Love, peace & happiness is responsibility. A responsibility to others & to yourself. Every choice you make might be helpful or hurtful. It’s not helpful or hurtful to yourself –or– helpful or hurtful to another. See that if you hurt another, you are hurting yourself, & when you help another, you are helping yourself. You can turn it around as well; when you hurt yourself, or help yourself — others are part of it. There is no separation. There is no self-destructive person that is not hurting others. There is no self-loving person that is not loving others. There is no separate self, completely separate, unconnected from all selves. See all of humanity as one living being. See all animals as one living being. See all of nature as one living being. Now see all of that as one living being! See life itself, not as your life, but as Life. Life living life! We are all part of it, but at the same time, we are it. Let’s honor it, cherish it, respect it — let’s love it.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. For some it is a silly holiday that is completely ignored. For others, it is full of expectations & desires; desires to be loved & desires to love. In my opinion, any chance one has to reflect on the importance of love is a good opportunity. So this year, add a new context to the holiday. Make it not a reminder of romance, or friendship, or consumerism, or expectations — but make it a reminder that each & everyday is an opportunity to love. An opportunity to take full responsibility for the unlimited love we have available to us, & within us. It’s an opportunity to ask ourselves: Am I truly being loving & kind to myself? Am I being loving & kind to other living beings? Am being loving & kind to my community, to my environment, to nature, to the world? Can I improve on this? Can I be more self-expressed in this area? Can I be more generous? Can I be more active? Can I be more bold? Can I be more fearless? Can I love deeper? Can I be more sincere? Can I be more grateful? Can I be more helpful?
There is a slokah that I learned when I first began studying yoga. From the moment I heard it, it resonated with me. If one is practicing being more loving, & practicing being more responsible, I think it’s good to repeat it. It’s good to remind ourselves. And it’s good to let that reminder inspire loving being-ness in who we are & loving kindness in all that we do.
Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu
lokāḥ = worlds, especially the underworld, the earth and heaven.
samastāḥ = all, together, all together
sukhinaḥ = happiness, well-being
bhavantu = may all this be
May all beings everywhere be happy & free,
May my thoughts, words & actions contribute in some way
To happiness & freedom for all.
There is a quote from Sri Harilal Poonjaji that is very strong. It reinforces & drives home many of the points I try to share continuously in my blog posts. When I read the quote, it resonates with me deeply.
All that you are attached to,
all that you love,
All that you know,
someday will be gone.
Knowing this, & that the world is your mind
Which you create, play in, & suffer from,
Is known as discrimination.
Discriminate between the Real & the Unreal,
The known is unreal & will come and go.
So stay with the Unknown, the Unchanging, the Truth.
Tying the two quotes or verses together, understand that the Unseen or Unknown, or the dark, or the underworld, or even the tiny life forms we take for granted, like bacteria & insects, that live under us or on us — love that, just as you love close friends, lovers, & family. Respect & honor the mystery of life. See it all as connected & sacred. Find humility in the fact that you can not know it all, or understand it all, but you can love it all. This kind of unlimited unconditional love not only brings fearlessness into your everyday existence — but it also liberates you.
Why does it feel so good to love? Why do we all look for love? Why do we always long to be loved? …To set our hearts free. To no longer feel separate. This is love. This is available to us everyday. In unlimited unfathomable ways. This is yours for the taking. Take responsibility for it.
[Artwork photography by Alice Bartlett via My Modern Met.]