That one I love who is incapable of ill will, and returns love for hatred. Living beyond the reach of ‘I’ and ‘mine’, and of pain and pleasure, full of mercy, contented, self-controlled, with all his heart and all his mind given to Me — with such a one I am in love.
Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 12, v. 13-14
We often speak about finding happiness. But is that our job in life? Is finding happiness our only purpose?
No. Happiness is simply a side effect of finding our purpose. Happiness is an indication we are on the right track, in the right direction. It’s a barometer within, giving us a moment by moment idea of how we’re doing.
Our purpose, though, has something to do with others. These humans we find ourselves having to live with, understand, find compassion for, tolerate. Our purpose has to do with our interactions with them. It has to do with learning to allow ourselves to love and to be loved; finding unity here in all this diversity.
And the question arises: how do we love when they don’t behave the way we’d like them to behave? How can we love these people whose imperfections are so glaring, who come up short in their ability to love us?
And the answer is: how can we not?
We are built for love. Our emotional/hormonal system is designed for love. Our sense of well-being is dependent upon love.
Love is an action. Love is a choice. Love is a flow. This flow of love is the healing power of the universe, of nature itself.
In our limited understanding of love, we see two ways to find it for ourselves. The first is to find someone who can love us; the second is to find someone whom we can love, fully and without reservation.
When we feel empty and alone and needy, it makes sense that we would seek to be loved by someone else; for after all, we have nothing to give. We are empty. We need to be filled up. And yet we never are. No one in the history of the world has been able to fill the emptiness of another in any sustainable fashion. Maybe for a time. A day, a week, a month, a year. But always it will cease to work, and we will be left needy once again.
As meditators, when we look within, we begin to find ourselves happy, for no apparent reason. We cease trying to find fulfillment from ‘out there’ and begin to know it is only available from this higher source within. And we begin to find the idea of loving another, of giving to another, actually plausible. We begin to realize we have something to offer the world. We begin to recognize that the times we feel most right are those times when we are being of service, giving of ourselves to another. So we find someone to love. Romantically, maternally, fraternally.
And what if this other doesn’t want our love?
This is the beauty of the system. If I need love from you, I am at your mercy. You may choose to give love or withhold love, and I then must beg, plead, coerce, shame, force, manipulate, bargain with you to get the love I need. I have no control.
If I want rather to love, all of the control is in my hands.
I can love you whether you want me to or not. I can love you whether you know I am doing it or not. I can love you even if you act as if you don’t know I’m alive. I can love you in spite of your difficulties with me. I can love you in spite of your resistance. I can love you because of your resistance. In a word, I can love you for being exactly who you are. I can love you anytime, anywhere.
I do not need your permission to love you. And I do not need you to love me. Everything I need is provided by Self, the inner state. I am filled, daily, with Self, and I give of this fullness because it is my nature. Because it is what I am here to do. I love.
And sometimes I love by letting you love me.
Love is why I am here.
Today I will insist on sending love to someone who, in my most judgmental of thoughts, doesn’t deserve it. I will find one redeeming quality in someone I find it difficult to love. I will let someone close to me off the hook for their crimes, real or imagined. I will let myself off the hook for my own crimes, real or imagined. I will invite God into the equation to show me how to do these seemingly impossible things, and I will let HerHimIt do them through me.