We are on the edge of a wave, riding a set toward a more conscious future. The wheels are spinning and momentum is building. In some places, it seems as if this impending change is more obvious than in others, but our perception of reality is typically influenced by our immediate surroundings. When we are surrounded by love and affection, it’s easy to notice the world’s sublime beauty. Hate and injustice seem so far away that their existence is largely forgotten. But when we’re surrounded by spiteful hate, confronted by rampant injustice, and subject to constant persecution, we realize the world isn’t fair and just, we realize that money rules all, and we get caught thinking the only way to get ahead is to step on the backs of anyone that gets in our way. After all, this is the example we’ve given by the most powerful countries in the world today.
While we’re incredibly lucky to remain largely exempt from such overt injustice and persecution here in the US, it remains imperative for us to understand how our environment affects our lives, both positively and negatively. It’s a blessing to be surrounded by amazing people that have the capability to remain non-judgmental in helping us learn about life, love, healthy, and happiness. But we also need the people that make us uncomfortable, people that challenge us to step out of our comfort zone, people that show us examples of who we DON’T want to be, and people that criticize us when we think we’ve done a good job.
We learn by observing others and it’s important that we exercise our full potential as conscious observers. Technology feeds our insatiable appetites for instant gratification. Millions are walking around with our noses pressed to phone screens all day and TVs or computers all night. By attaching so readily to these technological distractions, we rapidly lose our connection to Nature and to other human beings, and we compromise our ability to manifest authentic experiences in our lives. Ultimately, losing our connection to Nature means losing our ability to connect with other human beings on a deeper level, which will result in less attempts at living passionately from the heart, less openness to the full spectrum of life’s experiences, and a loss of crucial knowledge about how to survive in, and coexist with, the world around us.
Fortunately, we do not have to go down this path. Deep in our subconscious, we know the keys to heart-centered living and physical survival. While we are quick to idolize the mind as the ultimate key to survival, the mind is also capable of restricting our happiness, especially when our thought patterns have been conditioned by false premise after false premise. One example of such premises is as such, “If I can just make enough money, accrue enough power, find my perfect counterpoint in another, or build the perfect version of myself, then life will be grand and wonderful.”
We desperately hold onto premises like these, despite our better judgment. We’ve all heard that money doesn’t buy happiness, but we continue to buy into the premise that we must have money to live and, even if we don’t enjoy what we have to do to make it, we’ve gotta “suck it up” and “work hard” so that we can make enough so that, one day far in the future, we’ll be happy and comfortable and we won’t have to worry about money any longer. We must know that power doesn’t make us happier, but we continue to idolize power, despite clear examples of those that have stepped on friends and enemies alike to accrue power and then turned around to realize that they are completely and utterly alone. Some of the loneliest and most depressed people in the world are also the most “powerful.” All the power in the world cannot settle a lonely heart.
Yet, we still hold onto these premises despite constant examples of their invalidity. We hold onto the idea that, if we just make some important changes in our daily lives, we will eventually, one day in the distant future, be perfect, and, then, and only then, will we be happy. We hold onto the dream of finding that one person that “completes you,” in spite of your gut continually telling you that the only person capable of “completing” you, is YOU.
We are the creators of our own reality. If we choose to accept our current situation with an open heart, rather than projecting out to a future where everything is “perfect,” and if we make a conscious effort to find happiness in the simple joys of existing, loving, and giving, we will be liberated from our internal thought process that turns happiness into the proverbial, “Carrot-on-the-Stick,” dangling forever, eternally unreachable, right in front of our faces.
When we take the time to sit back and consider the absolute simplicity of life, we realize we don’t require much to survive, and we don’t require much to be happy. We know that, from a purely physical standpoint, we require food, water, and adequate shelter to survive, but this oversimplification neglects our spiritual and mental fulfillment. That is why it’s important to add the pursuit of individual freedom and conscious love to our essential human needs. These are arguably the most important motivating factors behind our eternal quest for happiness and enlightenment.
Through extensive processes of societal conditioning, our pursuits of love and individual freedom are often undermined by job responsibilities, the incessant organization of the home, and the accrual of unwanted and unhealthy stress through societal relationships. For the most part, these things are done to please others or meet the overarching expectations of society. This desire to please others makes us obsess over job security, how much money we make, who we choose to associate with, and how we are perceived by others. When we allow these things to invade our mental and physical consciousness, our attempts at love become stressful and tiring, and this, I suspect, is why many people find it difficult to manifest unconditional love in their lives.
When we meet someone we’re attracted to, many of us consciously, or subconsciously, make an effort to fashion an image of ourselves that we hope the other person will enjoy and, ultimately, fall in love with. In other words, we want to impress and, as a result, we create an unrealistic façade that doesn’t actually represent who we are. This practice inevitably creates future problems, even if you are able to build a relationship around your façade in the short term. If we consistently tailor our image to meet the needs and preferences of a partner, we compromise our true image, our true nature, and our true desires. While some people of us might keep up the act longer than others, we will all eventually tire of being someone we are not. We will be out of alignment with our true self, even if we struggle to verbalize or understand this internal conflict. We will never be perfect. The sooner we accept this with all of our being, the sooner we will cease our unfounded attempts to achieve perfection. By being honest and committed to our true nature, we will find someone that loves us for who we really are.
So, how can we begin to take steps towards a more positive, more loving, more compassionate future? How can we foster authentic love in our lives without feeling the pressures to conform to a societal image of the “perfect relationship?”
The answer is quite simple: we must return to love. Love is an extremely powerful force. Love makes us do crazy things; things that we would never do in a usual setting, but we launch into it, headlong, without concern for consequence, in the name of love. Love is beautiful and timeless. It transcends any and all of the constructs that we attempt to place on its’ image. Love holds us true to something, anything, often when it seems that we have nothing else to grasp.
