Most of us could agree that, in its many forms and expressions, there is nothing more important in our lives than love. Every act of care we offer to ourselves, to each other, to the planet, can be seen as an expression of love. Every simple kindness, every generous, wise and beneficial action, can be seen as an expression of love.
In contrast, every indifferent act that causes harm, or neglect, every time we avert our attention from our own genuine needs, the needs of others, and the plight of the planet—all this is symptomatic of a lack of conscious care and love.
What is authentic love and how can we support its beneficial expression? How can we grow our capacity to love ourselves and each other? These are some of the important questions we’ll be exploring in the upcoming iRest Immersion, Relating from the Depth of the Heart in Loving Relationship from September 17-19.
A Deeper Understanding of Loves Many Forms
A felt-sense of love for something can be evoked when we see its beauty and preciousness. When in this experience of love, we are drawn to give care, to appreciate, to connect. Love is also the inner response that’s evoked when we feel deeply aligned, in harmony, mutually supported, and united with others. Very often we feel this with our closest family and friends.
Romantic love arises when we discover and feel a connection with another that promises a depth of union. A union that we sense could bring us profound happiness. A happiness that nothing else can tarnish or diminish. And yet human relationships into which we “fall in love” always involve subsequent moments when we “fall out of love”. When the promise of the other as a source of happiness and fulfillment and the unguarded union of hearts, feels broken.
What is the role of the sacred in love? Divine love is most often felt or seen as a love that is unconditional: forgiving, fully accepting of us as we are, and an ever-present source of blessing and support. Some turn to this divine love as a safe haven. A connection that might bring an unbreakable sense of connection and support. How can we translate this evolved understanding into the way we do and don’t love each other in our closest relationships?
Love As An Inside Job
When it comes to love, one principle holds true: “as within, so without”. When we feel deeply secure, at peace, and in harmony with ourselves, we are most likely to be naturally loving to those around us, and those closest to us. When we are troubled, divided, and suffering on the inside, all bets are off in terms of how we might react to others. We’ve all experienced the unloving consequences of externalized inner conflict.
Clearly, there’s no greater act of love than to foster peace, harmony, and wholeness within ourselves. There’s no greater way to love others than to learn to truly love ourselves. And there is no better way to come to deeply see the good in others than to discover and embrace the goodness inherent in our own essential nature.
How Do We Practice Self-Love?
For me, the action of love is “to attend”. Our conscious, welcoming, undivided attention is the truest currency and expression of love. In iRest, we love ourselves through every step of the practice. We offer a heartfelt, welcoming quality of attention to our own inner experience. There is no greater way of honoring ourselves, healing ourselves, and loving ourselves. And when we look deeply enough into each and every aspect of ourselves, no matter how it may have appeared on the surface, we discover essential wholeness and goodness. Indeed, we can encounter the Sacred.
Our practice of iRest, is the greatest support and act of love for ourselves, and those around us. The invitation is to approach our iRest practice as an expression of love and with an awareness of its profoundly positive and healing effects, individually and relationally.
May the love that is offered and discovered within us ripple out into all our relationships and throughout the world.