What would you do if you witness an act of violence?

A few days ago, a very good friend of mine talked to me through WhatsApp and sent me a voice note crying, feeling frustrated and bad about herself, because she was a witness of an act of violence against a young woman and she didn’t do anything to help the woman.
 
Risk or help?
The minute I heard her voice, I felt the same feeling of frustration. What happened was that a young woman was being mistreated by her husband and nobody did anything to help, not even my friend because she didn’t know how to react. So, she saw the fight and didn’t understand why she didn’t act. She was angry, frustrated with herself and sad about the young woman. My friend asked me: what would I do in a similar situation? Honestly, I didn’t know what to tell her, maybe I would try doing something, trying to find some help, but the fact is, this happens every day, and we have no control over it. Sometimes trying to help can make things worse, and we can put ourselves at a risk.
  
I started to think what I could possibly do to help that woman, to help my friend, to help anybody if I do not have control over the situation. First, I would need to see the situation from a distance, not getting involved or trying to make justice at that moment. I can start by sending loving kindness and compassion to the young woman and the person who was acting in an abusive way.  Sometimes we need to be neutral in situations like this not to add more reasons to fight.
  
We all are going through something
Loving kindness and compassion mean to be gentle to ourselves and to others, no matter what kind of experiences we are going through. Loving kindness and compassion refer to unconditional love and the motivation for others to be happy, to be able to accept the different circumstances that happened in life with calmness, not being overwhelmed by them.
  
Sending loving kindness to another person helps to deal in a better way with their current experience. We all are energy so we can send love energy to someone who is suffering and help them in their process. Like me, I was sending loving kindness to my friend, not to be so hard on herself, and to the young woman – sending her love energy to make her pain lighter, to make her feel that she wasn’t alone, to help her find peace in some way.
  
Practicing sending loving kindness and compassion will help us develop patience and understanding, first – accepting the situation, second – trying to act with calmness and not reacting by impulse and third – not suffering, because there is no point to suffer if we have no control over the situation.  I want to think in a free way, a loving way, realizing that we all are going through something and we need to start acting differently to build a peaceful society.
 
Thanks to this practice, we will become more empathetic with ourselves and others. Actually, it makes me realize that we have more power than we thought, that sharing loving kindness and compassion is always a great way to spread peace to others, and we have that power within us.
  
In the frequency of peace and joy
So, how we can spread loving kindness and compassion? First, we can think about something that gave us a feeling of happiness and love like a baby or a puppy. Can you feel love for them? Or maybe remember a place where you feel love and try to reproduce that feeling. It is important that the feeling becomes real because that is what we are going to send to another person. In this case, I  saw a young woman being at peace, being embraced with a big energy of love, I could feel that energy in me, and that calmed my mind, so I left behind all those feelings of frustration, because I could see through the act of violence, I could see a woman being protected and loved.
  
Practicing loving kindness and compassion will calm our mind and body, it will bring us peace and joy. And by practicing this we will help rather than fight against something because by sending love energy we are creating more love and peace, we are vibrating in this frequency, and we will integrate this in the way we act and treat ourselves and others.
  
If you want to practice loving kindness and compassion, you can start here.
  
Photo credits: Unsplash

How to Grow Healthy Relationships in the Garden of Life?

“How to maintain healthy relationships?” A friend of mine once asked me.  Surely, it will not happen by itself.  All kinds of relationships in our life need to be nurtured and taken good care of, with kindness and patience.

Imagine, you are a gardener and relationships are like flowers you are growing in your garden to brighten up your day. Without watering, taking the weeds away, fertilising the soil, talking to the buds and sharing your love with them, they most probably won’t give flowers or won’t grow at all. 

So, garden is our life, flowers are people we have relationships with (any kind of relationships), and we are gardeners. But do we know what the main pillars  are for our garden to bloom?

Self-love – learn from the sun!

Imagine the sun; it shines for everyone without making any choices or differences. The sun does not shine more or brighter for one or the other person, it remains equanimous. If the sun has enough energy, enough of warmth, it gives the full power to the world equally. Same for us: when we are full of love and kindness, aware of our own value, we generate the power of love and we are more able to bring it to the world too.

Of course, there are moments when the sun is hidden behind the clouds, but that does not mean the sun left us for good. So, when we feel a bit blue or down, we should not give up or fall for depression. We should remind ourselves of something positive and try to focus on things we have done great so far. Breath it over and have patience! The sun never leaves us because we are the Sun. The Sun always waits within, patiently to be seen and felt again.

