I’ve recently spent time soul-deep in trying to gain a greater understanding of the true meaning of love.
But instead of being full of heart-warming and pleasurable offerings, it has often been a grueling, messy and painful adventure and one that tested and tore up everything I thought I knew, before finally delivering a few answers.
To gain these insights I had to, at times, push myself to extremes and face the challenge of keeping my heart wide open despite being triggered by my unhealed wounds which were taunting and tempting it to close.
I began this arduous journey in an attempt to gain an understanding of the inner wiring of just one man—with the ultimate goal of awakening to the foundation of love at the same time. The reason for this entire journey is that I didn’t know how to authentically love this particular man, as I couldn’t seem to get past both my own and his emotional barriers, both of which stemmed from the fear of what may happen if the love we shared abandoned us.
So, like a complex puzzle, I unraveled the dynamic as much as I could, hoping that I would then be able to piece it back together and love him openly in the way my heart was pulling me to.
Here is what I found:
Love is a gentle, but extremely powerful force of nature. Love is our very existence. It cannot be pressured, forced, manipulated, coerced, or constrained. Neither can it be created through willpower or destroyed through choice.
Love either exists or it doesn’t. If authentic love exists, it will remain, even if it is only felt subtly—despite any attempts to harness, exterminate or enhance it.
Love will not be rushed, nor will it be paused. It flows similar to a river and even if we attempt to change its course, it will still find a way to travel in the direction nature intended it, without awareness of time or impatience.
Love has no final destination.
To taste the elements of love we have to tentatively step into it at the shore’s edge so that we gradually get to know how it feels against our skin. We can then absorb and adjust to both the warmth and the chill as the sensations it produces flush through us.
When we absorb one another at a surface level, we can then swim further into the wild depths. Although the love that is radiating from us will subtly affect the current, the ocean belongs to itself and it is essential that it is free to ebb and flow in its own rhythmic way, without interference.
Love is ultimately freedom. It does not deliberately alter anything it touches, and it does not attempt to induce change by using shame, guilt or cruelty to manipulate an outcome.
One of the most difficult things I learned is that the one we love will not always love us the same way in return, or even at all.
Our reasons for loving someone often elude us. We can be left questioning exactly why our hearts have latched onto someone else’s heart and it can feel excruciatingly painful when the love we radiate is not returned.
However, it is not love that is producing the pain—it is our expectations, our desires and the conditions we have placed on love. Unrequited love has a tremendous amount to teach us and when we heighten our awareness to why we have strong feelings for someone, we can gain a profound understanding of ourselves and the hidden needs and wants we have that are calling to be heard.
I discovered that the only reason I was suffering was because my hopes and expectations were unrealistic. When I poured out immense amounts of love, I felt an overwhelming longing to receive love from that person in return.
However, love is not an exchange. It isn’t measurable and it isn’t always equal. Just because we give love doesn’t mean we are entitled to receive it back. Love is only true when it is given freely and without egotistical demands controlling and chaining it.
All hearts have the same capacity to love, however, fear has the capacity to prevent love from being given or received. One of the greatest fears is often that our feelings won’t be reciprocated, so our fear attempts to safeguard us by going into self-protection mode and limiting our ability to authentically love.
We often believe that we have to work on ways to be able to feel or express more love, however love is already there—we just have to find ways to remove the obstacles that are keeping us from allowing love’s energy to freely come and go. Subconsciously and consciously we place ownership on love and ration how much we send and receive instead of realizing that love does not cause pain; constructing walls and keeping love inside us is what causes the ache in our chest.
When love radiates from and toward us, it is essential to surrender to it and release all preconceived notions and beliefs that were once held and then place our trust in love so that it can be the guiding force. In the past, I often felt that I needed to direct love, otherwise it would fade.
Now I’ve learned that loving does not require effort, the only thing I need to do is remove all the blockades that prevent love from flowing freely.
The toughest lesson I’ve learned about love is that while it can cause an intense longing to be connected to the person our heart desires, that magnetic pull can sometimes bring pain instead of pleasure.
One reason for this is that we forget that we are energetic beings that are intricately connected to everything that exists, therefore separation of the physical body is just an illusion. Love has the ability to travel unlimited by time, space or distance.
Remembering that love is an energy that moves through us and connects and entangles with love vibrating on a similar frequency can remove an immense amount of heartache and anxiety.
When we feel our heart expanding, as it is pumping with infinite love, we are filled with the desire to pour that love into the person who has caused our affection levels to rise. When this happens, we can release and let the love go wherever it chooses, as love is a gentle, divine, higher force that does not need to be steered in any direction.
When our heart is filled with a high level of love—one that feels unfamiliar—our ego may mistake the sensation as a painful one, and although we feel compelled to gift it to the one who evoked these feelings, our ego jumps in and tries to tell us that we must love in a way that does not feel tense or risky, one that ensures we do not get hurt.
The ironic thing is that when we “love” from our ego, we effectively cause ourselves and others far more pain and suffering as the ego tries to convince us to remain emotionally detached and separated so that we are free from potential harm.
We can become terrified that the way we love will not be appreciated, gratefully received or we won’t receive similar amounts of love in return. Love can feel magnificent when mutually given and received, however, when the person we feel it for resists receiving it or has barriers up that prevent their love from radiating, we may be left in turmoil wondering what to do with the weight of love that has built up inside us and we may wrongly believe we are not worthy of being loved.
Desire causes much of our turmoil and suffering, mostly because we feel entitled to what it is that we desire. However, trying to reject, deny or relieve our desire only causes more suffering. Therefore, instead of trying to control and obliterate what is causing suffering we can acknowledge and appreciate our desires, and love and accept them as they are. In doing so we inadvertently alleviate our growing inner tension.
As soon as we focus our intention, our awareness heightens and our thoughts, emotions and feelings gain the opportunity to be felt, seen, heard and validated. When we validate these sensations they become a part of who we are and rather than demanding our attention, they merge with us and we naturally make progress toward creating whatever we want to integrate into our lives. Therefore, whatever it is we appreciate and desire, without demands, will show up in our life in some form.
For example, when we embody love, we become love, rather than chasing it externally. As soon as we accept our desires, our soul receives the notification of what it is we want and need and it sets to work creating a unique set of circumstances that allow us the opportunity to manifest a reality closely related to what we want and need.
The final lesson I learned is that there is no way to fully understand one person. We can read every book in every library, listen to the stories of every lover that has lived and observe all the romantic gestures on the planet and we still won’t fully know and understand one person.
We are all a unique mix of beliefs, values, morals, ethics, conditioning and DNA—and these make up our own intentions, motivations, emotions and feelings. All of these characteristics have served as the structure of our lives, and at any given moment, any of them can change, rendering it impossibly to continue to fluidly follow what occurs beneath anyone else’s surface.
But because love does not know judgment, condition or expectation, the only thing we need to remember is how to be love.
Everything else we think we need to know about someone is irrelevant. To connect deeply we only have to keep our heart open so that we have the opportunity to give and receive limitless eternal love.
Ultimately I realized that I didn’t need to learn or understand anything at all about this man, I only needed to learn about myself and understand how to truly embody and live through love.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Nicole Cameron