The months June and July each have particular qualities that most find beautiful, yet they are different from one another. In much of the Northern Hemisphere, June still has a flavor of spring, although it is generally becoming hot, whereas July has the bona fide flavor of summer. October smells of piles of leaves; November, of frostiness; February, of unending quiet; and April, of new birth.
There is something beautiful about every point in the cycle. You might say that the qualities we described are positive sides of those months. July can scorch; February can be bitterly cold. These are negative sides.
This analogy gives you an idea of the infinite variety of ways love can manifest: some people love in a way more akin to April; others, to September; still others, to February. Using another analogy, some people love more in the manner of Venus; others, in the manner of Mars. Mars loves with an intense focus; Venus, with soft caresses. Both are needed. There is no wrong way of loving, but as mentioned, there are positive and negative sides to everything. The positive sides reveal part of the true nature of love; the negative sides reveal those same qualities distorted by fear.
What makes for beauty in you and anywhere is love. Love is the source of beauty. A beautiful person is one in whom love is much in evidence. Love manifests in an infinite number of ways. There is no one proper expression for it. You are encouraged to find your own way of manifesting what love is. When you do this, you expand love’s scope.
Love is not necessarily dominantly sweet. Love can be sweet, but it can be pungent as well. Not every flower smells like a rose, but each flower’s scent is beautiful. All flowers, by the way, have a scent, even if your nose cannot smell it.
You have a way of loving that is right for you. You do not need to copy another person’s way. You may wish to do so temporarily as a means of expanding your repertoire of loving behaviors, but if you are to know yourself, eventually you must find your own way of loving.
Sometimes people are disappointed at another person’s way of loving. Perhaps his expression of it is distorted in some way by mixed motivations. He may not be expressing very much love at all. But many times people are confused because they look for a particular way of loving, Venus’s way, for example, when the other person loves like Mars. It is the course of wisdom to learn to respect the way others give love, and to honor your own way. Some people are naturally sweet when they love. Some people love with much humor, while others love with great sincerity. Still others love with nobility of intent. Some people feel that to love is to do, while others feel that to love is to say. Those who express love primarily through words may feel that if someone does not say the words “I love you,” he does not love. While we encourage people to have the ability to verbalize their feelings, if you dismiss another person based on his inability to say that he loves you, you are not recognizing his totality.
As mentioned, mixed motivations frequently enter in, and these too are confusing. Usually love, as it is experienced on the physical plane, is not whole; people hold pieces of love back. People act hurtfully as well as lovingly. If someone acts hurtfully to you, it has more to do with his own lack of evolvement than with anything you have done. If you wish to see him in a balanced way, you must also acknowledge his expressions of loving intent. Doing so can increase them. Acknowledging expressions of loving intent is also vital when you are working with children—and with yourself: acknowledge your own loving intent as well as the pieces of love you hold back. An expression of loving intent is beautiful, true, sound, balanced, strong, clear, and wise. Expanding your ability to love is the highest goal you can strive for.
As part of the human tendency to focus on the negative, people often acknowledge what is not of loving intent in others, but little of what is. Even if a couple is finding creative ways to resolve their differences rather than fighting continually, what is all their effort for if they are not also acknowledging expressions of loving intent in each other?
It is true that if you try to repress what bothers you in another person, it becomes harder to see his fine qualities. But if you see an unending parade of irritating or uncomfortable qualities, there is a good chance that either you are in the wrong relationship, or you have not learned to see expressions of loving intent. If you cannot see them in your partner, you probably cannot see them in yourself. If you cannot see them in yourself, consider the people who taught you how to see yourself. These were likely your parents. Were they able to see love around themselves? If not, have compassion for them, and realize that you have to learn how to do this on your own. This, you might say, is Spirituality 101.
Many people think that they are spiritual because they have an intellectual understanding of metaphysics. While we do not discourage a study of metaphysics, you might say that to be spiritual is to love. Love in the way that is natural for you. Do not reject love simply because you cannot love in the way others do, and do not reject the love of others because they do not love in your way. Find your own core of love and learn to bring it to the surface.
Ask to travel into your core of love. Be there now. If you do not feel anything, that is all right—imagine what it would be like if you were there. Use similes to describe it to yourself. You might say that it is like a waterfall, or like the white stream behind a jet in the sky. You might say that it is the color of a lily pad, or the texture of a leaf. Take a moment and get to know it.
When you said to ask to travel, I had the sensation of falling. When you said, “Be there,” I landed with a bump. It was beautiful, so white that it was almost silvery. It had a crystalline quality to it. It was warm and soft. I got images of a mother’s breast or a baby’s skin. It was that kind of warmth. There was a heartbeat, and an incredible amount of loving acceptance, both within, because I was surrounded by it, and then outside. It was very beautiful.
My core of love was light and clear crystal, extremely familiar and comfortable. It brought back memories of a series of meditations I did about ten years ago in which I kept seeing stained glass with the message, “Don’t go through the colors. Just go through the clear.”
