Choose Love

love's landscape (8) ed

Love’s Landscape, by Sajit Greene

“You can only see in one of two ways—with love or fear.” -A Course in Miracles

“Love is at the heart of all things. How you feel but reflects your decision to accept love or to reject it and choose fear. Both cannot be chosen. All feelings you label joyous or compassionate are of love. All feelings you label painful or angry are of fear…Lack of love is fear.” -A Course of Love

When I was first introduced to this idea that there are only two emotions, love or fear, I found it hard to believe. As a psychotherapist, I was immersed in a world of emotions, and there seemed to be quite a lot of them: love, fear, grief, loneliness, anger, happiness, longing, worry, guilt, shame, and on and on.

So how can there be just two emotions?

Look at it this way: As human beings, there are two basic operating systems to choose from. You can operate from the belief that you are separate (meaning you are separate from God/Higher Power and also essentially separate from everyone and everything), or you can operate from the knowledge that you exist in Union with God and all of creation. It is indeed frightening if you believe you are separate and ultimately alone in an uncertain world, housed within a vulnerable and temporary body. That’s why “separation consciousness” is also called “fear-based consciousness“. As you awaken to Unity Consciousness, you see with the eyes of love.

fear copyMost of us have been operating from separation and fear because that’s how we’ve been conditioned. Fear is the ego’s operating system. It is so deeply ingrained that we don’t even realize that the various forms of discomfort we feel are all rooted in a basic, unconscious fear. That’s why fear goes by so many other names.

Frustration, anxiety, irritation, anger, depression, hatred, judgment, attack, jealousy, guilt, blame, and shame are but different shades of fear. If you scratch the surface of any of these feelings, you will find fear at its foundation: Fear of being hurt, fear of loss, fear of not having enough, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, fear of failure, fear of death.

love or fear 3 edLove is the emotion that naturally flows from the awareness that we are eternally and seamlessly joined with All That Is. To awaken from the dream of separation is to know that you are safe in the arms of a loving Creator. You are loved, and you are LOVE itself! In Unity Consciousness, love is unconditional and it shows up as joy, peace, freedom, and spaciousness. Love is compassionate, forgiving, and creative. While fear rejects and resists, love accepts and embraces, without exception.

“Your beauty is the gathering of the atoms, the order in chaos, the silence in solitude, the grace of the cosmos. Our heart is the light of the world. We are one heart. We are one mind. One creative force gathering the atoms, establishing the order, blessing the silence, gracing the cosmos, manifesting the light of the heart. Here we live as one body, experiencing communion, the soul’s delight, rather than otherness. It is a seamless world, a tapestry where each thread is vibrant and strong. A canticle where each tone is pure and indivisible.” –A Course of Love

Now that you know that separation leads to fear and that to be in Union is to BE love and express love, which will you choose?

 

choose love crop


How Can I bring More Love to This?

Yoga,_double_exposure_by_Victor_TondeeI was twisted into some pretzel of a pose when my yoga teacher, Genevieve Oswald at Shree Yoga Taos, gently dropped this profound question into my mind:

“How can I bring more love to this?”

That question has continued to ring through me, gently and quietly, in moments both on and off the yoga mat. Whether I’m challenged by an asana that stretches my hamstrings or stretching myself to move through fears in my personal life, this simple question helps me be more present and compassionate with myself.

“How can I bring more love to this?”  

“Breathe,” my body whispers. “See how you might soften into this.”

“Be patient with yourself,” says the voice of Big Compassion. “I’m with you.”

“How can I bring more love to this?”  

Tears begin to flow. I can let go and feel the feelings I’ve been holding back.

“How can I bring more love to this?”  

It can be as simple as turning on my favorite music and instantly filling my space with sounds that open my heart.

These are some of the answers that have bubbled up, within me. The answers are always something I can do in that very moment.

Try it. Ask yourself, “How can I bring more love to this?”  

Let me know what answers you discover. Please leave a comment, so we can all benefit from your wise, loving inner voice.


Are You Selfish Enough?

