Over the last few months it’s become a priority for me to contemplate the nature of love. I’m not necessarily talking about eros here, but in greek terms perhaps the word agape fits. This is the sort of love that’s universal, that belongs to all of us. It’s the love you feel when you see someone you barely know crying and you wish to comfort them. It’s the love that you feel when you receive compassion from someone who means the world to you. It’s the love you feel when you pray, whatever that is to you.
This is spiritual for me, which is maybe a loaded word. By spiritual I mean both divine and mundane. The element of life that is arcane and unknowable, the silence behind our words and actions, a deafening quiet summit in the Himalayas. And the elements of life that are entirely pedestrian and available to all, a street dog or a weed or your least favorite coworker. There isn’t a single thing in this world that lacks spiritual charge, I think. So I take this lens to indicate where I am in my own journey regarding love rather than choosing to imply that spirituality exists in some places but not others.
I want to share the various resources that have helped me on my journey here, for those of you who are interested. Consider the following a curriculum, of sorts, for those of you who find the topic of love interesting or who want to let its influence on your life expand to a greater depth. If you want to share your feelings about these works, or want to suggest something for the list, please email me!
Uses both storytelling and practical exercises to help one get in touch with the universal feeling of “love” that’s available to all of us. It’s quite gentle in its approach, giving lots of room for the reader to grasp its concepts, and never drags on or overstays its welcome. I found the exercises immensely helpful in my own journey of reconciling hate and anger in a “toxic relationship” — after applying the lessons of the book, I was able to reconnect with someone I thought was out of my life forever and am able to feel genuine love for them.
Frankly the entire Experiments in Truth lecture series is mesmerising, but if you are going to pick one to listen to regarding love, it’s track #3: What Isn’t God. What I love about this particular lecture is that Ram Dass honors his study of Raja Yoga and also celebrates a variety of poets and artists who have touched on the beauty of love. This is far less sermon and far more comparative study, and it still left me with so much to take away regarding my own relationship with love. I wish you a quiet morning and plenty of space in your heart for the teaching.
If you are desperate to listen to these and don’t have a way to find them, please reach out.
This lit a fire in me. We simply cannot “belong” to any other: we must establish our relationships and dynamics on our own terms, and be willing to renew them as we develop and grow as people. I couldn’t belong to any one person, because I belong to everyone, to all the beings that I am in relation with, and to the land that claims me. Kim Tallbear is both defiant and loving as she advocates fiercely for our mutual liberation.
None of should be doing this “life” thing alone. How We Show Up does a terrific job of offering a myriad of examples around how we can just get together over the variety of things that we have become accustomed to doing alone — raising children, surviving loss and disenfranchisement, navigating transitions, and more. After reading this, I am no longer content to live my life on the premise of the nuclear family: there is more out there for all of us, and this book paves the way.