“The Art of Loving”
February 5, 2012 — Love may be the most popular word in our vocabulary. It may also be the most difficult to attain. With religious, spiritual, and social holidays focused on love in its many manifestations, we can appreciate this long sought-after state of being.
What is love? What does it mean to the lover? the child and parent? the religious leader? the spiritual sojourner? the spiritual teacher?
Love for those seeking a mate is that “forever-high” one probably has idealized for years. It is often thought of as a combination of lust and affection. Those who are more mature realize that love must include respect. It is not putting the other on a pedestal, but feeling a deep reverence for the bond that exists. It is acceptance of some traits in the other person that may cause discomfort because of the great appeal of other traits.
Love in a couple relationship is providing for the needs of each to be met. Those needs will fluctuate, and the needs of one will at times be greater than the needs of the other. Flexiblility to allow for individual changing needs within the relationship allows it to flourish and grow. The opposite, selfishness or selflessness, will cause eventual destruction of the relationship. It is important to recognize that both people meet needs through the relationship, as well as in the outside world.
Many people confuse love and lust. The physical relationship often mirrors the rest of the relationship. If one is selfish, he or she will probably be selfish in the physical relationship as well. If one fails to assert one’s needs in self-less devotion, one will probably not get one’s needs met in the physical relationship as well. Love for a couple is a sharing of the day to day, with caring and respect shown in many ways including physical intimacy. There cannot be true spiritual-physical intimacy without mutual respect and caring in spite of television and movies that often glamorize selfishness and exploitation.
Love to the child is security. It means, “I’m safe in an unsafe world because there are people I can count on.” As we mature, we become more interested in providing security, than in seeking it.
Beyond love of our immediate family is love for humanity. This may be seen in different forms of service. For many, this manifests as service to the community either through helping professions or service organizations.
For the Spiritual Sojourner, the need to serve humanity will manifest in service, often in unique ways and circumstances. Later, when we look back over our life, we may see that in reality, we were being prepared for this service over a lifetime.
For a true Spiritual Teacher, love may be felt intensely for humanity. That love will manifest in service that was pre-ordained. In other words, by surrendering one’s life to serve, true service will emerge. It is not a strategic plan, but a plan that evolves with each step taken.
We have all come here to love and to serve. A few have been chosen to serve in a unique and very specific way. You can recognize a True Spiritual Teacher by their gift of insight and wisdom that comes from a place beyond general knowledge and understanding.
It is so ordained.
This Meditation is dedicated to Love, and to all who seek It.
Sue Kidd Shipe, Ph.D.
Spiritual Empowerment Teacher and Author
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