What we often neglect, when we think of love, is our need to fully love ourselves, not in a selfish manner, but because we care, because we matter, and because we want to be the best version of ourselves possible. We must work on ourselves, discover our deepest purpose, and learn to love our true nature before we can attempt to grow in love with another. The problem is that real, dedicated self-work is hard to commit to, and many of us lack the motivation to get started. In many ways, we’re also conditioned to take the easy way out.
Modern society has eliminated many of the stressors of daily life. Food is available right around the corner, water flows freely from the taps, and most of us have a sturdy roof over our heads. While the lack of “survival responsibilities” should serve to give us the space and free time to engage in this crucial self-reflection, most of us find it easier to direct our attention towards a TV or a computer. But, by doing so, we sever our connection to both Nature and our own hearts. We allow our desire for instant gratification to overcome our need to critically analyze our situation, our happiness, our emotional stability, and the health of our physical bodies.
Sadly, many of us utilize our free time to pursue activities that provide brief, short-term relief, rather than considering how we might holistically change our vibrational routine to invite health, happiness, and love into our lives. By diving into our Self, we step back and consciously notice our desires and emotions. In turn, we become more conscious of our physical world, and the other human beings inhabiting our planet. Conscious observation of the Self, and our planet, is absolutely necessary if we wish to continue this momentum towards a brighter, more loving, more compassionate future.
Of course, whether or not we commit to doing this is a simple question of motivation. Many of us are content with lives we are leading, but if we truly love ourselves, we will not settle for simply being content. We will passionately want to work on our Self because we know that doing so will help us show up in the world as our full and honest Self, not only for our own selfish needs, but for those around us as well.
Loving your Self is not about selfish indulgence. It requires a comprehensive understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. We must learn to understand the whole package in order to learn how to love and appreciate our entire existence. For each of us, self-love is an entirely independent experiment. While you can read every “How-To” piece on the Internet, the motivation must be internal and the path must be uniquely yours. No one else is capable of walking your path for you.
But, how do we know what our path looks like? How can we be sure of our path in the midst of such uncertainty?
Fortunately, you can rest assured in this simple piece of knowledge at all times, “Whatever your path looks like right now, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to look like.” You might not like what it looks like and you might want to be elsewhere, but this, right now, is where you’re supposed to be. If you don’t like where you are, start making small, daily changes to move towards wherever it is that you do want to be. We cannot predict the future and, thus, we can never determine what our path will look like tomorrow, next month, or five years from now. In fact, we cannot reasonably predict what our life will look like in any moment other than the present. But we we can learn how to step wholly into the present moment to find what we like about it, what we hate about it, and what we wish to change. In the combination of thousands of decisions made in the present moment, we begin to manifest a path full of happiness, health, and love.
Unfortunately, our preconceived notions of love, what it is, what being in it means, and how our relationships should look from the outside can severely hinder our ability to manifest love how we want it to appear in our lives. The image of the perfect relationship that has been drilled into our unconscious minds holds us back from experiencing the full potential of love’s embrace. Our conditioning makes us to mistake lust, desire, and other feelings for real love. It leads us into mistaken attempts to control love and, if we are lucky enough to find it, we often try to squeeze it as hard as we can. “If I just keep my love as close to me as possible,” we tell ourselves, “it will never go away.”
Of course, this is not true. No matter how hard we squeeze, love finds a way to slip through our fingers. Love cannot be controlled, it cannot be shackled, and it cannot be caged, but that is no reason to be scared of the pursuit of love. Love flows through every aspect of our lives if we can just learn to embrace its omnipresence.
Ultimately, our attempts to cultivate love will be futile if we don’t understand the polarities of the masculine and the feminine. The true essence of the feminine is the maintenance of love in the relationship. The true essence of the masculine is a deep commitment to a higher purpose. Most couples seldom understand these poles and conflict can easily arise from this misunderstanding. Most get caught in trying to move from our masculine and feminine poles towards a central point of understanding. If this happens, most relationships re relegated to a mutually beneficial friendship at best. In order to maintain the flow of love and intimacy in a relationship, both parties must embrace their polarity and they must be willing to step full into the lessons that they will learn from the back and forth evolution of an intimate connection.
In order to do this, we must work to stay truthful with our Self, and our partner, about our deeper purpose in life. While it’s easy to classify or define love and relationships using the terms we’ve been given, we are much better off paying attention to our individual vibration, intuitively feeling through the roller coaster ride of emotions, and learning how to manifest love that ultimately makes us a better person. When we overanalyze we run into trouble. When we truly listen to our hearts and learn to trust its guidance, we cannot mistake our unique purpose and path. We will remain confident that, no matter where we are and what we’re experiencing, this place, right here and now, is exactly where we’re supposed to be.
All of us can work on the process of feeling into life and love, rather than thinking it through to the most-minute detail. We must learn to listen to our emotional responses and act on them unselfishly. We must step out of our mental cages and tune into our hearts. In doing so, our selfish, ego-driven interests will peel away, layer by layer, and our genuine, heart-driven purpose will begin to reveal itself.
We must learn to trust our intuition. Our minds can easily become a prison. We need to first subtract if we hope to remain open to the possibility of addition. We need to be honest and steadfast in our position. We need to stop and listen.
We have not forgotten, but we have been misled. True love is not dead. We must cease to neglect its’ full potential with the conditioned restrictions in our head. Freeing our minds is the first step to fostering our potential for love. We must commit to this practice like so many commit, willingly and wholly, to a God above. We must return to love.