February 13, 2019
Love is a loaded word. It holds a promise that perpetually whispers from some place deep within our heart, which even the most cynical among us can’t ignore. The perennial hope is that there is love, we are loved, and with that love fear is dispelled and we have wings to fly above the sorrows of the world.
Love is the holy grail for which we all seek, whether we admit it or not. Somehow, amidst the chaos and uncertainty threatening to unravel us, there remains the idea of a golden light that relieves our worries and secures our legacy. Yet, for all the longing, love can be as elusive as a unicorn. And for many of us, it hurts to think of love.
On February 14 its difficult not to consider love. Valentine’s day has memorialized our collective hope for the miracle of love, and brings it into focus once a year, whether we like it or not. So, this year, why not take the bull by the horns and look your longing square in the eye.
It’s not easy, is it? Already you want to stop reading this, and stop thinking about love. It’s too much to acknowledge the fantasy head on. It makes you shiver down to your bones. But, stay with it. Feel your insides quake, your knees go wobbly, your head spin, and your stomach churn.
I am going to share something about love that may not make sense to you yet. Don’t disregard it because you don’t understand. But don’t go repeating it either, or make some new religion out of it. Just let yourself hold the question. Allow yourself to wonder for a moment.
If you’re honest, you may be able to admit that you can’t shake the promise of love, but neither can you find it. This is a difficult place to be, and it’s no surprise that you don’t want to think about it. So, I suggest that you don’t think about it, but don’t bury it either. Just let the mystery churn around in you.
Love is your Source
Here’s the thing. You are love. I don’t mean in some poetic or abstract way. I mean it is what makes you alive, conscious, and real. Love is your source, and you are love’s expression. Love is the most powerful and eternal form of energy there is. It is a continuous wave flowing through each and every one of us and all living things. It is what holds the entire universe together.
I don’t mean to wax poetic about this, but there aren’t too many ways to talk about love directly, so bear with me. Consider the possibility that love is what you are made of, but you have forgotten that. You’re in some kind of trance that blinds you to love, so you can’t see that it’s all around and inside you, all the time! When an enlightened being laughs at us, they are simply seeing what most of us cannot see yet - that we are like a fish in the sea who is longing to find… water!
I know that is little help when your insides are burning with desire for something that seems impossible to get. But consider that your seemingly unquenchable desire for love is what makes you human. This need is what defines you. It seems that you can’t deny it or fulfill it. But don’t stop there. Don’t give up yet. there must be more to it than meets the eye.
Let me put this another way. It is the search for love that makes you who you are. Not in the tragic sense of being doomed to failure, but in the most noble sense of unraveling a deep and ancient mystery. Seeking love is what you came here for. It is your purpose and mission. It will lead you to where you really want to be. The promise of love is real, and your quest is to find it.
Love is Elusive
The problem, simply put, is that you’re looking in the wrong place. You think love comes from outside of you, mainly from other people. You mistake love for attention, and all sorts of trivial things that merely build your self-image and boost your ego. In fact it is your very sense of self, your personality and identity in the world, that is blocking you from finding love.
I know this is getting deep and you may be in over your head, but now that we are here, let me finish. The solution is really very simple, and relatively easy once you come to terms with the situation you find yourself in.
Your small self, the experience of being a separate being in a world of separate beings, is a choice you made, and continue to make, that separates you from your source. Your source, and the source of all life, is an all-inclusive, eternal energy field of love. In order to experience yourself as a separate individual, you have to imagine yourself outside of that field. And once outside of it, you cannot recognize real love, as it remains hidden from you. So, you are perpetually starving for the one thing that your individual self can never have, which is unconditional love.
Love seems impossible because you have unknowingly shut yourself off from it by forging an identity as a private mind in a separate body. You don’t remember doing this, and you are not to blame. However, you are still choosing it, and you can choose otherwise. In fact, you need to choose otherwise in order to get what you most want and be satisfied once and for all.
