We are all such intellectual giants. I mean it, we can understand just about anything that gets explained to us, or that we can figure out. And we can figure out a lot, given enough time, like how to dodge the question. Why we have such a capacity is a subject of another essay, but suffice to say that we do indeed understand much of what we are exposed to.
And there’s the rub.
One of the most profound things I have witnessed in my sweet short life was several years ago while I was taking the Living Essence Training to be a spiritual counselor. Our friend and fellow participant Mary from Sacramento came in one morning feeling a bit down. Her Problem, she thought, was a feeling of not being loved.
Arjuna, who was teaching the training, took the opportunity to demonstrate something basic and profound, so he had Mary sit up in front of the group and we all took turns telling her how we felt about her, which was universally great. We really like her and even love her. So she was showered with praise, love, and affection. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
I mean, isn’t this what we all want? Are we not taught, conditioned, and brainwashed to need, require and crave attention, affection, and love?
The thing is, when Arjuna asked Mary how she felt, all she could say was “All right.” Now, you’d think she would be on cloud nine, floating in bliss. She wasn’t.
Then Arjuna turned it around, and asked her to tell everybody how SHE felt. And since we had been tearing ourselves open all week, she felt a lot of love. When she started to tell us, especially the ones she knows well, she had the most amazing opening. As did we all. We could see and more importantly, feel, the difference between receiving love and giving it. In just a few moments, the truth of our lives was witnessed and confirmed, we ARE love, and it is in the giving of our gift of love that we feel the most profound alignment, truth, and oneness.
And in our intellectual prowess, we understand this to be the truth. And the rub is this: How to truly realize this truth. How to bring it into embodiment.
Now, as this year ends and we think about what we have accomplished, the money we made or lost, the goals we reached or failed to achieve, and the regrets we feel around where we think we are supposed to be by now, it might be a better idea to ask ourselves if we gave as much love as we could have. Did we tell the people close to us how we feel, or were we too embarrassed? Did we allow our friends to see us as we are, or did we hide behind jokes and sarcasm? Were we nice to those we may not especially like, or even actively dislike? And did we give our gift?
There is more to it than that. The signs of awakening in this world are alignment, mindfullness, and equanimity. It is plainly true that few of us were born into this psycho-physical realm to work at jobs, to be opinionated, to support war, conflict or division. When we adopt the viewpoint that we came here for a reason, an individual reason, we can allow the idea that we all have a gift to give.
Now, we may struggle in our own ways to find out what our gift may be, because we confuse gift with talent. We think we are supposed to be good at something or a star or an actor. And it is true that finding what Carolyn Myss calls “our sacred contract,” or what we could call our reason for coming here, is extremely important; one thing we can all do while we are busy figuring that out is give our gift of love.
So while we may or may not feel a mission in life, or we may not seem to have a particular talent that we feel is of supreme importance to us or to the world, we can all love, and we can all love more and more. For me, it is sometimes a feeling that wells up, a feeling of overwhelming oveflowing that seems to pour out of my heart. And other times it is simply meeting people, no matter who they are, and taking a second to see them, to let them know that I see them and sometimes to say something nice. People we pass on the street, the cashier at the store, the waiter, the sales clerk, these are all places that we can give our gift of love. It doesn’t have to be limited to our family, our lovers, our spouses. And the magic of it is that the more we give as a practice, the more our capacity to give grows.
It is important to notice that we have a tendency to think that we only have so much energy, that we only have so much love to give, and that we can’t be bothered with people who we judge to be somehow less than, somehow undeserving. But where is the Source of Love? Is it in us?
It may seem to be in us, and that might even be the standard answer, after all, it is up to us to love or not. But if we look a little closer into our nature, we may begin to notice that what we are shines through us, not from us. So thinking that there is a limit to how much love we can give is like saying that the Source is going to be exhausted by our decision to give a little extra.
So while we consider our year, our life, and our accomplishments at this end of the year, let’s make a resolution we can all do. We may or may not be able to lose that weight, or get buff, or make a million right quick, but we can all become more transparent to the Source of Love and let it shine through us.
And it is in the act of giving love, as subtle and simple as it is, tha we bring the feeling of giving down from our mighty intellect and give it a home in our heart. And in that way, we give ourselves the greatest gift of all.