Love is a fuzzy word with an even fuzzier meaning, and because many of us are unaware of what love is suppose to look like, feel like, or actually be like, we throw the term around at our own volition. But what if love does indeed come down to a few basic principles, that if kept, can have the potential to change our ordinary mundane lives into one of warmth, comfort and pure joy? One thing I know for sure is that when I see love around me, I am witnessing an art in its purest form. Those who understand how to love, know that love is their very birthright, it's time to make love your birthright.
Let me begin by premising the art of love with a simple explanation of what love requires in three simple steps:
Don't make love a hobby that you choose to pick up and drop as you please. Make it an integrated part of your life, like brushing your teeth every morning – master the art of loving as a daily routine. Any form of mastery requires practice. Whether you are a doctor, singer, carpenter, or a painter; whatever your position in life may be, it was only perfected through consistent polishing of your particular skill set. And like anything else in life, perfection requires discipline. Begin with accepting the discipline for love as a part of your essence, the very thing that gives you life, such as the breath. The first thing we do when we enter into the world is take our very first breath. The last thing we do before exiting this world is take our last and final breath. It is a constant, something that does not, or cannot change nor vary. It occurs without the need to be conscious of it.
Through discipline, eventually, love starts to become second nature, a constant. What's even more fascinating is that over time, love is no longer perceived as a discipline, but it becomes your life source, that which gives you meaning and a purpose to live fully. Charles Eisenstein writes, “True discipline is really just self-remembering; no forcing or fighting is necessary.”
In today's over indulgent, over stimulated, consumer culture, it is rare to find one individual who lacks the skill of "double tasking." It is a new phenomenon, and one that is studied by many scholars. If you compare yourself to your own parents or grandparents, you look like a demigod with a supernatural ability! You do many things consecutively; you may be in front of the computer, eat your dinner, talk on your cell phone and listen to music all at the same time! You are the consumer with the open mouth, eager and ready to swallow everything - pictures, liquor, knowledge. Love, however, requires conscious awareness and concentration, because it is one of the easiest human attributes that so often becomes corrupt. Next time you find yourself on the verge of becoming angry or frustrated at someone else, stop for a moment, focus on yourself for a change, and ask yourself if you can have enough self restraint to stop yourself from getting angry. You may find that after doing this exercise a handful of times, that you begin to gain more self control, and it is all because you were able to concentrate on every situation that turned your love button off. When your loved one is speaking, focus intensely on what they are saying, if you find that your mind wanders, bring it back and give your partner your undivided attention. This simple concentration tip can do wonders to your relationship and turn everyday “love” into pure Divine Love.
A person who wants a perfect body does not pick up a 300 lb. dumbbell so easily. However, they begin with a weight appropriate to the needs of their individual body, and with the incorporation of discipline, concentration and patience, the body begins to withhold more and more strength as time persists. Begin to work out your patience muscle through the incorporation of discipline and concentration, and you will soon find that patience comes naturally and requires not much effort at all. Don't try to rush into Divine Love. Have you noticed that when you eat a big meal, if you devour every bite too quickly and anxiously you end up with a stomach ache. However, if you take the opposite approach and you eat with patience, you begin to taste and savior every single bite with a completely new awareness and appreciation. Have the same approach to love. The more patience you have the greater your ability to fully indulge in every step that lifts you higher and higher into the realm of Divine Love, and before you know it, you have mastered love and become the true artist that you are. As Buddha once said, “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
To say that love is compassion, or the ability to give, or that love is virtue, would be limiting love's very nature to a word or an action. Love can more easily be understood by that which it is not, because this allows us to acknowledge that love can embody everything in existence. For example, love is neither having expectation, nor is it a feeling of possession. Love is simply the ability to feel utter completion within yourself – whatever is added to your cup of life or taken away from it, you are a fluid being that can flow with the changes and ride with the waves. When you become an open vessel for change you experience love through the Divine.