What's love got to do with it?

Love comes in many forms...

We can love our parents, we love our children... we love our partners... we can love people that we meet and help and support... there are many forms of love...

But what is love? it's a really difficult question to answer. It's one of those questions that we think we can answer but then it sneaks off in another direction and we begin to question ourselves as to whether we really know anything about love or not.

I would like to share some thoughts about Love... they are neither right nor wrong... maybe for you I am way off the mark but the question of Love comes up so often in all aspects of our life that giving it some space to reflect isn't a bad thing...

So for me... I think to love someone is to do something for someone because you want to. Not necessarily because you were asked... not because you expect something back from that person, but pure and simply just because you can. It is the selfless action of doing something for another where the actual gift of yourself, your knowledge, experience, expertise, connections, time, body whatever form it takes, is given freely without any obligation, no expectation of something in return.

I think the most common form of the above is a mother (or father) for a child... where we give without ever expecting anything in return... that often changes in later life... but when young it is a great example.

Love therefore permeates every aspect of our lives. From intimate relationships right through to people we may meet in the street. Love has no boundaries except those we choose to build based on our understanding of the word 'love', and how much freedom we give ourselves to love. What I mean here is our capacity to love is only limited by our own self... not by others.

In a world that is dominated by money and measured by what we have (own) how can we reconcile this concept of love. To give ourselves away (certainly in terms of our skills) would be considered as grossly undervaluing ourselves. We would be 'selling' ourselves short... we would be undervaluing our true worth... maybe your poor self esteem means you don't feel comfortable charging people what you are worth?

I am often asked by people... when should I stop giving things away or helping people and convert this into being paid for all the great knowledge / connections I am imparting? Tough question... maybe if you ask the person who you feel is over doing it, how they would handle this situation if the roles were reversed? ... it is different of course in each situation... no right or wrong... only how you think.

All these are valid concepts in the context of a world dominated by the need to maintain 'this type of society', the one we have now. This could be flipped around though... we could operate differently. Pay me what you think I am worth... Some would pay nothing... some would pay an average amount... some would pay more than you would have asked. It takes courage to operate in this way though... and faith.

Of course many would say you are opening up yourself to be taken advantage of, and abused. Of course you are, if you believe that and want to think of it like that. But if you focus on your ability to give and share your knowledge and expertise etc. trusting that 'enough' people who can pay will do so... you will build a reputation based on your excellent service (through practice). At the start it might be more free stuff... in the end your expertise will attract those who like your approach and want to associate with someone who operates in such a fair and transparent manner...

So the example above requires inner strength. What is that? ... It might be absolutely belief that you will be OK... that the universe will provide. It might be that you are confident that through practice you will become all that you would want to be in your field... resilient and resourceful... again belief. It requires you to concern yourself with what you are doing, taking responsibility for your actions... and measuring your development according to your values, ethics and principles. What others do and whether they share your values is not your concern, although you can always choose to not associate with those who disturb your energy... this is inner strength... this is often labelled as self love...

Self love is really important... and as the Dalai Llama reiterated last year when I saw him (there were thousands of us) there are two types of self love... one where you are looking after the vessel that has been provided for your life... so that you can give and serve to the best of your abilities... or self love where you want to focus on amassing as much stuff around you as you can; trying to be the best (compared to others)... I leave it to you to choose the one you feed.

The internet is of course taking us down this route anyhow, whether we like it or not.  Free stuff abounds on the internet and for those gifted with search strategies, you can pretty much discover anything that they want to know for free these days. We are being encouraged to give away free to large numbers 30% and to be breaking even with 40% and paid well by those who can afford it 30%. This idea fits well with the 'Concept of enough'. There is enough for us all out there... it's just a different message to the prevailing one which is that our measurement for success is opulence and possessions, rather than being 'happy with enough'.

Love has once again taken me down a route I hadn't intended to go when I started this blog... I wanted to talk about Love and relationships but how can we truly love another 'without expecting return' if we have not yet got to the place where we are strong enough inside ourselves... self love... happy... resilient?

That is a whole new blog... because for me anyway and perhaps my generation the world we were born into steered us away from Love and onto other things... like possessions. Perhaps (just an idea) we have been stunted in our own understanding of love because we were mislead.

Maybe today's young adults can see the world we have created and are secretly cringing at what we have done. Maybe their gift to the world is that they can start off learning about "Love" at 20 not 50 years of age... and instead of having to forget a lifetime of baggage and mistakes... they can just get on with human progress.

Next blog (on this subject)... will be about Love... ownership... duty... sacrifice... social pressure labelled love... and love making... which is where I thought I was going with this blog...

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