"There is only one happiness in life — to love and to be loved." — George Sand
"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly." — Sam Keen
There is no other human experience about which so much has been written, yet so little is understood. Just when you think you have it figured out, the comprehension slips out of your grasp like a wisp of smoke. We all know about it, but most of us have the sneaking suspicion that we don't actually know it.
All too often when we try to look at it closely love seems to dissolve into something else. I feel love for my partner, but on closer examination it may resolve into equal parts of need, pragmatism and a fear of being alone. I feel love for my country, but a more dispassionate inspection may reveal tinges of pride, exceptionalism, xenophobia, groupthink and deference to authority.
Most of us have come close enough to love (whatever it "really" is) to appreciate the intensity, the devotion and the sense of loss of boundaries that it invokes. We all understand that love truly is what makes life worth living. What is it, then, that keeps us from actualizing this noblest of states within ourselves?
It is a truism that you cannot love another without first loving yourself. If you do not love yourself then the love you feel for anyone or anything else will be coloured, re-shaped, corrupted and ultimately blocked by your inability to love the core of your own universe -- yourself. And the key is that loving yourself is possible only if you are aligned with yourself and your world.
As was the case with Trust, love must be based on a true perception of the person you love and the ability to relate to that person authentically. If we see them through filters, and respond to them through programs, love is simply not possible. We may experience a convincing facsimile of it, but real love is possible only when you are in true relation to the one you love.
Since all love must start with the self, it follows that the inner explorations described above in the thoughts on Awakening and Trust will lead almost inevitably to the ability to love. First we rid ourselves of filters and programs, so that we may relate authentically to the true object of our love. Once we can do that, love blossoms automatically — the human heart appears to have the drive to love as its Prime Directive.
We can not "create" love. We can, however, easily prevent it from blooming. If we wish to have more love in our life our best chance lies in removing the impediments to it. Fortunately, those impediments lie within ourselves and are surprisingly amenable to compassionate and persistent attention.