Published in Concepts – July 2000
Love is not an energy, but an openness, a natural state of being which we can choose to experience and, if we wish, to express.
Love is in the news, in both positive and negative ways. Remember the recent “I love you” computer virus? Everyone who wants positive change is promoting love, and billions of people long for the presence of love in their life. In a recent article published in Concepts magazine, Scott and Shannon Peck noted that today the world is experiencing a love crisis with millions of people being starved of love. Love is a part of every one of us, so why are so many starving for love? Are our own concepts and ideals preventing us from accepting love?
When we are young, we love unconditionally. This may be because we have not yet experienced rejection, disappointments and pain later associated with love. Our love receptiveness can be as simple and as natural as catching the eye of another human being. What follows seems like magic. We hold that glance for what appears to be forever; we feel an opening in our chest, our stomach, perhaps also in the sexual area of our body. The openness and opening up part of the experience will leave us feeling excited, invigorated, and even breathless. There may follow a sense of wholeness, completeness and balance that is beyond compare.
For a brief moment we have been in love. Teenagers, especially young girls, seem to fall in love with a refreshing frequency. This love is categorized as “puppy love” and is often dismissed as being not deep, not the “real thing” by persons who believe themselves to be older, wiser and more experienced in life. Indeed, as we get older, love becomes categorized in one way or another by most of us. Looking back, these first experiences and openings to love are a completely natural and normal state of being, further more a state of being which can be always so. Along the pathway of our life journey we become guarded and closed towards that natural state. Love may become for us like a glorious desert that we allow ourselves to consume from time to time rather that an everyday way of being. However, later in life, we may come to the realization that love is an openness, and also a conscious choice. We choose when, what and who to experience openness with. So why don’t we love enough?
The reasons for love being categorized and rarely experienced are many and vary. But lack of trust and lack of interest are two prominent ones. We fill our lives and prioritize our lives with so many other things other than love, and forget until love happens again how valuable that openness is, and what pleasure, wonder and delight it brings. The very expression “falling in love” brings with it a connotation and feeling of being out of control. Yet when we do fall in love we are actually very much in control, even if we have not realized this. There is a part of all of us that relishes the idea of being out of control using it as a moment of escape from the rigidity and controlled perception that we have of ourselves and of our lives. We delight in imagining and believing that when we fall in love, we are somehow taken over, even possessed. There are few people who have discovered anything more glorious or delightful than feeling and being in love. We continue to be fascinated by the process, the symptoms and the experience. Countless books, movies and dreams reenact loves dance. Love is still one of humankind’s most treasured dreams and highest aspirations. It has been romanticized and continues to be romanticized by each one of us on some level. We are at a point where many people feel that love is not an everyday state of being, but rather as something that happens rarely, to be expected once or twice in a lifetime. Perhaps not to be expected at all. Many people sit alone waiting for love to come. Many also struggle with the idea of loving and being in love with more than one person, feeling that love cannot be real or deep if it is shared. Dilemmas are created by logical thought. We indulge in analytical comparisons of the different states of love rather than accepting each moment of love joyfully. There is a part in all of us that enjoys having a problem to wrestle with, and indeed a drama to envelope both our sensitivity and sensibilities. We have great expectations of love, taking it in our minds to often unreachable heights. Sometimes we place the ideal of love on such a high pedestal that is seems an impossible dream, and we do not see or even believe that there exists a person that can be the catalyst for our opening and openness, to be love. The natural state of openness and of being loved and in love in our minds becomes complex and confusing. Perhaps at such times of seeming complexity we need to simply think with our hearts as well as with our minds. The only persons blocking the natural experience of love and being in love are ourselves.
There are many triggers that help us to fall in love with another person, to drop our shields and defenses and to enter into a state of natural openness with both ourselves and another. A look, a smile, an empathy, a feeling of sameness, somehow being on the same wavelength, perhaps a kindness shown, or a vulnerability in the person we fall in love with. When we fall in love, there is a part of us that feels safe to do so. Our own innate conditions and criteria have been met, complex or simple as they may be. We will all at different times in our life go through our own process before we allow ourselves the openness of love, and to love another being. For some the process will be short, for others long. We each have our own patterns and conditions to be fulfilled before we let go and love. It might be that first we need to check that we can trust that other person, that they will be responsible with our love, even worthy of it. We need to know that our love will not be used against us, and many of us want to be sure that we will be loved in return. Over the past few years the concept of soul mates has become yet another block and barrier to true love. It has complicated even further the simplicity of love. Soul mates have fostered the idea that we each have one person whom we can love more easily, more completely, and who is more right for us than anyone else. All other loves may be good, but a soul mate has become the ultimate ideal. I have met with many couples going through rough patches, and others facing serious problems. Without the concept of soul mates these people might well have moved on within themselves and together worked through their problems to find something between them even greater than they ever imagined. It never stops amazing me at how many of us are with exactly who we need to be with to grow, to realize and to move on within ourselves. If we really dislike something in our partner, the chances are that they dislike the same thing in us. We constantly mirror each other in our relationships. I am not suggesting that anyone should stay in an abusive relationship, but saying, perhaps we need to take a moment to see why we are in such a position, and work on the patterns that keep drawing us into and keeping us in those relationships. We do not make mistakes. On some level we do know exactly what we are doing at all times. We are victims only when we choose to be. We each have the strength somewhere inside of ourselves to move beyond that state when we decide to.
