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?

 

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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.


5 Warning Signs that You Need Self-Compassion

  • pointing fingerYour Inner Critic is beating you up by saying all kinds of mean things about you.
  • Your Inner Judge accuses you of wrong-doing. The gavel comes down. Boom! Guilty as charged!
  • The Self-Hater is making you feel like sh-t.

Quick!  Take a large dose of Self-Compassion. No negative side effects. Repeat as often as needed.

Sometimes it’s obvious that you are in need of the warm embrace of self-compassion. The warning signs are like flashing neon lights in Times Square.  You feel really bad, and you know you need relief. At other times, the signals are more subtle. Or, maybe you are just so used to hearing those harsh inner voices that you don’t even think about them as calls for compassion. I’m noticing that the more inner work and healing I do, the more I’m able to sense a very faint signal of distress that’s at the very root of the ego: A basic sense of “not ok-ness”.

Consider these 5 warning signs, so you can be more aware of your need for compassion, whether the signals are loud and clear or faint and muffled:

1. Feeling “not enough”. “I’m not __________ (fill in the blank) enough.”  Not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not loving enough, not dedicated enough… The list could go on and on.

2. Should-ing on yourself. “I should be doing __________ (fill in the blank),” or “I shouldn’t be doing __________ (fill in the blank).”  In either case, the voice tells you there’s something wrong with your behavior.

3. Attacks on your body: Criticizing how you look, how your body feels, or how it’s functioning. “My body is too __________ (fill in the blank).”  Too fat, too skinny, too wrinkly, too stiff, too tired, too achey…

4. Guilt and shame: “I am a bad person because __________ (fill in the blank).” I hurt someone, or I was hurt by someone else, and I deserved it.

5. Awash in uncomfortable emotions: anxiety, sadness, loneliness, grief, fear, anger…heart in clouds

It may not be immediately obvious what thought or whose Inner Voice is making you feel badly. Sometimes it’s just a sense of feeling blue, heavy, tense, or off center. If you inquire into what’s behind the subtle feeling of “not ok-ness”, you may discover one of the 5 warning signs is being lit up. But even if you don’t dig down to see what’s underneath the feeling, you can still benefit from applying a good dose of Self-Compassion. Take another dose as often as needed.

Don’t know how to give yourself compassion or want some support?

Listen to this 18-minute guided meditation designed to help you practice Self-Compassion.

 

 

 


Big Compassion: The World’s Biggest Hug  

My heart feels tender as I turn a loving gaze upon some uncomfortable feelings. Anxiety. Guilt. Failure. Frustration. Oh, and did I mention anxiety? I’ve come a long way from the days when I suffered from serious depression and intense self-hatred. I’m on a pretty even keel, most days. But lately, I’m acutely aware that bits and pieces of some old patterns still remain, lingering in the shadows.

I’ve learned how to process my emotions with much more awareness, and I know the importance of being gentle with myself. I can manage my Inner Critic so she doesn’t torture me, and I’ve got a reliable set of stress-busters to call upon as needed. My spiritual practices uplift me, while time in nature keeps me grounded. These are some of the things help me stay balanced. Yet, the most powerful medicine has been the recognition of my True Nature. I’m no longer completely hooked by the idea that my body, my stories, and the feelings and thoughts that pass through me, define who I am.

Does this mean I never feel fearful, upset, or uncomfortable? No. The other day my car skidded out of control on a patch of ice. Was I scared? Yes. Even after I arrived home safely, I felt afraid. What about the next time I need to drive down my steep, windy, icy road? Should I hole up at home for the rest of the winter and avoid driving altogether?  Next in the parade of worries came the financial concerns: My insurance company balked at accepting my claim for damages to my vehicle.

Letting go of the train of thoughts skidding out of control in my head, I brought my attention down into my body. Here’s what I found: A contraction around my heart. An uncomfortable vibration in my nervous system. Then, I noticed a sense of a bigger space, in which the vibration was moving. A sense of a bigger space in which all that I typically think of as “me” was being held with compassion…Big Compassion.

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Seeing the distress of my personality-self through the eyes of this Big Compassion, all is accepted and allowed to be as it is. All is embraced within a larger energy field…a field of spacious awareness. All is permeated by a loving consciousness. Everything is ok. All is forgiven. It’s like a giant hug that has no arms…no boundaries or limits. That one who gives the hug with no arms, that’s my True Nature…my True Self.

I’ve discovered, in my own awakening process, that there is a natural flow of expansion and contraction. When I contract in fear or resistance, there is a temporary forgetting of who I really am. There is a condensing down that Icy Rio Hondo-1-4seems to solidify the small identity…the identity I think of  as “Sajit”…the identity tied to this body, this personality, and these fleeting emotions and thought streams. When contraction is happening, I know there is something that yet needs to be seen, and then seen-through. Contraction doesn’t mean something’s gone wrong. Contraction doesn’t call for self-flagellation. Contraction calls for the pause button.

Big Compassion is always there. When I’m able to remember to shift my attention and look through Compassion’s eyes, the contraction begins to unwind. I can relax into the safety of the arm-less hug. As I identify once more with my True Nature, expansion occurs, naturally.

It’s like breathing. It’s like the flow of the tides. BIG COMPASSION…TRUE SELF…contraction…small identity…suffering…BIG COMPASSION…TRUE SELF.

Don’t sweep your uncomfortable feelings under the proverbial rug. Don’t try to hide them from yourself and pretend they aren’t there. What they need is to be embraced with Big Compassion. Give yourself the world’s biggest hug!