It's often said that the Universe is a manifestation and expression of love. "God Is Love" was a popular slogan of the hippie era (guess my age?) and before, during and since, this notion has been duplicated and promulgated in teachings the world over.
In observations of the human condition, my own and others, I've found that many people more easily adopt the idea of love, rather than actually experience the thing itself. We readily see this dynamic playing itself out over and again in our relationships, and in those of friends, family, and even fictional characters in books and movies.
In the modern era, the pursuit of love has become a popular model for businesses interests (think dating services) but rarely what is offered actually leads to the authentic experience of what we seek. As we grasp for what we think love is and fall short of finding it, we may suffer needlessly. Worse, we can also bring suffering to those we care about.
I've sometimes found it helpful to draw a distinction between love and romance, which are not always analogous. Romance can be a lot of fun - exciting, thrilling, uplifting - until we attempt to build an institution around it.
By trying to create more than is naturally there, the relationship can become troublesome, difficult, or even painful. Certainly, romance can lead to love - but it can also fade before blossoming into much more than a lark.
If we cling to the idea of love where mere infatuation or longing for connection and stability is the reality, we can soon find ourselves cooking up fantasies without the right recipe, or worse - find ourselves stuck in the muck of a situation bereft of the ingredients for a satisfying relationship.
Real love is more than a concept or idea. You know it by feeling, and it's simple really - love feels good. Authentic love permeates what is ageless and timeless, filling you with the primordial warmth and illumination of all the celestial bodies in the heavens.
Love activates the self beyond ego, unfettered by appearance, wealth or social graces. Real love accepts you as you are, no changes required. Unconditional love, called agape by the ancient Greeks, is defined as such: I want the best for you, without any need for reciprocation.
When people genuinely love one another, the relationship awakens their own innate love for themselves. This reveals that what we seek in the other is a mirror image of the lover within. As such, our relationships are oftentimes our very best teachers. Never needy, anxious, or lacking, love casts an implicit message that beneath the haze of egoic confusion we are, always were, and always will be loved.
This is the awareness of love not as something we do, but as something we are - the realization of an inexhaustible force flowing in us, as us and through us, if we but allow.
A glimmer of the divine, love is a refulgent ray of inner beauty that bestows the power to remake the world into a more resplendent and welcoming habitat. Love is a fundamental substrate of creation, a means to fuel passion and wonder and ultimately, to create life itself.
It is a sad state of affairs that for many, the inner light of love lies blanketed by fears and feelings of inadequacy. Some prefer to shield their light from the world, gleaning guilt from those who claim that to shine is to be arrogant and vainglorious. Others say our talents should remain masked, hidden from those who may react with self-abnegation or envy. Some fear that to ignite one’s inner spark invites the phantoms of rejection, or conversely, the onerous responsibilities of success that surely follow.
Squelching our proclivities and quashing our dreams only denies ourselves and others contact with our own inner beauty. Our talents may then remain largely un-real-ized, dormant in hibernation, unfulfilled and unrecognized for what they are—gifts that require development and practice for the purpose of worldly enrichment.
Be bold, and dare to shine! There is no point in holding back; in doing so, you do yourself and the world no favors. You are the literal embodiment of latent potential—perhaps an inspiring writer, five-star chef, magician with numbers, tenacious negotiator, discerning diplomat, or other commendable expression of the effortless genesis that seeks fruition in you, as you and through you.
When you endeavor to express your own unique brand of love, you affirm the esteem and self-worth you were born with. You also grant others permission to do the same, inspiring them to express and develop their own talents and abilities in reflection of your own. The love that manifests in, as and through you attracts others to you, providing you with richer experiences and more rewarding relationships.
To attract more love into your life, do this: Consider everything you do well, however impractical, inane, or inconsequential, and write these things down. Then find ways to offer these talents and aptitudes to others, applying them frequently in your everyday life. These are your gifts, your contribution to humanity, and you were born with them for a purpose.
Manufacture the ways and means to use your gifts productively and share them with those you meet. You may never fully know what impact you have made in their lives, but you can be certain that when you share the gift of who you are, your true inner beauty shines out into the world, bringing more love and abundance your way.