The following text comes from the book Old Path, White Clouds, The Life Story Of The Buddha and is a conversation between The Buddha and King Pasenadi:
Attachment and discrimination are sources of suffering for ourselves and others. Majesty, the love for which all beings truly hunger is loving kindness and compassion.
Maitri is the love that has the capacity to bring happiness to another. Karuna is the love which has the capacity to remove another’s suffering. Maitri and karuna do not demand anything in return. Loving kindness and compassion are not limited to one’s parents, spouse, children, relatives, caste members and countrymen. They extend to all people and all beings. In maitri and karuna there is no discrimination no mine or not mine. And because there is no discrimination, there is no attachment.
Maitri and karuna bring happiness and ease suffering. They do not cause suffering and despair. Without them, life would be empty of meaning, as you said. Without loving kindness and compassion, life is filled with peace, joy, and contentment. It is not just some ideal. “
The truth about love is simple…
It isn’t found in anyone or anything.
The voids or empty feelings that curse so many people can be filled and resolved immediately.
All that is needed is a willingness to open to it and to understand it from a different perspective.
The Buddhist belief is that longing and desire for anything that is outside our true nature creates suffering.
We suffer the most when we are in fear of something. Fear of not receiving love or fear of losing love can both cause us a huge amount of distress, when both things are an illusion. Nothing is real other than that which is the present moment and within each moment we cannot gain nor lose as we are just fluidly experiencing existence from one moment to the next.
Fear is exhausting and debilitating and attaches many other emotions to it on its journey, e.g., jealousy, resentment, frustration, anger and despair.
The more we long to receive love, the greater our suffering will be and the more we will depend on it for our own sense of self-worth and happiness.
The more we look for the answers within, the quicker we will discover profound love and realize that it is with us at all times regardless of who or what enters or leaves our lives.
When we crave love from anyone else we place attachments onto the love and it is easy to feel disappointed, frustrated or even heartbroken if it does not reach our expectations.
Love should be given and received in abundance, as a free flowing energy. It is not a limited force—it is limitless, endless. The more that is produced, the higher frequency it will flow at as the momentum keeps going.
To be able to give and receive love we must learn to accept ourselves exactly as we are and not judge, criticize or feel resentment towards ourselves in any way. Self-love transforms us. When we love ourselves, we are far more likely to attract others who will love us too. When we hate ourselves, similarly we will attract those to us who reflect how we feel.
It is imperative that we give ourselves the very best care so that we can receive similar in return. Even if we don’t receive anything in turn, we will still find peace as we will feel fulfilled entirely with the love we have given to ourselves. We have everything already within us to complete us without the need for anyone or anything else.
The art of loving fully comes with loving all aspects of life, not just ourselves. The planet we live on, those around us, nature and all creatures, all add to the mix and deserve our love. It is free, however much we give—there will always be more.
Everything that we do must be given our full intention and to do this we must live fully in the present moment. The past is passed, the future is not here yet—the present moment is all we have. When our minds wander, we are not experiencing life as it is, we are caught up in illusions.
We cannot ever lose something that was not ours to own. We do not own love as love is an energy that vibrates; it is not possible to hold on to it and place ownership onto it. It is fluid and constantly changing. We have zero control over it.
Self-love is magnetic and has a strong force that can attract to us those who resonate with its frequency. When we truly love and respect our selves and live authentically free from fear of losing love, we can courageously give and receive love in abundance.
Whatever we put out into the world is the same as what we will receive. When we send out true genuine love to ourselves, the planet, everyone and everything around us, it is inevitable we will receive similar in return. How we treat ourselves shows others exactly how we deserve to be treated.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Mark O’Rourke