Relationships get stressed out in the coming weeks…Valentines Day! It is often less about romance and more about “getting it right!” Just watch “The Big Bang Theory,” when Sheldon hires his assistant to find a really good Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend. As poor Sheldon reports, “I have no idea how to get a good one or why.” This holiday seems unrealistic and arbitrary. It is the the outer world, or cultural, way to work with the idea of love. Maybe this is one example why Dr. Lad says, “Our love is a shoddy little affair.”
Often we engage in relationships with a give and take mentality, “I will do this for you and you do this for me.” This is one message we learn about love, as it is reflected back to us in our culture. We get attached to outcomes, worried we will “lose love,” and want to be validated by our loved ones that we are lovable. But, is that love?
I suppose it is all about our personal association to the word love. Our idea of love is shaped by our family history, cultural experiences and personal ideas on spirituality, intimacy, compassion, sex and relationships. If you study the Vedas, we would include to that list your past life samskaras, or impressions of experiences, from before this round of play on the Earth :) whew!
So, what does love have to do with us? When we practice self love it seems that our perspective on this idea of love changes. The Vedas say that compassion starts with loving yourself, but not in a “Generation Me,” pseudo–narcissistic manner. Rather, this idea of love is described as learning to accept who you are in the World, from a grown up, realistic manner, and then appreciating ALL of yourself. This seems like an easy idea to execute, but in truth, it is often challenging and creates agitation as it bumps up against our “walls” or outer mind. If we look to our culture to give us a “thumbs up” on who we are we will probably be disappointed. I believe it is all too true, what the sages say, the truth lies within us and so does love.
So, back to practice, to look within… maybe we look for moments when we are practicing compassion towards ourselves, and the more we do, the more we notice when compassion comes our way, and just maybe the more we will share that compassion and love with the rest of the World~