“Not to love is not to live, or it is to live a living death. The life that goes out in love to all is the life that is full, and rich, and continually expanding in beauty and in power.”  R W Trine

The real journey in life, the real quest to find identity, belonging and meaning in our lives finds its fullest expression in love – there is no other way. In its purist form it’s the unifying source that makes us grow, that enlarges and enriches us beyond measure. It’s a connectedness that bonds us to others, that makes us feel part of something deeply special, an wholeness that is both nourishing and nurturing. Love, in all its manifest forms is all around us although we may not always be awake to its presence. It’s available to everyone, with no exceptions, if only we can open ourselves up to receive its gift. But what exactly is this love that we seek and how can we bring it more fully into our lives?  Firstly, there is love that flourishes in relationships ( notably with parents, partners, children, siblings, relatives, friends ) and hopefully we will all recognize and accept this as it does conform to widespread norms. But there also exists a much ‘ bigger ‘ love that which the ancient Greeks called agape. A divine, self- sacrificing, deeply thoughtful and reflective love that takes us beyond ourselves, and our immediate bonds, into a sacred space of universal connectedness and harmony  with humanity. What C S Lewis believed was the highest point of love that we could possibly attain – a giving, open hearted love that is focused, unselfishly, on the welfare of others. Many theologians have interpreted agape even more widely than this, for them it embraces a fully spiritual dimension that ultimately unites us with God.

Love, in all its infinite glory, is not really something we can go searching for, seeking out, hunting down as if on a chase .It is not so one-dimensional as this, for in reality all we can do is create the open and receptive conditions within our hearts and minds so that it can surface –  emerge deep from within us. Further, love cannot be contained, tied down within set, laid down limits because such confinement and restriction will stifle and diminish it. Love, a full-hearted, deeply nourishing love eventually expands and overflows to bless everyone. It has no choice – it’s that powerful. We are often told that in order to love others we must first love ourselves but this is not so simple as it seems. We must first ask ourselves are we living the life that is worthy of love?  Unfortunately not everyone behaves honorably, some may have been misguided and pursued unskillful lives that have hurt others, so perhaps this should be a time not to rush off and make premature demands but rather a time of reflection, of self examination which can offer up insights on new ways of being in this world thus putting aside previous inappropriate behaviours. This coming closer to the self, the real self, which may have been buried from view for a long time is truly a liberating experience that we should never, ever underestimate. And in this process redemption is never that far away. An healing which will eventually, in a genuine and authentic way, open up the channels of a fully awakened love.

There is no other journey, no other path to pursue. An all embracing love will give us all that we need in life to make us fulfilled and whole. Spiritually, it is totally inclusive and completes us like nothing else can. But paradoxically it can only be increased  if we can give it away, and the more we give it away the more we will receive it back ….. A spiritual truth of such profound significance that it quite takes the breath away. A sacred truth that defies our materialistic, reasoning minds. And if love is of such magnitude, such power can we, in all honesty, sacrifice our lives for anything less?

 by Michael Lewin