What is your experience with love? Do you know what it feel like to be really loved? You know you’re really loved because it’s there even when you’re not acting so lovable or reciprocating the love.
Listening to the news and people’s interpretation of the news lately, I circle back to love.
Do you withhold love or try to make up the difference for people who withhold love? Certainly we are seeing both examples in the United Sates when it comes to immigration and refugee issues currently.
Do you seek love outside of yourself to kindle or make up for a lack of an inner love? That one is a bit more unconscious- seeking approval, perfectionism, surrounding yourself with Yes Men, extreme materialism, desire for fame.
As a yogi, I know that in a world that feels like it’s teetering on the brink of collapse- from a polarizing political system to the absolute denial of climate change- my actions matter. Now more than ever, I recognize my human experiences as opportunities for spiritual evolution and growth. I return to the wisdom of yoga.
As I think about love, I think about the koshas, or five energetic bodies we all have. The outer most later is our material body, that which we must feed to survive. When you do not care for that body, it breaks down. When treated with love and respect, it tends to thrive.
The breath body fills the inside of the material body and gives it life. The next is the mind body. The quality of your thoughts determine the quality of your existence. Deeper yet is a wisdom body. Some may call this intuition. It is that deeper, wiser part of you that when you listen to it, you are always guided in the “right” direction.
The deepest body is the bliss body. Soul. A little piece of the Divine. You can call it whatever you want. Meister Ekhart described it as:
There is something that transcends the created being of the soul, not in contact with created things, which are nothing. . . . It is akin to the nature of deity, it is one in itself, and has naught in common with anything. It is a stumbling-block to many a learned cleric. It is a strange and desert place, and is rather nameless than possessed of a name, and is more unknown than it is known. If you could naught yourself for an instant, indeed I say less than an instant, you would possess all that this is in itself. But as long as you mind yourself or any thing at all, you know no more of God than my mouth knows of color or my eye of taste: so little do you know or discern what God is.
Trying to love from outside in, through these energy bodies doesn’t really work. For example, if someone doesn’t believe they are attractive, they can be sincerely told it all the time. It won’t make a bit of difference. They’ll try to downplay, rationalize, even dismiss the compliment. Same holds true for someone who does not love themselves. No matter how much love is given, it can’t be received. It’s like a little force field around them that pings the love off. Yet, they crave the love, mold themselves to get the love, to no avail.
But when someone loves themselves, even the tiniest bit, when they receive love, it grows and flows back and forth, snowballing. That’s pretty cool.
Now I am not talking narcissistic love. I am talking about seeing your own shadows, accepting them, and loving yourself anyway. You’re not waiting for perfection. You’re not even expecting perfection. You’re just practicing kindness, respect, compassion, caring, and…love with and for yourself.
We are called to turn inward and explore what would need to be present in order for self-love to exist. Are there beliefs you’re holding onto that prevents love? Is there someone you’re longing for love and approval from and as long as it is withheld, you deem yourself unlovable? Is there something from your past that needs re-evaluation, perhaps a perspective shift?
Love is waiting. It’s not going anywhere. It knows someday, you’ll stop hiding and running. The question is, will you do it before it’s too late to really live from the center of love?
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