A Simple Practice to Feel More Love In Your Life
I’ve been in a few relationships, but I’m not sure if true love was ever part of the equation. I’m single now, and I’m feeling really isolated and alone. I just hate feeling like no one loves me. I just want to feel loved and I don’t know what to do.
Here is the deal: Love is an inside job. It isn’t like someone actually hands us something we get to handle, hold and touch. Love isn’t something we have, it’s something we feel.
We tend to want to blame others for the lack of love in our lives, but the kicker is that someone could love you with all of his or her heart and you might still not feel loved. Or someone could not even know you exist and you could feel full of love for them. The source of your love is not outside of you: This is true for both the love you give and the love you receive. Love exists within you, totally independently of the object of your love (or the absence of someone to share that love with). Love has little to do with the proximity or even the existence of the other person. When you love someone and they die, the love remains. Even when we break up with someone, love does not go away either. We just block the flow of love.
The love is inside of you. Love is who you are on a soul level. Love is your natural state.
Ego is what blocks love—every time. An active ego shows up in the need to control and the need for approval, and it materializes in relationships through nagging, sarcasm, judgment, disappointment, jealousy, possessiveness, hurt, fear, and a sense of loneliness. When you do not like what you are experiencing in yourself, in your relationships, or in your life, there is a block in the flow of love and joy. As we learn to transcend our egos, we can restore the flow of love in all of our relationships. Your job is to remove the blocks that are damming the flow of love.
Here’s an exercise to help you remove those blocks. Start by aiming to experience the feeling of love, regardless of a partner. To do this, make a “love list:” a list of everything you love, such as memories, people, tastes, colors, movies, books, and (importantly) aspects of yourself. One way of approaching the list is to think of the things in life that help you to feel the love that is already within you. Once your list is finished, read back through it, and pause at each item to hold the vision of that thing in your mind’s eye. For instance, maybe you put “sunsets” on your list. Sit quietly, picture a memorable sunset in your mind’s eye, and see if you can feel the love inside you. Continue to do this exercise with each item on your list. Consciously let your love grow, and begin to recognize what it feels like. Then, throughout your day, look for things to love and to be joyful about—even the little things, like a parking spot in a crowded lot, a kind smile from a stranger, a flower growing up through the cement. Notice what love and appreciation feel like, and begin to allow that feeling to flow through you all the time.
Equally, notice when you do not allow the feeling of love. In those moments, guaranteed, your ego is at work. You will block the flow of love when you are judging others or when you are judging yourself; when you are trying to control others, or when you are trying to gain their approval. You will block the flow of love when you are inauthentic (in other words, dishonest or withholding the truth). Notice when you are blocking love. Then take a deep breath and transcend your ego, realign with that feeling of love that you have been developing and choose thoughts, words and actions that are in alignment.
Then, when you are in a relationship, enjoy the power and beauty of two people feeling the love within at the same time and sharing it with each other—rather than getting it from each other. It is, indeed, a beautiful thing.
Intellectual Foreplay Question of the Week: What causes you to feel love?
Love Tip of the Week: How we feel is a direct result of what we are thinking. As you allow your thoughts to be more loving, you will feel love. If you want to feel more love, be more loving.
A Spiritual Workbook for Children & Families
Someone to Watch Over Me is a sweet little gift for connecting with one's inner spirit, for giving voice to one's inner being, and for connecting one's essence with Guardian Protectors or Guides. Simple and inviting enough for children, lucid enough for adults...a precious offering."
Edward Espe Brown, Zen Priest, Author of The Tassajara Bread Book et al