And once you feel it, stay wise. If you give too much to one flower only, you can burn it. If you forget about the other one and do not give it enough of light, it may die too. What does it say about love in general? To keep things in balance. If we are trying to give more than what we have, we soon end up being a slave to our own emotions, most likely creating false illusions. If we do not give at all, we are making ourselves less rich humans, because we came here to love consciously, with awareness to our own energy and needs. By keeping things balanced, we are able to generate enough of love and kindness for ourselves in order to spread it further.

Be the brightest yet most tender sun for your garden!

Communication – bird loves singing when in balance

Taking good care of a relationship is like creating comfortable home together. Imagine love being like a small bird that you hold in both hands. One hand is your own and the other one is your partner’s. The bird is, obviously, your love. If you hold both hands together too tight, the bird won’t be able to breath and it will die sooner or later. Too much care and no freedom will give it no chance to spread its wings. If you open up both hands out wide, you may lose connection with your partner easily, so the bird will fly away and might never come back.

That is what happens when there is a lack of communication or care. Connection fades away. But if you hold both hands together in a comfortable way, making the bird feel like at home, it will want to stay with you. And even if it flies somewhere to explore from time to time, it will come back to you, stronger and transformed into a more beautiful thing, but most importantly, it will want to stay at home, regularly. So, balance and right amount of care, love,  and freedom is really necessary in order to maintain healthy relationships.

However, one part cannot function properly without the other to maintain our relationships in balance. And that leads to trust.

Everything happens in the right time

Trust  yourself, trust others, trust the universe, embrace your fears and have guts to wait for the results.

Each and every plant has its own time to grow. If you want a rose to give you a flower within a week, it won’t. So why do we tend to push and pressure things when it comes to relationships? Why are we not patient enough to wait how things unravel? There is so much beauty in it, and we can learn a lot along the way. Do not spoil your beautiful garden by being impatient or demanding! Have trust that everything happens in the right time! Let grow together with the other person gently. Let things happen to you instead of chasing  after them.

Having trust that giving energy and balanced amount of effort into your garden will show results sooner or later, saves a lot of headache. What more? Everything around, the wind, rain, animals, fertile soil, simply the universe and „coincidences“ will help bring flowers to your garden too. When the time comes.

Having trust is like being fully transparent in front of the other person. It gives peace and harmony to the mind. Why? Simply because we know there is nothing to worry about, nothing to control, just to let live and co-exist. It feels extremely beautiful when we develop this contentment between two different energies which have basically the same source.

Ultimate Understanding 

You are, always have been and will be the ultimate one for yourself. With this understanding, there is no doubt that the right energy of someone else will resonate with you and your attitude towards life on a certain level combining all what was said previously.

Love is not something ready made. It is a miraculous creation. Being created through experiences, situations, care and effort. It is not the peak we climb but rather leaving the valley; it is joyful walking uphill and seeing beautiful views, same as sometimes painful falls and sweat, after which we help each other to stand up in order to keep going. It is a pleasure of the journey itself, a sail on a wide unknown sea when the wind is fortunate but at the same time sailing against the waves.

So, make yourself comfortable, breath in and out and enjoy the ride! It all starts from knowing yourself.

Photo credits: Jared Rice

¿Qué es el amor incondicional?

El amor incondicional es “el tipo de amor que podemos dar de forma ilimitada sin condiciones; es la presencia de bondad amorosa en la vida por la vida.”

En los primeros años de la vida, aprendemos que el amor es condicionado; utilizado como una recompensa a un buen comportamiento, con lo que al pasar del tiempo, nos enfrentamos a relaciones en las cuales dudamos si somos verdaderamente dignos de amar y ser amados. Cualquier ser humano desde que nace, debe proveerse de atención, cariño, afecto, bondad, respeto, aceptación y reconocimiento. En el momento que es privado de estas necesidades básicas de aprendizaje y supervivencia, se comienza a formar vacíos y percepciones erróneas de la vida, en algunos casos, irreparables.

A menudo demandamos mucho, buscamos permanencia y seguridad en las relaciones, pretendemos que otros nos completen y llenen nuestras necesidades y al no obtenerlo resultan en un fracaso más. Pero la verdad es que solo el amor incondicional está libre de ataduras y es permanente, como bien lo dice la definición, este tipo de amor no es condicionado a algo o a alguien. Simplemente es.

