This is how I practice it
What is Love? Love is many things; it may seem good or bad at times, but it is always Love.
I believe that everything is Love. I believe that Love is both a need and something that nourishes. Our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls all need Love. In my practice of Love, I have come to identify the many friends that manifest as Love (identified below). Some friends have specific needs and when they act, they act out of love — even when they make mistakes. Other friends of Love offer healing to their friends in need to help them find peace.
In my practice of Love, I consider the many aspects in which Love can manifest, and I allow for mistakes to be made in my journeys — mistakes both by my own hand and those that become consequential to me.
Allow me to introduce you to some of my friends of Love:
FRIENDS IN NEED
1 — Love is betrayal.
2 — Love is abandonment.
3 — Love is ugly.
4 — Love is agony.
5 — Love is brutal.
6 — Love is afraid.
7 — Love is unkind.
8 — Love is painful.
9 — Love is nothing.
FRIENDS WHO HEAL
1 + Love is forgiveness.
2 + Love is being present.
3 + Love is beautiful.
4 + Love is peaceful.
5 + Love is easy.
6 + Love is confident.
7 + Love is kind.
8 + Love is healing.
9 + Love is everything.
To know love, we must see it is all things, both apparent in the good and the bad. Without the dark side of love, we would not understand the light side of it and vice versa:
1. We betray ourselves and others, but we offer forgiveness in the end. We find that there is honesty in dishonesty, for it reflects our fears of what is true both within us and outside of us. The friend and healer of Betrayal is Forgiveness.
2. We abandon ourselves and others on our quest for love, but we are present when it matters most. We find that we must not quest for love, instead, it quests for us, for it is in all things. The friend and healer of Abandonment is Presence.
3. We are ugly to ourselves and others when we feel we don’t deserve love, but we are beautiful when we give and receive love fully. We find that we are afraid to accept our own beauty and therefore that of others, so we cannot offer nor receive beauty in this state. The friend and healer of Ugliness is Beauty.
4. We allow ourselves to torture ourselves and others with the agony of love, but we find peace in ourselves and in others when we allow love to flow freely through us. We find that love cannot be controlled. It is a wild horse that goes wherever it desires, not where it is desired. The friend and healer of Agony is Peace.
5. We are too hard on ourselves and others with hopes, desires, and attachments to expectations. This is brutal, but we learn to become open to receiving all that we want and to not attach to the outcome of how it should be, and love becomes easy. We find that expectation leads to frustration and in our frustration we become more attached to the expectation of being frustrated, and this becomes all we know, all we see, and all we believe we have. The friend and healer of Brutality is Ease.
6. We are afraid of losing all things, most especially love. But we learn to quell this fear by being grateful for what we have in every new moment. We are confident that we always have what we need and what we want. We find that we can only lose what we are not grateful for. A lack of gratitude is a lack of awareness of what one has. Without gratitude, you are without. This is loss. You cannot truly lose if you focus on the gain of giving and the openness of receiving from the constant influx of change. The friend and healer of Fear is Confidence.
7. We are unkind to ourselves and to one another in our words and actions, but we learn that kindness is always warranted. We find that by choosing the path riddled with emotions and subsequent unkindness, we may come to a deeper understanding after the fact, but we can have peace and clarity along the confusing path if we practice kindness. The friend and healer of Unkindness is Kindness.
8. We all experience the pain and heartache of losing love, but in these moments our hearts always heal us by offering us love. Love is healing. We must taste the poison of pain to know the remedy. We find that the pain of heartache is the exercise of becoming stronger and, therefore, that of healing. Like physical exercise, we become sore when we work out, but we become better and stronger when we do. While you cannot walk into a gym and simply become strong by looking at the weights, you cannot also heal where there is no pain. This is the work of the heart. It will hurt, but it will also heal and make you stronger. The friend and healer of Pain is Healing.
9. We often believe in our darkest moments of betrayal, abandonment, ugliness, agony, brutal defeat, fear, unkindness, and potent pain, that love is a lie, that it does not exist. It is nothing. But when we introduce our ‘friends in need’ to the ‘friends who heal’ (as noted above), we find that not only do our healing friends do this with love, but that everything is love. Every moment, every opportunity, every whisper, every day, every experience, every person, every life, everything within us — even the darkness; everything is love. We find that we need not seek it, therefore, for by having it inside us, love seeks us instead. It seeks more of us because we have more to give, more spaces to fill, more to enjoy. The friend and healer of Nothing is Everything.
This, my friends, is Love. It is within all of us. It is outside all of us. It is between us. It is eternal. It is Light and Dark. It is all things. Love is harmony. Love is balance. Love is understanding. Love is love. Love is un-love. Love IS.
© Anthony O’Dugan 2021