This month, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on love. In part, because of where I am in my own journey. In part, because of my discussions with people about don Miguel Ruiz’s book "The Mastery of Love." For those who have not read it, I strongly encourage you to do so. While he provides you with ideas and concepts, he also provides you with some realistic ways in which one can overcome the parasites of our socialization process and transcend to a reality where emotional pain, suffering, guilt, shame, fear, jealousy, and all the other tools of civilization no longer have power over us. He strips away the "blame game" and tells us we are each responsible for our emotional suffering. Mom is not responsible. Dad is not responsible. The jerk that just cut us off on the highway is not responsible. We inherited suffering through our "civilization" process and learned to fear instead of love.
Unconditional love tells us that every person is perfect. We do not need to change anything about anyone else or ourselves to become perfect. We already are perfect. We just need to recognize this perfection and treat others and ourselves accordingly.
Unfortunately, we have ingested ideas and concepts (see No More Poison) that translate into feelings that tell us we are not perfect and that other people are not perfect either. As a result, we treat others and ourselves accordingly. We blame ourselves and others for feeling bad, (see No More Whips) feeling worthless, feeling that there is no way for us to escape the hell we find ourselves in where the parasites of fear, and grief, and suffering rule everything we do
When we do away with the whips and the poison in our lives, we can replace them with love. Mastering love requires practice. Just as it took practice to master anger, jealousy, envy, sorrow, and rejection of self and others. Mastering love for others and ourselves takes practice.
I think the other reason love is in my heart, is that this has been a week filled with interesting dialogues about love with people.
Recently, I was asked what love is to me. First, love has no obligations. I do not have to do anything for anybody because I love him or her. I do what I want for and with others because I want to. You do what you want for me and I do what I want for you. My partner and I have fun doing things for each other each day because we want to. What I do for my friends, I do because I want to. What I do for my children, I do because I want to. the times that I have felt pressured or obligated to do something have come from a sense of fear of what might happen or what others might think if I do not do X.
Love has no expectations. I do not expect anybody to do anything for me. If anybody does something for me or gives something to me, it exceeds my expectations. If not, then I am not hurt because I was not expecting anything to begin with. If I am expecting someone to do something for me, then it creates an obligation for him or her and that would not be love. Because I have no expectations, everything anyone does feels like a gift ready for me to unwrap.
Love is respectful. If I respect you then I respect your right to make decisions for yourself, think for yourself, and live your life according to your wishes and desires. It also means I respect myself. I can only allow others to disrespect me to the same level that I am willing to disrespect myself. So I have stopped saying anything negative about others or myself because that is disrespectful.
Love is compassionate. We all go through trials in our life. While I will never feel sorry for you, I will feel compassion for you. I can be there with an encouraging word. I will be there to cheer you on and remind you that you can do this or that you can make it through. However, I do these things because I want to, not because I have to, or because others expect me to.
Love is responsible. Because I respect others, and myself I hold myself accountable and responsible for how I live my life and what I do or say. I am responsible for my choices, but I am not responsible for the choices of others. To do so is disrespectful. It is as if I am saying you are not capable of being responsible for your own life.
Love is kind. What I do in life I do because I want to, not out of obligation. It is an act of my sharing with others from the depths of my heart. I am able to be kind because I love myself. I am able to be kind because I am doing what I do with no strings attached. If I do something, there is nothing required in return. It just is.
Love is unconditional. I love people just as they are. You are who you are and I am who I am. You do not have to change in order for me to love you and I am not going to change in order for you to love me. If being in a relationship with me, is not working for you, then that is fine. I do not want people to feel obligated to be in a relationship with me. If being in a relationship with you is not healthy for me, then I will leave because I work on being with those who love me for who I am, knowing that I am constantly evolving.
Love for me is just. If I make a mistake, which I can do from time to time, then I will hold myself responsible and accountable for my mistakes. However, once I have I move on. To keep whipping myself for a mistake that I have made in my life is disrespectful and that is not of love.
Have I mastered love yet? Every day I practice it and I know that over the course of my life I will master it. Do I have my moments, when I make mistakes? Yes, and when I do, I take responsibility for my actions, learn and grow from my lessons and move forward.