- Will YOU Be My Valentine?
Will YOU Be My Valentine?
With February 14th fast approaching it’s that time again, in many cultures, for lovers to express their love for each other with cards, flowers and miniature candle holding cupids! Millions of the ‘shy and nervous’ will pluck up the courage to declare their love and ask for another’s affections with the big question, “Will you be my Valentine?”. It appears that no one quite knows exactly when the Valentine’s Day ‘invitation to love’ started! It seems somewhere back in ancient Roman times there were some early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine whose name has echoed through the ages as it gradually became to synonymous with love and romance.
In a recent interview with the Mallorca Magazine (in German) the 14th Februay inspired ‘fourteen’ questions. Somehow it seems unlikely the answers will be echoed quite so far and wide. Yet it’s always useful to explore one of the favourite topics in every culture.
1 What does St Valentine’s Day mean to you?
At the risk of extracting the soft, fragrant and romantic heart out of an opportunity to declare our love for another it seems that gradually, over the decades, St Valentine’s Day has become less and less to do with love. Apart from the many authentically unconditional ‘gestures of giving’, it has obviously become another annual festival which attempts to turn something that is truly spiritual and humanly profound into just another commodity from which to profit. And I suspect that the love referred to during gestures inspired by Valentines’ Day are not really love but more to do with personal ‘desire’ and/or an affirmation of ‘possession’. I say this after many years of research into the truth about love and the discovery that it seems ‘love’ is a word we use a lot, but in most instances we really ‘mean’ something else!
2. In your book ‘The 7 Myths about Love’ you explain many misconceptions / misinterpretations about ‘Love’. What do you consider as people's main confusions about ‘love’?
The main confusion is that love is something that has to be acquired from outside our self. This is what underlies the habit of craving the attention, approval and acceptance of others. It means some kind of sorrow is inevitable when we don’t always get what we want from others. Love is also confused with attachment. But if we are just a little self aware when we become attached to anything or anyone we will notice the emotion of fear arises - fear of loss or damage - and fear is the opposite of love. It’s fear that chases love away. Fear is stress. That’s also why we are each entirely responsible for the creation of our own stress.
3. What role do advertisements and movies play as a ‘source’ for all these misconceptions of love?
There are two industries in the world that sustain the many myths about love - entertainment and marketing. It’s their job to keep us under the spell that love is ‘required’ and that it can be ‘acquired’ and that attachment is necessary to find happiness. The entertainment industry keeps alive the myth of romantic love which says that you have to find the ‘perfect mate’ to find love. And it’s the role of marketing to influence and encourage our attachment to ‘the product’, to ‘fall in love’ with their creation!
4. Why are people so addicted to emotional stimulation?
All emotion (love is not an emotion) comes from some form of attachment. The three main ‘families of emotion’ are fear, anger and sadness. If you activate your ‘inner detective’ in the form of your self awareness, you would find that each of these three emotions always have their roots in attachment to someone or something. And these are the emotions that constitute all human suffering at mental and emotional levels. But we have come to believe they are natural so we don’t do anything to free our self from our emotional suffering. Then we just become attached to these emotions believing that they make us feel alive. In truth they are different forms of unhappiness that we unknowingly use to kill our freedom of spirit and to sabotage our ‘lightness of being’.
5. The divorce-rate has increased immensely during the last few years - what do you consider the main reasons for this development?
Many people enter what you might call an ‘intimate relationship’ with the wrong motive. They want something from the other for themselves. They want and expect the other to ‘make them happy’. This is a big mistake. Life is not set up for others to make us happy but for us to find the inner strength and resources where we generate our own happiness, our own contentment. But don’t say it too loudly to anyone in the ‘happiness industry!’ They are likely to make themselves somewhat unhappy at such an idea! Such is the power of the illusion.
6. What are the most important / clearest signals in my relationship to another person, that our connection is NOT based on ‘love’? The first sign that love is absent is usually a moment of irritation with the other when they do not meet our expectations or desires. This irritation, if not checked, will grow into frustration and ultimately into anger. Anger is the emotion behind all conflict and ultimately war. Unfortunately most people have learned to believe that the ‘moments of anger’ are part and parcel of being in a relationship. It’s another mistake. Anger (irritation/frustration) is a sign that we have lost our connection with our inner peace and inner power, which is the true nature of every human being. When we reconnect with our inner peace and inner power, free of wanting anything outside our self to make us ‘feel’ peaceful, then we can give of our self without condition, which is love.
7. What characterizes a relationship based on love?
Some of the signs of a love based relationship would include total freedom from emotional and mental dependency on the other. There would be an absolute and unwavering respect for each other and the unconditional acceptance of each other as they are now and as they may wish to grow and change as a human being in the future. This will be underpinned by a genuine care for the other, a care that may, at times, include leaving them alone.
8. What should children watch / experience in their parents behaviour in order to be able to develop their ability for love as much as possible?
Well it seems many parents sabotage their children’s ability to know and express love but don’t realise they are doing it. It’s those moments when they say to the child that if the child does what mummy or daddy wants then they will be happy with the child and approve of the child i.e. the child will be on the receiving end of a warm wave of energy from the parent which they learn to identify as love. But if they don’t do what they want then mummy and daddy will be very unhappy and withdraw their approval. In those moments the child learns that a) they are responsible for their parent’s happiness and b) that love is conditional and it comes from big people, from authority figures. You probably couldn’t think of a worse start to life. But it appears to be common to all cultures. So it becomes obvious how a parent needs ‘to be’ in order to teach love. And that is Be Love! Which means a good parent would never get angry towards their child and would never be dependent on their child for their own happiness. That’s easy isn’t it!?
