Human love, as commonly understood, is a messy affair. It tends to spring from an evaluation of the beloved – what’s lovable and not so lovable in him/her. It also evokes self-evaluation - questions about one’s capacity to love and worthiness to receive love.
From the perspective of young ego, love is exhilarating and dangerous - a high stakes venture, where the prize is precious and the risks, devastating. Egoic love is entangled with, and strangled by, fear and judgment.
We fear being rejected or abandoned or cheated or used/abused by the other. We fear the humiliation of self-judgment when love is unrequited. No wonder we hold back. No wonder we self-protect. No wonder we become strategic and controlling.
At another level, none of this angst is necessary. At this deeper level, love is neither scarce nor dangerous. It’s the energy that holds everything together – from atoms to families to this planet. It’s abundant and unavoidable - the energy of everything, the energy of who we are.
At this level, the flow of love is natural and effortless. Navigating human interactions may still be complex and confusing, but love is simple. And, while love is a natural and effortless flow, it requires intentionality and persistent practice to make a more permanent shift away from the egoic paradigm of separation and scarcity.
Liberating love is a process - and I’m still a learner. While much has been written about this process – and much more could be – I offer three brief suggestions.
First of all, we need to realize that humanity can move beyond an egoic approach to love. In this growth process, we humans typically move from “immature ego” (where we’re way out of balance - either overly preoccupied with self and disregarding of others or overly preoccupied with others and disregarding of self), to “mature ego” (where there is a healthy balance of care and regard for self and others), to immersion in the flow of universal, unconditional love – our true, natural state.
Second, every day in a regular way, let’s declare our intention to soften and open to the flow of universal love. My practice is to do so first thing in the morning, face-to-face in front of a mirror. Often during the day, especially before important interactions, I remind myself of this commitment to flow.
Third, let’s use our breath to practice being in the flow of love. For example, we can inhale the energy of universal love from below, above, around and within; and then exhale love in every direction and especially toward what’s right before us. Sometimes, I picture golden light entering through every pore, gathering in my heart, and radiating out from my heart toward others. Sometimes, as breathe in, I focus on a felt sense of love coming into my heart, then radiating outward as I exhale. There are many ways to practice. It’s important to find what works for us - and stick with it!
When we approach relationship in the flow of universal love, we cannot be depleted, we cannot be cheated, we cannot lose ourselves. We don’t become invincible or invulnerable. We’re still human. We still experience the full range of human emotion. Ego, however, is not in the driver’s seat. Flowing with universal love frees us from attachment to outcome and, ironically, allows us to have wonderful outcomes – powerful and positive effects on those around us.
With persistent practice, receiving and radiating love becomes more habitual and more natural. We move into harmony with our love nature. We feel a deeper sense of integrity and connection – and peace.
We liberate ourselves. We liberate love.