Algunas de las prácticas que podemos realizar para cultivar el amor incondicional para con nosotros y con los demás son las siguientes:

Amor propio

Es la capacidad de querernos lo suficiente, reconocernos valiosos y que tenemos cosas para dar, la auto valoración y el orgullo de ser quienes somos. Incluye también la auto estima, y la capacidad de ser auto dependiente. Es la libertad de desarrollar la individualidad hasta convertirnos en personas capaces de crear y nutrir relaciones sanas y duraderas, empezando por la relación con nosotros mismos.

Debemos entender que no hay una limitación en la capacidad de amar, no hay límites para el amor, y por lo tanto, tenemos la capacidad de querernos mucho a nosotros mismos y a los demás. Es imposible querer a alguien si no me quiero a mi mismo.

Equivocadamente, tendemos a buscar el amor y la aprobación afuera, pocas veces nos damos cuenta que este sentimiento nace de adentro, en nuestro corazón. Debemos aprender a cultivar el amor propio y prepararnos para expandir amor y bondad incondicional a los demás.

Auto compasión

Las personas compasivas consigo mismas reconocen que los fracasos son experiencias y asumen un enfoque balanceado frente a las emociones negativas al fracasar. Contrario a lo que se pensaba, cuando nos tratamos con compasión fomentamos el crecimiento personal y profesional.

Al volvernos conscientes de que estamos luchando con sentimientos negativos, nos permitimos responder con amabilidad y comprensión en lugar de juzgar y criticar por lo mal que la estamos pasando. Esa actitud auto compasiva, es una práctica de buena voluntad para con nosotros mismos. Deseando alcanzar así sentimientos de felicidad y paz interior.

Auto conocimiento

A muy temprana edad nos descubrimos seres individuales, que si bien dependemos los unos de los otros, tenemos nuestra propia identidad. El auto conocimiento nos permite descubrir quiénes somos, y cómo diferenciarnos de los demás. Es un trabajo personal para descubrir cuáles son mis fortalezas y mis debilidades; qué es lo que me gusta y lo que no; qué es lo que quiero y lo que no quiero.

Llevar la mirada hacia adentro puede ser muchas veces difícil debido a los traumas, por eso la importancia de desarrollar métodos y técnicas que nos ayuden a conocer quién realmente somos y qué tenemos para compartir.  En el momento que nos entendemos y descubrimos, somos capaces de entender y descubrir a los demás, aceptando la realidad de la vida y la individualidad de cada quien.

Metta

La palabra Pali metta, es un término de múltiples significados como amor benevolente, buena voluntad y no-violencia. Metta se define también como un fuerte deseo por el bienestar y la felicidad de los otros. Es una actitud altruista de amor y amigabilidad a diferencia de la mera amabilidad basada en el propio interés, o sea, carece de interés personal.

Metta es, en efecto, “el amor universal que conduce a la liberación de la mente”

Por naturaleza humana, nos interesamos por la búsqueda personal de superación, pero qué pasaría si aprendemos a pensar en el bienestar y crecimiento universal?

En un mundo amenazado por tanta destrucción, codicia, odio, lujuria, envidia, metta puede practicarse como un método de sanación y liberación de la mente. De modo que se convierte en una necesidad para toda actividad destinada a promover el bienestar de todos los seres.

¿Cómo practicar Metta?

(obtenido de: “Filosofía y práctica del amor universal” por Acharya Buddharakkhita)

Siéntate en una postura cómoda en un lugar tranquilo. Mantén los ojos cerrados, repite la palabra metta durante algún tiempo y evoca mentalmente su significado-amor como opuesto al odio, resentimiento, arrogancia, impaciencia, orgullo y como un profundo sentimiento de buena voluntad, simpatía y bondad que promueve la felicidad y el bienestar de los otros.

Ahora visualiza tu propio rostro con un feliz y radiante humor. Todo el tiempo observa tu rostro como un espejo, contémplate a ti mismo en un estado de ánimo alegre y ponte en ese mismo estado durante la meditación. Una persona alegre no puede enojarse o abrigar pensamientos y sentimientos negativos.

Habiéndote visualizado en un estado de felicidad, repite el pensamiento:

“Que yo este libre de hostilidad, libre de aflicción, libre de angustia; que yo viva feliz y en paz”

Mientras te inundas con este pensamiento, te vuelves como un recipiente lleno, cuyo contenido está listo para desbordarse en todas direcciones.

