“If you’re down and confused
And you can’t remember who you’re talking to
Concentration slips away…
If you can’t be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you’re with
Love the one you’re with”
– Stephen Stills (1970)
Only Love Heals
I want to impart something to you that I consider important and extremely useful. The words and practice herein contained I have found to be an amazingly simple and reliable portal to inner peace – something you, me, and our fellow brothers and sisters on planet Earth can’t get enough of. Interested? Read on.
Here is the simple truth that will move you most expediently through absolutely every unwanted and unwelcome feeling, state or condition you may descend into. It works like a charm with every single one of the so-called negative feelings or states. It works with anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, hurt, shame, pain, guilt and grief. It works with jealousy, nervousness, despondency, disorientation,loneliness and discouragement. Here is the simple way to “pop”, like a floating bubble, any of these inner feelings or states that seem to plague and torment you.
Love it. That’s right. Love it and love the person who is experiencing it. Love it. Accept and embrace the feeling or state. Whatever arises, love it. If you truly love it, it will leave you and disappear as the ephemeral illusion that it always was. Every time.
There is however one more aspect of this practice of self-love that must be considered. Though love may be simple, for most human beings, for reasons too complex to go into here, it is not easy.
For love to be love one of its uncompromising requirements is the utter and complete relinquishment of judgment. If say I want to release the anxiety I feel, I cannot hold a shred, a sliver, a single solitary speck of judgment for it. I cannot resist it or distract myself from it in any way. I cannot, for example, try to medicate it away, eat it away, run it away, work it away, TV it away, drink it away, sex it away, holiday it away, humour it away, intellectualize it away, read it away, rationalize it away or even meditate or yoga it away.
You see these activities and approaches can all be subtle forms of resistance and distraction. And, in the inner world, whatever you resist will persist and get bigger. Another way to put this is that all defenses that I employ to seemingly protect me from my own feelings and experience ironically increase those very same feelings and experience. No, I must acknowledge the feeling. I must accept the feeling. I must have the feeling. And then I must love the feeling.
The first step in this process, often the most difficult, is my willingness to let go of even perceiving the feeling as unwanted, negative or bad in the first place. After all, it is really just a feeling, is it not? Who decided to label and treat some feelings as good and others as bad? Some as positive and others as negative? Some for which I place a check mark in the box; others with a black, bold X?
In many cases you may not at first be able to do this practice by yourself. This is where the love of another like a guide, dear friend or totally trusted family member can come in handy. Someone who can love you for parts of you that you, by yourself, cannot. Someone who can love, accept and embrace your feeling or state for you until you can catch up and do it for yourself.
Finally there are often times when no one is around or no one who has the depth and skill to enter your inner world and be with and love that which is arising there for you. Then it can be helpful to sincerely appeal to and receive a trans-human Love, an unconditional Love that can only come from God or Jesus or Spirit or Truth or Higher Power or Yahweh or Buddha or angels or a beloved and departed family member, ancestor or master.
Love is simple and everywhere. It is your very being. It is your birthright. It is as natural and effortless as breathing. Allowing it, accepting it, receiving it, and surrendering to it, and perhaps most challenging of all – feeling like you deserve it, can be the biggest impediment on the path to inner peace. This is what makes it simple but not necessarily easy.
What if, to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot¹, the end of all of our seeking is to return to the person you always were and will be and to love yourself for the first time? Loving exactly what arises in you from moment to moment? Could enlightenment be not the seeking or ascent to a higher state of consciousness but being totally O.K. with all of your humanity?
¹”We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”.