Love appears every day for one who offers love, That wisdom is enough. Hadewijch (c.1235)
Love is a most generous feeling, one that makes us want to do, and if we are wise, actually do, the most marvelous things - like extending random kindnesses, singing songs of praise, soothing someone in pain, or inspiring another with hope. Too often, though, we limit love's imaginings and quell its flames. We fear love's impermanence, worrying that those we love might leave us and we won't be able to handle the loss. Or we let love's reputation for lunacy block us: Perhaps we won't be able to think straight or we’ll go clear out of our minds. But it is precisely into this out-of-head territory that we must travel, not only because love makes us feel wonderful, but also because it fuels our highest, most creative and healing impulses.
While many of us search everywhere for love or wait suspended for its arrival, we fail to recognize that we can, with practice, activate this magnificent energy in our own hearts and keep it burning there, like the most faithful of beacons. To invite love in, we can begin taking time out regularly to shift our attention from head to heart, to familiarize ourselves with the pleasurable feelings love produces - the lightness and openness, the sense of relaxation, the electric charge of excitement and anticipation. We can connect with love's energy anytime - by thinking of a person, a pet, even a plant that we have warm feelings for. “The point is to touch the good heart we already have and nurture it,” offers Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, “until these feelings expand and, eventually, take over.”
As we experience love’s buoyant energy, we can notice any anxieties or fears rising up to block its free flow. By allowing ourselves to surrender to our positive feelings a little more all the time, we come to realize our hearts are larger and deeper than we ever imagined. By continuing to open them we dissolve even the most persistent fears and worries. Love needs to grow, and what begins as localized affection seeks to become universal. We discover that we really do have the heart to love everyone, everything, and to recognize that we' re all in this together. Loving this way, without discrimination, is the ultimate form of giving.
One of the easiest pathways to begin sharing this love energy is to learn and practice techniques such as metta (lovingkindness) - radiating our feelings toward ever widening circles of living beings; the "heart lock-in technique" - a Heart Math tool (just shift your attention from your head to your heart and send love or appreciation); or blessing others - wishing them unconditional, unrestricted good from the deepest chambers of your heart. When these energetic, expansive frequencies of love become your normal everyday heart condition, you'll find yourself wanting to pour your enthusiasm and passion into the world , to commit yourself each day to appreciating and taking care of its vitality, beauty and wonder.
Indeed, you won’t be able to stop yourself.
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