Valentine’s Day is upon us. The Hallmark cards will be bountiful with their various poetic expressions of love. Of course there are many descriptions of what love is and what love does, and often people enter into a relationship based on an immature or limited understanding of love. As a result, many relationships quickly take a turn for the worse. They may start out singing, “you take my breath away,” but end up howling, “you’re suffocating me.” This is love based on conditions and influenced by the circumstance and situation. It is not the pure and eternal love our souls are longing for.
We are here to be and demonstrate the pure, unconditional love that God is. True love is the pure essence of God that binds our entire human family together. It is not concerned with what or who it loves; it loves for the sake of loving and expects nothing in return. To hold to this purity of love, we must see ourselves and others as God sees us: unique expressions of love itself. We must constantly redefine ourselves by releasing anything that is not in accord with our true identity as children of God. Only then are we fully available to the inspiration of Spirit.
Most of us are familiar with the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is stated in one way or another in most religions or life philosophies. The Sunnah of Islamic religion says, “No one of you is a believer until you desire for your brother that which you desire for yourself.” In Buddhism it is stated as, “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Brahmanism tells us, “This is the sum Dharma [duty]: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.”
There is a universality of the Golden Rule in the World Religions, and there is yet another rule of equal importance that states, “You are to love your neighbor as yourself.” We cannot love another more than we love ourselves. After going through my personal dark night of the soul and earnestly embarking on my spiritual journey, one of my spiritual teachers suggested I start my day by looking in the mirror and saying, “I love you.” At first, this felt uncomfortable because I had never consciously told myself that. With practice I was able to say it and believe it. As the teacher at the time would say, “if your mirror at home does not have your own lip prints on it, there is no better time to start than now.”
We do this not to satisfy our personal ego, rather because we know we cannot express love for another beyond our own self-love. If we are to see more of the pure essence of love expressed in our world, we let it begin with love of self.
Here are a few ways we can practice the rule of self-love:
Willingly accept the good God has already given us.
Treat ourselves with excellence.
Be compassionate with ourselves.
Realize we are children of God.
Constantly examine what we allow to remain in our awareness. Keep that which is beautiful and release all else.
By fully loving ourselves, we fully love others. Realizing we are one in Spirit, we think, speak, and act from the awareness of love. We make a choice for love and bring this consciousness to our world.
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day,