One of the most important pieces to deepening my spiritual understanding is the shift in my understanding of what love really is. I used to think that love was the feeling I got when something or someone external from me made me feel good. I’ve learned since that those feelings were no permanent, only connected to my external environment. Although society taught me these feelings were love, I started to think they were not “real” love. I love you today because you are kind to me but I may hate you tomorrow if you are cruel.
If what I always thought was love was not authentic, then what is authentic love?
The answer to this question is a critical piece to spiritual evolution. Often times we hear spiritual guides and teachers talk about loving ourselves, loving other people, even strangers or loving an undesirable circumstance. We quickly realize that they can’t be referring to the classic definition of love that I described above. How can I love my enemy based on that definition? It is very hard to feel good or enjoy someone’s nasty behavior or to love that a horrible atrocity is occurring.
It turns out that Love is something very different from what we are taught in popular culture. The idea of a lasting romantic feeling is an example that points us in the direction of realizing that the definition of love that our collective egos share is probably not the right one. No one can stay in love permanently, most of us recognize that is a temporary feeling that subsides and changes.
Love from a spiritual perspective is full acceptance and complete acknowledgement. It is to fully accept someone from who they are with all their faults and flaws. It is to sit with a screaming child and be fully present, acknowledging their pain without trying to “make them feel better” or “fix it”. It is being there for someone even if you don’t agree with their choices and supporting them regardless of the outcome in their lives. Love is offering no resistance at all to external circumstances that occur. When Jesus turned his cheek he was fully accepting, therefore loving, a very difficult and unpleasant circumstance. I would guess that he was not “happy” about what was happening, it didn’t feel good. But he fully accepted it fully present and loving that moment.
When we shine our light of awareness on someone or something we are completely acknowledging it as it is. We are loving it in the truest sense of the word. We are looking past the external circumstances (that by their nature may be perceived either good or bad, since we live in a world of duality) and we are acknowledging the light of God in the being or circumstances. We are recognizing oneness.
True Love is to recognize the light in ourselves and in all other beings. Because Love moves past the good or bad of this material world and focusing on the true nature of Oneness it may appear to others as neutral or devoid of feeling at all.
I shared this quote in an earlier blog:
“To love someone unconditionally is not to care who they are or what they do. Unconditional love, on the surface, looks the same as indifference”- Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul, Richard Bach, 2004
So, if Love is the reason we are here and it is what we are meant to experience. Then we are here to fully accept ourselves, others and all the circumstances and experiences life gives us. We are here to be fully present and acknowledge everything and everyone with a feeling of peace and trust.