In a previous post I’d mentioned that many people probably react to meeting me, in their heads, with “Yeah, well you don’t know me.” after I’ve explained to them that I love them. This article will attempt to explain the apparent paradox of loving somebody that I don’t even know.
Most of what we traditionally know about loving another person has been given to us through what we’ve learned in books, or what we’ve heard in love songs, or what we’ve seen in television or movies about love, falling in love, being in love, how torturous love is, etc. So the first thing about that is that you may want to consider the question of “How did I come to know what it is I think I know?” And not just in regard to love, but in regard to knowing period. That’s a topic for another post but in this case, consider the question “How did I come to know what it is I think I know about love?”
As mentioned above there are a number of sources of this knowledge. You may have witnessed or experienced love from your parents, other people’s parents, family, friends, God, movies, TV, books, love songs, sad love songs. Perhaps you’ve “fallen in love” as we like to say in our culture. You just knew that you loved that person because of the way they made you feel, or said more accurately, the way you felt when they were around.
Maybe you both shared common interests such as competitive kick-ball, or eating sloppy joe’s by candlelight. Because of this common interest you knew you loved that person. Certainly you’ve had friends that you’ve loved and you knew you loved them because they thought similar things as you, or were there to pick you up when you were down, maybe they helped you get over that other person that you loved so much.
What I’m not about to do is to tell you that those things aren’t love. They may or may not be. What I am about to tell you is that love is much more simple than that. Love is much more simple than that.
Love just is. The reason it shows up in all those examples above is because it’s already there and in those situations you’re open to it. You’re willing to receive love as a presence and then you experience love. Now, there are cases where you continue to call something love because love used to be present as an experience and it isn’t present anymore. Often that experience comes in the form of somebody breaching the integrity of the relationship.
So what? Right? I mean really what’s the point here.
The point is that I’m an opening for love being present and experienced. Sometimes I’ll get hurt being this way, I know, because there’s no better way to get hurt than to make oneself entirely vulnerable with another who is unwilling to make themself equally vulnerable. It’s worth the risk. Often, what shows up is people’s magnificence. Sometimes it takes a while, I do occasionally have rough patches and I find myself closing down, not willing to be vulnerable anymore. Then I notice that my life is quite a bit less grand than it used to be.
What I do in those situations is identify what is covering over or concealing love. It’s not so much that I have to do anything, because it’s there whether I uncover or unconceal it or not, but I can’t experience it when something is in the way of it being present. Usually I’m holding on to something and unwilling to let it go, or not saying something that I need to say, or I was expecting something to happen that didn’t. Once I say it, or let it go, or give it up love is present.
Given that, when I used to meet people, I used to wait for something from them to indicate that I could or should love them. Rarely would I get it from them. As soon as I gave that up and just started loving them that’s what started to happen. Love would happen. Sometimes it takes a while for their reality to match mine, sometimes it never does, but my reality is so beautiful. Imagine loving everybody you meet.
Then love everybody you meet.