What do we know of love? How often is love thought of and carefully considered? And how important is love? We use the word a lot, but what does love truly mean? "All you need is love." "Love is all there is." It's a powerful word, and easy to plug into many contexts. But from an experiential point of view, what is love? Is love always gentle and kind? Is loving the same as dominating or controlling others? Is love possessive? Is love desire? Is love pleasure? Is love compassion? Is love chemical, or perhaps genetically influenced? Are there different kinds of love?
"Love," only a word, is thrown around by humans in the most amazing ways. It's far too multi-purpose to be clear what one means when they say it in the English language. Just as we have the one word to describe snow while the Sami people of the Arctic have many different words to describe different kinds of snow (bieggagaikkohat, bihci, bulži, deamádat, among a total of about 200 others), it seems that the word "love" is used rather frequently for all types of variable meanings. I feel strongly that the English language could stand to create a few new words for the multitude of different purposes for which the word "love" steps into play. I am hesitant even to use the word, for fear that it may conjure some completely different meaning in you than the one I intend. For that reason, I will clarify my understanding of the word "love."
In meditation, the purest kind of love dwells in your heart, and it seeks neither to dominate nor control. In yoga, the heart chakra is called "anahata," which translates from Sanksrit to mean "unstruck." Imagine how you might feel, or perhaps have felt at some point in your life, if you'd never had to endure the slings and arrows of any variety of hurt. To have never been hurt is to know no fear of being hurt, nor suspicions of your own malice or that in others. It is a very open state of being, like an infant child sleeping safely, arms open, heart open, fully trusting that every need will be met, loving arms waiting at the slightest, softest murmur. Love is "unstruck," and flows most powerfully in a heart that has discovered the openness of loving fearlessly. This kind of love is most clearly described not as a type of "doing," but rather as an "undoing." Because once one has released their negativity, usually from the pain of the past, what is revealed is the natural flow of limitless love, the original condition of the human heart. The onion is a perfect metaphor: The doing aspect of revealing love is the pulling away of layers of stagnant negativity. In the center of an onion is emptiness, and it is from that seemingly empty spaciousness which love invisibly flows in infinite abundance.
I've heard the kind of love which dwells in the heart and wants to flow freely from the heart described as the love one feels for an adorable puppy dog, a kitten or a baby. It is that feeling of tenderness, wanting to give, to nurture, to be gentle, kind and playful. It is a love free from expectation, and it seeks only joy. It is a love that forgives and adores the faults in the other, correcting only to sidestep pains. It is a love in which what is mutual is correct and honored.
The kind of love I'm speaking of here is present in us all of the time, and it doesn't require "another" to flow freely, because we can be our own recipient of this kind of love. However, its natural flow is impeded by resentment, grudges held from the past, old angers -- esentially any kind of negativity that has been held onto. I am not against negative emotions, because they are naturally part of life, an essential part of the balance in duality that gives us the true experience of positive emotions. How could we truly know light without darkness? However, holding onto negativity longer then necessary can be unhealthy and unpleasant for everyone.
An essential skill for a life full of love is to know when to put your baggage down. Releasing one's grip on negative stories and thoughts may not come naturally to you, depending on your origin, and in many cases, it may need to be learned. But there's no better feeling than dropping a heavy load of rocks after carrying them for a lifetime. You can drop your anger, sadness, resentment, judgements and unmet expectations as certainly as you can drop a bat after you've hit a home run or as soon as your three swings are over. You just let it go. And then love flows from the heart effortlessly, abundantly and naturally. Meditation can be your method of dropping hefty passengers of negativity that have found their way into your consciousness. You can let your mediation be a the last bus stop, the end of the line, where the heaviness of mental darkness is dropped off, revealing love.
"Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul." -- St. Aurelius Augustine
Please join me in a guided meditation to release the impediments in your heart, revealing the love that is within you and longing to be realized.
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