Plenty of us are looking for love. Our romantic paradigm encourages us in this (as do the Web dating services, which sell a lot of advertising due to this misconception, and thus love to keep this sophistry intact). Our friends encourage us in this, whether they do it consciously or not. Our parents definitely encourage us in this (when are you going to settle down? when are you going to find a good man and get married?). Hollywood and Bollywood tell us this too, for their own greedy and distorted reasons. Everything tells us that love is to be found on the outside, in the Perfect Person.
I have a hot news flash for us all…that person is a myth; they do not exist. And love cannot be found outside ourselves. It can only be found (and manifested) within ourselves, and then shared with others. Others are not the source of love, but perhaps they are someone who we can share love with, with whom we can learn and live the lessons of love.
Here’s another hot flash on love – you can’t make love. It either exists and wells up within us naturally, or it doesn’t. Love is a gift, it is not something that can be achieved, or worked for, or made. Love is not a thing, and it is not a feeling. It is a sequence of loving actions, a lifetime of loving attitudes. Love is communion. Through this holy communion with another, we can learn more about the holy communion with the Divine.
Love is an ongoing lesson. It is a destination, never arrived at, but only pointed to. Love is a teacher. Through love we learn how to give of ourselves, how to manifest love in our hearts, our actions, our attitudes…in our being. Yet we continue to perceive love as a thing – as something that can be found, if we just look hard enough. We, the lovelorn, seek it and hope to find it. Can one find the sunrise, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Still, we try.
Many of us waste our entire lives looking for love (instead of being love). We search high and low, thinking we might find it in this girlfriend, in that lover. We never give up hope…the false hope that keeps us searching for the un-findable: like a miner looking for the mother lode, like a child searching for Easter eggs after there are no more to be found. We look. We search. We hope. These disordered actions keep us in a sort of slavery: slavery to an idea, a concept, an ideal that may not even exist. Still, we look,
Love cannot be found – it can only be lived. We will not find love – it will find us…if we live lives of love and manifest it in our every thought, word, and deed. Love will find us when we are ready, when we can hold our own spaces, when we are able to forge love in the crucible of truthful, meaningful personal interactions.
Love has wings. It can just as easily fly away from us as towards us. Love comes and nests in our hearts – if we nurture it, care for it, feed it by the actions of our love. Love requires open-hearted vulnerability. It requires trust, and no small degree of faith. It requires all the things the sages told us are Good: patience and truth, kindness and consideration. Love requires compassion – and is compassion – of the deepest and fullest sort. Love requires presence of mind, of heart, of being. It requires us to remember who we are, and who the other is. It requires care and time, to grow into the fruitful blossoming it promises in potential.
Love (in its more limited conception and manifestation) can be a burden. Love (in a more authentic version) can be a gift, a blessing, a joy. In love, we ascend together. In love, we augment each other, help raise each other up to truer, fuller versions of ourselves than we ever thought possible. In love, two already complete people somehow complete each other, in ways they never suspected were possible.
If my love requires the presence of another person to manifest, I will undoubtedly spend much of my time in suffering. Other people (and ourselves, of course) are notoriously fickle, subject to whim and circumstance. The love that requires another to exist is always held hostage, for it depends on another. Love that accepts and abides will never die, for it blossoms independently of others and their actions.
When these types of true love (heart and action-based) merge and combine, they are glorious, beautiful to hold and sublime to experience. These loves know that love exists NOW, in this loving moment. They know its shadow may leave, but the substance remains. In true love, we accept the autonomy and choices of another. We know that loving may be releasing as much as it is holding. Love is accepting and allowing – each of us to be what we are, to live and love as we discern best in the moment. That love is a rock…it endures.
It lies dormant within us. It cannot be found or discovered – only uncovered and allowed to bloom.
So we can try to find love. We will find love, if we look in the only place it can be found – in our own hearts. As long as we try to find love outside ourselves, we will always be searching, always seeking but never finding…for eternity. That sounds like a sort of hell to me. Once we look for (and allow) love from within, we have a real chance of ‘finding it.’ Yet as we do, we realize it was there all along; never lost, never to be found.
It was (and is) within us always. As it unfurls, it ripples outward in the world, illuminating and bathing it with love. It spreads and ascends, and meets with Pure Love…that ineffable Source that some call God or Goddess. Whatever it is called, this Source magnifies our puny concepts and manifestations of love…and sends it back to us, in love. That sounds like a sort of heaven to me.
So the secret to finding love is looking in the right place. Once you find love within yourself, you will then find it everywhere, in all things, in all beings and all circumstances. Then, we can swim in the sea of love, bathe in it, and share its waters with our Beloved. Then we will not find or experience love – we will BE LOVE.