What About Love

What About Love
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IshaJohnson,United Kingdom,Professional
Published Date:31-07-2017
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What About Love? Reminders for Being Loving GINA LAKE CONTENTS Introduction vii PART 1: LOVE IS… Essays About the Essence of Love Love Is All You Need 2 Love Is Gentle 5 Love Transcends Appearances 8 Love Is Acceptance 12 Love Is a Choice 15 Love Is Being in Essence 17 Love Is Recognizing the Divine Self 21 Love Is Behind All Life 23 Love Is What Drives Life 26 PART 2: BEING LOVING Essays About How to Become More Loving Love the Uniqueness in Everyone 32 Give Freely 35 Experience the Source of Love Within 38 Put Love Above Being Right 43 Take Time to Respond from a Deeper Place 47 Focus on What Is Lovable 50 Love What You Do 54 Notice What You Love 59 Be Kind to Yourself 63 Enjoy Whatever You Are Doing 66 Express Gratitude 69 Don’t Share the Ego’s Truth 72 Make the Loving Choice 75 Love Is for Giving 79 PART 3 58 Quotes for Daily Inspiration 91 About the Author 150 INTRODUCTION Love is so important to our well-being; and yet, contacting that which is within us that is naturally and spontaneously loving is often difficult. This book is intended to help you do that. It is made up of essays and short quotes taken from my other books, particularly Loving in the Moment, Living in the Now, Embracing the Now, Trusting Life, and Anatomy of Desire. To better understand what is presented here, it seems important to define some of the terms used, although those who are familiar with Eckhart Tolle’s writings will already be familiar with these terms. It is obvious that human beings have a dual nature, that is, they have the potential for both good acts and harmful acts. We can be loving, compassionate, and altruistic or the opposite. Most of us would like to be more loving because it feels good to be loving and because it is actually our true nature to be loving. But something exists within us that makes it difficult to be loving consistently, and that something is the ego. The ego is the false self (as opposed to the true self, or Essence, as I like to call it). The ego is made up of conditioning—beliefs, opinions, judgments, “shoulds,” and any number of ideas that are part of our programming and psychological makeup. This conditioning affects how we see and react to the world, and we often respond unconsciously to this conditioning without realizing that we have a choice. Although some of our conditioning is necessary and useful, much of it is false, negative, and limiting. This is the conditioning that causes us suffering and results in our causing suffering to others. These false, negative, and limiting beliefs and perspectives are what interfere most with loving. The ego is reflected in the voice in our head, the ongoing inner commentary we all are so familiar with. The ego admonishes and pushes us, chats with us, judges, fantasizes, and tells us what to do and how to do it. The ego is also behind most sentences that begin with “I.” This aspect of the mind is often referred to as the egoic mind because it is the aspect of the mind that is driven by the ego. The egoic mind is different from the more functional mind that we use to read, viii learn, calculate, design, analyze, and so forth. The functional mind doesn't speak to us but is a tool we use when engaged in tasks that require us to think. The ego tells us how to run our life, but it doesn’t have the wisdom to guide us. Instead, the ego is the cause of suffering because its voice is so often negative and leads to negative feelings. The ego’s perceptions and values are too limiting and narrow to encompass the truth about life. The egoic mind is an archaic aspect of ourselves that we are evolving beyond. The ego—who we think we are, with all the judgments, conditioning, and projections—is an imposter, and this imposter is the saboteur of all relationships and of happiness in general. Essence is who we really are, the divine Self that is living this life through us. It is our essential goodness. We are actually spiritual beings playing at being human beings. Because we are programmed to pay attention to the voice in our head, we often fail to notice what is actually going on in the present moment—in the Now; we often aren’t present to reality. Most people live in a mental world, a virtual world of sorts. When we drop out of this mental world into the Now and are fully present to whatever experience we are ix having, we experience a depth, a richness, and a joy and peace that feel sacred. When we are in the Now, we experience love Love easily flows outward toward others and all life. This is the experience of our true self, or Essence. So, when we talk about being in the Now or being present to life, we are also talking about this experience of Essence—the experience of our divine Self. The experience of being identified with the ego, on the other hand, is an experience generally of contraction, fear, judgment, unhappiness, and discontentment. Love doesn’t flow from the ego. The ego’s relationship to relationship is: “What can you do for me?” Love is only experienced when we are aligned with Essence. So we can become more loving by learning to become more aligned with Essence and less identified with the negative, judgmental voice in our head. This is accomplished by simply becoming more aware of our dual nature and consciously choosing to align with love rather than identify with the egoic mind’s judgment and other thoughts that cause negative feelings and contraction. What chooses love? That is the great Mystery, isn’t it? That is Essence—who you really are x PART 1 LOVE IS… LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED We have everything we need because all we need is love, and everyone has an unlimited supply of that. Not everyone may feel love, but it is always there and available to give to others. The way we experience the unlimited supply of love is by giving it away. That is counter-intuitive, which is why it may seem like there isn't enough love. When we believe we need to get love from outside ourselves, that sense of lack stops the love flowing from inside us to others. Believing that you need love becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy: You believe you need love because you aren't experiencing it, and in trying to get it, you fail to give it, so you don't experience it. You can't really do two things at once: If you are relating to someone, you are either giving your attention (love) to that person or trying to get something from that person. You are either in Essence (giving attention) or in ego (trying to get attention). These are very different states of consciousness, and they result in very different experiences. 