By Brian McCay
I need to be up front with you. I’m going to talk about Love. So please be prepared, forewarned, open to it, skeptical or just stop reading now. It isn’t about Love in the traditional sense. As a scientist, I consider this article of a spiritual nature, since I cannot prove any of it. It would be like proving there is gravity or proving you Love someone. Good luck. Feel free to walk away believing I am full of beans. It’s all good. We are in this thing called life on Earth together no matter our beliefs.
We all know the state of the planet these days. Best I can sum it up is there is no normal. That ship has sailed. Never before seen behaviors from all corners of the globe causes a real sense of uncertainty for many of us. Polarizing perspectives are now the norm. News is a lot of things, but objective and fair is a foreign concept for many. Intolerance, anger and even hatred are no longer in the closet. Where are we heading? What awaits each of us awaits all of us. How do we react to all this? Where do we turn for comfort?
Religious leaders continue to offer faith and comfort. “Resist” is a popular movement to display one’s displeasure with our current political direction. Others welcome this political direction as returning to the normal of many years ago. No matter your perspective, those of like mind sick together, further widening the schisms among us.
Many join causes that they are passionate about to ensure they can hold on to something that makes sense to them. Others give generously to organizations they feel need protecting from the onslaught of indifference. And then there are the plethora of individuals and organizations that continue to care for our home, Mother Earth. Each in our own way continues to search for comfort at some visceral level that will help us cope with our personal loss of “normal.”
Enter Love, the universal expression that, in my experience, defines who we really are what we are truly made of and ultimately, is all there is.
The secret is that this great source of Love cannot be found searching outwardly. It lies within each of us. This may seem trite, but it is so. To what extent do any of us reach inside of ourselves and find that omnipresent power of Love to give us comfort? Probably not much, if ever, since we’re not encouraged to do so.
At this moment, wouldn’t compassion be a beautiful expression of Love to show to any and all other human beings, especially those of a different mindset? “What! How do you expect me to Love these clowns who believe what they believe. They make my reality a nightmare!? I’d rather erase them all and return sanity to my existence.” I get it, but as a TV personality used to say “How’s that working out for you?” The intent here is not to judge or preach, but to be compassionate with the challenges we all face these days. This is all to say that perhaps our starting point for expressing Love is the challenge. We simply have not been made aware of how to tap into this omnipresent universal power.
Expressing Love to those we truly Love is difficult enough for many of us. Expressing Love for those who have diametrically opposed values seems like a bridge too far. Perhaps there is a starting point for expressing Love for a human being that once experienced, would allow our expression of Love for all others as well.
Where is this starting point? Got a mirror handy? It is the Love we have for ourselves. Wait, wait, wait! Before you roll your eyes and hit delete, hear me out.
What follows are a couple of “exercises” suggested by others that really have made all difference for me and those close to me. It is my honor to share them with you. I hope they bring you some inner peace as we spin round and round on this beautiful planet.
There is a simple private way to validate the thesis that we must start by Loving ourselves. In private, stand in front of a mirror, look deeply into your eyes and say out loud “I Love You!” I suggest you do it every day and pay attention to what is going on inside of you.
Awakening the power of Love within you is no small feat. However, there is no greater reward. You have to trust yourself on this one. Give it a shot and see what happens. Over time you will find your experience of the world changing for the better. That sounds like a sweet outcome, does it not? What do you have to lose?
Speaking from personal experience, I had lots of tears and deep-rooted emotions rising up resulting in interesting physical manifestations. This was followed by a sense of relief and elation in the realization that I had experienced the stuff each of us is truly made of: Love in all of its magnificent manifestations. Practice it every day until you know you really don’t need to. Know that you are magnificent and perfect in every way. Love yourself.
Here is another Love-focused practice you can use throughout the day. This exercise is aimed at helping you see the magnificence in everyone. In turn, it brings you unbelievable peace.
Think of something that makes you smile. A joke, a story or a photo and when you get that smile on your face, move your attention away from that beautiful mind of yours down to your Loving heart. Now envision perceiving all around you from your heart center, keeping that smile on your face.
How does that feel? And no, you cannot hold this perspective, but you can practice going there anytime you like. Putting an image of what makes you smile on your smartphone and looking at it often (you can even set an alarm) is a great way to remind yourself to get heart centered. I hope you find this a fun and eye-opening exercise.
Loving one’s self first is paramount. You cannot skip this potentially most difficult first step. Moving on to practicing heart centering will seem pretty easy compared to loving yourself, trust me. A sense of centering and calm will envelop you. Without you saying or doing anything, others will be influenced by your very presence. The Love emanating from within each of us is infectious. Start with yourself.
Be kind to yourself. Know you are Love manifest. Change the consciousness of the world by starting with you and then infecting others without even trying. Enjoy it All. John Lennon had it right.
Brian McCay, Ph D. lives in Bedford, Massachusetts, with his wife Gayle. They have two daughters and two granddaughters. Brian’s hobbies include wine, food, and writing. Spirituality is his passion.
Editor’s note: Back in the day when Brian and I both had a lot more hair, we had the good fortune to meet, date and eventually marry women who were college roommates. All four of us were attending San Jose State University in the mid-’70s. He married Gayle. I married Lori. Forty-plus years later, all of us are still together.
Tomorrow: Gosia Wozniacka, Notes from a greenhorn teacher