I have been thinking on love a lot lately. It's a theme we are exploring deeply in my women's circles and something I am quite certain the world needs more of. I have been imagining that within my heart I carry a tool box full of tools that can help me heal myself and ultimately the world. After all; every little bit of healing we bring to ourselves sends ripples out into the world. Within this toolbox are many things that I have gathered from books and teachers, then learned to wield in my own ways. One of the tools I added recently is a lens of love. I imagine this lens of love shaped like a pair of Victorian era spectacles that hang from a chain to be lifted as needed. When I lift this lens the intention is to shift my perspective and ask love what it has to show me.
It is important to recognize that it's easy to see through these love lenses when we are looking upon the good and the beautiful. It is easy to look at the world from a loving perspective when everything in our personal life is running smoothly. However; it takes a lot more effort to lift this lens of love when our personal life becomes turbulent or when the ugly and troublesome things in the world come into view. I want to encourage you to consider this and think about how we can shift our view of the ugly things? Our views of the people who don't share our opinions or have a personality that rubs us wrong? Our views of the the challenges we face or the flaws we perceive ourselves to have? What would change if we gazed upon these things through a lens of love? Maybe we find that after we raise our rose colored spectacles we have more compassion, understanding, wisdom and clarity. Maybe these lenses lead to more ease, peace, happiness and fulfilment in our life.
You might be wondering how you can possibly incorporate these wacky, imaginary spectacles of love into your life. Maybe you are saying to your self "Oh yeah. Congratulations! You haven't met my.... they get me so fired up I just don't see how I could even begin?" For me the answer to that was with my breath and with the mindfulness practice of loving kindness or metta (videos below). Taking even just a little bit of time to practice each week can make a difference in how we handle the challenging people and situations in our lives. Practice allows us to catch ourselves in these moments, take a breath and raise our lenses of love. In doing so we can respond to these things from a place of love rooted in our hearts.
I want to be clear here though, that responding with love, from a place of love, does not mean we must be passive, avoid confrontation or go with the flow! Love is not weakness and it is not merely some mushy, sentimental emotion. We can absolutely stand up for our beliefs in a loving way that degrades neither ourselves nor those opposing us. Love is a powerful force that great activists and spiritual leaders have wielded throughout history to shift societies. Many leaders have believed love to be the most powerful force in the universe and according to the Dalai Lama, along with numerous other great leaders, love is the single unifying principal or essence of all spiritual and religious systems. Take a moment to consider a leader you have admired and look at how they have used love.
The intention I set for this moon cycle was to practice metta more and I want to invite other to do this as well. It is nice while learning this practice to set aside time for a full meditation, about 20 minutes but once you get the hang of it you can easily incorporate shorter versions of this practice into your day. I have included videos of both a long and short practice below. I hope that you enjoy them and find them useful as you look upon this crazy world through a lens of love more often.