2 The experience of being in ego is an experience of lack. The ego never has enough of anything, including love. So the ego looks outside itself to try to get what it feels it lacks. The ego tries to manipulate the world to fill its desires and so-called needs. The experience of being aligned with our true nature, or Essence, on the other hand, is an experience of fullness. If Essence has a need, it would be to give love, to attend fully to whatever is happening right now in the present moment. Being in Essence is an experience of loving whatever is arising and giving attention to that out of love for it. When we do that, we fall in love with life. And when we are in love with life and with the present moment, there is a natural movement outward to give to or support whatever is showing up in life. That flow of love and attention toward life is the experience of love that everyone is looking for. It is always possible to give attention and love to whatever is showing up in our life. It is a simple choice, but not so easy to do. The ego doesn't value doing that. It doesn't believe that doing that will get it what it wants. The irony is that giving love and attention to whatever is showing up in our life is exactly what gets 3 us what we want, and doing what the ego thinks will make it happy results in the opposite. Life is a little like Alice's experience in Wonderland: Everything is backwards. However, once you realize that secret about life, your experience of the world changes. Life becomes bountiful and supportive rather than lacking and unkind. The kindness that flows from you creates a kind world, not only for you, but also for others. All you need is love—and you already have plenty of that to give From Living in the Now 4 LOVE IS GENTLE I was listening to a song the other day, and some of the words were “Love is gentle, and love is kind.” The truth of that really touched me. We think of love as being a feeling—an emotion—but true love is more of a being and a doing, a giving, an outpouring. Love touches, love offers itself, love is gentle, and it is kind. That's how we know it. We know love by its fruits. Love gives: It listens, it caresses, it nourishes, it nurtures. It does whatever is needed of it. Love naturally responds to life as life presents itself. Romantic love isn't like this at all. Romantic love is a giddy feeling, an excitement, an anticipation of getting something from someone. It makes us feel like a kid at Christmas—“Yippee I'm going to get what a want” Romance is exciting, fun, and feels wonderful, but it's not really love. It's too self- centered for that. When we are in love, we are often oblivious of the needs of others, as we have only the beloved on our mind. We become fascinated and obsessed with the beloved to the exclusion of 5 everything else. We love the beloved, not for what he or she is, but for what we think that person might mean to us and to our life. We are excited because the beloved is believed to enhance us. The feelings of romantic love are created by an illusion (i.e., psychological projection) and by the release of certain chemicals in the brain. Romantic feelings are a very different kind of love than true love; they are a falling in love with what we hope will be our salvation and happiness forever. That kind of love never lasts and often disappears upon getting to know someone better. If we are lucky, it turns into something truer, more real, more akin to our true nature. It is our nature to love, to be gentle, to be kind. When all thoughts from the egoic mind (the voice in your head) drop away or aren't given attention, love is our natural response to life. The only thing that ever interferes with love is a thought, usually a judgment or fear. These are the enemies of true love. They undermine it and eat away at it, or prevent it altogether. Love cannot exist in the ego's world of judgment and fear. And yet we, as humans, need and want love so desperately. Because of this, we learn to love for love's sake, for the joy of loving, without conditions, just because it is our nature to love. We 6 learn to move beyond the ego's judgments and fears because doing so is the only way to get what we really want—true love. We find a way to love in spite of our judgments and fears. We discover this very simple truth: Love is an act of kindness, not a giddy feeling. Love is a natural expression of our true nature, not a feeling we get from others. The ego manipulates others to do what it wants so that it can feel love, but that's the opposite of love. Love allows others to be just as they are. It supports and nurtures, listens, and cares. Love flows toward others from within us. It exists within us and isn't something we get from others. This kind of love is the most fulfilling thing in the world. Experiencing it doesn't require that you be beautiful or rich or healthy or intelligent or that you have a special talent or standing in life; experiencing it only requires that you express it. It's free and it frees us, and it frees others from the ensnarement of the false self. It's the greatest gift and one that doesn't cost the giver anything. It takes nothing from the giver and returns everything. This is the great secret we are meant to discover. From Living in the Now 7 LOVE TRANSCENDS APPEARANCES Appearances seem so important. Most of us believe that our appearance is very important, and we work