“Love imposes no demands. Attachment expresses an overwhelming demand.”
When the holidays roll around, I always feel an air of an artificially heightened sense of love, like love on steroids. It is this time of the year when marketing gurus love to bait us around the idea of love, trapping us to buy millions of useless things, just fueling a huge retail economy. Rather than the idea of love, what is real love, the kind where you feel ecstasy every moment of your life? My sister So always talks about her number one love, to God. It’s obvious that she loves her son, Julian, who is her reason for living, but she also loves her dog, Cookie, like her second son, because he provides her with unconditional Godly love. Funny and sad at the same time that we need to look to our dog for such love!
Ultimately, each and every one of us is seeking love — to love and be loved. Where we differ is how each of us searches and embraces it. Most human love is based on conditions, where boundaries are set, limiting our ability to give and receive real love. Like a mirage of water in the desert, conditional love is a mirage of love in our minds. It is a mind experience that is attached to and constructed by our ego, where our thoughts habitually create fear and trap us into an illusionary perception that genuine love can be found outside of ourselves. Instead of freeing us, attached love chains us like a captured animal in a cage with no hope of escape.
Love based on conditions manifests itself in predictable human behavioral patterns. We become egocentric and selfish where demands are made on others, so instead of serving others, our interests come first. We become extremely needy, where our attachment to people parallels our attachment to material things, so when someone disappears from our lives, we feel a rush to fill that empty void with someone new; as in the material world, we rush to replace the barely old stuff with more new things. Conditional love is an illusion of security, so when a relationship separates, we go into shock and depression. It also brings out the jealousy in us, where feelings of paranoia and possessiveness take over, so we do not want to share others with anyone else. Most destructive, it creates fear and anxiety that love can be robbed from us any day. Because attached love is ultimately tied to our ego, which is limited and temporal, it is never the road to travel to find authentic love, and, therefore, true happiness.
The only path to real and everlasting love is our spiritual connection to our God and Universe. Because the Universe does not judge or place any conditions on its love for us, it is genuine. It allows you to accept yourself for who you are, others for who they are, and, ultimately, the Universe for what it is, which is when we live in the present moment — the only moment we ever have. With spiritual love, you are not making demands on others, or feeling devastated by a separation, or desiring material things. You are selfless and giving; you place the needs and interests of others before your own; you are willing to let others go to find their own path; and, ultimately, you accept and surrender to what the Universe provides.
By surrendering our hearts to God, we are receiving a transmission of love that reaches not only every cell in our own bodies, but to every cell in everyone and everything around us. Our spiritual love, which expands far beyond ourselves, has vibrations that travel so far that we can feel the love in others and in the world around us. All spiritual traditions believe that our love energy is connected with the Universe and so is the Universe with us. As Thich Nhat Hahn said, we are one with that paper because the paper is connected to the lumber jack who cut the tree, to the sun and rain which sustained the tree, and when that paper is discarded, it returns to Mother Nature, again returning to us. Eternal love behaves in this same cyclical way, where its vibrations emanated from you, are transmitted to the Universe, received by others, and returned to you. Love that is connected to the universe is not bound by time or space, so it becomes eternal. And when it’s infinite in your heart, your heart’s lens sees everything and everyone as a miracle. As Einstein said, “you can see everything as a miracle or nothing as a miracle”: the bud of the flower so beautiful, the rays of the sun so radiant, the waves of the ocean so magnificent, the smile of a baby so joyous, the laugh of your husband so endearing. It’s love that has no chains or limitations, so it becomes enduring, which is the kind of love we all deeply seek.
I know in my life I feel the most joyful when I am connected to my spiritual love. At the risk of coming off as a bad wife, I always tell my husband that my first love is to God and so should his. When your love is connected to God, you naturally become more connected with your loved ones, family and friends, so it actually heightens your love for them, which heightens the love you ultimately receive. Spiritual love has no boundaries, expanding beyond anything we can possibly imagine, so I implore you to nurture God’s love within yourself because it’s the kind that envelopes you in natural ecstasy every second and moment of your life — how amazing and miraculous is that?
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living