Note: This is the third in a series of posts to inspire and support awakened living. The first post asked, “Is Your Deepest Longing a Part-Time Hobby?,” and the second post addressed the value of studying our habits.
“Put away all hindrances, let your mind full of love pervade one quarter of the world, and so too the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around and everywhere, altogether continue to pervade with love-filled thought, abounding, sublime beyond measure, free from hatred and ill-will.”
This is not a post about loving yourself, as that is impossible. You can’t love what you already are. But some parts of us were left out when this understanding was passed around. You know them – the hurts, fears, and defenses we cling to. When we are sucked in by them, we feel anything but love.
If you want to awaken to your brilliance, here’s what you need to know: love heals.
The Antidote to Suffering
Love is the healing balm, the medicine for all ills, the great equalizer. When we are peaceful and open, when our hearts quiver in recognition when we meet each other. The culprit? Love.
It is true: we can stop all our struggles dead in their tracks, then we are free. Flood them with love – every time. These “pretend” parts of ourselves – the ones that think we are limited and unworthy – they just can’t survive the power of love. Once they are seen and embraced, they melt back into their source, and wholeness is realized once again.
Notice Love Everywhere
The starting point for this practice is to notice your natural open-heartedness. When you look, you will find it everywhere.
- What are you grateful for?
- Who do you feel close to?
- When do you give effortlessly?
- What makes you feel tender and compassionate?
- When does your heart sing with joy?
The commonality in all of these experiences is love. When we let the objects go – the thing we are grateful for, the situation that brings joy – we meet in the infinite oneness of love. Right now, can you sense it? It’s so real.
The more we recognize all the faces of love, the more it becomes our experience. Do you want to be peaceful and happy? Notice it, inhabit it, play in it, drown in it. Remember the ease of effortless being.
Offer Love Where It Was Once Denied
Then, in the midst of this vast, loving space, the seemingly wounded places within ourselves pop up in our everyday lives – the habitual strategies and defensive postures. They feel dense and confining. When under their spell, we try so hard to be satisfied and fulfilled, yet wonder why we end up feeling alienated and resigned.
Each rigid belief system, each grudge and tender feeling exist because there was a time in our lives when love was denied. We didn’t have the strength, understanding, or support to feel our painful emotions. They split off from the whole, hidden outside our awareness, trying to help but longing for resolution.
All it takes is love. Where the body is contracted or vacant, flood it with love. When difficult feeling states appear, let them be immersed in it. Let it flow through your brain to touch every expectation and judgment, every sad story that won’t stop repeating, every thought that doesn’t serve you or anyone else.
In the moment of suffering, then love overflowing, the edges wither and the hard nut of the pain dissolves. Really. Can a leaf stay attached to a tree in the face of a tsunami? The power of true loving awareness truly heals.
If love is the medicine, here are the risks. A glorious life beyond your wildest dreams. Happiness beyond measure. Intimacy that is closer than close.
Do you want relief from suffering? Love heals. What are you waiting for?
image: Alyssa Miller