Luego visualiza a tu maestro de meditación o guía espiritual, contémplalo en un estado de ánimo feliz y proyecta el pensamiento:

Que mi maestro este libre de hostilidad, libre de aflicción, libre de angustia; que él viva feliz”

Y piensa en otras personas que sean venerables y que estén vivas-monjes, profesores, padres, ancianos- y con intensidad, extiende hacia cada uno de ellos el pensamiento de metta de la misma manera.

La visualización debe ser clara y el pensamiento tiene que ser bien “deseado”. Si la visualización es hecha de prisa o el deseo es de forma superficial o mecánica, la practica será poco provechosa.

Ahora tómate el tiempo para visualizar uno a uno tus seres queridos, comenzando por  los miembros de tu propia familia, inundando a cada uno con abundantes rayos de amor benevolente. El amor espiritual debe ser el mismo hacia todos, incluso hacia tu esposa o esposo, sin involucrar el elemento del amor mundano.

Luego debes visualizar a personas neutrales, personas que ni te agraden ni desagraden, como vecinos, colegas del trabajo, conocidos. Irradia el mismo pensamiento:

Que esta persona este libre de hostilidad, libre de aflicción, libre de angustia; que el/ella viva feliz”

Habiendo irradiado pensamientos de amor a cada uno de este círculo, debes ahora visualizar personas con las cuales puedas haber tenido un malentendido o te desagradan. Para cada una repite mentalmente:

“Yo no tengo hostilidad hacia el/ella, que el/ella no tenga ninguna hostilidad hacia mi. Que el/ella sea feliz”

De esta manera mientras visualizas a todas estas personas, se rompe la barrera causada por los gustos y las aversiones, el apego y el odio. Cuando uno es capaz de considerar a un enemigo sin malevolencia y con la misma voluntad que tiene para con un amigo muy querido, metta, adquiere una imparcialidad suprema, elevando la mente hasta volverse ilimitada.

*Por visualización se entiende “llamar a la mente” o hacer visible en la mente ciertos objetos, como una persona, una dirección, una categoría de seres. Significa, imaginar a las personas hacia las cuales los pensamientos de amor tienen que ser proyectados o extendidos. Por irradiación se entiende la proyección de ciertos pensamientos que promueven el bienestar de aquellas personas hacia las cuales dirigimos la mente.

Puedes expandir metta en todas las direcciones y hacia todos los seres vivos, tanto como desees, cubriendo todo con abundantes pensamientos de amor universal.

¿Qué es el amor incondicional?

El amor incondicional es el amor que nace del corazón, el que nos motiva a dar de manera infinita y que comienza con el propio amor. La capacidad de auto valorarnos, compasivamente aceptándonos tal y como somos. Desde el trabajo personal de conocernos, logramos experimentar la satisfacción de enfocarnos no solo en lo individual, si no en lo colectivo.

Para ésto, el programa de 42 días de Peace Revolution es de gran ayuda.

“Que todos lo seres sean felices, que todos los seres gocen de bienestar”.

 

Be a Relationship Catalyst

Who are you really?

This is the question that has made many of us get to where we are today. If we are not the body and we are not even the mind, who are we really?

We are created with a name, not the one our parents gave us at birth, but the name we bring by nature, the personal print that characterises our own life from others, the reason why we were born in a certain place, with certain parents or without them, and certain circumstances around.

I believe that we come to this life in order to define who we really are. Each of our life experiences help us recognize our true nature, we are not alone, we are interdependent, not in a sense that we can’t live without others, but in a sense that we search for connection in order to feel SAFE. We also want to take care of others, and in exchange we will accomplish our life purpose.

Everybody is a reflection of you, and the Universe brings exactly what you need, when you need it. Each of them brings a message for personal GROWTH, only if we are ready and aware of that, we can take it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle for self-realization. For example, I hear a lot of people saying: “I regret all the time I lost with that person” instead of saying: “I thank that person for showing me the parts I don’t like about myself”.

Finding what “I” is, open up infinite possibilities for engaging in better and fulfilling relationships. Think about what part of yourself you want to show up. Be and decide who you really are because you can’t give something you don’t have. If you are searching for someone special, you need to become someone special.

What’s the right direction?

