The Love We Sow

All too often we "look for love", as if it's a noun, a phenomenon, a "thing" that seemingly happens without any effort. As the saying goes we fall in love, and this too, this idea that we're simply "falling", suggests that love is a thing that we simply stumble into without any effort of our own.

This way of thinking can be problematic because love is actually a verb. It's a continuous process. A difficult continuous practice. And being that its' a verb, we don't just get the thing and then the work is over, but rather, quite to the contrary, the only "thing" we really get is the opportunity to love, and in as much the work has really just begun.

But we actually don't have to wait until this apparent "beginning" to begin the work. In fact, if we do wait, we're at a disadvantage, as the "thing" we want to fall into actually requires two people who are actively working together to make that "thing" even possible. In other words, the love we seek to reap is grown out of the love we sow.

We have an entire world, our life, and everyone and everything in it to love unconditionally! So many opportunities each and every day to enjoy and express gratitude for simple pleasures, while extending kindness, understanding, generosity, friendliness, and forgiveness to countless others. Coming to be able to interact gently and kindly with the world doesn't just happen in place of intimate relationships, it rather can (and arguably should) be at the very foundation.

The loving-kindness that we cultivate through metta bhavana, through extending unconditional goodwill to the world, is a practice we directly use to develop our innate capacity to love ourselves and others unconditionally, in turn improving relationships with all of those in the world around us. But it too isn't just a "one and done", but rather an ongoing process we aim to maintain throughout our days; a process that we tend to each and every moment, being sure that our thoughts, words, and deeds are indeed in accord with our intention to love unconditionally.