Sunday, February 08, 2009

How to Have More Love in Your Life

People celebrate the upcoming Valentine's day in all sorts of ways -- flowers, chocolate, champagne, and more. But the romantic love that we celebrate at Valentine's Day -- while wonderful -- is only one kind of love. Or maybe it's the poster child for all kinds of love.

So how do you create more love in your life? First, realize that "I love" is a complete statement. It has a subject and a predicate and does not actually need an object. Say it to yourself right now -- "I love". Simple. Complete. "I love."

How do you know when you love? Think about this for a moment. Often people will confuse the actions that express love, like a hug, or a kiss, or a gift, with the love itself.

Second, be clear that love is a feeling, so you need to be able to recognize it in yourself. Here's a simple exercise which will, with practice, enable you to recognize the feeling of your own love, as well as the feeling of others' love coming back to you:
  • Find someone or something to love - I highly recommend pets or small sleeping children, as we tend to have more complicated relationships with older humans (as in, "I love my husband, but he leaves the toilet seat up" or "I love my girlfriend but [fill in the blank with whatever makes her imperfect]"). If you don't have handy, regular access to either a pet or a child, you can try an adult, or a plant, or a place. In a pinch, you can even use a memory of someone or something you love, or have loved. I will refer to this as your 'creature', partly for convenience, and partly in honor of my black and white cat, Creature, who sleeps beside me as I write this, and with whom I do this often.
  • Actively love this creature - Sit or stand near it, contemplating all the wonderful qualities (s)he possesses, until you notice a response in your body and/or a more subtle one in your energy field.
  • Pay attention to the feeling - Notice exactly where the feeling is. Is it in your chest? stomach? around your head? somewhere else? Roughly what shape is it? How large an area contains the feeling? If it's spherical, is it the size of a golf ball, or a baseball, or a softball, or a basketball? Now describe it to yourself, using only kinesthetic words, such as warm, cold, tense, relaxed, expanding, contracting, or tingly. For example, I feel love as an expansive warmth in my chest (around my heart chakra!), somewhat smaller than a basketball, thought the size does change.
  • This feeling is how you feel love - Notice that you generated it yourself, using only your thoughts. If you did it just now, what's stopping you from doing it any time? What's stopping you from having more love in your life?
This is an exercise worth practicing, though I hesitate to use the word 'practice', because that makes it sound like work, when it's so much fun!

Eventually, you'll probably find the feeling of love actually expands to include the creature you love. You may feel this in any number of ways. The feeling of love may become a sort of energetic cloud that envelops both of you, or you may feel it as a sort of elastic band between you and your creature, or you may feel your creature radiating love back to you in another way. (This is why I earlier suggested a physical creature, rather than a memory -- it's hard to feel love radiating off a memory.)

So, how do you have more love in your life? You create it yourself, with your intention.

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