AMPLIFYING THE LOVE
This month, we are asking the question, "What would I love?" This is an interesting question, isn't it? And how many times do we ask ourselves that? Not that often, I suspect. More often than not, the questions we ask are:
"What should I do?"
"What can I afford to do?"
"What will people think of me if I do. . .?"
"What do people expect me to do?"
Right? But that is not what we are doing this month. We are focusing on the power of living from, to and as Love!
Today, we are going to turn our "what would we love?" question around a bit and ask "what can I do to amplify love in my life?" Now that's a compelling question, isn't it? And the answer to it will unlock the secrets for expanding love in our lives, thereby making us magnets for the life we love living!
There are many ways to seek the answer to that question -- reading, meditating, prayer, learning through workshops and classes. These are all powerfully important and helpful ways. But there is one way that we often overlook. That is the classroom called relationships. In truth, there is nothing that we do that does not involve some form of relationship, some kind of interaction with someone -- friends, co-workers, grocery store clerks, coffee baristas, family and, of course, people with whom we are deeply intimate -- we are always in relationship.
Marianne Williamson once wrote: "Relationships are the Holy Spirit's laboratories bringing people together for the maximal opportunity for mutual growth. When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter."a
But relationships are not always smooth sailing are they? We might even think of them sometimes as "the School of Hard Knocks!"
When we are in relationship -- whether it's with the grocery store clerk or our mate or child -- that statement certainly can apply at times, can't it!? They can be difficult. We don't understand what's going on and we just want to get out! But remember: Relationships are the Holy Spirit's laboratories bringing people together for the maximal opportunity for mutual growth. When you meet anyone, remember it is an opportunity to amplify love!
There is a poem from an unknown author that reads:
I looked for my soul, but my soul I could not see,
I looked for my God, but my God eluded me,
I looked for a friend,
and then I found all three.
That little poem says so beautifully what relationships can do for us on our spiritual journey -- if we will allow them to. If we treat them as "holy encounters," they can absolutely be our laboratory for amplifying love in our lives.
This morning, I want to suggest four ideas for amplifying love through relationship. Not the only steps, but these steps, if taken, could take us a long way!!
1. MAKE THE COMMITMENT TO LOVE
Ernest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science and author of the SOM textbook, tells us: "One of the first things to do is to love everybody. If you have not done this, begin to do so at once. There is always more good than bad in people and seeing the good tends to bring it forth. Love is the grandest healing and drawing power on earth. It is the very reason for our being. . . . . it is the sole impulse for creation. . . . No one can swing out into the Universal without love, for the whole Universe is based on it."b
Step One: Make a Commitment to Love. Accept that love is the only foundation on which our spiritual path must be grounded and on which any life can be built. Why is that? Because we are made in the image and likeness of Love. God is love and so are we!
Deepok Chopra, in his book The Path to Love, states: "You were born to be completely loved and completely lovable for your whole life. The reason you do not feel completely loved and completely lovable is that you do not identify with your spiritual nature. Your sense of love has lost the one thing it cannot afford to do without: its higher dimension."c
I am not talking now about romantic love, but a broader, deeper love for all humankind, ourselves, of course, included. I am talking about the kind of love that says I realize you and I are pieces of the same whole cloth, and we are connected on a very deep and profound way.
Psychologist Erich Fromm said it this way: "If I truly love one person, then I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else, 'I love you,' I must be able to say, 'I love, in you, everybody. I love, through you, the world. I love, in you, also myself.'"d
The energy of love is like water; if it doesn't flow, it stagnates. But when it flows freely, it can cleanse, it can heal, it can renew, it can bring us peace, and it can inspire us with its tremendous power.
Now -- we must remember that, in the context of human relationships, not everyone will love us, or even like us, or even be kind to us, however when we allow God's love to so fill us, then having a particular person behave in a certain way loses its hold on us! Our focus is on the idea that Jesus so beautifully said, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me."e
The Father is always in me, but am I always in the Father? Are we awake to that knowing? Are we living in the Presence? It is in our intention that we recognize the love of God is always right. Or, is it our intention to be ego driven? Are we accessing the presence of God at all times?
Relationships will show us where we are not filled with God's love. So, committing to Love is the first step in amplifying love in our lives.
2. EMOTIONAL HONESTY
The second important element in amplifying love in our lives is honesty.
Mark Twain said: "When in doubt, tell the truth."f
And, yes, we ought to tell the truth in our relationships, but I'm talking about a deeper level of honesty -- emotional honesty -- honesty about how you feel and honesty about what is and is not acceptable for you.
