I got to thinking about what I could write about in my blog this week and it came to me almost in an instant, like one of those light bulb moments. I call them intuitive moments;) It just so happens that I and my husband will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary this coming week, so what perfect time to talk about LOVE......Love....Love....Love....it just rolls off the tongue like sweet chocolate...So let's get to the gist of it now....because it ain't always sweet and can be downright dirty...well at least the kind of love the majority of us have experienced and actually convinced ourselves of what Love actually means...
First, let's look at what the Dictionary has to say about love:
love (luhv)..noun, verb
1. a profound tender, passionate affection for another person
2. sexual passion or desire
3. a person to whom love is felt, beloved person or sweetheart
4. to need or require; benefit greatly from
5. to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in
6. to embrace or kiss a lover
So here we have it; all summed up in a few words like a nice pretty package with a bow on top...hold on...not so fast! I don't think I saw the word forever, infinite, or everlasting anywhere in there....hmmmm...isn't love suppose to be unconditional and eternal? According to divorcerate.org 41% of first time marriages, 60% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. We see quite frequently in public, on television, and even in our own homes parents despising children and children despising their parents. We see backbiting among extended family and supposed friends. All around us we are bombarded with this false 'sense of love' in every venue of our life and most of us are actually unwitting culprits actively engaged in the spreading of this 'kind of love'. Most human beings have come to associate Love with pain as equally as happiness. Pedro Calderon de la Barca said it well, "When love is not madness it is not love."
So let's look at Love from another perspective. Trying to define love through our 5 senses: taste, hear, see, touch, smell will always find Love lacking. In reality, We are Love Aham Prema, I Am Divine Love. In this I am not referring to the body or the ego, but to the Soul/Jiva, which is what we really are. We are not our body or our ego. Until we truly understand what Love means it will always have conditions and will change, thus meaning that our version of Love is not really Love at all. It is our own Ego's expression of Sense Pleasure. Love cannot be Love as long as there is a Personal Agenda.
The Upanishads say, " It is not for the sake of the husband that the husband is dear, but for the sake of the Self. It is not for the sake of the wife that the wife is dear, but for the sake of the Self." Remember that when we love another human being we are essentially responding, although unconsciously, to the Divinity within them. When we truly begin to understand that, our love then, can become unselfish and without personal motive. We Love for the sake of Love alone....and This is our true nature. Love.
When we rid ourselves of selfish desires and replace them with 'right' desires, it is then and only then that we can remove the Maya that clouds our eyes, deceiving us of what 'True Love' really is. In the world today we too commonly believe that Love is only between certain persons close to us, and candlelight dinners, wine and romance. These are just a shadow of Love. We have such an immense capacity for Love that we cannot even imagine. We can be in love with everyone...I know that this will sound unrealistic to many, even to myself, but we have many examples of great men and woman who have proven this through their life examples of selfless service to others. We are Divine Beings, who have forgotten our True Natures.
If we just start today, to serve those closest to us we can begin to recognize this Love within ourselves. It will manifest more and more in our lives. One of the surest ways to rediscover our True Nature is through regular spiritual practice. Not just reading about spiritual things will do it. We must apply the things we read about to our lives. Whether it be meditation, prayer, humanitarian service, create rituals that will break through the forgetfulness. This brings to mind the words of Rumi, "Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have build up against it." When we break down those barriers inside us through regular spiritual practice, we discover only Love...and that it was inside of us all along. Vedanta says that we should not squander the power of love, but that we should use this power to realize our True Divine Natures. When we realize our own Divinity, we can recognize it in those closest to us. We then can recognize it in everyone we come into contact with, even those who act unlovable. Love requires nothing, it is not something that must be achieved or earned, it is our very nature and cannot be taken from us by the actions of others. So therefore, someone else's unloving attitude cannot diminish our own capacity to give and receive Love.
In the 23 years that I have been married, I have most certainly learned what 'real love' is NOT...and am still discovering what 'real love' is. My husband has been a shining example of selfless love. I have often thought that the Beloved saw fit to place him in my life to be more than a lover and friend, but to be a teacher to me and I am sure that I was placed in his life to try his patience and love:) I am a blessed woman indeed to have had such wonderful loving examples in those closest to me. May we all strive to break down the barriers and reclaim our true Divine Natures...LOVE.
Tat Tvam Asi,