Much to my surprise, I saw powerful colorations of blue, white, and black, and heard a voice that was dynamic, powerful, and energetic.
Quite different, isn’t it, from what the other two shared, yet valid.
Mine was a water lily. It didn’t go anywhere. I was struck by the consistency of it. It was very simple. I felt the sun crowning me, and a gentle rocking motion that carried me away. It was very pleasant. It took me a long time to get there. I had to collect pieces of myself, but when I arrived, it was quite easy. It was like plunking myself down there. There was a lot of giggling. That was the height of the experience.
That is a key for you, isn’t it? Perhaps, when you are looking for a way to extend your core of love to someone, you can do so with humor.
I felt the sun also, as if I were sunbathing at the beach. It felt very good.
My core felt kind of soft and mushy, like pizza dough. A circle, and the words “agape” and “comfort,” kept showing up. It felt kinesthetic, touchy.
My experience was different: clouds and cool mist, as opposed to the warmth of the sun and lots of light.
This suggests to us that your way of loving is refreshing, like the ocean spray in your face, enlivening as opposed to a more soothing and relaxing way of loving. If you are overheated, there is nothing more welcome than a cool mist!
This is a simple exercise, but if you can remember what it felt like when you tapped into your core of love, it will be easier to do it again.
If you were not given enough love as a child, how does that distort your ability to love? How is that resolved?
You may have difficulty connecting with your core of love, because you do not know what love feels like. However, sometimes that lack motivates you to dig deeper within—you become ennobled instead of hardened. You may have come into the world with a strong connection to your core of love. You can then use external deprivation to strengthen it further. By maintaining or reestablishing that connection without outer reinforcement, you realize that your core of love cannot be taken from you. The harder it is to win this knowledge, the more precious and strong it is when you find it. There were probably others along the way who reminded you of your core of love, in addition to inner guidance coaching you.
Being connected with your core of love does not necessarily prevent you from being wounded, nor does it automatically heal past wounds. However, taking responsibility to heal them strengthens your connection, which, in turn, makes it easier to heal them, because love heals. So you establish a momentum. Only when you reach agape, which is total love, are you impervious to wounds. This is the great goal for all.
We do not discount the need to receive love from others—loving intercourse is essential. Where you lack this, you deeply sense the void. However, for an adult, receiving expressions of loving intent from others is not primary; experiencing your own core of love comes first. Then you have a basis for relating maturely to another’s core of love. You may keenly feel what you did not receive or what you are not receiving now. But if filling this need outside yourself is your focus, you will have a hard time filling it to your satisfaction.
There are not many people who have a strong connection with their own core of love. Therefore, there are not many who have that to give. Most people are hungry for love, even if they do not know it, and are looking to others for it. Where is it going to come from? Each person must find it in himself. Then it is available for others.
When you have a firm connection with your own core of love, you find that you have an infinite supply of it. What also happens is that everything in you that is not of love lines up at the water fountain to have a drink, so to speak. Your lack of loving intent surfaces where you had not been conscious of it before. This gives you an opportunity to further expand your core of love.
Love is the source of psychological healing as well as other levels of healing. Those who have no connection with their core of love can go to therapists for years and not heal, because only love understands. Learning to express anger and other negative feelings is healing to the extent that you are motivated by love. It may seem contradictory that you could be motivated by love to express rage, for example, but in fact love motivates you to meet and heal the unloving parts of yourself. You are not glorifying or empowering them, but bringing them into the light and releasing them in a harmless way.
I feel moved to complete with people in my life that I don’t love, like my ex-husband, because agape is so important.
While it is valuable to complete with people in your life, you can do so only when you are ready. If you do not yet love your ex-husband, it is because you do not yet know and understand him and what you experienced with him. When you are ready to, you will. It is all right to have your negative feelings as long as you need to. A cocoon becomes a butterfly when it is ready; all you can do is provide a safe place for it.
Someone who says he loves everybody may not yet be aware of negative feelings still in him. That is all right too; it is worthwhile to take an attitude of goodwill toward others. Wherever you are is your perfect starting point. You will not learn everything there is to know about loving by the last day of your last lifetime. It is an unending process.
Loving is not pasting on a smile and doing your version of good things for other people, whether you like it or not. That does not bring happiness or fulfillment. Loving must be genuine. You cannot force what is genuine. You can only nurture your process of opening to it. Love is delicate, yet infinitely strong. Once you open to your core of love, it makes itself known to you; it teaches you its ways. If you make demands on it, your connection with your core of love dims.
It takes attention to stay with your present experience of love. People often prefer to memorize rules instead. This is what religions tend to be about: “You do not have to be connected with your core of love. Just do what we say, and you will know what love is.” However, there is no substitute for your core of love. When you are clearly connected to it, you are able to love in your own natural way.
Channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin -- from his book Loving From Your Soul