If personal interactions are fundamental part of life, it’s our duty to create the most powerful experiences possible. The meaning behind this is to discover where I am going and with whom, therefore, we have the freedom to decide everything we want, to design and create our present moment according to our basic needs and the desire of finishing the job of self-discovery, which is never-ending by the way…

As human beings we have two main characteristics by nature: self-control and love. We are not meant to be weak, this is a reality! You are the life to renew yourself no matter what you’ve been going through!

Self-control is supremacy of power, authority and strength over yourself. We need to say “no” to negative people and negative environments. It takes something to let go of everything that keep us away from being happy, and this is courage to reject what no longer serves us. But again, we need to know our limits, our weaknesses and strengths first.

Loving ourselves does not mean that we are becoming selfish, loving ourselves instead means that we choose only positive to come to us. Love from a compassionate mind requires loving without expectations. And here I want to share my point of view regardless expectations; having no expectations doesn’t mean that we are expecting to complete ourselves with others; or that we don’t need anything from anybody, but that we find ourselves complete and we are ready to share our completeness with others. We all have something to share: time, knowledge, space, interests… that’s why we decide to connect with others and share what we treasure the most.

Find the balance

“Be the change you want to see in others”. To become a catalyst you need to understand that the only person you can change is yourself. We spend most of our time trying to change people and things around us, but the fact is that we are losing our time. If you do something, do it for a reason.

A good friend of mine always reminds me of relating with nourishing and positive people no matter what’s my final goal, he also encourages me to find a real motivation in new projects. The energy I use in daily life for working, volunteering, dating, helping family and friends should be full of power and love. And don’t forget to give yourself.

“Let go and let it be”. Just because you decide to become more open and tolerant doesn’t mean you don’t care about it. If you keep a good perspective, you develop the ability to respond instead of react, avoiding unnecessary stress and arguments, give you the free pass for assertive communication and the right to express yourself better about your feelings and needs, leaving behind guilt and frustration.

Actions for lifetime relationships

Creating positive bonds is not so hard, after you find the right balance and decide who you want to be. It is time to try out your inner wisdom and start correcting your habits to keep that balance and not get out of track. How can we make it easier?

1. Pleasant: let go of the ego, stop trying to be right about everything, specially when it comes to the relationship with your partner or spouse. It’s okay to be angry at someone for a moment but ask yourself the reason why you are feeling that way. A simple “you are right, I’m sorry” bonds you to one another.
2. Positive speech: your ability to speak is one of the ways to connect. Be aware of giving compliments and gratitude to your beloved ones. Laughing, having a good sense of humour, making plans for a social meeting, as well as the tone of voice you use is a part of the mindset that you need to feel good and make others enjoy the time together.
3. Compromise: as I said before, you can’t complete yourself with someone, it’s necessary to give space and proper communication. Everyone has their own needs and opinions, we must respect each other and share their interest or at least motivate them to follow dreams and aspirations.
4. Acceptance: when you see someone as they truly are, you see their good and bad habits, automatically you stay present to the nature of life, and you stop the need to change someone.
5. Be calm: make an effort to be mindful, cultivate inner peace at all times, be the role-model for everyone around you. Make your mind neutral to all senses as all the things we enjoy with our senses will die or end some time in the future. Holding on to them will delay the purification of the mind.

“How deeply you touch another life is how rich your life is.”
-Sadhguru

Know Your Passion To Lead a Happier Life

Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have. To access and manifest the best version of ourselves, we first need to look inside with honesty and apply careful and persistent effort. Learning as much as we can about our passion and mission in life is directly related to the amount of happiness we experience.

The quest for self, the “why am I here?”, “what is the reason for being?” never gets out of fashion. If we begin with asking ourselves “why am I here?” – we might not get too far. Instead, here is a simpler and a more structured way to start:

Ask yourself and write down the answers to the following questions:

1) What you Love (it helps identify your Passion)

2) What the World Needs (it helps identify your Mission)

3) What you are Good at (it helps identify your Vocation)

4) What you can get Paid for (it helps identify your Profession)

Then, you can answer some additional questions to help you get more detailed answers about yourself:

1) What do you Love? What aspects of your life bring you into your heart and make you feel most alive?

2) What are you Great at? What unique skills do you have that come most naturally to you? What talents have you cultivated and what do you excel at even when you aren’t trying?

3) What Cause do you believe in? What change would you most love to create in the world? What would you give your life for?

