What is falling in love? The desire for a romantic partner is almost universal. So much so that most of us feel that our salvation lies in finding that romantic partner who will make us feel loved. What do we think we want and need? Safety, security, being seen. Really, we see that romantic partner as being the key, the answer to the prayer for all that we think is good, the meeting of all our needs. So what if we start by admitting to ourselves that we have no clue what is good, no clue what we need. What if, in fact, we need nothing but to heal, breathe and unlock the obstacles to love’s eternal presence. Okay, what does that mean? Well, let’s look at what has been happening over and over. We confuse love with that dopamine rush we call falling in love. We know that dopamine (the same hormone that is stimulated in addiction) runs rampant during the phase of “falling in love”. Love relationships are often subject to the same pitfalls as other addictions, as we become accustomed to each other, the same stimuli fail to yield the same release of dopamine. We then need more in order to get the same high. When we no longer feel “in love”, we turn away from our partner, really, in search of the next high. How many of us have experienced the special love turn into special hate? We reserve our most intense hatred for those who have promised to love us and have failed to make us feel loved. Once we find the person we can love, we often find ourselves feeling fear instead of love. What if I lose this love that I have found? Now we need a regular demonstration that we are loved. We think we need the love languages, and so we demand presents, affection, sex, and compliments. We think we need commitment in order to be safe. Safe from being abandoned, from being treated with cruelty. Often we think that our safety lies in getting another person to fall in love with us. If they are head-over heals for us then we can relax, they will give us unconditional love, see us as we are. And how do we go about “getting” someone to fall in love with us? All too often by pretending to be an idealized version of ourselves, and convincing them that we see them as perfect as well. On the other hand we may respond by withholding demonstrations of love. We want to be seen and loved for who we are, not what we can provide. As if somehow we can control the flow of love. And so often in spite of our best intentions we end up kicking a hornet’s nest. Hurting one another in the attempt to secure our own safety. The very relationship that promised to provide the love and security we long for only causes the most painful feelings imaginable for both partners. All of our attempts to secure love have failed us. And we end up hurt and often hurtful to the one we would love. This is because have been tricked by the ego into thinking that there is a lack and danger. We have been tricked into thinking that we are alone. We think that our safety lies in being special, the most important person in the world to someone. But the ego would set us up for a fall. Often we find ourselves left with two choices: cynicism and bitterness, or the hope that if we could just find the right person we could find true love this time. If those are your only choices, you are doomed to failure. But really what we want is the free flow of love that expresses itself in so many ways, unpredictably and unexpectedly. How do we make this happen? The short answer is that we can’t. There is a mysterious alchemy that sometimes flows between two people. And it is destroyed by control, by demands, by our judgements about what it is and what it should be. It can’t be codified, regulated or restricted.The irony is that in trying to secure love for ourselves we begin to judge our partner in order to somehow regulate our safety. Our only true choice is to receive the love that always flows unconditionally to us and to allow that love to overflow to the world, and as we do that, we find that it flows like lava in unpredictable directions. We think that love is the responsibility of the object of our love, rather than with ourselves. It is actually our responsibility to love. And if we want to be really happy, the secret is in learning to love indiscriminately and unconditionally. Who should we love? Those who come into our lives, without exception (this does not mean jumping into bed with everyone we meet, it means bringing the appropriate expressions of love to each unique situation.) Then there is the other pitfall, our unhealed wounds. We seek out the love experiences that we think will heal and make up to us for all the wounds of the past. In fact, those wounds often are the very thing that keeps love from getting to us. The most constructive thing we can do is to revisit and heal all the wounds of the past. “to see with new eyes requires only that you abandon those perceptions which already you know cannot work” TJL p230 This is the radical third way, when we can see that the only choice we truly have is the choice between love and fear. This means that when we find ourselves in a state of fear, love cannot flow through us. The two cannot exist together. So the secret is to learn the process by which we bring love to the fear. Resistance to fear only strengthens it and is futile, but because love and fear cannot exist together, bringing love in replaces the fear. It is not easy to do this; when you are in a fearful state, it feels impossible to be in a state of love, but it can be done. Because fear involves constriction and contraction you can use an easy tool that you always have available to you that is incompatible with tension: deep breath. As you breathe, simply focus on and allow the fear. Breathe into the fear. Deepen the breath more and more, and you will begin to stand apart from the fear. As you observe it in a more neutral state, begin to invite Love in. Set the intention to bring love to the fear. Literally love the fear and watch as it melts away. Continue to breathe and observe how you rest into this love and recognize that this love is available to you at all times. And you have to really do this. Don’t just say to yourself, it won’t work, or I know it will work but I don’t feel like doing it. Do it right now. Do it every morning and every night. Bring your breath to every hurt, every fear. Make it your habit to bring your breath every time you find yourself judging, find yourself constricting against love. Do it over and over again. And as you continue, you will find yourself walking in love more and more. You will begin to live the truth that there is an unlimited amount of love available to you at all times. Take a moment to exchange love with the grocery store clerk, with your neighbor, with the homeless man on the street. You will find yourself listening to your heart instead of your fear, resting into true safety instead of constriction, and as you do, the whole world turns sweet. You find yourself exchanging love with the birds and the chipmunks, the flowers, the trees. And if a sweet friend comes into your life, you will be in the state to exchange love with him or her and allow that friendship to flow. As I have written previously, this love that we desire is truly available to us, directly, at all times. All that we need is to allow it to be. The truth is that no one can make us feel loved if we are not already in a state of love. If we are not in that state, love cannot even be recognized. “When you are truly committed to not seeking for Love, but you are willing to seek for all of the obstacles that have been created within you that block the awareness of Love’s presence, then, indeed, what you find yourself attracted to, what you find yourself deciding for, in terms of the experiences that you would call to yourself, these things are the answer to your prayer.” TWOTH p141