|The Skill and the Art of LovingLove is a state of doing and being. There are some very specific things to do in order to love either yourself or others. The doing is the same. The direction changes, that’s all.
From behind the mask of negative ego, you want to make loving difficult so you can justify and rationalize the lack of it in your life. After all, in your Faustian relationship with your negative ego, you have convinced yourself that if you let it run your life, it will deliver everything. Negative ego never delivers love. The only thing it does deliver is unkept and broken promises. It never delivers love.
‘Where is the love?’ you ask, and your ego tells you how hard – how impossible – it is. Your negative ego tells you how much love hurts.
When you find out just how available love really is, you either want to deny it completely as you protect your negative ego’s position – “Avoid humiliation at all costs!” sayeth your negative ego – or you feel so stupid for having shut love out for so long that you do not think you deserve it now. Either way, you (not your ego) lose.
When you discover just how easy it is, do not run away. Do not punish yourself. Do not postpone it any longer. Start loving!
The things to do for love:
- Give. Start giving to yourself and others in as many ways as you can. Give physically, emotionally, intellectually, and intuitively. Do not worry about getting … just really develop your ability to give.
- Respond. Allow yourself the ability and the willingness to respond. Be responsible to yourself and then to others.
- Respect. Honor your emotions and the emotions of the others whom you want to love. Respect is not an issue of doing. It is a issue of honoring. So often when people try to gain respect from themselves or others they look around for something to do. They then work hard at doing whatever it is they decided would give them respect only to discover that their respect level has not really changed. They feel like failures. To respect yourself is to honor your emotions. You honor emotions by appropriately expressing and releasing them. You honor other people’s emotions by giving the permission and safe space for them to express and release what they honestly feel. To love, honor your feelings. Honor the feelings of others.
- Know. There are two ways of knowing someone – through, inflicting pain or through seeking under- standing. Because so many are afraid of love, they inflict pain – on themselves and on others. Your therapists, through psychological studies of surviving prisoners of war, know that an interesting, if not bizarre, relationship developed between captive and captor. Through the pain, they came to know each other more deeply than either anticipated.
Yes, one route of knowing is through pain, but there is another route. Seeking understanding begins with a conscious desire and concludes with a conscious commitment. It involves taking the time to really reach out – tenderly to reach out … to develop the skill of loving, seeking understanding of yourself and others. You are not in this world to be understood. You are here to be understanding.
- Have the Humility to be Intimate. Humility is the willingness to see each day as being brand new. It is the willingness to let people change instead of insisting that they can never change. You create your reality primarily out of choice and belief. If you consistently choose to see people at their worst and believe that, then that is just the way they are. You will be right, but miserable. To be humble is to say, “That’s the way it’s always been, and it can be different now.’ Be humble enough to be close, tender, and vulnerable with yourself and with those about whom you care.
- Have the Courage to Commit. Commitment is really frightening to many of you. Fear of rejection and humiliation are the major culprits. Fear of responsibility – “Can I handle it?” – contributes massively to your refusal to be committed. To many, commitment feels like imprisonment. They confuse obligation with responsibility. When you consider committing yourself to another, often your negative ego steps in with the question, “If you can create it this good, couldn’t you do better? Don’t commit. Wait!” It admonishes you not to commit, saying that someone or something better just might show up. If the better does show up, you still wait. Commitment never comes. It takes courage to love.
- Care. Honestly begin to care for yourself and how your life is going. We did not say “feel sorry for yourself.” Love has nothing to do with self-pity. We said care. You do not need a reason to care. Just open your heart and your mind and begin. Let yourself care for yourself. Let yourself care for others.
These are the seven things to do in order to love. You know each of them, and you have done them all from time to time. In fact, you do know how to love. You just don’t think you do.
There is more to it than this, though. You do these seven things in order to accomplish something. It is the dynamic of doing these seven things with the express purpose of providing the following that creates love:
- Security. Physical, emotional, intellectual, and intuitive safety for yourself or for another. This is where love begins.
- Pleasure. To give, respond, respect, or know yourself or someone else so as to provide them with short- and long-term pleasure – to be intimate, to be committed, and to care for yourself or another so that you or they feel pleasure.
- Honesty & Vulnerability. To make it all right to let down the walls of defense. To let it be all right to be totally open and honest. To provide the space to expose your anxieties and doubts without fear.
- Trust. A most powerful energy you can give yourself. A most beautiful gift for others.
- Reduced Fear of Loss. If you had a dazzling gold ring that you thought was just an inexpensive alloy plated with gold, you would wear the ring anywhere and everywhere without fear.
Now you find out that the ring is pure gold, and a very rare gold at that, and that it cannot be replaced. Suddenly you want to lock up the ring. You are afraid of wearing it anywhere. The fear of losing something so valuable is terrifying. When you love someone all fears evaporate, except one: The fear of loss is the only fear that increases as love increases. When you really love, the value increases. If you were to lose that love now … it would be devastating! If you love more, the value only increases and the fear of losing only increases. This is why many of you run from love, or why some even stop loving. Ironically, the antidote to this fear of loss is to take a deep breath and love more. The answer is to take a deep breath and give, respond, respect … and care! For love to be more than a word, it should work at reducing the very fear it produces.
- Intimacy and Caring. Act in such a way so as to create a resonance of closeness and tenderness, to create a resonance of freedom and safety.
- Knowing. To communicate – to be empathic. Let the other know that you know them. Let them know you see their beauty, and the not-so-beautiful side, and you love them anyway. With self-love admit your strength and love it. Admit your weakness. Admit your ugliness, and love it. Quite so, it is easy to love the beauty, and it’s the ugliness that needs the love, too.
You see, you do not just give, respond, or respect just to do it. You do these things to provide security and pleasure, or honesty and vulnerability.
By understanding the seven things to do and the potential states of being to provide, you can know if you are loving yourself and others. You can know !f others are loving you.
Are you feeling loved? Are they doing these things to produce the states of being called love? Always begin with yourself. Start with yourself in practicing your doing and being of love. Then expand to include others – not just any others, but specific others, significant others. Once you have developed the skill, once you are really good at loving, then expand that love even further. As you expand the circle of love, always intensify self-love and the love for those special others.
The beginning: Love. The first step of the Sacred Journey, and the first quality of being on the journey, begins with Love, with reaching and stretching for Love … for LOVE.
||Texts on this subject:Love, chapter from The Game of Life by Florence Scovel Shinn.
The Journey Begins – Love. This text consists of two quotes from The Sacred Journey. You and Your Higher Self,
by Lazaris – channeled material
A Discourse on Love. Suttanipata 1 of the Metta Sutta.
A Definition of Unconditional Love. Text by an Unkown Author, found on the now defunkt spiritweb.