Inside every human there is a heart and inside every heart there is the capacity to love. From love, many things come. Love itself is never the cause of destruction. It is a creative force which, when unhindered, can move mountains and terraform lives. But when it is tainted by unresolved emotions and inadequate coping strategies, love becomes an accessory to pain. Never does it cause pain, however. Love and pain and so different in nature that it would be impossible for love to cause pain without the aid or presence of something else, something more untoward.
I am inspired to write today because in recent days I have seen various actions which appeared to be fuelled by love, and were claimed to be so, but were not in fact fuelled by love but by insecurities. Often-times we find ourselves drawn to say or do certain things which might seem like a way to protect ourselves or shield our honour or even care for our hearts. When we are faced with something which tempts us into an emotional reaction, it’s so easy get thrown into a to-and-fro.
So much of our society today is geared towards evoking an emotional response and training us to develop untoward or adverse reactions. What most of us don’t pick up on, however, is that as humans we usually have two, what we could call, “modes”. We have a ‘responsive mode’ which is a calm, centred, collected and considered way of being. And then we have a ‘reactive mode’ which is fast, instinctive and an often reckless and destructive way of being. The ‘responsive mode’ is balanced between being inwardly focused and outwardly focused, when in adequate harmony, and it generates further balance and harmony. The ‘reactive mode’ is a survival mode and it deals with snap judgements and quick actions. The way that we are dealing with people and social situations when we are in a ‘reactive mode’ is based on learned programmes and patterns. The ‘reactive mode’ itself is what is left of the ‘fight or flight’ impulse.
Our programmes and patterns are stored in our ego. (which is really very much like a computer processor as opposed to the evil super-villain it’s made out to be most often) When these patterns are challenged, we shift into a ‘reactive mode’ and submit to churning out half-baked statements which we once relied upon to survive. (or fit in and be part of the larger whole – which for many people is survival) Most of what is used in a ‘reactive mode’ is essentially redundant when it comes to connecting with oneself or others. It’s like somebody asking you how you feel and you saying “Not bad.” or “Good thanks.” just because that’s what people say. It doesn’t give you or them any insight into how you actually feel ans so is redundant. The ‘reactive mode’ is a mode of disconnection. (fight of flight is to seek to disconnect from whatever it is one is faced with via either ending the threat or fleeing from it) Disconnection is a protection mechanism which comes into play when we find ourselves challenged and see a valid need to protect ourselves from a potential threat to our status-quo.
When we are faced with the option of doing something which seems like a way to protect ourselves or our pride or our feelings… The best thing we can ask ourselves is: ‘Why do I want to do this?’ (please note that some level of the ability for self-reflection is needed to get to this point. In order to cultivate that, one must do away with the illusions of themselves. The places we fear to look become the places where our true reasons for our actions are hiding, especially when connection has been dangerous in the past)
If you are about to be thrust into an emotional reaction by yourself… Are you saying what you are saying to keep yourself safe? If so, what from? Are you doing what you are doing for your emotional well-being or to reinforce a behaviour which has been learned and repeated for years, if not generations? In acting this way, are you being entirely present with the situation at hand or are your actions pre-sent from the past to bite you in the arse?
When it comes to connecting with other humans the first step is always connecting with ourselves. I say this because if we are not connected with ourselves then connecting with others is difficult and can end up being a futile effort. Why? Because if you’re not connected with yourself, you won’t know what it is that you need from a social interaction or a relationship. And yeah, it’s not all about getting yours and making off but it is about caring for yourself.
More often than not many of us who haven’t taken the time to connect with ourselves and get to know ourselves end up in situations where we feel as though we’re not fulfilled we don’t know why. Then we turn to others to fulfil us, as though it is their responsibility to fulfil us. In terms of connecting with love and acting from it, we all know the now clichéd spiritual catchphrase. ‘Love yourself first and foremost.’ This is a key key when it comes to unlocking a happy life because ensuring that you are taken care of is of the utmost importance. And one sure-fire way to ensure that you are being taken care of is to take care of yourself.
Consider all of this as a flow chart… If you take time to connect with yourself and know yourself then you can take care of yourself. If you are taken care of then you can connect with others and take care of them. If you can care for others then knowing when it is time to return to taking care of yourself is natural. When you are connecting with yourself regularly, you will recognise the symptoms of disconnection from yourself beginning to emerge and know that it is time to return to your centre and connect again. Similarly, if you know how it feels to be connected with yourself then you will notice the symptoms of disconnection in others and can then reconnect with yourself.
Once you are familiar with the symptoms of disconnection, you may also be in a position where you are called to make a judgement as to whether the people involved are better served by you withdrawing and reconnecting with yourself (and thus giving them space to reconnect with themselves) or by you gently offering them a new way to connect with themselves (provided you are still caring for yourself). In any case, if our investment of love in or care for someone is beginning to cost us our connection with them then the best thing we can do is withdraw from the situation entirely and return to our centre to reconnect with our inner selves.
To take time to connect with yourself is to take time to be with yourself without distractions. There is no excuse good enough to get in the way of this. It is not a luxury or a nicety. It is a necessity. We have a society build on the obsession with forgetting ourselves and disconnecting from ourselves and this has bled through into our personal relationships. If happiness is what we want then connection with ourselves is a must. If connection with ourselves is what we want then fearless self-reflection is a must. And if fearless self-reflection is to happen then we have to stop making excuses for why we cannot be present with ourselves. And for that to happen, we must make time – not find time, make it – to be with ourselves and tend to our personal and emotional needs, whatever they are.
