When my daughter was born I was fascinated to see for myself if it was true: are babies love? So as I sat with Little Human and carried her with me and watched and observed her and looked into her eyes, I felt in her something very different to the feelings that I had come to think of as love. She felt to be source. Something raw and as of yet still coming into being. But not love. This is my latest post:
In 2010 I went to India to meditate and whilst there I met a man who became a friend and who I really enjoyed chatting with him about meditation and life and so on. And I remember on one walk he said Laura what is thing love you talk about. And I was kind of stumped because it became immediately obvious in the way I answered him that I had absolutely no idea. Love is… everything?
DEFINING THE INDEFINABLE
In her brilliant blog, Karla Maclaren explains that:
"Those things we’ve learned to equate with love – the longing, the physical attraction, the shared hobbies, the desire, the yearning, the lust, the projections, the addictive cycles, the passions – those things move and change and fluctuate in the way emotions do, but they’re not love, because love is utterly stable and utterly unaffected by any emotion. When we love truly, we can experience all our free-flowing, mood state, and intense emotions (including fear, rage, hatred, grief, and shame) while continuing to love and honor our loved ones. Love isn’t the opposite of fear, or anger, or any other emotion. Love is much, much deeper than that."
And I wonder do I know what love is? Because quite often I retract my love with certain people and then oh yeah! It’s back! The love is back! Wohoo! And I have got muddled over the years, confusing other things for love, but real love, true love that feels to be something else.
Someone once said to me that love is a very private thing. I didn’t understand what they meant and we bumbled over it. No it’s not! Yes it is! And so on. And I thought them a closed person, an unfeeling person, because love is everything! as I have heard in the yoga world and the meditation world and the world in general, but now I am not so sure.
A truth! Most of the time, (cough cough) I don't love people. Come find me around 5p.m. when the blood sugar levels are drooping and I’m lugging my daughter in a buggy up some stairs in a busy tube with people rushing past me and you’ll see me: more snarl then darl. A begrudging state that only shifts when someone finally swoops in and helps me carry the pram and I look at that person and gratitude swells - but its not love.
I find it a wonderful inspiration to be reminded that there is the possibility that one day I might have feel a love so total it encompasses every being on the earth. But I am so very (very) far from that. In 2009 life slipped me a gift and I got to meditate unexpectedly with some nuns whilst working in Cambodia. As I sat behind those nuns I had my first inkling that their loving and my loving were quite different. Their loving was a state of awareness something I felt because they emanated a love far more powerful then the trite offerings and rushed frantic I love you’s that I have dished out over the past. Their love was an ode to something quieter, more mountain like. Their love was the love that we connect to when we meditate in those impossible moments of presence. It is not focused and narrowed, it is expansive and broad. It is not soft and sweet and cuddly and reassuring, nor addictive and fleeting and I don't think it was particularly personal either.
"Real love is a steadfast promise that repeats itself endlessly through life and beyond death." Karla Maclaren
And so I am wondering about this vast entity called love. And how though I may feel a great deal of affection and appreciation and joy for many people, I'm not so sure that its love that I am feeling... yet! So I am playing around with a word, two words really: love & presence. Maybe there’s not much that separates them after all.
"That mind of fearfulness
Should be put in the cradle of loving-kindness
And suckled with the profound and brilliant milk
Of eternal doubtlessness.
In the cool shade of fearlessness,
Fan it with the fan of joy and happiness.
When it grows older,
With various displays of phenomena,
Lead it to the self-existing playground.
When it grows older still,
In order to promote the primordial confidence,
Lead it to the archery range of the warriors.
When it grows older still,
To awaken primordial self-nature,
Let it see the society of men
Which possesses beauty and dignity.
Then the fearful mind
Can change into the warrior's mind,
And that eternally youthful confidence
Can expand into space without beginning or end.
At that point it sees the Great Eastern Sun." Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoch
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