlds, including the big world out there and the little worlds of home and work, are no longer viewed as problems, simply as signs of a temporary absence of love. Stress is then seen for what it is in it's simplest definition - the absence of love in our relationships. Stress arises within and between people who have temporarily lost their awareness of the truth about love. In co-opting and adapting Kennedy's famous line perhaps we need to remind our self to ask not where, when and with whom I will find love, ask instead where, when and with whom can I be love?
And yet it's only when 'being' is translated into 'doing', into action, free of the desire for something in return, that love can be fully known. Paradoxically it is in such actions, such moments, that we naturally free ourselves from 'the need' to find and know love. In such moments love needs no meaning, no definition, not even it's own special poetry! We are it! You are it!
The Special One
What then of mating? What then of the grand search for our 'soul mate', for our one special love? It does seem that if you really want one you can have one! Love is also the primary energy of creativity. When we use that energy, which is essentially the energy of our consciousness, of our self, without the distortions of any attachments or dependencies, we are able to conjour, as if by magic, whatever we create within our minds. When you create in such a free inner state, which is not an easy state to be in after a lifetime of being trapped in our attachments/dependencies, whatever you create will flow towards you. Sit down and profile what you want in another, the kind of person you would like to be with, and they will likely show up...eventually. The law of attraction is as much about manifestation as it is attraction. And if you still feel there is only one special person meant just for you, they will also likely arrive...eventually! Careful however, because if you are distracted in the moments when they do show up in front of you, then you may miss them! And what distracts us? Our attachments and dependencies, our desires and our addictions!
When Love is Lost...Temporarily!
While we may describe our special relationship with our 'soul mate' in terms of feelings, in terms of the depth, richness and intimacy of the connection that we feel with them, it may be a mistake to believe they are the only one with whom we can feel that way. There may be others, there usually is. Why? Because that's probably the natural way that we used to feel with everyone until we lost our inner freedom, until we lost what some have called our 'soul awareness'. In that moment we lost our awareness of our self as that vast, open, unlimited, unbounded, radiant energy, and we began to believe we were just that small decaying face, that funny shaped body, that appears in perpetual decay before us in the mirror every day. That one belief alone draws a veil over our capacity to be consistently love and loving, and replaces it with anxiety and fear. Ideas of beauty are transferred from spirit to form. Little do we realise that form has little beauty next the radiance of spirit, next to the natural radiance of our very being.
In such a moment love is lost because we are lost to our self, and so the great search begins, the great seeking starts, the hunt for our self and for love commences. But we look in the wrong direction and settle too easily for what we find. And what we find is a growing dependency on others attention, others approval and others appreciation, which we mistake for love. Our spiritual sleepiness, in the form of our ignorance of our self, becomes deeper and we co-create and sustain what largely becomes a loveless world compared to what it could be, some would say compared to what it once was.
And then, one fateful day we awaken to the wisdom that says stop searching for love. Imagine instead what life would be like if you were love itself. Allow your imagination to run it's own creative riot and then notice how it becomes real, perhaps in small ways at first. You may eventually notice how easy and natural it is to translate this 'imagination' into action. And it's that easiness that signifies that it's true. In reality, in truth, love is realized to be what we are. It's the restoration of that truth that sets us free of all our attachments, of all our dependencies, all our cravings and all our neediness. In that moment you know that love has come home to the place it never left. Not to the heart of your body but to the heart of your being.
In that moment your search for one 'soul mate' is over. You now see that all around you are your 'soul companions'. Not quite as romantic. But then what has romance got to do with love? Answers on a postcard to...!
Question: As always Clear Thinking is not intended to convince you of anything but to encourage and stimulate your own reflections so that you may see what is true for you. So what for you is true love?
Reflection: Why is it that as we look out across the world there is such a fequent absence of love between human beings?
Action: Generate a conversation this week with three other people around the true meaning of love.
© Mike George 2010
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Brahma Kumaris Learning Center for Peace
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Watertown, MA 02472