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by David Truman

The loving and unloving parts of things we call love
WHY do we find so much fear and confusion around love? Because many behaviors and experiences closely associated with love are actually quite unloving. To approach love without fear and confusion, we need to correctly discriminate between the loving and unloving components of what is commonly called love.
The charts on the following pages reveals the distinctions between the loving and unloving components of:
Self Love
Unloving Parts
Loving Parts
You have to love yourself before you can love.

Actually that is true, but when wrongly interpreted, it can be terribly misleading. Have you ever met a committed "self lover" who had a viable intimacy with anyone else? Probably not, because much that is called "self love" is a commitment not to the true Self, but to the ego. It is a Self-INSULT, actually. And it is hardly a workable model for loving. We should not confuse being self-centered with loving ourselves.

The kernel of truth here is that loving requires self-esteem. We must accept that we are good, or we will feel unworthy of love and incapable of loving. We ought to accept that we are MORE than good -- we are eternally perfect, because we are the image of God. One of the easiest ways to recognize our likeness to God is to love our fellows -- just as God does! Then we will know we deserve love.

It's hard to love yourself -- or even respect yourself -- unless you love others.

High self-esteem means loving our (spiritual) Self, not our (ego) self. We support our true Selves only when we live for others. This is the paradox of self love: even after we accept that we are perfect, action counts. It is hard to feel good about ourselves while living an unloving life. We cannot help but expect goodness from the good person that we are.

Living up to our own high standards increases our sense of integrity, and reduces the insecurity and self doubt that causes us to run from love. Only when we love others generously do we see how good our true Self truly is. To know that Self truly is to love it.

Unloving Parts
Loving Parts
Desire to "have someone."

Without a doubt, relationships promise a certain attractive continuity of support and companionship, providing a good strong foundation for life. We all want and need that kind of foundation, and we ought to have it.

But when viewed primarily in terms of our wants and needs, commitment seems to suggest that we will permanently acquire all the benefits imaginable. In that case, we move into commitment selfishly -- from a mentality of conquest, consolation, and exclusive acquisition. We move AWAY from love, into something more akin to hoarding. Similarly, if we place too much stress on security, commitment sinks to the level of insurance policies, pensions, and the like. Oh, dear! Surely love is much more than that.

Commitment to the other, for their benefit.

In practical terms, the only way to make a true commitment to another person is to break free of the shackles of self interest and persistently emphasize true giving over all concerns about getting. Such a commitment will threaten our ego, perhaps. It may even threaten the ego of others. That's no surprise. Since love is ego-transcending in nature, the ego is in no position to want anything to do with love. But the Spirit, on the other hand, needs to give and receive ego-transcending love to be happy.

As long as we keep the beloved's interests foremost in mind, commitment will flower into something healing and truly useful in spiritual terms. Such a person-to-person commitment is a beautiful treasure for humanity and God to behold.

Unloving Parts
Loving Parts
Selfish indulgence in "personal" pleasure and sense gratification.

Sexual attraction takes on a negative quality when physical sensations become more of an unconscious addiction than a consciously shared pleasure. Purely animal energy may be physically gratifying, but it is spiritually empty and humanly disappointing. It's too selfish, too needy, too SMALL.

Sense pleasure can be wonderful -- GLORIOUS, even -- but only if we SHARE it in the spirit of love. Excessive focus on personal gratification is a trap: attention narrows on one's own desires and sensations, sometimes almost to the exclusion of one's partner. Hey! Love moves in the other direction -- outward. It focuses on the beloved.

Abundance of energy that can be shared for interpersonal rapture and God consciousness.

The attraction between lovers is a powerful and noble type of desire which can fuel growth by carrying us into ever loftier states of energy and consciousness. When converted into love rather than squandered in self-indulgence, the physical sizzle provides abundant energy to enliven our higher purposes and feelings.

The electricity between two lovers is Divinity. It is the palpable presence of God. Therefore, the love component of good chemistry is soul communion within the rapture of God consciousness. To "indulge in" that kind of bliss -- or rather, to bask in it, and consciously share it -- spreads great blessing and healing.

Unloving Parts
Loving Parts
The selfish desire to get or acquire love.

The headwaters of all love myths is the devilishly persistent idea that love is for ourselves: "I want love, I want to be loved," etc. Love benefits the lover, as it should. But loving is giving. So when we think about "getting" love, we need to correct our thinking to make sure that our own orientation is loving.

The people who receive the most love from others are those who show inner beauty by bringing lots of love to life. The only way to have love is to give it. In that sense, love IS all about getting -- THEM getting.

Love is for giving.

Naturally, we have our wants and needs, but since True Love is one of them, we must face the truth that love is for giving. True Love cannot be acquired or possessed, but it can be expressed and given. Even the love we receive is definitely GIVEN to us by someone. Therefore: love is always given; such is LOVE'S nature.

When we speak of giving love, we are referring to giving in primarily spiritual terms. We give energy, attention, and nurturing care. Love is given as rain is given, as light is given: these things simply flow out, and in so doing, they feed, they provide, they bless.

Fortunately, true to OUR nature, we are happiest when we are giving. We all want and need to GIVE love. To GET happiness, give love.

Unloving Parts
Loving Parts
Attachment to inner feelings.

Loving creates blisses in both body and mind: great swelling energies, even raptures. And the more heavenly loving feelings become, the easier it is to get devilishly attached to them: "Ooo baby, you make me feel so good." But how selfishly we may act when we "fall in love with love"!

When people become overly enamored with love's raptures, they start to value the feelings that come from loving more than the love itself -- and they forget about loving. Beware: no effect can persist apart from its cause. Never confuse the excitement of PLEASURE with the joy of LOVING.

Love is the peach tree; blisses are its peaches. Care for the tree, and let the peaches appear of themselves.

The radiance of outward attention, and the willingness to transcend oneself.

In every moment in which we actually love, we are not self-involved at all; rather, we are purely focused upon others. So when wonderful feelings arise, the loving and appropriate thing to do is to share them. In so doing, we not only uplift others, we also sustain and magnify loving feelings in ourselves.

Practice the delicious art of being vulnerable and feeling with others. Stay outward with the beautiful emotions you feel. That will help lift you to new levels of awareness, and stabilize you in the enlightened state of self-forgetfulness -- a condition of free, radiant attention.

Unloving Parts
Loving Parts
Too much wanting -- emphasis on a selfish, acquisitive orientation.

The shopping-list approach to potential companions epitomized in personal ads veers way off track. Those lists rarely include love-useful features, but even if they did, the consumer's orientation towards people is inherently unloving.

If you want someone to love you, you need someone who is capable of loving competently. Let's face it: there are already so precious few who are capable of competent loving these days -- why narrow the field with any other criteria?

Even more to the point: it's not so much that we need to FIND the right person to love, we need to BE the right lover. So we may as well throw the shopping list away, and grow in love. The rest comes together naturally, just like birds of a feather.

The communion of souls in transcendent bliss.

In itself, desire is a positive force in life. Desire encourages expansion beyond the confines of the body; it makes fulfillment in relationships possible.

To love or desire anything beyond the body expands consciousness appreciably. Better to love a flower, or a twig for that matter, than to suffer physical-emotional isolation. Even the most humble desire forms a bridge from ego to all that lies beyond.

Positive desire expresses the urge to merge with something outside of or larger than our bodies. Ultimately, desire fuels the spiritual will to transcend the confines of all of one's limitations into a larger dimension of Being.

by David Truman

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