Inevitably, love changes us. Whether the love we identify with is romantic, familial, or divine we cannot escape an impact. All of its myriad gateways put us into contact with an essential part of ourselves — our soul. Sri Aurobindo believes our soul resides in a “secret cave behind the heart.” Perhaps that’s why love is such a core part of who we are and what we desire, our soul relies upon love for coming into contact with itself. Simply said, without love, we cannot know ourselves.
As babies we can die without love. Without love and affection as adults we become lifeless. Our entire well-being seems wired for love and affection and yet so few of us give credit where credit is due. Love is what awakens our soul and reveals the possibilities of our truest nature. Spiritual enlightenment would not first be possible without the ability to feel love. For when we love someone or something we cannot help but to evolve to meet it and in the process come more in touch with ourselves and the divine. Celtic wisdom author John O’Donohue says, “All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities. When love comes in to your life, unrecognized dimensions of your destiny awaken and blossom and grow.”
I’ve been reflecting a lot lately upon my growth and the past (go figure apparently this is what a 30th birthday does to you) and remembering all the former lovers and friends who have truly shaped who I am in this very moment. I cannot help but feel gratitude for all the beings who have changed by soul by being a part of my life. The truth is that I long for love from others, and ultimately myself. I believe that’s the healing — to know both is happening simultaneously.
Rumi speaks to this paradox of love so beautifully, “If I love myself, I love you. If I love you, I love myself.” I understand this to mean that it doesn’t matter where we begin. Whether we focus on self-love as the way to loving more, or love of the other as family, or lovers…we always end up loving others, ourselves, and the divine for there cannot be one without the other.
So in times when loneliness whispers, may we remember that we are loved and in this love we transform the perceived aloneness into an experience of oneness. Love is our way into feeling and knowing who we are. In the end only a love and devotion for spirit, as ourselves, can fill our voids and make whole where we once had holes. So, in this time where I feel a lot of longing for the past, for lovers, for love, and acceptance of myself. May I remember the power of loving myself as the divine for transforming the very soul of my being.
And now to the real reason I wrote this post, to share one of my favorite Rumi poems, The Alchemy of Love, translated by Deepak Chopra and Fereydoun Kia:
You come to us from another world.
From beyond the stars
and void of space,
Of unimaginable beauty,
Bringing with you
the essence of love.
You transform all
who are touched by you.
troubles and sorrows
dissolve in your presence,
to ruler and ruled
To peasant and king
You bewilder us with your grace.
All evils transform into goodness.
You are the master alchemist.
You light the fire of love
in earth and sky
in heart and soul
of every being.
Through your loving
existence and nonexistence merge.
All opposites unite.
All that is profane
becomes sacred again.