I have written several articles on the issue of love referring to love when there is a male counterpart. When being in love meets gentleness, tenderness and sexual ecstasy then there can be great waves of bliss.
Nonetheless, even in this phase awareness is very important since otherwise this counterpart – the person who we love and desire – can suddenly come to represent everything fulfilment means to us. Then, several weeks or months later, we might gain our first glimpses of the shadows and/or suffer a hard landing in reality. So this initial phase is also a good time to practice the complementary skills of ‘becoming involved’ and ‘letting go’. What happens with me when my beloved it is not nearby? Do I then experience pining or yearning? Does a feeling begin to creep in that I am ‘lacking something’? If this happens it is a sign that I am not completely clear with myself or with the issue of self-love.
Exploring this is very exciting and can then help me to discover what my beloved often has to stand for and how I can relieve them by nourishing myself. Love grows healthily only between two lovers who are not dependent on each other. In this environment a deep encounter is possible.
We might ask how love can arise and remain of its own accord – without being directly stimulated by physical, sexual union or any other form of attention from one or more other people?
Establishing love as a long-term, peaceful state does need a couple of active ‘tools’! In this context, ‘awareness’ or being mindful means recognising where love is being obstructed and then clearing these obstructions out of the way. It is an active process involving our mind and powers of perception.
It does not matter what the path we have chosen to follow looks like in its external details. After all, the external form of our love can be expressed very differently from person to person, with one choosing a polyamorous lifestyle and another asceticism – many variations are possible. What is important is a certain freedom from societal norms and morals and to avoid generalising our own individual path.
The matter at hand is to open our hearts and to bear the consequences of this. This path of feeling leads us into unknown realms. We need hope and courage to involve ourselves in the unknown. It is unknown because most of us have never experienced unrestricted love and therefore do not know how this feels. We are discovering ourselves. It is an interplay of ‘becoming involved’ and ‘letting go’.
Love needs space
Opening our own space up to another person involves our heart space, our thought space and often also our living space. Our own space is something that can be damaged if it is exposed to destructive energy. For me it is something very special when I invite people into my home or share sleeping space with someone else. Especially at night, an exchange of energies takes place which can influence our entire well-being. Here, it is important to recognise where energies are ‘sticking around’, in order to be able to let go of them or clear them away. It is important to recognise when I need to take back my space for me alone.
And it is the same when I am invited into or enter the space of another person: I need to be aware of the right time to leave.
We need to be especially alert when we are living together. If one space is shared on a permanent basis but this is not done with awareness, this will surely suffocate our love. Love needs space and distance. More precisely, it needs the interplay between closeness and distance.
The more we are able to clear up the residues and remains from our life until now, the more possible it will become to create a space free of judgement and reaction. In this way, we see that love is insight into ourselves and the wisdom that arises from this. Which in turn opens up the space for curiosity and genuine interest.
Love is a state of being
Buddhist monks achieve liberation of consciousness and inner peace by means of meditation, amongst other techniques. Though this can take a long time and needs a disciplined, daily practice. How can we achieve these in our modern, performance-based society?
A daily spiritual practice such as meditation is very helpful – perhaps even indispensable – in order to be able to return to our own space again and again and conduct our cleansing self-observation. It is cleansing because many patterns of our reactions are not expressed externally but are often related to our own, unrecognised imperfections. If we recognise these, then we can avoid the reactions. And that is cleansing. I do not pollute the situation with pent-up aggression or other destructive behaviour but rather contribute in a helpful way to clarification or another form of positive contact.
Love is a state of being that is free from expectations and projections. Love is pure zest for life and participation in nature and life. This results in tranquillity and inner peace.
Love goes along with feeling, clarity of consciousness, knowing ourselves and self-reflection. Love is also acceptance of our own vulnerability. Only people who are vulnerable can also be touched. Love includes all feelings, including pain and sadness. Where love is made subject to certain conditions, the satisfaction of certain needs, or indeed anything that we cannot provide ourselves, then this is not love. Being loved is a basic human need. It is important to love ourselves, too.
Love is also related to the extent that I know my traps and wounds, in order to break through the automatisms in my behaviour that lead to me constantly identifying with these traps and wounds.
If we are together with other people then we are permanently confronted with whatever those other people radiate, as well as with our own expectations and value concepts. This influences how we interpret an encounter.
I am interested in how people navigate around the cliffs of life. The more they recognise them and the more they are able to reflect and communicate, the more I am able to develop empathy with them. This triggers a mutual learning process. However, if I am confronted with blame or manipulation, then I find it more difficult to feel compassion. Sometimes I have no other option than to draw a line between me and them. Nonetheless, this itself is progress on the path to love: it is important to be able to draw boundaries and to protect that which is worthy of love.
Being faithful to love and being faithful to the people that I love can only succeed if I can be faithful to myself. This also means standing up for my needs and looking after myself. And this in turn includes being able to maintain my own space and being able to return to that space whenever I need to. Here I mean the inner space within me, my centre. Love makes me strong by enabling me to be independent in my own centre.