4) What do people Value and pay you for? What service, value or knowledge do you bring? Something that people need and are happy to pay for or share some value in exchange.

Keep the list close and update it each time you feel like you discovered something new about yourself or connected with what you already know. The answers usually reveal when we are in the flow and engaged completely in what we are doing. Look back with honesty and identify these moments in your life.

Doing this will help refine your focus, attention and be more selective with your time and what you engage in. Allow less time and space for activities that take away your energy and do more of what gives you the positive energy. Don’t be afraid of failure. You won’t know if something is rewarding unless you’ve tried it. Life is made by our daily choices and habits, not predetermined. Knowing your mission and passion will bring more happiness and joy on daily basis.

Photo credits: Jenna Anderson on Unsplash

Mindfully In Love Or Madly In Love, Which One Do You Pick?

As a teenager I used to believe that if I found true love and got swept off my feet falling in love, I would be the happiest. Because what would make one happier than loving and being loved, right? I think you too might have believed the same or maybe you still do. Either the way, hear me out.

We are created with minds and hearts, both very strong and capable of leading us through life: living, loving, building, creating and achieving but moreover – making choices. We are gifted with our hearts for their great ability to love but usually we forget how strong and capable our minds are especially when we are in love.

Mostly when you love, you forget about your mind and you let your heart take the lead. But here is the thing, you weren’t created with both so that you would only use one, right? Love is the most unique human feeling, and it’s so sophisticated and complicated that only something as strong as the heart can handle it. However, decisions made by our heart aren’t always and ultimately what’s right and suitable for us. They usually go too far loving and they forget about everything else. For that the mind comes in need.

I think we can all say that most of us who would label themselves as “Madly In Love” would agree that the heart is taking the lead while the mind is involved a little bit. In that kind of love, sometimes the happiness we feel is just an illusion and only few times it’s real. And I am ready to bet that those whose happiness is real don’t just use their heart in their relationships, they use their mind too. Each one of us uses their mind with different percentage when in a relationship. In fact, how much we use our mind goes directly proportional with increasing our level of happiness. However, when you only use your heart there’s quite a big risk to end up with a heart break or a life that revolves around the person you love and believe me, – that’s trouble! You would never want to lose yourself loving someone so that when they leave, it hurts so much that you would want to die. Because yes, madly in love brings this kind of suffering, and only your mind can help prevent your suffering. Hence, in this “Madly In Love”, your mind is taking a long nap.

So how can we be deeply in love and have a balanced, happy and healthy relationship without taking the risk of having a heart break? How can we be committed, faithful, devoted and giving without losing ourselves in the process of love?

Here comes “Mindfulness In Love”. Madly in love brings you a feeling of enchantment, magic and bliss but it’s temporary like drugs. However, being mindfully in love would create just the right balance you need in your life. It creates a long lasting happiness and contentment with your life. When you love mindfully, you would know what to let into your system and what not. You would know how to give and how to receive love without getting too far loving. You would know your partner’s rights, your rights, which compromises are okay to make and which are not. You would know that your life has all other aspects other than your love life: it has yourself whom you should love ultimately, it has your career that you should invest time and energy into so you would reap the goods later, and it has your family and friends who are a huge support system and a huge source of love and happiness and who also need a quite big chunk of your love energy. But most importantly, it has you living as a whole human being who is all happy by himself/herself, capable of leading a beautiful balanced life.

“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what’s going on deepens and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love. “- Thick Nhat Hanh

I invite you all to start analyzing your relationships and ask yourself: Am I loving mindfully? Does my relationship allow me to have a balanced life? Do I give attention and invest energy in all my life aspects equally? Does my world revolve around someone and only that someone? No matter what your answer is, I believe that if you are conscious enough you would know that mindfulness is definitely something you either need to integrate in your life or need to keep increasing throughout your life.

For me, meditation is a great way to increase mindfulness and thus have a balanced, mindful love life or so I try. You can try for yourself and see how it helps increasing your awareness, mindfulness and consciousness. Then, you can decide what’s best for you. Although I am sure that if we compare our life to a pyramid, we would never want to build the pyramid’s base out of one stone only, our love life, would we?

Photo credits: Captured by Caity Photography https://capturedbycaity.wordpress.com

Why We Keep Failing At Love

The concept of love has existed as long as the human race. For centuries, scholars have tried to come up with different definitions of love but it never suffices due to the complexities involved in this magical word or feeling. So many times I’ve tried to understand what this word means but it has never been easy to come up with a hundred percent understanding of the word.

