What is love? Is it the butterflies in our stomach we may get when thinking about someone? Is it a sentimental feeling about an adorable child? Or is it something beyond these? What can love do that our regular will cannot, and how do we access and live by that power?
There is a poignant quote by Amma, the founder of the international charity Embracing the World: “In today’s world, people experience two types of poverty: the poverty caused by lack of food, clothing and shelter, and the poverty caused by lack of love and compassion. Of these two, the second type needs to be considered first, because if we have love and compassion in our hearts, then we will wholeheartedly serve those who suffer from lack of food, clothing and shelter.”
These words deeply inspire the music and written work I do for GEM: Global Education for MAPS, as well as the approach I take in building and leading teams to swiftly realize MAPS. The sobering truth is that our world is overheating, agitated and polluted not just because of our external actions. These outer gestures reflect our inner world. As we look deeper, we discover that we live in a world with great need because our hearts and minds are overheated, agitated and polluted. Most of us lack love and inner peace, as well as the awareness of our inherent interconnection. When we address this shortfall, we will naturally make changes and take action for the good of all.
In last week’s guided exercise, we practiced witnessing the light in ourselves and others. In so doing, we started to develop unconditional love for ourselves, others and our world. Profoundly present, this is the natural state of our healthy spirit that brings with it inner peace.
Love flourishes as an ever-present force to be witnessed. For most, love is to be found, to be had or to be lost. But for the wise, love is to witness an unfolding. As you love yourself or as you love another, you learn not to grasp or to control, but to appreciate with inner spaciousness the blossoming, the evolution of this moment as it is.
This week, to deepen our understanding of love, we will look at one of its most powerful examples: Nature.
For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, you may be privy, as I am, to the array of colour Nature now has on display in the autumn leaves. Gold, red and amber rustle in the wind and shimmer in the sunlight. Even as the days grow colder and shorter, there is a celebratory light arising through Nature. While children play and giggle in the piles of fallen leaves, parents collect the choicest ones in ruby hues and press them in books for safekeeping. The elderly are out breathing in the golden atmosphere, as they walk tranquilly under the dappled light. Love for Nature is easy at any time of year, especially when its expression is so regal.
Amidst the recent surge in coronavirus cases and ongoing social distancing measures, I have made sure that I get out into the fresh air while staying safe. I go to witness Nature’s beauty that would rival the most esteemed art exhibit, so that I may pour the joy of its selfless offering into my work for MAPS. As I walk under the canopy of leaves in a ravine behind my studio, I consider how we are all connected. I feel in my being that the trees are not separate from me, but a part of my very being. Not only am I the same carbon of which all form is made, but the life force that sustains me runs through all creation.
We are the planet. When the Earth cries, so do we. When she moves, so do we. We are carried by an inexplicable force that moves through our cells, that animates our souls, that literally keeps us alive. That force is Nature. It loves us in a way we cannot comprehend. We cannot comprehend it because it is not of our ego-mind, which knows only to divide and separate. By surrendering to Nature’s intelligence, I was called on a life-changing North Pole journey. By surrendering to Nature, I was also healed from a paralyzing spinal injury in what doctors called “a miracle”.
We take simple acts like walking or even breathing for granted. But they are miracles. Through the spinal injury, I saw how even the impulse to move is grace, a force beyond our ego. We think we are the doers, but the “me” does nothing. Grace always is, moving through us, even when we don’t see it. We think ourselves as divided, but we are literally one.
Because of the gift of free will, we can be amplifiers or sludge in Nature’s communication pathways. Nature will keep on singing, creating and evolving with or without us—in harmony with and as an expression of unconditional love. It does not need our “help”. It needs our respect and service. We must reverentially get out of Nature’s way in order to fully thrive with a healthy spirit in this material world.
Love is all around, within, always. The very fabric of the universe pulsates at the frequency of love, of joy, of abundance. In each moment we are loved beyond what we could ever imagine. We only believe otherwise because of our own distorted thoughts, wounds and attachments. The greatest thing we can do to support the presence of love in our lives and in the world is to look to Nature for example. A flower, a river, a mountain, does not pound its chest in pride. It does not ask for more than what is in balance with the whole. It stands in presence, peaceful and with joy, to play its part within the universe. When we humbly get our ego, our sorry stories, our fears and wants out of the way, we become receptive to the love that always is. In so doing, we discover that we are connected with everyone and everything.
Next week, we will continue to explore the meaning of love, and what it is not. Until then, practice seeing the love that is inherent in Nature. It is in your house plants, your pets, the trees in a local park. Take the time to become receptive to it. Allow yourself to feel a part of it, with wonder and awe. Notice how Nature is in a state of presence. Let go of any agenda you place on the moment. Open to what is with gratitude and non-resistance. Open to the love that always is.
From my heart to yours,