As was commented on in my opening statement, love is present within all of our hearts and it is not love which causes us to say or do things which are untoward. Why? Because the energy of love is completely harmonious. It simply cannot create turmoil. If you see somebody who is completely and utterly in an unhindered state of love, you won’t see pain or suffering in the same place. Love really is a cure-all when it is unhindered. But is it really possible to have unhindered love when pretty much all of us have developed unhealthy or even destructive habits in relation to loving others? I’m glad you asked, Andey.
Naturally, love means different things for all of us. For some, love means sacrifice. For some, it means service. For others, it means partnership or dedication. Regardless of what love means to us, all of these things are to do with our personal concepts of love. Our concept of love being the construct in our mind that tells us what love is. This is something we have picked up in our lives, something we’ve developed over years and years of experiences and programming. Does that make it right or true? No. But does that make it wrong or false? No. Everybody interfaces with reality in a different way and that is what enables the diverse experience that we call life. That said, all of this is dependant on our concept of love.
The one thing to do with love that is not dependant on our concept of it… Is love itself. Love is an energy. Love is a feeling. Love cannot be contained or limited. It cannot be restrained or inhibited. Love is the basis of every aspect of our experience, every ism of it.. Love is the core of our reality. You might think it fanciful or romantic and that’s fine. But when the energy of love is understood, it’s plain to see that this entire reality is built out of love. Why do I say that? Because if we could – and in fact we cannot – define love in two words… Those words would be harmonious balance.
And what is balance? Balance occurs when two resonant, independent yet entangled things exist side-by-side in a state which can and does last forever. The minutia comes and goes but the core elements – the fundamental building blocks – remain the same. So what is Harmony? Harmony is when balance exists in such a way wherein it does not affect nor hinder itself or any other expression of itself. In short, harmony allows for balance and balance allows for harmony. Within the greater harmony and balance of the Everything, disharmony and imbalance have their essential and homely place. This does not affect the harmony and balance of the Everything as a whole though.
So, while our concepts of love may stand in the way of us experiencing it in its purest form, love itself can never truly be stopped or changed or warped. All that can happen is for us to place something between ourselves and love. Like a wall between us and an ocean. The wall does not stop the ocean being an ocean. The wall does not stop the ocean existing. All it does is stop us enjoying it and beholding it’s beauty. Likewise, if we are not connecting with others, that does not mean that we nor they are lesser or worse because of that disconnection. It simply means that one or both parties have created and are maintaining something which is standing between them and us and the possibility for unhindered connection and care. This is what we have come to call ‘unconditional love’ (and in my opinion have proceeded to squander to the meaning of)
If we want to truly allow love then the way to do it is to begin with connecting with ourselves. If we connect with ourselves first and foremost, as I detailed earlier, then we begin to appreciate ourselves for who we truly are. If we can do that then when it comes to understanding others, we will find that it is a case of simply making the effort to connect with them too. Of course this is made difficult when others are not connected with themselves but that is when it is our time to make a judgement call. That is when it’s our time to choose whether our happiness and growth is fed and sustained by trying to connect with someone who is not connected with themselves or whether everybody would be better off for our withdrawal.
When it comes down to it, the big question is: ‘How do I want to feel?’ If we want to feel judged, restricted, expected or obliged to be someone we are not, then we must seek those who treat us this way and endeavour to maintain their company. If we do not wish to feel this way then it is as simple as saying ‘no’ to their company. And I promise you that there is no rule which is good enough or mighty enough to make you stay around people who make you feel awful about yourself purely because they are unwilling to connect with themselves or to truly connect with you.
Despite what others tell us and what we tell ourselves, we are fully worthy of feeling good about ourselves and our lives. Regardless of what other people think and feel, you and I are both completely worthy of being around people who inspire us, appreciate us and thrive by connecting with us and themselves. For me, those are the sorts of connections worth making.
This is why I connect with myself as often as possible. I pay attention to how each social interaction makes me feel and then I make a judgement as to whether I’d like to feel that way more or less. This is not about avoiding those who show me things about myself that I don’t like. Not at all. It is about respecting myself enough to surround myself with those who care about me and themselves enough to connect and to fully allow an unhindered love to grow. For me, the worthiest cause for introspective work is to allow more love into my life. For me, what it’s all about is allowing myself to set more of my love and my heart free so that I can love myself and others as much as I/they deserve to be loved.
For me, life isn’t about thinking or expecting or expending or ascending. For me, life is about loving and sharing and being and caring. But that never means I have to put myself through shit just so that when I go to bed at night I can tell myself I’m the best human alive. Why? Because I don’t need to be the best human. I need to be Andey. Andey is perfect as he is. Andey is who I want to be, moles and all. (I’d say warts and all but I don’t get warts. But if I did get warts, I’d say warts and all and still love myself!)
So when I’m looking at who I want in my life, who I will spend time with, who is actually worthy of and will appreciate my time, my energy and my love – as valuable as it is – I look to those who love me for who I am, not for who I could be. I look to those who treat me well because it’s the good thing to do, not because it fits their aims. I look to those who value love and connection over pride or image. And I look to those who value themselves as much as they do me. And that better be a lot because the sort of person I am is incredible and that’s not because I’m better than anybody else. I’m not. I just know how incredible I am. And I seek those who realise how incredible they are too.
We are all incredible. We are all brilliant. It’s just a case of getting out of our own way to the point where we can see how incredible and brilliant we truly are. It’s time to stop playing the games which cause us to feel less than that.
It is your prerogative to live your life as you wish. This is my comment on mine and it is my teaching for you if you choose to take it on. Thank you for reading ❤
Live, love and play ❤