and the only way that we could truly love others is to love ourselves.
The difference between self-love and love of others is very small,
once we really understand.”
― Norman Fischer, Training in Compassion:
― Pema Chödrön
Although most of us were a bit too young and crazy to pull it off in our lives, we had been to the mountain top. We saw the Real Deal. But seeing that-- and even believing that -- isn't enough.
For us, the word "love" can emerge from the ethereal domain of agape, from the nether realms of green eyed monsters, or anywhere in between. "I love you so much that I'll kill anyone who looks at you, then you, too..." isn't exactly what Jesus had in mind when he taught about Love, right? It seems at least a bit more precision would be helpful.
In the tradition of Mindfulness Practice that precision doesn't just emerge as a matter of intellectual discernment. It emerges from refining our ability to be fully aware of our own experience in the present moment. With Practice, Love emerges not exclusively as an emotional state, but as a quality of consciousness, our own inherent ability to be Present to Life, moment to moment, with a clear, calm, kind, and compassionate awareness.
It may seem preposterous that taking the time to Just Sit Still to carefully observe one's own breath and bodily sensations could lead to the realization of True Love, but that's the deal. It's just that simple.
Of course, simple doesn't mean easy. A regular meditation practice takes commitment and courage. It takes the willingness to face yourself -- and all that you've denied and repressed -- openly and honestly. It takes getting our of your head and feeling what's in your heart. Again and again and again.
Yet, with persistent and gentle effort, Mindfulness emerges and deepens. With Practice, our minds clear and our hearts open to embrace and explore all the patterns of feeling, thought and action that operate to diminish and distort our ability to be at peace in the present moment. Over time, both on and off the meditation cushion, we see clearly that the conditioned patterns of grasping and pushing away, and the resultant pains, fears and resentments that emerge in ourselves -- and in others -- are the root cause of human suffering. We also come to see clearly that, like everything else, those feelings are fundamentally insubstantial, clouds passing through the infinity of a clear sky. This changes everything.
It just takes Practice.