9. You emphasize that giving love is much more important than getting/ taking love. Why?
Well I think we all know that one of loves primary expressions is giving and not taking. That doesn’t mean we don’t receive. But there is a difference between taking and receiving. It’s all about intention. If the intention is to get something/someone just for myself it’s not love. When you receive gracefully and with gratitude then you are giving the other person the opportunity to give. That’s love in action.
10. Many people have also problems accepting love as friendliness or signs of affection from others - why is that? Many people have a heart that is a bit blocked and often frozen. That just means they believed they have been hurt by another in the past and that it might happen again. So they close the gates of their heart to others, perhaps just a little at first, in order to protect themselves. And then it becomes a habit. So they find it hard to receive, which just means ‘being open’ to the energy of others. The only way to fully open up is to realise that ultimately no one can ever hurt us or has ever hurt us. They may hurt our body but they can never hurt us! However to arrive at that place there has to be a few realisations along the way including a) you are not your body and b) you are fully responsible for all your thoughts and feelings and c) it was the ego that was hurt not the authentic self. This allows you to start to let go of the accumulated resentments that have built up from past hurts. Only then can you reclaim and ‘stand in your power’. Only then can you free your self from the habit of ‘reacting emotionally’ and choose your response. Only then can you open your heart fully to others. But until we do life will not be a consistently happy and loving experience.
11. Why do many people find it difficult to love themselves?
You cannot love your self. It’s impossible. The myth of ‘you have to love your self’ comes out of a combination of some ancient ‘religious beliefs’ and more recent ‘new age thinking’. Think about it for a minute - I love my self - now which one is me the ‘I’ or the ‘self’? Are there two me’s? No, there is only one ‘I’ or one ‘me’ or one ‘self’? Most people are not so aware that when they try to love themselves they are a) trying to love a memory of what they have said or done, and ‘the self’ is not a memory b) trying to love an image they have of themselves and ‘the self’ is not an image or c) trying to love the face they see in the mirror because they believe they are their face. But few realise ‘I am not my face/body’ so this usually results in vanity at best or a compulsive narcissism at worst. When you give a gift ‘with love’ then you give with the energy of ‘the self’ which, in that moment, ‘is love’. Love is not something separate from the self. It is the self, it is the I, it is me. It is a state of consciousness and the ‘I‘, the ‘me’ is consciousness! When you realise this you also realise that you neither need to love your self nor can you love your self. And then you chuckle and get on with your life ...as love! But it doesn’t do any harm to keep trying. It only delays the realisation that love is what I am.
12. How can we experience more love in our life - not only in our relationship to other people, but also in daily life?
Find a context in which you can be of service to others, where you can give of your energy without wanting anything in return. Then you will notice the old habits of wanting, taking and keeping start to atrophy and the new and fresh energy of your true nature starts to flow from inside out. Including the energy of generosity which is also love in action. And as it does it empowers both your self and others.
13. And almost lastly, what is your definition of love ?
Well words can only ‘point towards’ love but can never capture love. The energy of love, as a state of consciousness, is prior to words and even prior to thoughts about love. So there are many ways to point at it. We each can find our own way. Here is one ‘pointer’:
Love is what you are, when you know your self as you are, which is no one!
That sounds a bit scary but only because most of us never learn who we really are and how to just be! No one helps us to see we are not what we ‘believe’ we are. We are not what we do, we are not what we see in the mirror in the morning, and we are not our nationality or our race. These are all false identities. We are human beings. Beings within in a human form. We are conscious beings so in effect we are ‘consciousness’ and not form. That’s all. And our true nature is peaceful and loving. That’s it! That’s why it is said that people who don’t know how to be, try to be somebody! And that’s when our capacity to be at peace and to give of our self as love starts to slip away. Unfortunately it seems to be what has happened to us all to some degree or other. Fortunately many are now beginning to awaken to the simplicity of this truth and be their true self again. It‘s just that the truth about the self, about what we really are, ultimately cannot be captured by ideas and concepts, only realised as a state of consciousness, a ‘state of being’, within one’s self.
14. Why do you think St Valentine’s Day has become so popular and do you now think it’s just a waste of time?
We only search for something when we have lost that ‘something’. Once upon a time we collectively lost our awareness of true love, real love (though there is no such thing as unreal love!) and we replaced it with attachment, desire, possession etc. So we gradually seek more and more for the greatest treasure, the jewel in the crown, of the human spirit. St Valentine’s Day is both a great excuse and a growing expression of that search. I wouldn’t kill it. The romantic element is fun and many will break open the rusty gates of their heart and overcome their fear and declare their love for another. Better that than staying frozen and fearful behind wounded pride and the pain of the past. So for some it may help heal, for others it may help empower and for some it may be the moment that they truly connect with another human being for the first time. But I suspect for most it will only perpetuate the myth of romantic love as ‘the great love’ and strengthen the illusion that I may only know love when I am being loved.
Question: What is the difference between love and romance?
Reflection: How would you define/describe love?
Action: Watch for authentic acts of love this week from others and from your self!
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