This is the deep transformation lesson that your chronic longing for love is teaching you. This is why you must follow that longing, though it leads you through hell and high water, and don’t give up on the whisper of hope. For that whisper is there to remind you of who you really are; an eternal beam of light radiating from the source of love.
When Love Fails
Does this mean there is no love to be found between people on earth? No, thankfully, we do get glimpses of real love here. Romantic love is the most dramatic and often the most sought-after form of love. Parental and family love can be the most reliable and unconditional expression of love. And we all have moments when our hearts overflow with pure love for a person, place, or living being that we feel deeply connected to.
It is just that all these forms of love are limited by the ego’s need for personal recognition. We take love personally because our self-programming cannot do otherwise. When someone loves it usually has an object, and the hidden agenda of our ego makes love an exchange. I will love you if you love me. Then we both get our egos recognized and fed.
While these forms of love can be sincere and feel good, they don’t satisfy our perennial longing for real, eternal, unconditional love. Eventually all forms of human love fail us. And it can be useful to recognize when feelings are hurt, offering empathy for the pain in yourself and others. However, it doesn’t help to blame anyone for this failure.
The problem is with our conditioning, which renders us unable to recognize the love flowing within and around us all the time. It is a mistake of perception that makes us believe we have to get love from outside of ourselves. And the result is that most of us are locked into the discouraging belief that love is scarce. It seems we can only get it from someone else, and we have to struggle to be worthy, or manipulate others into loving us.
On this national day of love, it is worthwhile to consider why the idea of love is so misleading and tricky. Look at all the hopes and dreams you put onto love, and all the ways it has led to disappointment or disillusionment. Then look again and consider that there may be a different way to explain all the heartache and struggle surrounding love that reveals a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel.
Love is not a thing you get. You can’t figure out how to accumulate and store it, the way you can with money, food, shelter, or other basic needs. Yet, it is perhaps your most primary need, and you can’t really be happy or content without it.
Love is something you have to learn to cultivate and grow. Because it is such a primal need for all of us, we are all on a quest to find it in some way. Yet few of us recognize that we have the means within us to access the source of love directly. We don’t understand yet that it is an inside job, and that love is a constant flow, not an object to be possessed.
This may sound cliché or occur to you as bad news. Yet consider that your quest for love has never really worked out. Nothing has fully satisfied your longing, and there have been times when your expectations for love were painfully crushed. And in that light, what I am suggesting may be the best news there is. True love exists, only in a very different place than you have been looking.
Some people have learned how to deeply love another, and if you are receiving some of that love, you are blessed. If you have good loving relationships in your life, this is a day to honor and appreciate those people. Anytime you receive any kindness or love from another person, that is a reason to celebrate and be grateful. And, when you experience love in any form, it is a reminder and prompt to find the source of it within yourself.
The point is that if you count on love to come from someone else, sooner or later you will be disappointed. And if you continue to believe that love can only come from outside yourself, you will feel increasingly lost and discouraged in your quest to meet this primary need.
Trying Something New
There is something you can do to satisfy this perennial longing, and it begins with looking at all the ways your current approach is not working. For most of us it takes getting our heart broken many times before we give up and try something new.
There is another approach to love that works. The most difficult part is letting go of the ways you think you will find love, and that is what the pain and heartache is for. Once you have been thoroughly disillusioned, you are willing to look where you never considered looking before – into the depths of your own heart.
Looking within yourself usually takes time, patience, discipline, and skill. It isn’t instant, like the kind of falling in romantic love we are used to. However, it works. There is an actual unlimited source of love that you can learn to access by yourself. And that is the best news of all.
Learning Conscious Communication skills will redirect your attention to your primary emotions and needs and begin the process of you learning how to get your needs met. Practicing these skills with another person will activate empathy and get the flow of love moving again within you and in your relationship.
Miles offers small group workshops in Conscious Communication Skills for individuals and for couples, as well as private Couples Coaching sessions and retreats at Sky Meadow in Vermont. Celebrate Valentine’s day this year by attending a retreat or session to make your relationship more satisfying and strengthen your connection.