"Real Love" Reflections.
Recently, I started reading Sharon Salzbergs' insightful novel "Real Love" to enhance my everyday mindfulness practice. I can say with confidence this is a profound novel for cultivating mindful connections on an everyday basis. I was pulled in by her words; automatically consumed by her flowing verbiage of wisdom. Her novel fell into my lap in perfect timing. I needed this new perspective to reflect on my own meditation teaching and personal rhythm. Luckily, her words filled my heart with a gentle and knowledgable ease.
I have embraced various healing processes with open arms; looking to it as a teacher and guide for (potential) difficult endeavors. I have sat, accepted and made peace with unexpected circumstances. In my hearts' conclusion, my source of nostalgic unease was largely a result of the absence of love - both for myself and lacking from close sources around me. Assuming the identity of being "unlovable" is a large detriment to the spirit. On a positive note, reconnecting with my source has made love a free flowing presence in my daily encounters. For this, I continuously remain grateful for my healing.
As I started reading Salzbergs' novel, my attention was drawn to Chapter 10: "Barriers to Finding Real Love." The chapters' topic traced through the pathways of my heart and sought refuge in my spirit. In short, it carved out one of the answers to pains' ebb and flow.
Specifically, the paragraph below had staying power. I have it underlined, highlighted and written on my phone as a consistent reminder:
"Perhaps we've been told that if we love others enough and sacrifice more, we will ultimately be fulfilled. Some of us try to possess others in order to feel whole. Perhaps we've been told that if we control our relationships, we are more empowered. But when we come from a place of inner impoverishment, love becomes merely hunger: hunger for reassurance, for acclaim, for affirmation, and for our being."
Empaths fall into the trap of giving too much of themselves to others, in hopes of receiving more love in return. We do not have the same heart as those around us, and (sometimes) others fail to give love in a way we see fit. I have sacrificed my own health, happiness and willingly put myself last countless times. We all desire (at one point) to feel whole and to fill our emptiness with the love from others. It is the "hunger for reassurance" Salzberg touches upon. If we only rely on love as an affirmation or form of self validation, then we will never find real love. Real love is only found from within the self.
"...When we become lost in feeling like we are responsible for the happiness of others, we lose our inner abundance in the process."
Giving love and kindness to ourselves is just as important as giving love to others. We need to consistently remind ourselves that we are, in essence, love in human form. We do not need to be the seekers of love in the outside world. Rather, we need to acknowledge that our inner workings of love lie within. Even in great pain, finding real love is a possibility for everyone. I enjoy how Salzberg opens the chapter with a Rumi quote; "Pull the thorns from your heart. Then you will see a rose garden within you." If we become understanding to our pain, then we use it to discover our source of real love.
"Through recognizing the spaces we have within ourselves, and the availability of feeling that we are enough, we make room for real love."
The feeling of being "whole" without the validation of others is a form of sweet freedom. Imagine walking around everyday affirming that "you are enough"? The act of real love comes with love, kindness, respect and self validation. We are all enough. We just have to believe it.
How do you show yourself real love on a daily basis?
© Marissa Ranahan 2017 - all rights reserved.