The Problem with "Love"
“Love” is one of those words that I wish was not used in spirituality. We use the word in two ways when discussing human love and only one of them describes the experience of True Love. This leads to confusion as the two ideas become conflated.
As humans when we say “I love you” we mean “I like you a lot”, “I enjoy you”, “I enjoy being with you”, “I like how I feel about myself when I am with you”, “I enjoy the role that I play in our relationship”, “I am grateful to you for the role that you play in our relationship” and/or “I’m obligated to you through a family connection”. In these contexts “I love you” really means “I am attached to you in some way”.
We feel attachment-love only when we love others not when others love us. When others attachment-love us what we experience is a safe place to be ourselves. Others’ attachment-love for us brings emotional and practical support to our lives in the world. But their experience of attachment-love for us does not leave them and then go into us. If we don’t value ourselves their stating, or even demonstrating, their attachment-love for us is meaningless to us.
The experience of attachment-love is valuable for preserving the human race and for preserving and enhancing individual human lives. But the experience does not make you feel whole. And “wholeness” is the other meaning we have for “love”.
When we speak of True Love – spiritual “love”, or “God’s Love” – what we mean is an experience of wholeness. It is an experience of abundance rather than lack. And this is what we really seek in our relationships with others. This is what we hope to find in our love for others or in their love for us. And human attachment-love does not provide this. It is inherently limited.
Human attachment-love is always directed toward someone or something. True Love, as an experience of wholeness, is not directed toward anyone or anything. It is an internal experience that you carry with you. So you can understand the confusion that comes with spiritual directives like, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” From a human point of view you think this means you have to like everyone! And this is of course not possible so you end up feeling like a failure. But if you understand that “love” in this context means “wholeness” you understand that to love your neighbor as yourself is to come from your awareness of your wholeness in Truth in your relationship with them. And to recognize that no matter how they appear to you or what they seem to think that they too are whole in the Truth in their mind. You hold in your mind that Truth is all that is true no matter what is appearing.
In your awareness of True Love you do not direct love only toward certain others. You come from your awareness of your wholeness in your relationships with all, regardless of whether they are close to you or are strangers; whether you like them or not. You still feel attachment to those close to you simply out of familiarity. And your personality will enjoy some people more than others. But you do not ask anyone to make you whole. You accept others as they are. And you are willing to let anyone go should it become necessary.
When you find yourself seeking to feel whole then you are not seeking human attachment-love. You are seeking for the True Love (abundant wholeness) that is your True Being. And you can only find this within. You grow your awareness that you already have It within you by choosing to come from this awareness in your relationships with others. This is the practice of “what you give you receive” or “what you teach you learn” that A Course in Miracles emphasizes. You can give only to yourself. And you can teach only yourself. You give to and teach yourself that lack is real when you choose to look for wholeness where you will not find it. And you give to and teach yourself that you are whole when you come from your awareness of abundant wholeness (True Love) within you as you interact with the world.
Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at www.acimmentor.com.