The word Love is now used merely to describe a game. It has become a corruption â€“ almost a form of spitting on the sacred. Passion, lust, and attachment, disguised as divinity.
Nobody knows the meaning of Love these days. A heavier, stronger version of â€œlikeâ€ â€“ thatâ€™s all it is. Who has known the real thing, who has felt what it is truly like? A mere handful.
Selfishness in loveâ€™s clothing
What we call love is ultimately just selfishness. It is mere chemistry and biology. We see a partner, we think they are attractive, and our body calls for us to reproduce, but wait!
That is too crude. We must have rituals, games, courtship. One must chase, the other must run. We must pick the best mate out of those available. And so the whole game has developed. But at its core, it is just a biological urge, dressed up nicely.
Sometimes, love is about reputation. How good they make <em>you</em> look in front of your friends. How good they make you feel. What they can do for you. How much they earn. Familial love is often seen as purer, and that is true, but often it is just as contaminated.
Other times, love becomes a knife held at their throat. Your father has to provide for you; your mother has to buy you a car; your girlfriend has to sleep with you; your boyfriend has to buy you a ring. Because of that one word, that one corruption.
Love is a state of being
Love â€“ Love, with a capital L â€“ it is just the opposite. There is no clinging, no attachment. It thinks nothing of getting, merely of giving. A lover thinks only of himself, herself, but a Lover thinks only of the other.
Love is so rare, simply because we have not been taught the right way to achieve it. Or, to put it another way, we have not been taught who to love.
How can we give what we donâ€™t have? If you reach into your soul, and find only unhappiness, loneliness, anger, anxiety â€“ how can you give out Love?
That is why all our love is plastic, counterfeit. We give a fake love, hoping that someone will give us the real thing in return. But that will never happen, for they are doing the same thing.
Finding the state of Love
How do we find Love? We have to start within. And doesnâ€™t that sound shocking! It goes against everything weâ€™ve been taught!
Love your country; love your religion; love your parents; love your friends; love your enemies. Who has ever said to a young boy, an infant girl â€“ Love yourself?
I was recently reading the scientific figures on depression, low self-esteem, and loneliness. They have been called epidemics. Epidemics! A word normally reserved for diseases and plagues.
Arenâ€™t all of them the results of a self-hatred? Sometimes it can be a subtle, deep, self-dislike. Sometimes it is an overt self-hatred. But the numbers speak for themselves, it is so widespread!
The four levels of being
Undo all the poison. Undo the unhappiness. Start with acceptance, and let turn into Love. Love yourself, on all levels, so deeply that all of that silliness begins to melt away.
How do you talk to yourself? Psychologists say all of us have an inner critic. The little voice in our head that tells us weâ€™re too fat, too thin, too stupid, too ugly, too old. It constantly bombards us with criticism; it causes all our fears and anger and sorrows. Change that around. Talk to yourself lovingly. Forgive yourself for all your mistakes, for your past. Love yourself on the level of thought. Love even the critic â€“ disagree with it, but donâ€™t fight it, for that is just more self-violence.
What do you do with your emotions? When you are sad, angry, scared, anxious â€“ what do you do? Do you run and hide, try to distract yourself, or drown it in alcohol? Or do you simply despair and give up? Love your emotions, welcome them. Feel them; let them be there, without acting on them. Whatever it is, simply relax into it. Drop your resistance to them. Love yourself on the level of the emotions.
And next, the body: It is our temple, and yet we neglect it, we abuse it. Take care of your body. Exercise, eat right. Try this, one of the most powerful exercises. Stand naked in front of a full length mirror. And simply send love to each part of your body. Scan it slowly, from top to the bottom. Love everything: the scars, the illnesses, and the fat. Imperfections donâ€™t exist, except in our thoughts.
And lastly, on the level of energy. Play with it. Fill yourself up with a loving energy, swirl it around yourself. Let it dance across your skin, let it fly across the room and bounce off the walls.
The bad, and the evil
This is a common question: What if I am a hateful person? What if I have hurt someone before, how can I love myself? Wonâ€™t that mean I would go out and do it again? And the answer is simple: You hurt others because you yourself are in pain. Once you fill your being up with love, what will overflow? Donâ€™t you want to find out?
And another question: What if I am ill? What if I am bed-ridden? How do I love that? How can I love something that is causing me so much pain? And the answer comes in the form of more questions: What is healing to your body? What is healing to your soul? Sadness and self condemnation â€“ has that worked for you? Isnâ€™t it time you tried joy and laughter?
Happiness, peace, everything that we seek within â€“ they simply come when we find acceptance and love for ourselves.
The end of all sorrows
Once we have satisfied our basic survival needs, what is the source of all our misery? The Buddha asked himself the same question, and the answer was simple: Attachment.
Attachment. When our lovers leave us, why does our heart break? When we get old, and our bodies begin to get slower, softer, weaker â€“ why do we suffer?
Simply because we have become attached to them. And this is the biggest lie â€“ that love is the cause of our attachment.
False love, the love of the lonely masses, is attachment. Real love â€“ that is freedom! A man that loves himself deeply begins to love all of existence. A woman who has found the peace within will be happy anywhere and everywhere.
Weâ€™ve all seen the celebrities â€“ so many are rich and beautiful, and yet depressed and angry. Weâ€™ve all seen the man working the low-paying job, but he carries a song in his heart. Happiness comes from within, from finding Love. Beyond basic survival needs, it has nothing to do with your external circumstances.
And when you Love so deeply, how can you ever be attached to anything? You love the time spent with your lover, you love the time spent alone. Where is the heartbreak? You love the clouds as you sit on the bus, you love the wind in your face as you speed down the highway in your fancy car. Where is the misery at being poor?
Love is freedom.
About Albert Foong:
Albert runs UrbanMonk.Net, a practical personal development blog that has enhanced the lives of many readers, moving them out of suffering and into a life of joy, love and success. It draws upon ancient spirituality, modern psychology, real life experiences, and everything in between.