Fascinating that we use one word for the vast concept called “love.” Casually tossed around, we use it to end a letter, the equivalent of “goodbye.” Or it can be whispered with quiet determination into your ear by someone you feel a deep connection to, and instantly the mind stops, and your entire universe shifts.
We talk a lot about love. Think a lot about love. Have major expectations about love. But really, what is love?
For many people love is attachment; duty; something that comes with a lot of baggage and loads of fine print. (“I love you if” . . . “I love you when” . . . .) My spiritual teacher uses a different word – “prem” — a Sanskrit term that means Divine love. Love with no opposite.
This world is a place of opposites – hot and cold, up and down, right and wrong, love and hate.
Real love has no opposite.
Unfortunately, many people twist love to mean absolute obedience; love without question or reason; love in the face of abuse and neglect. Complete surrender to another person’s personality. This is absolutely wrong. Allowing yourself to be harmed or demeaned doesn’t teach you anything. And it also creates negativity for the person mistreating you. Suffering is not noble, nor helpful. Real love doesn’t ask you to become a doormat.
How do you find and experience real love? Like most things, the journey begins within you.
You must first fall in love with yourself. Not through massive ego pumping; not from a sense of self-importance or conceit. And certainly not through external things, like how much you weigh, or if you’re having a good hair day.
Love of the self begins with the knowledge that there is a part of you that is connected to something vast and eternal. It comes from being an honorable person, and making choices that allow you to be your best self, both on the inner plane and in the outer world.
It comes from being really honest. Becoming aware of when you are telling yourself untruths about your choices and circumstances.
Love comes from forgiving yourself ; recognizing you are human, and not perfect. And yet, holding yourself to a standard. Finding that space between mentally battering yourself for mistakes, or always making excuses.
Who do you believe you love and honor the most in your life? Ask yourself; is it “prem?” The love of the Divine, with no caveats, no contracts? And then, you must turn the question around and look at yourself. Do you treat yourself as well as you treat this other person? Do you love yourself as well and as true?
Be willing to see the truth within yourself and recognize that no matter how many love relationships you have experienced, no matter how connected to yourself you thought you were — you may only be at the beginning of your journey to discovering real love.