What is love

 

 The Stone House, Mebane, NC

The Stone House, Mebane, NC

Most people have a conditioned belief that love is something to be sought after. That it is derived from the attention and approval of another person, or many persons. In fact many peoples’ lives are centrally focused upon finding a symbol of love in a romantic relationship, hopefully to turn into a marriage, children, and life long security in the way of finance and familial support.  This is just a given fact of life of which a lot of humanity never even takes into question. For many, feeling loved and accepted by others is the key to happiness. We shape and mold ourselves into personalities that are far from authentic in order to acquire this so-called love. We are influenced by the media, TV shows, music videos, and shape shift into the characters we see getting the attention we seek. In the name of “love” we tighten our belly muscles, push our chest out, and create general tension and stress in the body. We buy products we see advertised that promise to fill the void on the inside and draw love to us from the outside. In fact for many, without this outside approval, the love of a romantic partner, or the acceptance of others, we feel rejected and undesired, at times leading to depression.   The question is, is it worth all of this effort to seek love on the outside when we already have it on the inside?

I remember growing up, my mother use to sing to us, “Looking for love in all the wrong places”.  At the time, I didn’t understand these words; however 20 years of life experience later those words run in my mind like a mantra. When I find myself looking for the love and approval of another, twisting and turning my mind and sense of self into something I am not, I think of her words. There is no way to control the way others view us, however we are ultimately powerful within to create a joyful experience of life by way of one’s own personal outlook. Why give a shit what others think? Why be a hamster running in a wheel, spinning but going nowhere in the name of “love”, especially when love is closer than the next breath.

I’m 35 years old and have been in very few partnerships in my life. This is not because I am not friendly, social, attractive, fun etc, because I consider myself all of these things. It is because my personal connection with love, joy, life, god, experience, whatever name you want to use for it, has always been primary. Instead of raising a family over the past 15 years I have spent my time practicing to remember my own connection with joy and life within first.  From Ashrams in India, to the jungle of Peru, the Hawaiin ocean,  The sweat lodge, the tipi,  and most of all my own body/mid/heart, I have traveled all over to keep coming back to the simple goodness of right here and now.  Over the years it has become imperative to me to love my life, develop a full present moment awareness, and a positive outlook so I can hold my center in life regardless of the fluctuations that happen outside of me.  

There is no way to control others. Everyone is on their own journey and some are aware of their ability to shape, transform and grow into love while others remain ignorant, lazy and fearful of change. The rewards of spiritual practice are plentiful. One of the main gains I have found along this journey is a deep internal reliance on an experience of love and present moment joy no matter what storm system is passing through on the landscape of life.  In every moment, no matter what the circumstances, there is an opportunity to experience the beauty of now, the absolute magic of existence. The most extreme of these stories are of those who connect with love in complete tragedy, like Auschwitz, Vietnam, in the face of a life threatening illness, the loss of a loved one, during heart break etc.

 For underneath the surface of pain is the tapestry of love, the foundation of existence. Yes terrible things happen in life, however we have the power within to see the light in every situation and find love, forgiveness, understanding, and peace even amongst the most challenging moments.  In fact when we apply the strength of heart within in trying times we usually find ourselves to be more enlightened there after.

Like most other humans I desire happiness, the company of others, partnership, and comforts. Yet I desire true freedom above all else. Unconditional joy and love feels more sustainable and trustworthy than one that depends on outer circumstances to line up according to my wants. When pleasurable experiences manifest in my life I work to enjoy them and yet not to become attached to the cause of the happiness. It is constant mind/heart training to fully bask in the beautiful moments that life presents without becoming attached to them. For it is in the longing that we create the cycle of suffering. Instead, what would it be like to enjoy all the moments of life equally, whether it is in the peek of orgasm, the silence on aloneness, the touch of the air on the skin, the stillness of sleep, or even moments of pain. This is the work of the Jedi. 

Cast All Your Votes For Dancing

I know the voice of depression
Still calls to you.

I know those habits that can ruin your life
Still send their invitations.

But you are with the Friend now
And look so much stronger.

You can stay that way
And even bloom!

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions’ beautiful laughter.

Keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From the sacred hands and glance of your Beloved
And, my dear,
From the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Learn to recognize the counterfeit coins
That may buy you just a moment of pleasure,
But then drag you for days
Like a broken man
Behind a farting camel.

You are with the Friend now.
Learn what actions of yours delight Him,
What actions of yours bring freedom
And Love.

Whenever you say God’s name, dear pilgrim,
My ears wish my head was missing
So they could finally kiss each other
And applaud all your nourishing wisdom!

O keep squeezing drops of the Sun
From your prayers and work and music
And from your companions’ beautiful laughter

And from the most insignificant movements
Of your own holy body.

Now, sweet one,
Be wise.
Cast all your votes for Dancing!

~ Hafiz ~