Love is all there is. Even fear is defined from love. Without love fear could not exist, but love exists completely intact in the absence of fear. I can’t prove this, except to say there are examples throughout our history as a species of people that were able to emulate this. Love is the only self-sustaining force known. It does not need anything to be, it just is, and it is boundless. This begs the question, what role does love play in my life. In trying to answer this for myself I have come up with the following.
I am human, and I live in a state of constant duality. Even though love is self sustaining, and does not require duality, as a human apparently I do. This means that with an awareness of love comes an awareness of fear. When faced with this fear I attempt to remember it is my human perspectives duality to love. So, when I feel fear I ask Love to absorb the fear. I have found that defining how this happens for different types of scenarios, allows Love conduits through which to travel that I can comprehend. These definitions allow me to call upon Love and invite it into a situation without it being blocked by the fear which can be sneaky, and stubborn.
So far I have defined four ways that I invite love into my life. The first deals with personal relationships of people that I enjoy. That is to say people with whom I feel comfortable, and choose to be around. These are myself, friends, family, life-partners, etc…. With these relationships I invite love in continually through a definition coined by M. Scott Peck, in his national best seller “The Road Less Traveled”. His definition in this book is “…love is the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth…”. What this means to me is that I will go outside of my comfort zone to experience something for the sake of my own growth or the sake of another’s growth. A good example is a parent with children. Many times we are asked by our children to do something that we do not have time for, or something we are sure we don’t enjoy doing. In these situations I often have an impulse reaction toward saying no. When I sense the impulsive nature of my reaction I sense the fear that underlies it, and I ask love to work in the situation through the definition above. This gives me time and space to really determine the best answer to the query by my child(ren). Often times the answer is still no, but I have let myself consider why the answer is no, and should a discussion be appropriate it is possible. Often times the answer becomes yes, and this happens through finding out that I was merely uncomfortable with the activity, or action being requested of me. If this is the only reason I wanted to blurt out “no”, then my willingness to extend myself kicks in and I get to determine how large of an extension is this, am I willing to go that far for this person, will this assist my growth and/or their growth. After quickly being able to assess the situation an answer is usually pretty obvious. Sometimes the person is yourself. A great way to love yourself is to grow through experiencing things that might make you uncomfortable.
The second way I define, and allow love into my life deals with individuals again, but this time these are the individuals we choose not to associate with, or that we put a conscious limit on our associations with, for a variety of reasons. These people might be ex-spouses, estranged family members, co-workers we do not see eye to eye with, or just about any stranger. In this case I have never found a willingness to extend myself for the growth of people in this category of my life. However, I still want love to work through me, and I do not want to be in fears grip every time I must deal with someone that fits into this category. This fear may manifest itself through negative thoughts about the person, an avoidance of the person, or even hateful acts toward the person. None of this is useful, so if I feel an urge to be negative toward a person in this category, I ask love to come into the situation. I do not try to extend myself, I instead ask love to return me to positive intention. By positive intention I mean good thoughts for this person’s growth and well being. By asking love to return me to positive intention, I am usually quickly able to understand the persons humanity, and allow them to be as they are, because I immediately recognize that the fear or negativity I have invited love in to absorb is indeed my own humanity. In other words I recognize this person is doing the best they can at that moment with what they know and where they are at. Once this realization hits home, almost immediately Love will also remind me that I am doing the best I can with what I know and where I am at in that moment. In essence I am reminded that even though this is someone I do not enjoy time with, we are both human and albeit different we have that much in common, and that alone is worth my best effort. Often in retrospect I will find that in a particular situation it was me that was less knowing, and my humanity was the real block to a useful exchange. It happens the other way to, but there is always something to be gained if love is asked into the situation.
The third way I ask love to work in my life does not deal with individuals, but rather all that is. I cannot comprehend all that is, but large examples of it exist all around me every day. When I am in nature, or in a city, or in a plane, or in a large group of people there are an infinite number of sights or occurrences that can one can look to and see love at work. I consciously seek these out. Some examples are the beauty of nature, someone lending a helping hand, or a jovial discussion amongst a group of people. When scanning for these things it is also inevitable that we will notice things that trigger fear. When this happens and I feel fear in the form of negativity, or a desire to fight against something, or a desire to flee a situation, I literally ask love in to assist my understanding. Love may help me see that there are many potential outcomes, and that I am not the right person to assist in advancing an agenda counter to the fear initiating stimulus. In this case acceptance flows in and replaces the fear. I can then accept the event as it is, without judgment. Other times love might show me that a given event is something I am supposed to counter, however Love will show me not to fight it, but to offer a useful alternative to the fear triggering stimulus. For instance we have all been in or around a group of people discussing their work situation in a negative way. It is often easy to get caught up in, agree with, and even validate the arguments being presented. In the end though if there are no solutions being discussed this is a fear based conversation. In this case it is easy to come up with and offer at least a beginning of a solution that will usually attract the attention of at least some of the participants. When this works, some people will generally be naturally pulled to the useful alternative. It is also likely that there will be one or more of the participants too identified with being a victim to understand what this useful alternative offers them. In this case I get to refer to my second way that I let love in, because I have taken a group dynamic from this third way I let love in and reduced it to a dynamic involving individuals. So, I return to positive intention where the victims are concerned and I may even choose now to refer to the first way of letting love in and extend myself for the participants of the conversation that were able to pull away from their role as a victim. Another example of this third conduit for love is if I am out hiking and a storm rolls in. Many people get very negative when this happens, and I am no exception. When I feel the negativity, I ask Love to help absorb it. In this space I am quickly reminded that there is nothing I can do, I am not special, I too must weather some storms, and this is what our beautiful planet does, and here I am part of it. In this case I am often filled with acceptance. There are times in this type of situation that I actually feel more connected than on a perfect weather day, if I am aware enough to step back and ask Love to come in.
The fourth way I ask love into my life is to ask myself each day, throughout the day, “how well am I loving?”. I do not measure my life in any other way. My measure of my quality of life is the question, “How well do I love?”.