A37 Loving Others: What are the obstacles towards loving others and how can we overcome them

When we can free ourselves from our labyrinth of unpleasant emotions and internal conflicts, we will be able to love others more fully and steadily. As this subject is covered in the books THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HAPPINESS, EMEIS and the MIRACLES OF LOVE AND WISDOM, we will present here only a few of the questionnaires which can be used to aid the cultivation of love for others.

STAGES OF LOVE

Do we really love? Or are we simply attached to, identified with, or dependent on someone? Is our love free, unconditional or mixed with various conditions and demands? Love is a very difficult word to define. Perhaps because the reality of true love approaches the spiritual dimensions, which are beyond comprehension by the human mind. Love like God, peace and other spiritual realities can be perceived more easily through the effects which are created, the results. What then are the effects of love? Love creates feelings of unity. We feel towards the others as we feel towards ourselves. We are interested in their welfare, happiness, success, health and spiritual growth, as much as we are concerned about our own. Loving someone means wanting him to be happy, without defining how he should be happy. Love breeds understanding, compassion, forgiveness, happiness, excitement, peace, joy and a desire to be helpful in anyway that we can to the other. Love is expansion beyond the small ego self. It is the ability to identify with the other. The ability to let go of our self interests and personal needs so as to be able to really hear and understand the other’s needs and interests. It means caring enough to be able to sacrifice, when necessary, our own pleasures and desires when the other’s needs are obviously more important. Love is the force which brings about unity and harmony. It is the “glue” of the universe. It helps persons with different egos, desires, programmings and needs overcome all those potentially repelling forces and unite. We are slowly moving towards unity, and the main force is love. Thus love is the greatest, the highest human quality, and it needs to be given priority over all other needs and concerns. Only in this way will we have peace, happiness and wellbeing on the earth. Love needs not so much to be learned or cultivated but rather released, or brought up, to the surface. We are love. Our basic inner nature is love. But ignorance, fear and attachment have buried it so deep within us that it is sometimes not easily brought to the surface.

DO WE LOVE OR DO WE NEED?

The power of attraction which, we call love, is expressed at many levels and in countless ways. The most basic level is that of need. We often use the word love when we really mean need. We say, “I love you”, but if we analyze more deeply what we are really saying is “I need you”. This is the basic message of most love songs and love stories. They present an image of love which laments with sadness, pain, agony. They cry out “you left me. I cannot live without you. I need you”. This is not love. It is need, attachment, or addiction. If it were love, and the other was happier by leaving us, or even happier with someone else, then we would be happy for him, not full of sadness for ourselves. Loving someone means wanting him to be happy, healthy, successful in his pursuits. This has nothing to do with the pain we feel if someone leaves us, or rejects us. That pain is not from love, it is because we are not getting the security, pleasure or affirmation which we need from that person. Love creates only happiness. Needs and attachment create mostly fear, pain and suffering. Our love is still mixed with a good deal of need. Love wants to give. Need wants to take. Sometimes what we are seeking to take is very subtle and requires deep searching. There are basically three kinds of needs which we try to fulfill through our relationships. These basic needs are security, pleasure and affirmation or power. Whenever we feel pain in our relationships it is because one of these three needs is in danger or is not being satisfied. When this happens our “love” turns to hurt, disappointment, fear, loneliness, inferiority, or injustice and sometimes, anger, hate, rage and revenge. How can love become all these negative emotions? It cannot. The simple truth is that it never was pure love. It was love (or attraction would be a better word) based on need. This does not mean that we should reject ourselves because we have seldom really loved. Since we are not yet enlightened spiritual beings, how could we? It is like rejecting ourselves because we do not yet have a university diploma when we are still in the first grade. It is only natural that we cannot love unconditionally yet. That is our stage of evolution.