very hard at looking a certain way. This is especially true for women, of course, and this conditioning is very difficult to overcome because there's a lot of fear that not looking good will have drastic consequences. For many people, appearance is a top priority and often remains that way right up until death. My mother, for instance, insisted on “putting on her face” even on her deathbed after her body had been diminished to skin and bones by cancer. Even then, she was still trying to improve herself, still not seeing the beauty that she was as this old dying woman, still not allowing herself to just be as she was. Our appearance does affect how others initially react to us. However, it's not as important as we make it. We suffer over it and try so hard to look other than the way we do. All of this trying is exhausting and takes time and energy away from things that are more fulfilling and important in life. 8 That's the problem—when we are consumed with our appearance, we aren't giving our attention and energy to other things that might be more meaningful, fulfilling, and rewarding. We might not discover that cultivating kindness is more rewarding than cultivating beauty. We might fail to notice the beauty that is here, within ourselves and others, just as we are. Inner beauty and outer beauty can be at odds, since there is only so much attention and energy we have. Where your energy and attention go reflects what you value. Do you value outer beauty more than inner beauty? You might say you don't, but where are you putting your energy and attention? What are your thoughts on? The funny thing is that others love us for our inner beauty, for the unique expression of Essence that we are, although they may be attracted to us by our outer beauty. However, that allure doesn't mean much if they don't also fall in love with us. What people fall in love with isn't our outer beauty (that's attraction or infatuation, not love), but something much more subtle—our being. They love us because they see lovable qualities that belong to Essence: goodness, creativity, kindness, joy for life, patience, 9 compassion, courage, wisdom, strength, clarity, and so on. The beauty of getting old with someone is the opportunity it presents to really get that appearances don't matter. You watch as your beloved changes before your eyes into an old man or old woman, but you may love him or her more than ever, not because of how he or she looks, but because you love your beloved's being—you love how he or she is in the world and with you. That's when you really get that all this emphasis on appearances is false. Appearances never were that important. You only thought they were. Just because most people believe that appearances are important doesn't make it so. People are under the illusion that appearances are far more important than they are, which does create that reality to some extent—it makes this seem true. This illusion results in a culture that's sadly misled into putting too much energy and attention on such things. This cultural illusion makes it more difficult to discover the truth—that appearances aren't that important. But life is wise and ages us so that we can discover the truth. It is perhaps one of the greatest lessons of our lives, although it may take a lifetime to learn it. 10 If we realize that appearances aren't that important, then aging can be experienced as fortunate, as it gives us the gift of finally getting to relax and stop striving to improve ourselves. We finally get to put our attention on what's important— on loving others (and ourselves) just the way we are. This is the greatest gift we can give others and ourselves, and the most important thing we can do in life. From Living in the Now 11 LOVE IS ACCEPTANCE Some people are easier to love than others, and they are the ones, therefore, who experience a lot of love. They experience it both within themselves and coming to them from others. What is their secret? Amazing good looks? No. Stunning personalities? No. Money and power? No. Their secret is none of the things we assume will make us more lovable. Their secret is that they love, and by that I mean, they accept others the way they are. Isn’t that when you feel loved—when you feel accepted rather than judged? Acceptance is the opposite of judgment and the antidote to judgment, and acceptance brings us the experience of love. What is the experience of love? It is the experience of accepting and being accepted, the experience of relaxation, of being able to just be, without struggling and striving to be any different than we are or requiring that others be different than however they are. That is what we all want—to just be able to relax and be okay just the way we are and to be okay with others just the way they are. 12 When someone gives us this gift of acceptance, we love them. What a gift It is a gift you would never reject and hopefully one you will return, because returning it—giving others this gift—brings you the experience of love. Loving and accepting others feels good. It is its own reward. It isn’t even necessary for others to love and accept you in return because it’s enough to just feel love and acceptance for others. The ego loves, or tries to love, in order to get love or something else it wants. But this kind of love isn’t really love. It’s more like being nice, and it may not entail acceptance at all but something more like tolerance for the purpose of getting something. This is a very different experience than love. Tolerating people is better than not tolerating them, but it’s not the same as enjoying them, which can only come from true acceptance. You accept others because you appreciate the unique expression of life that they are. What amazing things these human forms are And all the different personalities When we can just let people be the way they are, it is such a relief—for us and for them. Allowing people to just be is loving them, and this appreciation and allowing flows from our true nature, or Essence, which is love. Accepting and 13

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