Could love be a myth or a trick? Is it just a concept created to make people happy and vulnerable at the same time? Or is it really the key to eternal happiness? What is this feeling that makes it hard to go to sleep without one’s head spinning like a carousel? These are some of the questions that many of us ask especially when we have once found ourselves in an unsuccessful relationship before.

We do not realize love is the same

Have lived in this world for at least one quarter of a century, had my own fair share of messed up relationships with different kinds of people worldwide, I figured eventually that a lot of us are not loving the right way. Love means the same everywhere, and the right application of it brings the same result. I might start by asking you, how do you want to be loved? I know the answer to this question may be an unending list, such as I want to be given attention, provided with material needs, or complimented very often or never to be cheated upon.

How about if we reverse the above question to, how do you want to give love? Worth thinking, right? But the issue here is not just about giving but more of giving what we have. There is no way you can truly love somebody if you do not love yourself enough. The sustainability of every relationship depends hugely on deeply rooted love of self before loving another person. A lot of times we failed at love because we were either trying so hard to please our partners that we somehow diminished our own value or rather because we were expecting too much than we were ready to give. In my opinion, it is about striking a balance between loving yourself and giving out love to a significant other.

Like being a pilot with an air-plane

If you spent more time in your own self development, you would feel more confident and eventually develop self-love. This makes you ready to be in a loving relationship without necessarily getting too attached, needy, vulnerable or egocentric. You just give out love naturally, also knowing when to strike a balance without feeling guilty or making your partner feel lesser. Loving the right way is like being a pilot with an air-plane, knowing when to fly high, higher and descending without a crash. Just like a pilot, this skill is only possible when you invest in yourself first before you can be able to manage the emotions of another person as well.

It is necessary therefore to also identify the fact that we cannot take actions to invest in ourselves if we have not searched within to see whether that deficiency of love comes from an experience in our lives such as childhood or another. The same goes with understanding and dealing with an insecure or needy partner. It took me years of contemplation before I finally learned the art of meditation that has taught me how to observe with no expectations and let go, especially negative self talks or assumptions. This skill has helped me unlock some of the mysteries of love and relationships.

Finding balance

Still wondering how to start loving yourself, finding inner peace and having better relationships? Try meditating 15 minutes a day for at least 21 day and you can thank yourself later. Please don’t get it twisted; sharing my opinion here does not mean that I’m an expert at love or meditation. I’m a work-in-progress, and all I can say is, I feel more balanced in my emotions now than I was before. I hope you find your balance too. Happy love month!

Photo credits: Finn Hackshaw, Unsplash.com

 

Here Comes Love Again… Wait, Really?

Opennes to love

On desiring infinity while experiencing finitude. Thoughts on love. Part I. 

In our practical life, we love people, pets, stuff, nature, art etc. We experience this feeling not only in romantic contexts but in many others – or at least we can be open to feel love in multiple ways. However, the fact that we love those things/people doesn´t mean that we can have them all the time we want, or whenever we want them. Here we start to play the limits of the material life. There are duties, distance, and particularities that make us realize that we do not always have the opportunity to get what we want when we want it, no matter how much we love it. When you get the experience – not only the rational understanding of it -, you feel the limit. You acknowledge the space of separation between you and the object of your love that comes from outer circumstances. You feel it. 

On a more personal level, our reactivity is our limit. Whenever we react, we are on the edge. A reaction is impulsive, unconscious behaviour, a byproduct of the circumstance. Every time we get A, we react B. Every. Single. Time. Because of this simple formula we get lazy about our own self-development and/or life, judgemental about ourselves and others, we blame anyone, complain or become the victim of circumstances. There is another name for this consciousness or state of the mind, we call it EGO.

In basic etymology, EGO is the first person singular in Latin (nominative case or when the pronoun is doing the action or otherwise serving as the subject of the sentence). It basically means “I”. And because EGO is semantically very charged – we use it in a variety of contexts with multiple meanings – and can mislead, I prefer to name this person simply “reactive behaviour” (“persona” means “character or mask” in Latin, another insight there). Here we are complaining about our last breakup to our friends, blaming the other (ex-boss, boy/girlfriend, friend), being the victim “I don´t know how we got there” “I gave my all to that relationship” “Relationships are harder than I thought” “Life is not fair” and so on. All that talking and complaining is from our ego, our mask, that part of ourselves that is insanely fixed and reluctant to change or see things under another light.

