But for those of you who may be like me and are see-sawing as old issues hook you and pull you out of that delicious, warm, and permeating sea of love and heave you back onto the hard, bitter concrete of duality, I felt like writing a little encouragement and what it means to simply be love.
Love Beyond the Juvenile DefinitionsMost of us can't have a real discussion about love until we know what we're talking about. I'd encourage you to check out my spirituality post called, "What Is Love?" before going much further here. It'll help you understand how I'm talking about it because I certainly am not speaking from the juvenile and limited definitions of love that only include family and certain romantic-sexual partners. Love is so much vaster than that, and it's an important thing to understand.
However, those of you dropping more frequently into this relaxed permanently loving awareness can see this vastness, can you not? It's beautiful. Every aspect of life is an aspect of love. Every aspect of love is in you. You are part of it all, and how could you not love all of you now. Where you often will get pulled back into duality and the troubles of daily life will be when you find an aspect of yourself that you cannot accept. At each level of integration with this awareness, you let go of subtler and subtler levels of ego and illusion. Many of these illusions and ego ideas still place projections on what the world around you should be and how it should behave. But make no mistake about it, the world will continue to be a mischievious, dangerous, and occasionally outright cruel place. Awakening doesn't remove that; instead it embraces it as part of the whole.
Finding Your Limitations and Going Beyond ThemMany times, people will feel overwhelmed by the wealth and abundance of their own love. I think it's a little funny how often people talk about abundance and think that it's just about money. Too many people think that they can just attract lots of money, and attached to that idea is often another idea that this will make them happier. The fear of not having enough tends to hide underneath this desire. But abundance is not necessarily monetary, and the more that only love remains in your life, the more you will not think much about those things. Taking care of your means for survival will be important, but the rest will be left to God. It always was. Now, as things dissolve away, the truth of that reality becomes more and more prominent.
The Many Barriers to LoveYou'll notice that I never distinguish this love as spiritual love. Even a phrase like that is too small, and it creates a new definition and therefore a new barrier to love. Now we can only love in a spiritual way or love spiritual things. That's not what this love is. It is a profound acceptance of all that is in the universe. Nothing is left out from the meanest dictator to the kindest saint. Wherever you find that your heart closes, you now must go. Again and again, you must find these barriers to love if you are to truly embrace all of you, and each time you let go of a barrier, it is astonishing how much more love you can feel.
I've always been amused that at each new depth of love that opens in me, it feels like a huge wave crashing over me, and it makes the last wave feel very small. It's as if I had a small sip of water previously, and now I'm swallowing the ocean. I've had this feeling again and again as the many barriers to love in my own heart have dissolved. So I encourage you to embrace this refreshing new-ness and overwhelming sensation each time it comes. Open yourself wide. Gorge yourself on this love and interconnection. You won't be lost, and if you do feel lost, it will be in the most exquisite way possible.
The Dangers of Misconceptions of LoveAnd yet people may be so new to the depths of their own love, that there exists a naivete and ignorance to this. You may suddenly decide that everyone is beautiful--and they are. But you may then put yourself in places where you may be hurt or abused. This is not the fullness of love. The fullness of love sees the beauty in all, and it sees the truth of the moment. In the truth of the moment, love sees a violent drug addict and may call the police. This may be the best way to embrace this person because this person could hurt someone or him/herself. The naive or ungrounded/unstabilized love would want to hug this person and somehow leech away all his or her suffering. This could lead to a violent reaction from the person, and it could also lead to the the individual in this awakened state taking on pain from the other that is not theirs to deal with. Keep in mind, that the more tuned into this awakened love, the more clear it is what right action to take. I'm not setting a hard definition here; I'm simply pointing to the fact that love sees. In clear sight and connection to your inner knowing, you'll know how the loving you of this moment need to express yourself with the drug addict. Then you trust the unfolding that follows. What you don't do is assume that everyone is acting from this type of clairty and love and that just because you've changed that others will simply follow suit. Everyone has their path to follow, and pain is one of our greatest teachers. For some of you, you already know this and you've awakened because pain (one of love's many aspects) has taught you so well.
The Arising of a Spiritual JobThe word "job" is a silly term because that's not really how this space thinks. As everything dissolves away, there is nothing left but love. So you will simply want to do whatever actively manifests love and joy into your life. That's it. It's not that hard. So many people go through such inner struggle to find their "true purpose," but in this space, the awakened self does not care about that. If there is a clear purpose for this lifetime, then you will follow it. If not, you will simply follow the path that brings you the most joy. There will still be difficulty, but consider that if you love offering massage, then you will do that work. There will be good days and bad, but because you love sharing yourself in this way, it is not the same as doing a job just to make money or because you're good at it. The "how" is everything. How you share your skills and talents creates the energetic foundation of the service you offer. If you truly hate working in non-profits but think you have to serve the world in that way, you are actually doing the opposite. You are sowing the seeds of suffering. An enlightened accountant is just as needed as enlightened non-profit executive directors, but you will only get to the work you truly want when you've dissolved into love. At that point, it all is so effortless, and you realize that the struggle and suffering you've put yourself through in the past only created more of the same. In this way, many of us often fall into the work we love, and that kind of effortlessness tends to lead to a lot of joy even as the jobs we do may stay the same or change a hundred times over in our life.
Arising Into Duality and Melting Back Into OnenessIn some ways, we are always arising into duality--tending to our bodies, interacting with people, and so forth. At night in sleep, we melt back into oneness. That feels wonderful to most of us, and while this isn't conscious oneness, it is a type of release from duality (putting aside the dreams we have). Thus, there is a way that we are already traversing the two spaces. In awakened consciousness, we will find old issues arise, and this is okay. This too is part of love and the divine unfolding, and I always encourage everyone to have a little bit of a sense of humor. "Ah! I got hooked into this old story of me. How foolish I am!"
The laughter makes it easier to forgive and to let go. In the letting go, you release and can drop deeper into that inner oneness that has always been there.
I know for some there is this fear that if there is nothing left, why would they want to live? But I've found that the fewer attachments I have, the more joyful life is. It makes me WANT to live even more, not less. The despondent ego will throw its last snares and set its traps to create this idea along with others about somehow you are not being responsible or will not be able to take care of yourself. These are all lies. The more grounded you are in awakened love, the more you naturally want to take care of yourself and those who are dear to you. It all becomes much clearer as you set your feet firmly down on a foundation of love. As you look around at the world, there is nothing but love left. So there is also nothing left to do than to follow your heart and discover and create the unfolding in your life that you must truly and whole-heartedly enjoy.
The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.