FREEING OUR LOVE FROM NEED

The first step towards opening our hearts to real love is to accept and love ourselves exactly as we are with all our weakness and faults. Only then can we proceed effectively. Only when we feel secure within ourselves and know that we can live without anyone, can we really love someone. Society has caused us to completely confuse this matter. We believe that if we love someone, we must be totally dependent on him and feel that our world is falling apart if something happens to him. This is insecurity. This is a lack of faith in God. It is a lack of faith in our own spiritual nature. It has nothing to do with love. Perhaps this is why the Apostle John wrote, “where there is perfect love, there can be no fear”.

LOVING THE WAVE OR THE OCEAN

When we limit our love to a specific person, it is then difficult to experience love in its highest expression. Real love is universal. It can express itself towards any particular being. But it cannot limit itself to that being or group of beings. If it does, then it is love mixed with conditions. Each individual is one of the countless waves on an ocean of consciousness. The ocean is God, the Universal Consciousness, which is taking the form of those waves temporarily, and then disappearing as that specific wave, and later appearing as billions of others. When we single one specific wave out the ocean of beings, and limit our love to only that, we are in essence living an illusion. When we love the spiritual essence in a person and not only the form or the specific benefits which we are receiving from him, then we love the spirit within. Our love needs to evolve and become both unconditional and universal. Unconditional means it does not depend on what that person does or does not do. Universal means we start to love more and more people independently of their appearance, character and other superficial factors.

LOVE VERSUS PLEASURE AND AFFIRMATION

Let us look at how our needs for pleasure and affirmation can limit the expression of our love. We create relationships which give us pleasure and affirmation, as well as security. We may be dependent on the other for money, travel, clothing, sex, kind words, compliments, humor, good food, a clean house, comforts, or even his or her beauty. But if he or she stops providing these for us, or decides to provide them for someone else, or to split whatever it is between us and someone else, do we continue loving that person or do we become hurt, disillusioned, overcome with feelings of injustice, anger and perhaps revenge? The condition here is that “I love you because you provide me pleasure and happiness or excitement; if you stop, my feelings change”. It is conditional love. Or we may depend on someone for affirmation. This may take various forms. One is that, “You listen to me and do what I say. I can control you. That makes me feel powerful and worthy. If, however, you stop doing whatever I say, I will stop feeling love and unity with you?” This problem often develops between parents and children, when the child moves into adolescence. It also occurs between spouses. Frequently the wife is very suppressed in the beginning, and the husband feels powerful and affirmed. If however, she begins to think and act for herself, he begins to panic and becomes angry and sometimes aggressive. We also feel affirmation when someone needs us, when someone is dependent upon us. We may find meaning in life, because someone needs us, depends on us. If however, the other doesn’t want to be the needy one any more, do we feel the same intensity or attraction and love? This is love mixed with our need to be needed. In such a case, we give because we need to for ourselves, not for them. That does not negate the fact that they too may have need. On the other hand, we also have feelings of altruistic love mixed with our need to be needed. We do love and want to help the other. We are often motivated by two or three motives simultaneously A third aspect of this attraction for affirmation is the situation in which we “love” those who affirm our rightness, either verbally by telling us that we are right, or simply by belonging to the same group or to the same belief system, such as social, political, religious, spiritual group. “I love you because you agree with me, you are like me, you affirm me”. If he has a change in beliefs and goes over to another political party, religion, or spiritual group, and works intensely for them, will we feel the same closeness and “love”? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. A fourth aspect of this affirmation principle is called “Erotas”. In this case there is a mutual (perhaps occasionally not mutual but only one-sided) infatuation on the physical, sexual, emotional and sometimes mental level. There is a special attraction between two persons who excite, bring joy to and stimulate each other positively. This positive stimulation usually has to do with our needs for security, pleasure and affirmation. This intensity of feeling seldom lasts more than a few years. The couple has then the possibility of transforming their Erotas into a steady form of unconditional love, or face the sadness of conflict or separation. Sooner or later we will come face to face with the other’s various negative aspects; and if we cannot love him in spite of them, the relationship dissolves. Until we are able to love unconditionally, we will be unhappy, insecure and frequently in conflict with those around us. We will be able to do this only when we have matured sufficiently so as to feel inner security, inner satisfaction, and a steady feeling of self-worth. In other words, we can really love only those we do not need. When we need someone we cannot really love him unconditionally. This might be difficult to comprehend at first. But if you think deeply about it and test it out in your life, you will see that it is true. Being able to love without conditions is a basic prerequisite both for spiritual growth and for a happy life.

