We are meant to live a life of love. When we’re not in love, something’s the matter. Unfortunately, most of us, unaware of this, become resigned to disappointment, loss and upset in relationships. No matter how successful we are in other aspects of our lives, many do not feel entitled to the same success in love. This is considered natural as one “grows up” and gives up the fantasies, foolishness and dreams of childhood. But nothing could be further from the truth. It is the fantasies, foolishness, and confused expectations we develop as we grow older that keep the love away.
Being in love is the most mature and realistic thing you can do. It energizes your life, fills you with positivity, creates generosity and makes every moment beautiful. The body heals, the heart is happy. As a great teacher once said, “We never ask the meaning of life when we are in love.”
If being in love is our natural state the real question is, what is it that keeps this most precious inheritance away? How can we reclaim it and return to the intrinsic trust and joy we had as children?
Many fear they will be hurt. But contrary to popular opinion, real love never hurts or wounds. It is only our confused expectations that can undermine our lives. There is a Buddhist saying “Give up poisonous food wherever it is offered to you.” But most of us do not know what is poison and what is nourishing in our relationships.
Once we know the difference between real and counterfeit love, once we learn the laws of love and how to practice them, we will be able to live a life of love and build relationships that cannot fail. The fact of the matter is that we can begin to do this and turn our lives around at any time.
To begin this process, let us look a little deeper. It always seems as if relationships are difficult—difficult to find, to keep and to enjoy. Yet the fundamental truth is that there is no inherent problem with relationships at all. There is never a scarcity of relationships, there is never a scarcity of love.
Some complain that they can’t love because there is something wrong with the person they are with. No one can please or satisfy them. In the beginning they may feel as though they’ve found the perfect person, but before they know it, conflict develops, irritation grows. The joy of feeling loved and valued, fades away. Most people have no idea why. Ultimately, from the psychological point of view, not falling in love, is not so unusual. In fact, many can do very well, become quite healthy, and yet never get over their disappointments in love.
Spiritually speaking, there’s a different point of view. Is a person’s very life at stake if they aren’t able to truly love? The answer is Yes. Without the ability to know real love, the precious taste of this life is thwarted, and a person may be doomed to living her days as a “Hungry Ghost.” But we can change this at any moment. To begin we suspend judgment and disbelief, become willing to become a child once again – explore, play, hug, cry and feel that the world is filled with endless possibilities. We also must develop the ability to say No to all of the people, beliefs, habits and desires which can take our faith and love away.
We need to be willing to allow ourselves to look for and find that which is beautiful and worthwhile in everyone, (including ourselves). And, somehow, let them know.
Falling in love doesn’t mean being blind, or entering into fantasy. It means waking up out of darkened dreams to finally see the beauty which surrounds us. A little endurance is required, along with the willingness to face the shadows that will dispel as soon as we invite in the light.
During this holiday season, let’s give it a try. It only takes a moment to do so, but the happiness lasts a long, long time.