Where there is love there is life.~ Gandhi
“Are you willing to accept the possibility that you may spend the rest of your life alone?” he asked, as we discussed the woeful challenges associated with the male/female relationship dynamic. In shifting roles, my yoga student had now become my teacher during this conversation that took place on the mat after concluding our private session. “I don’t know” was my immediate reaction to this question, one that brings me too close for comfort to one of my greatest fears.
His inquiry haunted me for days afterwards, both on the mat and off. And then true to yogic form, one morning, the answer appeared: No, I was not. I have not yet arrived at the stage where I was prepared to resign myself to living a love-deprived existence. In spite of a series of supposedly failed relationships including three close calls to the altar all of which I might add would have ended in tears, I remain an advocate of love and love relationships.
To be alone is not in harmony with being human. Within the context of human relationships, it is entirely natural for one to seek companionship; Universal law dictates this. The continuity of the human race is predicated on our ability to be in relation and community with each other.
A recent encounter with one whom I’d regard as a kindred soul has led me to move beyond the conventional wisdoms of relationships towards something far deeper; the hallmark upon which all human relations in principle ought to be based. Here I speak of the notion of love.
The essence of love is one without boundaries and thereby void of definition so I will not attempt to do so here. Entirely personal and immeasurable on a widely acceptable scale, how we love is shaped by our circumstances, our upbringing, our culture – I encompass religion within this realm – and our experiences. It is the conditionality of love rather than its essence that humanity is conflicted by. The mixed messages that we receive about what love is supposed to be lies at the root of what numbs humanity’s ability to love.
As February 14th, the day that celebrates the patron saint Valentine approaches, largely its commercial aspects bombard us – the acquisition of cards, flowers, chocolates and the like. We have been seduced into believing that these token gestures serve as some love validation. I question however the heart-felt meaning of these commercial gestures if we are still in a quandary regarding our visions of love.
For many of us journeying along the yogic path, invariably our feelings about love will become apparent. In fact, it is not surprising to note that many practitioners were led to the mat either through a broken heart or having arrived there with one, set about mending it through practice. As we commit to our practices, in time, we are able to open up to our heart chakras.
It is the absence of love that lies at the root of all of the crises that we are experiencing in our world today. Ponder this. Love is the one vital ingredient – besides breath – which we all need yet are paralyzed by our fears to such an extent that we shut it down – mainly through addictive behaviors which are ultimately excludes love from our lives.
Why is humanity so afraid to love? To love, to be love, to give and receive love is vital to our well being. Though unlike breath that is largely an involuntary physiological function, the ability to love is equally essential. Perhaps the difference between the two is the illusion of choice – we can choose to love or not. However in the long run, an absence of love threatens our ability to live fully. In fact when love is combined with breath, this in essence becomes our prana; our life force. Love in its purest form is innate – we only need to look into the eyes of a newborn creature or being, not yet scarred by life experience to witness and understand this.
For most of us reading this, we understand – at the very least intellectually – that any change that we wish to experience in our environments needs to emanate from within. Love is no exception. There is a wholeness to love that when we truly experience it, includes only one person; namely our selves. It is from this pivotal point that we are then capable of ‘spreading the love’ to others.
Our capacities to love live in our willingness to die time and again, so that we may be re-born. Love is akin to a newborn child – emerging into the world pure and naked – physically, mentally and especially emotionally. Once we have stripped away the various layers that have been imposed upon us about love, only then can we begin to create a loving relationship with ourselves. However long this process may take varies, and we may discover that for a while, we must stand alone, empty. This aloneness I speak of is one where vulnerability is invited as well as encouraged. Love cannot thrive amidst inauthenticity.
The likely fear that may arise as a result of being open with one ’s self we ought to welcome for in it lays the seeds of change that we seek. When faced with the daunting question like the one posed at the outset of this discourse, you are able to gracefully face it and respond from the heart.
As we re-build our love relationships with ourselves, other aspects of our lives as we once new it will also shift and evolve. Our attitudes, beliefs and interests are bound to change. One telling sign of this will be the communities that you selectively re-create around you. By virtue, this metamorphosis will also impact on whom you draw energetically towards you and whom you repel away from you. Be mindful of self-flagellation here – acknowledge those former persons in your lives as your teachers as it is through them, you are now able to determine your love worthiness. Forgive them and release them from your hearts so that there is space to welcome those who may serve your greater good. Remember that the relationships that you now create are a reflection of who you are being – the other merely serves as your mirror. This can sometimes be a confronting and conflicting concept – after all no conscious being would knowingly invite into their lives anyone or anything that may compromise our ideals of ourselves.
In the life that I now choose to lead, there is no room for apathy. Subsequently, giving up on love is not an option for me. Being a Love Warrior-ess, with each passing day I channel love firstly towards myself so that I’m able to show up in the world with an open heart – one that brims with compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. In honoring the Divine that lives within, I surround myself with loving people, places and things. Daily I am reminded that the more I’m able to love and embrace who I am being, the easier it is for me to ‘spread the love’ without attachment and expectations.
Breath + Love = Prana.
Release all fallacies, notions, beliefs, conditions, assumptions, definitions and attitudes about love. Our seeds for love are buried beneath these cloudy, murky layers rooted in the opposite of love – fear. Once empty, take the time to re-fill our souls with nutritious and wholesome love. The resulting, inevitable shift will be beyond our wildest expectations if we surrender to the force within all of us that is immeasurable beyond words.
Love is the only foundation upon which humanity can thrive. Without it, we are doomed, truly. World peace is attainable and possible only through world love, a love that begins in our hearts, one beat at a time.
‘What we need is love, to guide and protect us on…seek happiness, come on you all and speak of love… what we need is love, sweet love…’—No More Trouble, ~ Bob Marley