Reflections on Love

Teal Swan, a spiritual teacher who has a collection of pretty profound videos on YouTube, gives one of the best (if not THE best, in my opinion) answers to the question: What is love? It may seem like a silly question, one that doesn't have any significant ramifications in one's life, not really; but I would argue that it is THE most important question if one intends to: a)love oneself and b)love others.

What do I mean?

Well, if I intend to love myself, and yet I am pushing away my shadow parts, I will, inevitably, project those qualities of myself that I dislike onto others, whom I will then blame, judge, or hate. When I learn how to integrate my shadow (love the parts of myself that I have disowned because I've deemed them unlovable), I will become whole and healed (or to use more accurate language, I will recognize my wholeness and perfection).

More recently (like, today), the concept of loving another as the ultimate union (two becoming one) occurred to me when I found myself doing the opposite: feeling the desire to separate as a result of my ego fearing the loss of itself. When we begin to love another and we merge, our ego dissolves; there is a death (the death of separation) that our ego does not like, so it finds reasons to pull away. I became present to this fear (only because I have learned how to recognize it as a byproduct of devoting myself to a spiritual practice), and I watched it bubble up inside of me and try to take hold of my better judgment for at least two hours. My ego was listing out all of the good reasons to run, such as fear of being hurt, fear of uncertainty, fear that I was not emotionally healthy in some way (there was a litany of fears).

After all of that, I remembered my spiritual practice, which is to recite the prayers from A Course in Miracles, so I took out my journal and wrote out every prayer from ACIM that came to me: I am willing to look at things differently. I know that I do not like the way I am feeling, and so I hope that I am wrong. I listed out what I wanted: I want union. I want peace. I want happiness. I prayed for a miracle, which is a shift in perspective from fear to love, according to ACIM, and after scribbling out a full-page letter to God, I became present to myself pulling away, and a shift happened inside-all of my mind chatter dissolved, and all that was left was a sense of peace and deep gratitude for the other.

This is what love is: deciding to join with someone; finding reasons to view them as yourself - forgive them, love them, and thank them. The ego wants you to run for the hills, urges you to become a cat lady and move to the far reaches of New Mexico (is that just me?). Don't listen to it. Don't believe your mind when it tells you all of the reasons why you should withdraw and pull away. It means your ego is dissolving.

At the start of 2017, I set the intention to join. My word for the year is UNION. In a matter of months, I have found myself with an entirely new group of friends, letting more and more people into my life, and expanding my capacity to open up to others in ways beyond my wildest imagination.

This is what it means to vibrate on the frequency of love, to be love: to join, to unite, to recognize our oneness. Recognize your fears as they arise, choose love instead, and watch them melt away like pebbles of ice.

Jessica Leon