It’s 2pm on a Friday and you are the only thing on my mind. The churning sea of our identity, work, and lives stands between us and this deep and simple instinct to connect. The purest moment of our day is when we wake, and for three blissful seconds we are not connected to our ego. And every second after that I miss you.
This is and was part of the nature of love or what little I know of it. It is love on a deeply interpersonal level, but is only a fraction of the potential of love itself, and its power for connectivity in humanity. A well-lived life means being a student of love, so that’s what I’ve become: to learn how this energy is born and what can block it from coming to fruition, to let feelings be guests rather than the master, and to cause real change in ourselves and others.
For there is only one way to love, and it starts with love itself.
It is with this intent I offer the wisdom of those more practiced than me. This is not for the skeptic or my friends, nor for the casual reader. This article is for those who believe in shifting consciousness and their life. It’s for those who were born into this world deeply believing they can change it. It’s for those who believe in love.
I met Lisa at a meditation studio in Greenwich Village. She’s a scholar and a healer, and with her husband Peter runs an institute which helps people recover from trauma and achieve bliss. I have never met two people with more clarity, wholly present, satiated just by being in a way that reminded me of how the sun warms the earth.
I asked her about love. In fact, I fired off several questions in rapid succession. Lisa paused, and said that first, love is about co-creation. A relationship is the act of building and creating something together. We are all deeply interconnected, she said, and when we discover the power in that, we build wonders.
She fixed me with her gaze, and described how it starts: a love transmission. Every person you greet — a taxi driver, a waiter, a friend, an enemy — can be greeted with love in your eyes. In fact, this is a must. To be able to love, you must greet everyone with love. An acknowledgement. Remember love. Hold to love. Give love without condition. A utopia of universal acceptance.
Expanding on this she noted that what we are truly seeking to see in another person is the recognition that our love is received — that I recognize that you love me. Anger only comes from frustrated love. She contends that the angered person can’t see how much you love them. You are looking into another persons eyes to see that they understand that you love them, she says. When you look into a little child’s eyes, it says do you see that I love you. I recognize that you love me. Unconditionally. You want you mother to know you love her, she notes as an example, and every single human being thereafter. When the person isn’t willing to receive it, that is where the problem is, she says. It my ability to allow you to love me, that is the crux of all relationships. That your heart is open enough to be raw and in it.
For the heart longs to be devastated because then it understands the mortality of life, she states with acceptance.
Everything is now, she says. The past, present, and future are all existent only in the now. So it is our obligation to show up and be present — for the sake of our pasts, our future, and our now.
In many cases we are imprisoned by past trauma. The end goal of Lisa’s work is to enable presence with trauma, to be at peace, mindful of how it shaped us. She spoke easily of her traumatic past, factually and compassionately.
Trauma comes in many forms, and some of it prevents us from letting energy and feelings pass through. We hold on to anger. We provoke conflict. We say things out of fear, or criticize people we love just to feel a moment of strength and control, when what we most deeply want is to express that fear and share it in the embrace of another. To understand each other’s trauma, and laugh in the face of our demons, and realize that as long as we are alive, we get to change our narrative.
For there is only one way to love and it is for everyone and with everything.
A baby is only responsible for breathing and seeing. They ingest everything through their eyes, a state of pure receptivity. This is what we should try to achieve.
There are simple shifts in behavior we can all consider. Approach each person with a transmission of love and acceptance. Show up in the here and now. Seek to connect, build, and co-create. Accept and forgive your past. Open your eyes and take it all in as a child would.
I realized that in that hour we were building, and she showed me with these gifts, without condition, that she loved me.
There is only one way to love, and it starts with yourself — discovering what blocks you from simply letting energy pass to the higher points of your consciousness. Whenever you are afraid, or small, or angry, it’s as simple as asking why, and letting go. It’s all much easier than we make it, she told me.
We are radicalized by our trauma. We are creating conflict where none needs to exist. We overlook the most simple and common bond of our humanity, not realizing that at any point we could stop — stop ourselves in the deep tirade of any fight, for often we seek to justify the response of anger, fighting, or war and it only brings us deeper. There is an op-ed in the Times about a response to recent attacks, and the author notes that while a military response is justified, the least polarizing and most effective response may be to elevate the voices of the millions of peaceful practitioners to drown out the madness of the extremists. In his words there is the same simple universal truth, not to answer anger with justified anger, or war with war, but simply raise the voice of acceptance and peace.
We as a people need to foster a space where anything and everything can be forgiven. Where the alternative of peace outweighs war on all sides. Where every transmission is love and only love. The purest and most honest. It comes from total acceptance of one self, starting here and then practicing with someone around us.
For there is only one way to love, and it has to start here and now.
If we can remember to show up in this moment, as present as possible, non-harming, listening and receptive, to offer a transmission of love in all interactions, and truly forgive our trauma and all other trauma this world will change. It is only three simple steps, and they have the power to change.
Try it and decide for yourself. Forgive yourself one small piece. Sit with the discomfort and let it pass through you. Use your breath to push past it. Find anyone and give them this small acknowledgment in earnest and see if it changes your world even the slightest. Push past your ego, reservations, and shame, for it is far worse to miss the opportunity to love. I see you. I see the world in you. And when I do, I can’t help but love you.
Because in the end, there are a million ways to love, but they all lead back to only one.