SELFLESS LOVE FOR A SPECIFIC PERSON

The next stage in the evolution of love, is being able to love someone steadily, independently of what he may do or not do. Probably the closest most people have come to experiencing this love is their love for their children. There are some parents who have totally selfless love for their children. Even if the child decides to live a completely different type of lifestyle from that which the parents have programmed, even if the child rejects and abuses the parents, even if he becomes a dangerous criminal; they are able to maintain the same level of love for that being because he is “their child”. This love is not in any way universal and it is not totally unconditional, because there is one condition, that you are “my” child and not someone else’s child. Some may experience this type of selfless love for a specific being when that being is “his student” or under “his care or responsibility”. This type of love has to do obviously with the role of protector, or being responsible for someone. It enables us to accept all types of behavior from someone and continue accepting and loving them with understanding and compassion. In some rare cases one may also feel such love for persons who belong to the same grouping i.e. nationality, religion or social class. In these cases we do not gain something tangible from these individuals. We do not ask them for anything. Our love is not dependent on their abiding by a certain type of behavior or even reciprocating our love. Our love is more selfless but still specific and not universal. Beyond this type of love, we also have universal selfless love, spiritual love and divine love, which you can study in the books “Emeis” and the “Miracles of Love and Wisdom”, if you are interested.

LOVE IS THE ONLY WAY TO STEADY HAPPINESS

Thus love is like the gold ore which is brought up from the earth; it is mixed with other metals (emotions, needs). Our job is to purify that gold through our efforts to love unconditionally in all of our relationships, no matter what the other does or does not do. We will then be happy. The following diagram (fig.11) will help us understand the various levels of love in our lives.
1. In the first level we “love” the other because he offers us security. If he stops offering us this security or starts offering it to others, we are very likely to feel hurt, angry and jealous. Thus our love is based on the condition of this specific agreement, that the other will provide us the feeling of security. When we say to this person. ” I love you,” what we actually mean is, “I need you in order to feel secure, I feel insecure without you.”
2. At the second level we “love” the other because he of she provides us with various forms of pleasure, comfort or satisfaction. If he or she stops providing us or offers others these pleasures, then we loose our feelings of “love” and often feel hurt, anger and bitterness. When we say to this person, ” I love you,” what we really mean is, “I love the pleasure you give me.”
3. At the third level we “love” the other because he, in some way, affirms us, perhaps by obeying us, or needing us, or agreeing with us, or praising us. If this changes, then our feelings change. We need this person in order to feel our power or self worth.
4. At the fourth level we begin for the first time to experience selfless love for a person regardless of how he behaves. However, there is still the condition that this is this specific person – usually a child or parent. We love this person, even if he doesn’t provide us with security, satisfaction or affirmation. But we do not feel this for all persons.
5. Then at the fifth level we begin to feel universal selfless love in which we love more and more people unconditionally, regardless of how they behave. At this level, we are often motivated to participate in some types of social work helping those in need.
6. At the sixth we experience spiritual love where our love is for the soul which is temporarily expressing itself through the personality. We are not attached at all to the personality and are not fearful concerning its various changing states, including death, for we realize that the body and personality are not the real being, but simply instruments of expression.
7. At the level of divine love we no longer experience separateness from anyone. We are the consciousness in all beings around us. There is the experience of total unity with all. Jesus Christ was experiencing this Divine love when he said, “I am in you and you are in me. I am in the Father and the Father is in me.”

