Monday, October 1, 2012

What Does Love Mean to YOU?

Both the words GOD and LOVE tend to come with their own baggage, that is, established and entrenched ideas and beliefs about what a word means. The word God tends to invoke ideas of religion and therefore division, of conversion and therefore of coercion. 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.

Love has many faces and expressions. 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, we start to notice how fast these faces of love disappear. Often they are replaced by animosity, resentment and regret, and sometimes depression. When we do seemingly ‘fall in love’ with one other, we can think of no one else. This indicates that we have probably missed the deepest meaning of love. Little do we realize that freedom from all our sorrows, sufferings and sadness can only happen when we awaken to the truth about love - we don’t need to get it, we need to give it. The moment we realize it, 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 its 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. 

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 conjure, as if by magic, whatever we create within our minds. 

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 are. 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. 

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. 

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 loved itself. Allow your imagination to run its 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. 

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? 

Controlling: Attempting to make others dance to our tune is a demonstration of the belief that others, and not we, are responsible for our happiness. If the truth were realized and lived i.e. that we are each responsible for our own happiness, the world would be a very different planet on which to live. 

These 7 of many habits block the light of sun of happiness from shining through our life. Each habit is embedded in one culture or another and has become acceptable though social collusion, thereby sustaining unhappiness and passing it on to the next generation. 

Action: Generate a conversation this month with three other people around the true meaning of love. 

Adapted from Mike George’s article “What Does Love Mean to YOU” © 2012