How to Stay in Love
The original experience of love is very simple, isn’t it? It’s straightforward, it’s the heart just feeling. It’s a feeling of gentleness, softness in our heart.
In the beginning we’re connecting directly with the moment when we first felt or sensed this love. When you feel that with someone, or when you feel that in your heart towards someone, you’re connecting with that soft, gentle spot . . . before we make it too complicated. Right? We add so many labels and judgments, and that’s where the trouble starts.
We take our original experience of love and make it so sophisticated, so complicated. In the end, we don’t really see love at all––we only see complications. That’s when we fall out of love.
Then suddenly we realize, “Oh, shoot. I thought I was working with my love, but actually I’ve only been working with my mental complications––one layer after another of judgmental thoughts.” We add our projections and attachments, then grasping, and then jealousy. And then anger. We put all of this together.
We have taken this original heart––our experience of love––and turned it into something totally unrecognizable. Not only do we not recognize the person we love, we don’t even recognize our own heart. We don’t recognize ourselves, our own love towards ourselves.
In this way we are creating so much suffering. We are torturing ourselves! When we add so many labels, judgments, and projections onto the original experience, we create so much pain. It’s not necessary.
To come back to our original experience of love, we only need to remember it’s there––remember that original softness. We can try to notice anytime we start blaming and judging the person we love. We can just stop and recognize, “Oh, shoot, it’s getting complicated.” Then we can come back to that first gentle sensation, that tender feeling of loving.
When we do this, we come back to the simplicity of our own heart. To stay in touch with this heart of love, we do this again and again.
Staying in Love: An Exercise
1. Take a mindful moment. Ask yourself, What did it feel like when I first felt love for this person? Connect with this experience right now, in your body and mind. Where do you feel it?
2. Stay with this feeling of love. What is it like? There’s no need to add a story, or make the feeling better or worse––just let it be as it is. If thoughts or judgments come up, or some kind of story arises, just notice that briefly. Then come back to the original feeling of love. If this feeling had a color, what color would it be? If it had a shape, what kind of shape would it have? Does it have other qualities?
3. Look directly at this feeling of love. Just observe it. Does it change or stay the same? Notice everything you can about this essential quality of love. Appreciate the feeling of love in your heart and mind. Sit with it for a few minutes, or for as long as you can.
You can discover a lot about your heart of love by doing this exercise. If you do it now and then repeat it over a period of time, then little by little you may find yourself feeling more and more love toward yourself and others. You may find that it’s a little bit easier to connect with feelings of loving kindness.