June 22 Meditation - Removing the Barriers To Love
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about how we all show love in such different ways, and we all receive love in such different ways, and one of the great challenges of the human condition is learning to let people love you the way they love you. And then letting yourself receive what they give. And then figuring out whether what they give is enough or whether it doesn’t work for you. I’ve done a lot of Tarot readings for women who don’t feel like they are getting the love they need. Tonight, my question to them and to you is, what if there is plenty of love available but you have built walls that keep you from letting it in?
A lot of my own meditation practice is about getting a little distance from the always-running analytical part of my brain so that I can observe the narratives it’s perpetually crafting. Which is to say, my meditation practice is, first, about self awareness. And after sitting with my brain for many years, I’ve started to notice some patterns. I notice the triggers that cause me to want to escape myself or turn against myself. I notice the ways in which I criticize myself, often as a defensive mechanism. I notice the beliefs I hold about myself that keep me stuck in situations or identities that don’t actually work for me. And I notice some of these walls that keep love out.
This awareness of my own patterning is particularly useful when I get triggered in relationships, which we all do. I think some of the most profound healing occurs in relationships, whether platonic or romantic, friendly or familial. When I get triggered, I can go back to my meditation practice and try to understand what exactly I’m reacting to, and what belief I’m acting from. I am usually surprised when I do this. I don’t consider myself a very anxious person, but I have a lot of anxiety about being lovable. I have a lot stories about whether I am lovable, and more specifically about why I am certainly not lovable, and this is often the underlying pattern from which I am acting.
The first antidote to this was to bolster my sense of self-love. Great: self-love, self-care, self-esteem—these are buzzwords we can get behind. But when I looked at that process a little closer, I noticed that I was offering myself a very conditional self love. I would love myself when I looked a certain way, or when I received certain recognitions or accolades. But I’m here to tell you, that’s not self-love. That’s often a format of love that people use when they’ve been offered conditional love from their caretakers, but there is a lot more love and a much purer love available to all of us. So now, when I sit in meditation, that’s what I’m looking for. That pure love that doesn’t have to be earned, or analyzed, or even understood. It is from you and it is for you and it is the essence of you.
In meditation, we sit with ourselves, as we are. We find intimacy with ourselves, as we are. Eventually we find radical acceptance. And out of that presence arises true, pure love. Let’s sit together.
by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it, am I going to get rheumatism, lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing. And gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning, and sang.