Wings of love

 

“Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings.” Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi                                                                                             Credits @delnudotatuajes

One thing is the feeling that we have in our hearts, sincere and truer than any rational epiphany, and another thing is the thing that runs in our minds. The first one is our raw, vulnerable nature, the openness of our heart that sometimes feels like a painful break; the second one – our reactive behaviour. Here we rely on the meditation practice again in order to understand this in a practical and holistic way. When we notice our emotions, thoughts, and start training the “no reaction” attitude or equanimity, when we try to let those things pass, when we try to let them go without engaging in the inner drama, we are walking away from our reactive nature and gaining more than one important thing not only for our meditation but also for our lives. That is the whole thing of this simple yet not easy exercise of mindfulness. In meditation, we train ourselves to become less reactive and more aware by learning to control our habitual tendencies.  

We trust here in the basic principle of universal economy: everything has its raison d’être. And as in any type of economy, from domestic to global, restriction is essential. There is, though, a restriction to restriction: healthy restriction, not repression. What´s the difference? The difference is very simple: restriction implies awareness, repression is a denial of reality. This said, we now understand that it´s not about repressing our ego or reactive behavior, but to set a limit to it (and later on to transform it… but that´s for another post). To restrict our ego in a way that doesn´t become the king of our minds. Why? Because otherwise, we are far from love – love will always find ways to bring us back to its territory anyway… Here is a tough truth about love: love drives us down that path of stretching and restricting with the promise of abundant and unconditional satisfaction.  We walk the path and our ego has little to do there. The rest is yet to come.

Credits for the image @vip.mambo76

You’re Good Enough, And Always Have Been

If you’ve ever struggled or still struggle with loving yourself, know that you are not alone. And more importantly, know that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. In a world full of pressures and expectations, it is easy to feel less than. It is easy to compare ourselves to others or seek perfection when it is not necessary (or healthy).

Learning To Open Up About Your Struggles

I wholeheartedly believe that it is important to be open and honest about your own struggles. Without communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthy mind. Whether this means talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or even a journal, it helps tremendously to release your emotions.

Let me start by opening up about my own personal struggles with perfection and never feeling good enough.

Throughout high school, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get spectacular grades. While it was fabulous that I wanted to get good grades, my approach was not healthy. Rather than being satisfied with my achievements, I would dwell on the smallest mistakes. If I missed one question on a test, I would see only that mistake, not the achievement. Spectacular was not even enough. In fact, perfection wasn’t even good enough–it was just “all right.”

When my high school years came to an end and I no longer stressed about grades, perfection slithered its way in differently. This time, I became obsessed with weight loss and health, never seeing myself as worthy of happiness if I didn’t achieve a certain weight or maintain a specific diet.

This struggle was with me from a young age; even when I was in middle school, I struggled with my weight and in high school I attempted diets, but ultimately made a lifestyle change. At first, I lost weight healthily but then I began to obsess over it. Weight and calories were always on my mind and thin was not enough–I had to keep losing more and more weight.

The peak of my eating disorder lasted the first semester of my freshman year of college, but the mindset took a long time to fade away. Throughout these struggles, I’ve realized that if you don’t love yourself, happiness is hard to come by.

Taking Care of Yourself, Every Day

After I began focusing more on loving myself, my mindset began to change. I replaced negative thoughts with positive thoughts, bad habits with good ones, and hatred with love. My whole mindset needed to change. It took a lot of time and work, but it paid off, and I work every day to be good to myself.

I want to repeat those last few words: I work every day to be good to myself.

Loving yourself isn’t something that happens over night. It also isn’t something that, once learned, can be thrown under the rug. We are constantly changing, so we need to constantly reevaluate our approach to self-love, and cater our efforts to the needs of the moment.

I want to remind you of a phrase that has helped me tremendously: You are good enough, right in this moment, and always have been.

I think we can easily spend too much time thinking about the person we want to become rather than the person we are right now. If we don’t work on loving ourselves in the moment, how can we expect to love ourselves in the future?

Of course, we can always improve and strive to be better people, but we don’t have to give up our happiness during this journey.

Self-love starts with this very moment.

Without caring for ourselves and communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthier mind.
If you want to read more by Jerry Ehlers, please visit his website Discovery Overflow.