Love, a word that reveals no less than 3 billion results on google, and a topic that every famous poet, philosopher and spiritual teacher speaks often about, a word that causes people to undertake tasks of great creation or destruction; how much of this concept do we really understand as a humanity?
The dictionary and thesaurus says that “love” is associated with feelings of pleasure, attraction, personal attachment, affection; many definitions go a step deeper to include kindness and compassion.
Did you observe that all these definitions are external based; very little, in fact nothing is said about how to conduct our relationship with ourself. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which existed more than 5,000 years ago, outlines the first principe of Yama as Ahymsa – Non Violence. The scriptures had already taught us that the first step to ‘Love’ is ‘Non harming’.
He did not define what is Love, but he told us clearly that NON harming, NON hurting, NON injuring, is Love. How clever; the famous sage already understood that as long as love is based on humanistic terms, on external senses, it leads always to injury and harm.
Some common forms of Love based on humanistic terms includes (not limited to):
1. Loving a person based on our creation of certain needs we want fulfilled (eg lack of paternal/ maternal love)!
2. Loving a person based on what the person means for us (eg our need to feel important and needed; the need to be provided for financially, or having a good looking spouse to show off)!
3. Loving a person based on sexual attraction!
This list is not exhaustive. The above are definitely not wrong; in fact, we all have these at some point of our lives. These are our inevitable characteristics as long as we have a physical body. However, the point is – if we do not grow conscious, and grow out of these characteristics, the love relationship will pass through mutual injury at some point, some even go through prolonged periods of mutual injury – creating what are known as abusive relationships.
Whether the relationship survives through the stages of mutual attacking, harming/hurting, or ends leaving trails of pain and samskaras, depends on whether we are willing to begin a process of involution.
Involution, compared to evolution, is a process of inner progress. It takes effort, discipline and constantly watching our egos, to tread this path. We could briefly summarize 3 main areas of our involution process:
1) Know Yourself
As long as you are stranger to yourself, you have no real love to offer. Every act of love, or so- called act of love, results in injury to the other person, and eventually to yourself. ! ! By knowing yourself I mean really take time to study your life, how you conduct your life, observe like a scientist (observe without conclusion nor judgement), what motivates you, what makes you happy, what fears you have and why. Again, remember to notice and not pass judgement.
In the initial stages, this process of contemplation, will neutralize the reactivity you have towards your loved ones. If you persist on this self introspection, it brings much joy to your life, be it alone or with any partner.
2) Know the people you love
So, you claim you love your husband, wife, sister, lover, children, parent, best friend etc. Do you know what makes them happy? Do you know how they would like to be loved by you?! ! How to get the answer? Just ask.
Loving a person correctly includes doing things that concern the welfare of the person, not for your own welfare. Like how a mother nurtures her baby in the first few years, purely for the joy of seeing the baby well. Seek to understand them.
The best thing you could do to solicit forthcomingness, is to invite your partner to also embark on the process of involution. When you are able to live and breathe this process of self observation, your attractiveness grows and your loved ones will be inclined to hear what you have to share.
This is also the primary reason why couples and families who practice Yoga & Meditation together often grow closer and more loving. When husband and wife are committed to knowing themselves and each other, their love becomes invincible.
3) Know the nature of this Universe
There are many laws of the Universe. The sun rises to give us day, an apple seed you sow today reaps you an apple harvest later on, water flows from high to low gradients, fire transforms matter, etc. You can observe these from observing how Nature functions. The process of involution gets deeper and more interesting here. When you contemplate on Mother Nature and her works, you begin to realize that it is not Earth that belongs to you, but its you who belong to Earth. This realization allows us a glimpse into the macro-microsm mechanics of matter. We humans inhabiting Mother Earth is as per how our trillions of cells, micro flora and bacteria are inhabitants of our body. Our entire Universe, is a macrosm of our body. And our relationships, with every other human being, is a reflection of the relationships we have with the various personalities of our minds.
Begin the inward journey today, and you will be sure to see some shifts in your surroundings. Wishing you fulfilling, enlightening and joyful love journey with yourself and your loved ones.
(C) Linda Loo