OBSTACLES TO LOVE
Thus we are obviously interested in evolving and purifying our love. Our first step is to realize when we loose our feelings of love and unity with others. The following questionnaire (fig. 12) and other techniques will help us.

fig.11

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OBSTACLES TO LOVING OTHERS

In which situations do you loose your sense of love and unity. You may feel any of the following emotions: fear, negativity, alienation, discomfort, aversion, worry, anxiety, anger, hate, reservation, bitterness, jealousy, resentment, disillusionment, frustration, rejection towards the other or towards your self, inferiority, superiority, or any other type of emotional distancing from that person. After each situation note down some of the emotions which you might feel in that situation.

1. When others are different, or from another group or some specific grouping.
a. Strange appearance _____________
b. Other political party _____________
c. Other religion____________________
d. Other social – economic group _____
e. Other educational or mental level
f. Other country_____________________
g. Other race____________________

2. When the others do not agree with me. When they believe and express different opinions, or reject mine.
________________________________________

3. When they criticize me, or persons, or groups important to me.
________________________________________

4. When others obstruct me, or persons important to me, from fulfilling important needs ie.. Food, shelter, sex, work, sleep, money, vacations, meditation, the others΄approval and esteem.
________________________________________

5. When my energy is low or I am not feeling well.
________________________________________

6. When others harm me or important others physically, or hurt us emotionally
______________________________________________________________________

7. When I have personal problems which occupy much of my energy and mental resources.
________________________________________

8. When others do not live up to my expectations, or do not function as I would like them to. (especially children, spouses, siblings and parents.)___________________________

9. When i do not love and accept myself._______________________________

10. When i feel guilt or fear_____________

11. Other situations in which I lose my feelings of love are _________________________________________
________________________________________
Fig. 12

THE RESEARCH TECHNIQUE AND WRITTEN AFFIRMATIONS

The RESEARCH TECHNIQUE for loving others requires two persons. The one who wants to work on himself, sits comfortably with his eyes closed. The other has a pen and paper on which to write. They hold hands in order to start and take the oath of secrecy concerning whatever is said. Then they take a second oath of truth, that is that each will speak out whatever comes to his or her mind. You then release hands and the person who is researching himself closes his eyes and places his hands on his lower abdomen. As he focuses there in his lower abdomen, he begins to verbalize the following phrase, “I lose my feelings of love and unity with others when…”, and then he allows the phrase to complete itself spontaneously. He repeats this phrase over and over again allowing his mind to answer freely each time, as the person next to him writes down the reasons and situations which are verbalized by the speaker. This goes on for about ten to twenty minutes creating a list of obstacles towards feelings of love and unity with others. The person researching himself should not open his eyes and should continue for the whole length of time and not stop because “he has nothing else to say”. Duration is an important aid for by passing various defense mechanisms. It is not necessary that we have an answer in our minds before we start verbalizing the phrase. Even if we have nothing in our minds as an answer, we can repeat the phrase anyway about once a minute and allow the subconscious to supply the answer. It is perfectly okay to repeat the same answer more than once if it keeps coming up. This is significant. When this part of the exercise is completed, we then continue with the phrase, “I love and accept others more easily when ….” or “I find it easy to love others when….” The same guidelines apply to this phrase, and this continues for 10 to 20 minutes. In the end, the researcher will have a much deeper realization of his or her obstacles towards loving others. In the case that both individuals are interested in searching the subject, they would now change roles. If both of you do the exercise, each will have his or her own list for deeper study. Some might say, that they could do this alone or in written form. I would encourage them to do both, but not to imagine they are getting the same benefits. Each exercise has its own benefits. We come to different realizations when working alone, when writing or when working verbally with another person. One technique is not better than the other, but they do not replace each other, each has its own very special gifts. This same exercise could be applied in exactly the same way with other phrases such as:
1. Moments in which I lose my feelings of love and openness or unity with others are … … because….
2. Moments in which I feel especially open and loving are ….

Through this exercise we will get a even clearer insight into when we lose our oneness and why.