 Let’s re-frame the word “selfish”

When I was about 20 years old, I read a book titled, “When I Say “No”, I Feel Guilty”. That book was an eye-opener for me.  As a shy college student, I wanted to be liked, I wanted to think of myself as a nice person, and I was afraid to deal with conflict.  I thought saying “Yes” was the nice thing to do.  Eventually, I got the hang of saying “No”, but I must admit the temptation to feel guilty can still rear it’s ugly head. Loving myself enough to be “selfish” is an ongoing process.

DON'T BE SELFISH.framedA lot of us were taught to believe that it’s “selfish” to ask for what you want, or say “No” to what you don’t want. But stop and think about it: Who was the first person to accuse you of being “selfish”?  It was probably a parent or maybe a sibling. As very young children, we learn that we’re supposed to play nice, share our toys, and let Johnny go first.  These are important lessons for a 3 year old. But as an adult, if you ignore your own needs in order to play Mr. Nice Guy, you lose.  You lose your self-respect, your power, and your autonomy.  It might make everyone around you happy, but are you happy?

Here are five clues that you may not be selfish enough:

1) You’re more concerned with what’s fair to others than what’s fair to you.

2) You attract people who are very focused on themselves.

3) You’re afraid to ask for what you want.

4) You’re not sure what you want.

5) When you say “No”, you feel guilty.

Let’s turn it around.

  • Give yourself permission to be selfish.  Give yourself permission to be self-loving.
  • Listen to your gut feelings. Is your gut saying “Yes” or “No”?  If someone asks you to do something, check in with how you feel. Does the thought of doing it make you feel heavy or light?
  • Know that if you say “No”, the other person is free to react however they choose, but you don’t need to feel guilty about being true to yourself.
  • Take time in solitude to listen deeply to the prayer of your heart. What is your heart’s desire?  Then, have the courage to ask for what you want.
  • Take some steps, however big or small, to create a life that makes your soul sing.

As Jeshua says, in The Way of Mastery, “Self love is the love of the Creator. You cannot love the Creator while rejecting the Creator’s creation.”  Self love.WOM.lily

So, it turns out that loving yourself is actually the spiritual thing to do!  Who knew?

Leave a comment and let me know an act of self-loving-kindness that you did today.

 


The Heart and Soul of Desire

Heart and soul of desire

My earliest encounter with Eastern philosophy came via Hippy culture, in the early 80’s. The take-away message went something like this: “Let go of all attachments. Let go of all desires.”  One cold winter’s eve, I attempted to follow that guidance and be “spiritual” by throwing away a box of photographs and memorabilia from my childhood.  That rash act may have cleared out some space in my closet, but it didn’t do a thing for my enlightenment!  These many years later, my understanding has deepened and become more nuanced. We don’t need to let go of all desires in order to be “spiritually-correct”. In fact, our desires can actually lead us along our spiritual way.

Our hearts’ desires and our souls’ intentions are naturally aligned.  Their shared purpose is to support our evolution and spiritual awakening.  A Course in Miracles describes the “prayer of the heart” and how our hearts know, perhaps better than our minds, what we truly desire. “What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying…The prayer of the heart does not really ask for concrete things. It always requests some kind of experience, the specific things asked for being the bringers of the desired experience.” (A Course in Miracles, Teachers Manual)  For example, your heart may be asking for a deeply connected, loving experience. Your heart isn’t saying “Give me a single professional who loves Salsa dancing and sushi.”

Spiritual teacher, Bentinho Massaro writes: “If you have passionate desires raging within that are not just revolving around protecting yourself, but feel truly inspired, that bear with them a spark of excitement, of joy, of possibilities…then they have a very real purpose. They are a glimpse into your possible future…Let it all out, and act on it with respect and integrity toward your environment and the beings in it…Everything you see is the result of desire. Without desire, there wouldn’t be creation. Thus, even The One, The Absolute, has desires. Why try to be more non-dual than The One?”

The important question is not “Should I have desires?” but “Where is the desire arising from?” Is it coming from ego or from your essence?  The litmus test is this:  Is the desire driven by fear? If so, that’s your ego talking.  The ego is based on separation consciousness, which breeds fear and a belief in lack.  Yet the heart and soul are rooted in your essence, which is love. Your heart and soul know that you are already whole and interconnected with all of life. From that place of love, wholeness, and interconnection spring the profound intentions of your soul and the precious prayers of your heart. What are they whispering to you?