2. A Heart & Universal Love
This area of experience is all about connection.
Connection with humans, with animals, with nature, with our belongings, but especially with humans. As humans, we are capable of expressions of love that are far more complex than any other thing in the Universe and so we are uniquely made to meet each other in this space.
Love is all about meeting each other, giving to someone who can receive what we’re sharing and being open to receive that which is being given to us.
When we are together, hearts have conversations with each other all the time without us realising it. We are communicating shared emotions through felt senses, meaning through subconscious messages, and understanding through things like body language and social signalling.
Love is not a static thing, it is the process of giving and receiving. This means that love is also inherently incomplete because there has to be a separate receiver and giver.
‘A knife doesn’t cut itself, fire doesn’t burn itself, light doesn’t illumine itself’
Non-duality in this case is about giving and receiving freely without trying to control the flow or stop any part of it.
It sounds beautiful, but often this ends up not being that pretty. Loving what is there freely can just as often mean grief, pain, heart-ache and disappointment as it can mean joy, happiness, care and connection.
Loving something doesn’t mean to like it – it means to be open to receiving it and giving what is there freely.
When we are closed-minded, disengaged from our bodies, overwhelmed with emotion or being shut out of experience by someone or something we can’t connect with what is truly happening. Things get distorted by the perceptions that are trying to keep us safe, separate and disconnected from the thing that we don’t trust.
We can become addicted to thoughts or other things like sex, power or money. In an environment where people aren’t getting the connection they need, the addictive cycle becomes a warped expression of love – people are doing their best to get their needs met in the environment that they have available to them at the time.
The entirety of the Universe is built on this process of giving and receiving and this is what I mean by Universal Love.
As part of the process I went through, I had to love every bit of life, including the bits of life that are unloveable. This was immensely painful and indescribable in a way. It was like being totally present with surrendering completely to the idea that things are just irredeemably terrible, again and again in all the different ways that that is possible.
Universal love includes everything in the past, everything in the present and everything in the future, so there was a lot to process. It fucking sucked like nothing else I have ever experienced has ever come close to and I have had a pretty hard life at times.
It is by going through this that I am now able to embody and hold this absolute clarity on the different parts of my experience. Every part of myself is connected – there aren’t any parts that are disconnected or unseen.
We can only love in others what we can love in ourselves and when you love all of yourself, love just flows freely out of you without needing to protect yourself or pretend that reality is any different to what it is. I can see things as they are because I am not turning away from any aspect of it.
Part of this is what I call ‘dancing with the devil’. Loving the parts of experience that are unloveable doesn’t make them loveable, it just means that you are able to be with the discomfort of this without turning away.
It means that I am totally aware of the shortcomings of experience, the bits that feel dark, evil or irredeemably weird in some ways and don’t need to turn away from them. Often that bit of separation can actually be an opportunity to laugh at life or yourself, as a way to fuel creativity or as the little bit of darkness that keeps the spice of life alive.
The devil really is in the detail. It is my ability to perceive this aspect of experience clearly that allows me to cut through other people’s bullshit – all the subtle power grabs or mistruths that are there to mask what is really happening – and meet it with love. Not blaming or punishing it when I see it, but offering up a sense of love and connection for what the sincere desire that is underneath it.
Going through this process has also opened up a unique ability for me to be able to love other people through their most difficult states, which makes the process of them opening up to them much less painful. Because of what I’ve been through I can meet people exactly where they are.
Again, this relies on people being able to show up in a mature way that isn’t based on codependence. In a codependent relationship one of the most loving things you can do sometimes is to walk away.
Love is complicated, it can never be boiled down into simple formulas. It is only something that can be felt in this moment.
This is a huge area of experience. Some of the direct doorways to this experience are learning to be sincere with yourself and others; getting clear on your intentions and what feels important to you; therapy focused on lifting shame and guilt; mediation and other mature forms of communication where people feel seen and heard; any meditation practice that actively validates different parts of our experience that we aren’t normally present with; and developing patience and the ability to be able to be with discomfort.