love

Brief essay on my depth work on love and surrender.

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I originally wrote this several years ago, yet I am feeling this deep dive is relevant again for myself as a reminder. I reminder of who I am and the work I am trying to accomplish, both personally and in my career. Just sharing it again so I can hold these lessons close, once again and do some healing. It is a long read, but worth it.

To surrender is, in many ways, an ultimate act of Love and presence, to let go of the preconceived notions that one must “rise above and beyond” another individual or situation. To surrender into the moment is a beautiful act of mindfulness, letting go of expectation and moving with the flow of the current in Life. I have found that such a truth in our world is often directly related to the energies that make up love and our ability to hold such energy within our lives. My own personal story of love, the acts of letting go, and the current state of my being in these explorations are to be examined as I sift through this process of mindfully loving, unconditionally, with my journey starting from within.

The ideas of being “In Love” or “Out of Love” is primarily a Western creation it seems, as noted by Robert Johnson who describes the essence of Love from his perspective as somewhat of a being, something that acts through us. It is this exploration of how the ego holds onto this idea of love, or loving, and forces us to act from what we think of as within our body. This action seems to take place as projections outside of oneself, placing the idea of our love onto another being. Johnson goes on to speak on this idea:

"when I say that “I love”, it is not I who love, but, in reality, Love who acts through me. Love not so much something I do as something that I am. Love is not a doing but a state of being – a relatedness, a connectedness to another mortal, an identification with her or him that simply flows within me and through me, independent of my intentions or my efforts.

Holding onto this idea as love being a “state of being” is a critical component in my personal research. It is this idea that I am exploring as I look at the ideas of surrender as a state of being. I feel that to fully understand and appreciate the depths of love in one’s Self, one must begin to realize the fundamental things that are preventing them from loving in the first place. It is this surrendering into that realization and acceptance of one’s personal growth in this life that will guide us into fully understanding these depths that lay within us, and in our need to connect with other human beings. In short, I reflect on Bateson’s ideas, much like Johnson’s, in that Love is a state of being, we Love not merely as an action, but as a reflection of our life as a whole.

The mindfulness approach that one creates in their gentle awareness of their everyday lives holds many answers to the struggles that one faces, the suffering that exists in our reality as we cling to old ways of living and understanding, which may not quite serve our needs in our modern day. Perhaps we can look at various cultures around the world and how they approach the act of loving another, discarding the labels of being “In Love” and fully accepting the presence of just “being Love”. Wade Davis explores the richness that is present within the cultures around the world through their personal connection with each other as well as the Earth. Perhaps it is within this cultural study that we can slowly start to realize that the many faces of Love can grow beyond just our Western idealization of its existence. Are the musings of infatuation or romance energies that obfuscate the realities of what Love actually brings? As a Westerner, are my perceptions of holding such images of what I think Love is something that is clumsy, misguided, or perhaps incomplete? I do acknowledge that the love that I have felt is strong, that over my years I have witnessed the true gifts of falling “in and out” of this love, not fully aware that these boundaries are quite self imposed. It is the subtle, or great, shifting of the ego that love helps transform, as the awakening of the ego so that it realizes there exists something outside of itself.

It is noted that within these boundaries of Love, we must return to the distinction of romantic love and human love, and how it is defined through looking back at the ego. Johnson mentions that romance, by its nature, must “deteriorate into the egotism”. In other words, this notion of romantic love is not directed at another human being, but at our own projections and fantasies, or more specific, directed at ourselves. Though in many ideas of Love, there is the focus of finding self Love as our true Love, I feel that this idea of romantic love is not what is being related to here. The notion that one can have romantic love for one’s Self is basically pushing the limits of narcissism, no longer acknowledging the need for the “other” inside the spectrum of loving.

To awaken and accept the Self with love, purely and without “need” or attachment, we can soon see how this learning of self-love can encompass the greater whole of “others” outside of oneself through a balancing act of awareness, presence, and compassion. It is also this awakening that leads to surrendering into these moments, surrendering the need to “make things work” within our relating with one another, and just be Love within the context of such relating. I am processing my own understanding of this within my life, as I move through a major shifting. It was my attachment to my own fantasies and projections of what “I” wanted, not what “we” needed.

Through this I learned that yes, suffering is optional, that my own perceptions of reality may not necessarily equate to what is actually happening, and even through the obscured lens of loss, I am finding a greater sense of compassion and acceptance for my own being, and ultimately, learning how to surrender and Love at greater depths. Such powerful lessons, while painful and difficult to move through, often hold critical amounts of information about our own needs in life, our own abilities to process the difficult moments and find an evolutionary step towards a healthier future. It is again this exploration of non-attachment and surrender, the letting go of the ego inside the complexity of heartbreak and finding true compassion for one’s self and for everyone.

I acknowledge the fact that what I am learning in this process of my journey through Love and my surrender to being present and allow Love to work through me is not perfect, and the ineffable force that we label as Love has just as many faces and ways of relating as there are people on this planet. I accept these realities that I am exploring as well as my own personal shortcomings, or what I see as learning potentials, as steps toward my own awakening, as well as a step in my own understanding of these energies so as to better help my clients as a therapist. If my understanding of Love and the world that it lives in is clouded, I perhaps am doing a disservice to those I directly serve.