Written Affirmations can also be used here to diagnose when we are open and loving and when we are not. The technique is done as described in the chapter 17 on written affirmations using the phrase “I love and accept others exactly as they are,” or ” I love and accept others in every situation.” or ” I feel open and loving in every situation.” In this way, we can trigger the subconscious into reacting by bringing up the moments in which we cannot be open as well as those in which we can. It is gradually preparing the subconscious towards being able to love unconditionally.

DISCOVERING WHY

Once we have discovered the situations in which we lose our feelings of openness, love or unity with others, we can then analyze the reasons by answering the following questionnaire (fig 13) .
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ANALYSIS CONCERNING OUR OBSTACLES TOWARDS LOVING OTHERS

Try to answer as honestly as possible. Analyze each situation separately.
1. In which situations (in the face of which type of behaviors, or character types) do you lose your feelings of love unity or harmony with the others? (remember your answers to the previous questionnaire – fig 12)

2. What emotions do you usually feel in those situations?

3. What do you believe which causes you to feel this way :
a. About the other’s behavior or attitude?
b. About the other?
c. About your self (your safety, self worth etc.) In such situations?

4. How could you manage to sustain your feelings of unity and love in the future even in such situations, or in the face of the same behavior or character types?

5. Which beliefs do you need to transform in order to maintain your feelings of openness, love and unity? How will you transform them?

6. Which techniques do you plan to employ? When and how? Will you need help? From whom?

7.what else do you plan to do to increase your ability to love without conditions.

8. What would you like to communicate to each person, whom you find difficult to be open to at times. Each person will probably require another type of communication.
________________________________________
Fig 13

Why we fear love and Close personal relationships

We have various fears concerning getting very close, or opening our selves completely, or committing our selves to another person. Some of those fears are listed below.

1. Fear of being abused
2. Fear of being hurt
3. Fear of being used
4. Fear of making commitments
5. Fear of entrapment
6. Fear of failure
7. Fear of intimacy
8. Fear of losing control
9. Fear of losing sense of self
10. Fear of manipulation
11. Fear of powerlessness
12. Fear of rejection
13. Fear of responsibility
14. Fear of the unknown
15. Fear of abandonment
16. Fear of loss of freedom
17. Fear of being suppressed

If we discover that we are obstructed in our love by one or more of these fears, we would do well to employ the concepts and techniques presented in the Psychology of Transformation presented in chapters 13 to 24.

CULTIVATING LOVE

One of the first steps towards cultivating love is to realize what love is and why we want to increase it in our lives.

1. The Research technique can again be used here. We sit with our eyes closed and complete one of the following phrases while another records our answers.
a. Love for me is ….
b. I would like others to show me their love by …
c. I would like to express my love to others by ….
d. Others would like me to express my love to them by ….
e. One reason why I would like to accept and love others is …”
Each phrase can be worked with for about 5 minutes. (Thus each person will take about 25 minutes.)

2. We can repeat the word “love” or the phrase ” I am Love,” or “I love everyone and everything” as a “mantra”, repeating it over and over as we walk, clean, drive or perform any mechanical activity.

3. The following psychodrama will help in making our expression of love more specific and tangible. You will have to find a suitable person to play the role of the facilitator who will ask you these questions.
a. Psychodrama – The facilitator asks us the following questions, as we imagine that we are being asked by the specific person with whom we want to increase our openness and love.
1. Are you satisfied with the way I am expressing my love to you?
2. Would you like me to express my love more abundantly or in other ways?
3. Tell me in which ways you would like me to express my love to you?
4. Now tell me what else you need or expect from me?
b. Reverse psychodrama- Now the facilitator imagines that he or she is us, and asks us these same questions, as we now imagine that we are the person with whom we want to increase our openness and love. We try to answer on behalf of the other as well as you can.
1. Are you satisfied with the way I am expressing my love to you?
2. Would you like me to express my love more abundantly or in other ways?
3. Tell me in which ways you would like me to express my love to you?
4. Now tell me what else you need or expect from me?

