Love has been coming to me... the possibility of love... the possibility of being loving toward other people in general. Its a change in my attitude about others. Part of this seems to involve realizing that I've been doing all this healing and forgiveness work on 'myself' with... lets be honest... a somewhat selfish intention. I mean, even though it's a spiritual path and all that, it's always been about me healing myself, me forgiving for my own benefit, me applying the Course to get myself to feel better, etc. And now... this 'me' part doesn't seem as much the focus, or as important. And instead, I'm starting to let real LOVE come through me, and its starting to become about - sharing that love.
I'll also be honest in telling you that I generally have not really felt loving towards most people for a long time. Whether its a remnant of childhood suffering or a personality thing or whatever I've accepted, or maybe I've just been pretty normal/typical all this time and nobody could really expect more. ... but I'm finding now, there IS more. There is the possibility of not just being another one of many strangers that pass each other and barely acknowledge each other, but rather of actually LOVING PEOPLE.
Now, this is where it gets really fascinating for me at the moment. I've been finding that.. experimenting with. .. the idea that, if I attempt to be loving toward people instead of how I normally would be around them, it is significantly changing my perception. And I'm not talking about some lofty aim like 'see the christ in everyone' and I'm like 'what the fuck is christ?'... it's simply.. .just fricking love them.
Normally around most people, especially strangers, I will become guarded and shy and quiet really quickly. Its a defense mechanism thing, usually triggered by the slightest observation that there is something about the person that is unsafe/unloving. What I did not know, however, all this time, is that the unsafely and unloivingness that I see in people - the triggers - is actually the result of ME not looking at them WITH love. I've always been looking at people with... well, the ego... and seeing the ego reflected back. And now this idea is popping in, why not try instead to extend love and be loving toward them, and see how that feels
Well... when I decide to do this, which is usually after I notice that I just lapsed into zombie mode, something really unexpected happens. I don't feel afraid. It's like, all of the basis for my 'social anxiety' is because I perceive without love and therefore see a lack of love and I see it as an attack. So... if I CHOOSE to see WITH love, then I actually see ONLY love, and I don't even see any reason not to love. It's like, all of the 'reasons' for fear are just not even there. I can't detect them, they don't appear, they don't register. Somehow the love makes me feel safe and prevents me from even perceiving that I can be attacked. If I'm looking WITH love, then it shows me love. If I look with attack, I see attack. And I didn't realize how used I've become to seeing 'with attack' all of the time, such that I thought it was normal, and that people out there 'really are' threatening... when in fact, there is another way to experience it.
I always struggled with this. You have no idea. I mean, really high levels of anxiety around strangers, fear of judgement, unsafely, becoming 'spacey' and losing all focus, becoming avoidant, wanting to get the hell out of there, etc. It has taken a LOOOOOONG time to gradually sift through this all to realize that it is ME and MY attitude which SHOWS ME exactly what is IN ME, and I then think it is in the other people, and then I think that this proves WHY I should feel the way I feel. It JUSTIFIES it. Sure, I should be afraid because that person is judging me, or I should be anxious because that person is threatening me, etc... when instead, it was always that I'd projected MY self-attack onto them and was seeing it there.
And now, along comes love. And I mean... not special love of romantic love or whatever... like, real LOVE... love from GOD. Unconditional love. Spiritual love. And if I allow myself to stand in love and to choose to see other people WITH that love, what do I experience? Well... I feel completely safe. The anxiety has no foundation. And even if I'm feeling afraid or anxious, if I choose love, it instantly disappears. And even if people still are behaving in odd ways or looking at me funny or appearing to be rejective or whatever, if I am in a loving place, then I feel completely invulnerable to that, like, I know it can't do anything to me.
The big lesson here is this... and I'm still exploring this and only just STARTING to experiment with this in real situations.... the big lesson is that... when you extend God's love fully to your brother, and just choose to love them instead of any other attitude, ALL you will see is love and lovability and there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO BE AFRAID. So... this is the TRUTH! In truth, there is no reason for fear because in truth, in love, there is perfect safety. There simple IS no attack. There IS no cause for alarm. There IS no threat.
So this is my 'opening up'... the next phase... realizing that the theology and the thoughts and the figuring out and the Course processes etc are... themselves... just tools to open up the heart to love, and that it is THE LOVE that is actually what we need to BE and express. To love it. To be it. To extend it. To share it. Experientially. Actively. For real. Taking the love to the people. Taking the love and letting it love through me. Letting healing come through me. Letting life come through me. But not for some silly selfish 'oh this is my special spiritual path, don't mind me I'm just over here forgiving myself dutifully and staying separate from everyone'.
Love erases all fear. And of course.. the opposite of love is fear... without love, fear HAS to show up. Once love shows up, love is the LIGHT, and fear HAS to disappear. And it does. It does every time!
Reason to celebrate. Only love is real! And the truth isn't just facts and information and thinking... the truth is FELT.
And what's really surprising to me about God's love is... that... it is being freely offered to me right now without me having to really do anything to earn it... almost as though, I'm jumping right from being in the middle of a long drawn out spiritual path, to the end goal. Like. God loves me NOW... I can be loved NOW... It's very surprising. And it's got nothing to do with thinking about love. It's ACTUAL love. God is love. Not just an idea. Love love love love love love love.