So, the first thing you must be able to do is know within how you feel and what you will and won't accept. I think sometimes we don't know that!
We must first be awake to our feelings in relationships and in our own spiritual growth. Because it is at our emotional level that we begin to embody the spiritual principles that we first bring into our intellect. And if we close ourselves off to some feelings, we close ourselves off to all! That's just the way it works.
Ernest Holmes uses the term "opening the portals of our souls." What a beautiful descriptor for what we must do in order to grow and develop spiritually and to truly amplify and expand what we would love in our lives.
He also tells us in the textbook: "When our spiritual emotion is blocked, it hinders the current of life from flowing and the result is stagnation. In psychology, we learn that congested emotions are disastrous to health. If this is true of the physical emotions, how much more must it be true of those higher emotions which are altogether spiritual! Unexpressed spiritual emotions can congest the soul and hinder a more complete flow of life through the individual."g
I believe that honesty -- honesty about our feelings and our desires -- is a spiritual emotion. If we block that emotion, we block our spiritual growth and we certainly block the creation and furtherance of love in our lives.
Why would this be so? Well, I can tell from very personal experience why. Because every time we aren't honest about things in our relationships, it's just like taking a hammer and a little wedge and pounding the wedge between you and the other person. And everything you withhold is an additional wedge. And if you do that long enough, you have pounded so many wedges between you and your husband, wife, friend, business partner -- whoever it may be -- that that gap is simply too wide to cross and the relationship dies.
Honesty -- so, so very important to a relationship and to our own spiritual growth.
The definition of a true friend is someone who knows everything there is to know about you and still likes you. And so we must be honest with ourselves and honest with our partners, our friends, and know that in relationships that are truly intimate, it is safe to be honest.
3. BE WILLING TO GROW PAST YOUR PAST
3. Be Willing to Grow Past Your Past
Not going to spend a lot of time on this idea, although it is quite critical in amplifying the love -- but we so often spend time together talking about this. Not in the context of relationships, but in general. But, think about this -- how often do we drag our past into our current relationship?!
This is what is so important to remember: There is a place in us that has never been hurt, never been abandoned, never been betrayed, never been lied to, never been harmed in any way. That place is pristine in its purity. That place is your place of God. How about bringing that to your relationships?
4. TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN HAPPINESS
4. Take Personal Responsibility for Your Own Happiness
Imagine that after a violent storm, you and I are shipwrecked on a barren island in the middle of the ocean. After a week with nothing to eat, I begin to complain that you're not doing enough to provide food for me, and the hungrier I become, the more I complain. Not an hour goes by that I don't remind you that I'm starving and you are to blame.
You must think I am insane. Obviously you didn't cause my hunger. I'm starving because a storm wrecked our ship and left us stranded on an island without food—and you had nothing to do with that. My blaming you is not only incorrect, it's ineffective, because it does nothing to help solve our predicament.
Two starving people with no source of food cannot possibly give each other what they need, and no amount of anger or blame can change that.
To amplify love in our lives, we must start looking inside ourselves for happiness instead of to others.
There is a story of a man under a street lamp looking for something on all fours. A police officer passing by asked what he was doing. "Looking for my car keys," replied the man. "Did you drop them here?" inquired the officer. "No, I dropped them in the alley—but the light is much better here."
The light is much better inside of us. That is where we will find our happiness!
Remember, relationships are the Holy Spirit's laboratories bringing us together for the maximal opportunity to amplify love in our lives, thereby making us magnets for the life we love living!
A Course in Miracles says: "A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together restores the universe to both of you."h
How willing are you to allow relationships to be tools for your transformation? Let's see:
4. Raise your hand if you are open to taking responsibility for your own happiness.
3. Say "yes" if you are willing to grow past your past!
2. Stand up if you are willing to be emotionally honest.
1. Say "Hallelujah!" if you are committed to love!
Well, in that case you have most certainly amplified love!
aMarianne Williamson (born July 8, 1952) American spiritual teacher, author and lecturer
bErnest Holmes, the founder of Religious Science, Science Of Mind textbook, p 298
cDeepok Chopra, The Path to Love
dErich Seligmann Fromm (German: March 23, 1900 - March 18, 1980) German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher
fSamuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910)pen name Mark Twain, American author, humorist
gErnest Holmes, SOM textbook, p. 497
hA Course in Miracles