One of my mentors once said to me, “Lindsey, I wish you would stop looking for love.”
He brought it up because I’d arrived to meet with him with heartache on my mind. I felt alone and empty. Carried a big aching void in my heart.
He asked me to hold out my hand; he put a cell phone in my palm. “Imagine it’s a puppy,” he said, “what would you say?”
I started off feeling really silly, pretending that this cell phone was a little dog. But slowly, as I baby talked and cooed, I began to get what he was aiming at.
Many different traditions talk about samadhi, bliss, ananda, nirvana or union—a connection with a universal consciousness-—an endless ocean of unconditional bliss that we can dive into anytime, on our own.
I decided to consciously practice loving rather than waiting and hoping—just to see what happened. So I began puppy-sitting a Miniature Schnouzer named Nea.
Every week we went for walks by the ocean, shared a meal together, and lots of cuddles.
The instant I walked in the door that little dog was delighted.
And I used to think that’s why people love pets—because they love them back.
But I realized, during my doggy-sitting days, that I felt the MOST LOVE when I was loving Nea—not the other way around. I felt the most love when I was giving her a good belly-scratch, or watching her run free along the beach.
I felt the most love when I was delighting her.
I felt the most love when I was giving it.
In certain traditions of Sufism, love is talked about as needing both an object and a subject. A lover and a beloved. Without a beloved, the one loved, love is not activated, or engaged. It doesn’t come alive.
But this doesn’t mean we need a partner to feel love. I began to take my consciously giving love practice beyond my doggy-sitting days—and offered it unasked-for to yoga students, friends, shopkeepers, and strangers I met on the street.
The ache in my heart went away. I didn’t feel a void anymore. I began to experience being FILLED with love—and felt fulfilled in return.
One day, years after beginning this practice, I sat down in the middle of a field beneath the sun with a soulful, very connected friend of mine and we went over our deepest wish list for a partner. Two weeks later I met him.
Who can you give love to today?
What does that feel like in your body?
And how can we make this a conscious practice in our day-to-day lives?
Thinking of you,