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Bringing love back into your life is a continual process of death and renewal. The world’s wisdom traditions suggest that we cannot know greater levels of love without knowing greater levels of suffering.
While some people are turned off by this concept, they still accept simple karma. There is always a give and a take. For every severe action, there’s a compassionate one to bring back the balance. And I don’t think these wisdom teachers of ages past are saying that we must endure suffering, or that we must suffer in order to love.
Transform suffering into Love
Transforming suffering is a well-worn path by most Buddhist scholars and teachers, so my intent is not to revisit the theory and methods here, just to remind us that other ways of being in the world exist.
We need a fundamental re-framing of what love is. For our purposes here, let’s say that love is an appreciation of everything that I have right now in this moment. The experience of love is connection…to everything at this time—experiences of suffering and experiences of joy are equally contained within my love when I don’t run away from them, but actually lean into the experience.
Our wisdom teachings are saying that there is an opportunity to transform the experience of suffering in this way. This is more available if we are willing to show up and meet the “negative ego” face-to-face. The negative ego being that part of us that blocks the full expression of who we really are. It’s that part that holds us back from expressing the true power of our divinity.
Everyday we are challenged not to be a Buddha as much as we are to relinquish what we think we know to make space for a new way of being in the world. It’s a choice. But it’s a choice we must make whether we’re conscious of it or not.
Not everyone relates to a missed bus or a thwarted attempt at a good night kiss the same way. It can ruin some people’s mental balance if another person cuts in front of them in line. A whole day can be rocked learning that your child got in a fight at school.
These are all teaching experiences. They are all the universe asking us a deep, fundamental question: How would you like to be (in love)? As a separated, self-interested consciousness, or an aspect of universal spirit collaborating with others for our collective greatness?
It’s all love. How would you like to experience it?