4. Positive projection will help us cultivate feelings of openness and love with the people with whom and in situations in which we have had difficulty in remaining open until now. We can bring five positive qualities of that person to our mind as we create a positive image of that person, and then send him love and light, and imagine ourselves approaching him with love. One positive projection is called The love focus (fig. 14) and is an excellent way to increase our love. It can be employed once or twice a day for a few months at least. It can be used by it self or as a preparation for meditation, relaxation or prayer.
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THE LOVE FOCUS

This is one of the most important positive projections which can be performed. It develops our ability to love more widely and more deeply without conditions. It focuses on others, our selves and god. It is best done daily.

A. Let the spine be straight and the body comfortable.

B. Perform the relaxation technique breathing deeply while counting and imagining in the forehead 333, 222, and 111.

C. Relax all the body.

D. Count backwards from 10 to 1 relaxing more deeply with each count.

E. Now bring into your mental focus a person (or being of any type ie. Animal, god etc. ) who is for you a frame of reference for the most intense opening of love which you have experienced until now in your life. As you bring this being into your mind, remember the moment in which you have felt that greatest opening of love. Remember the love, affection, the caring, the joy, the gratitude, and total acceptance which you felt in this being’s presence.

F. Now allow this being’s image to disappear from your mind, while keeping that opening and those feelings. Then bring to mind a person who is presently participating in your life and allow your self to feel the same feelings of love towards this person. Allow your self to love him with the same intensity and wholeness.

G. Now allow this image to fade and bring in another. In this way bring various persons to mind and feel for them the same love-opening.

H. Now bring your own body and personality into your mental focus and allow your self to feel the same love and acceptance for your self. Feel gratitude towards your body for all the services which it performs for you, and acceptance towards your personality for all its efforts in life.

I. Now bring to mind a person who has harmed you in some way, or towards which you have difficulty in being open and loving. Allow your self to feel the same opening towards him. (if you have difficulty here, bring five positive qualities of the person to mind.)

J. Now bring god into your mind, as you imagine god to be, as a form, or as light, as some universal being, energy or consciousness. Allow yourself to feel an opening of love towards this universal being (with or without form.) You might also feel gratitude or other feelings.

K. Now open your heart and mind so as to receive an inflow of grace, love and light from the divine being. Allow this energy to fill all of your being.

L. Remain in this light connection as long as you enjoy it.
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fig. 14

5. The list of reasons (fig. 15) why we should love others or a specific person is also a way to reprogram our mind in that direction. The ideal situation would be to love that person without reasons or conditions. Until, however, we arrive at that level of inner purity, we can be helped by such a list. One woman found 27 reasons to love, respect and admire her husband. He found 17 for her. How many can you find for your loved one?
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REASONS WHY I LOVE AND ACCEPT

(Name of the person you want to love more unconditionally)_____________________

1. He is god’s creation, a manifestation of the divine.
2. He is a soul in the process of evolution
3. He is a child of the divine
4. Any negative aspects are a result of his ignorance and fear.
5. Because I want to love without conditions.

Because he has the following qualities:

6. ______________________________________
7. ______________________________________
8. ______________________________________
9. ______________________________________
10. _____________________________________
11. _____________________________________
12. _____________________________________
13. _____________________________________
14. _____________________________________
15. _____________________________________
16. _____________________________________
17. _____________________________________
18. _____________________________________
19. _____________________________________
20. _____________________________________
21. _____________________________________
________________________________________
fig.15

You may want to share your list with that person. He or she probably needs to hear it.

6. Philosophical and Religious beliefs increase our awareness of our inherent oneness through a common creator as brother souls in the process of evolution. Or we might think of ourselves as parts of one nature. Such thoughts help us overcome our fears and differences and open to love. We all need a philosophy, or cosmology, which satisfies us and allows us to feel unity with all others. Most of us can easily find that in the religion of our birth, without, of course, rejecting other religions.

7. Opening to love means overcoming fear. Thus a major part of opening to love will be to transform all the beliefs, emotions and past experiences which create those fears in us. This can be done through many of the techniques mentioned from chapters 12 to 24.

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