When couples first meet, they take a good long look at each other. In fact we all do this when we meet anyone new, without registering all that we see. This is because it happens very fast and we are not used to recalling all that we saw in that first moment. We simply do no realize what we do. When two people first meet, they each sell the other the best possible picture of themselves. As the relationship develops at some point the euphoria fades, as the perfect vision of the other is replaced by the realization and acceptance of so called imperfections. We could call imperfections basic humanness, but how disappointed and disillusioned we become when this point is reached. Some people never get over the disappointment they feel toward the other and the dream of love. Trust is broken, and barriers between the couple are built. This is true in all relationships; at some point, there will be disappointment and disillusion. Perhaps we will go on to accept humanness in another and continue to love, but with reservation. The complete openness of love is no longer in effect. When we do stay as open as possible and work through the feeling of being out of love we have a perfect opportunity to learn much about ourselves, others and life.
I would like to share a short but true story of an experience that I had many years ago, an experience that brought home to me the simplicity and the reality of love. This experience among others made me realize that love is unconditional, it is natural and constant, and does not necessarily need expression, recognition or reciprocity. I was then in my mid twenties and had just arrived home after traveling abroad. I arrived in a town where I knew no one, and decided to put up at the local hostel. The place offered rooms to rent for both single men and women. The hostel was clean, reasonably priced and had a cafeteria open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It seemed the ideal place, and I needed somewhere to begin. I settled in my room, bought flowers, opened the blinds and made some small changes that helped me feel at home. On the second or third day, I began to be aware of the inhabitant on the other side of the wall, in the room next to mine. There were small occurrences, the radio being played at different times of the day, footsteps going in and out, nothing special or out of the ordinary. I began to feel the other person’s presence at night when I slept. I became aware that I was walking in and out of my neighbor’s dreams. I continued about my business, looking around the area, finding the things I needed. But I was changing. Life was changing, day-by-day. Everything seemed lighter and brighter. It was like being in a state of constant Spring. Excitement and anticipation filled the air. The coming and going of the occupant next door continued. Then it stopped. For a day and a night I heard nothing. I sensed that my neighbor was not there. I found myself missing the presence, straining to hear the once familiar sounds. A day later the presence returned. I started to feel love and openness for this solitary being on the other side of the wall. As the days passed, I was thrilled to feel such a joy and openness. I was then on a constant emotional high that felt as if it would never end. I knew that this was how life really was, and all the time it was not, I had been missing something. I felt a sense of balance and well being beyond measure. I loved everyone and everything and it seemed that the world and love shone back on me wherever I went and whatever I did. I knew that the openness that was me, was love, and being in love. I knew then also without a doubt that I was love. The realization was made even more poignant in its simplicity. I knew that I loved the person next door, and that the wall between us in no way separated us. I did not know then if that person was a male of female, and it did not matter. I was calm. I knew it did not matter if I never saw that person. I had no need to tell that person of my love. I realized then that love needs no response or recognition. Love simply is.
Love in an openness and a state of being. It is not an energy – something that we tap into and use – although it is often described and perceived as such. This perception keeps love separate from ourselves, and also allows us to feel that we can dip into it, or stay out of it, as and when we choose. This perception of being separate from love also helps us to build our illusions of love, putting love on a pedestal so high that even though it is the thing that we most want, our concepts make us believe that is never quite reachable. Belief that love is outside and separate from us also fosters and nurtures deep rooted beliefs of unworthiness and draws to us struggles and unhappiness in our lives. Love is perceived as an energy most often by those people not often in it, and those who are not aware that they are love, and continue to search for love not realizing that it already is there. Only a slight shift in thought and perception is all that is needed to exist in love. The fact remains and always will: we can be love, in love, all of the time if we choose to be. We only need to open and accept this natural openness and state of being.
We can be in love anytime that we choose. To feel love, imagine that your heart and your chest are wide open. Imagine that there is nothing there at all, only a big empty space. Allow that big empty space to grow bigger and bigger. Expand this area as much as you wish. Next, think of someone or something that you love. Think of the last time you felt really loved. Recall, feel and enjoy that feeling again. Remember that love is not limited to another human being. You can think of an animal, an object, an idea or ideal, anything that brings to you the feeling of love. While you are doing this exercise, you may feel a warmth spreading through your heart and chest. Let the feeling expand all through your body. Now let every other thought and emotion go. Simply imagine that you are breathing and floating in this feeling of love and warmth. Finally, with your mouth open, breathe from your stomach this feeling all through your body until you feel completely full and satisfied. Stay for a while and enjoy the sensations of love.
As you practice this short exercise regularly and become comfortable with the feeling of love, you will realize that you do not need to ever feel starved of love. It is true that as you feel and accept love for yourself, you will become more lovable to others. Your openness that is love will be more easily accepted and returned by people that you meet and even those that you wish to be loved by.
Allow yourself now to experience and enjoy all of the openness and all of the love that your already are. It is not complicated, just like tuning yourself from one way of being to another, rather like a radio. Isn’t it time you changed channels and tuned into you, “the love station”?All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, except for the quotation of brief passages in a review, without prior written permission from the author. The information contained herein is for the personal use of the reader, and may not be incorporated in any commercial programs or other books, or any kind of software without the written consent of the author.