1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor , and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; 6 rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; 7 beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; 10 but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child: now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known. 13 But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13
When I was a very young child I noticed how unhappy everyone in my family was. I then began to notice that there was so much of the same unhappiness all around me. I watched it, but I also shared it. Everyone felt unloved. At least, I know that is what we believed we felt. It is as though we are all standing in line facing and focusing all of our effort on receiving the love we need from the person standing in front of us, whose back we are facing. If we could all just turn around and give exactly what we are seeking to the person behind us, seeking the same love and approval, we would all, in turn, receive what stands between wholeness and ourselves.
I believed that if someone married me, I would feel loved; I would be happy. Then I believed that if I had a child of my own, THEN I would feel loved and be happy. When my only hopes for happiness left me still feeling worthless, I entered therapy. I went to the Alfred Adler clinic in New York City. On the intake questionnaire they asked: If you died, what would you want written on your gravestone. My response was, “Denise was WELL LOVED”. I believed that if by the time I died, my legacy was having been loved by many then I would know that somewhere along my journey on this earth I had found the happiness that I was seeking. All I thought I ever wanted was to feel loved. But what feeling loved really meant to me had nothing to do with another person loving me, but having some person convince me that I was worthy of loving.
I think about that gravestone often, and at various points in my life I have revisited the inscription considering what I would want written at each of those points in my life. At one point, about ten years ago, I arrived at my final revision of that stone. I realized that I would know that my life was all that I could have asked of it, if my gravestone says, “Denise LOVED WELL”. The reality is that the only way that the void of love within remains constantly filled is if it is constantly poured out to others. Here is a story that I read somewhere:
“With an angel for his guide, the visitor is first ushered through the gates of Hell, which, he is surprised to find, are made of finely wrought gold. The gates, in fact, are incomparably lovely, as is the verdant land¬scape that lies beyond them. All this is quite astonishing to the visitor, who turns to his angelic guide in disbelief. “It’s all so beautiful,” the man says. “The sight of the meadows and mountains . . . the sounds of the birds singing in the trees … the scent of thousands of flowers. . . .” And then another scent catches his attention: the aroma of food being prepared.
The angel leads the visitor toward an immense banquet table laden with every sort of delicacy. However, something is terribly wrong. Hundreds of people are seated around the table, but they all appear to be starving. Their emaciated condition is painful to see in the midst of such bounty, but even worse is the frustration and anger they are obviously experiencing. Each person at the table has a long-handled spoon chained to his wrist. The handles are so long that no one can place food in his mouth. But that does not prevent the condemned souls from trying. For all eternity, they are struggling to feed themselves a meal that is right before them, but that might as well be a hundred miles away. Taken aback by the tragic spectacle, the visitor is now more than ready to visit Paradise, and the angel immediately complies. At once they pass through an¬other set of golden gates, alike in every detail to the gates of hell. In fact, a great deal about the two locales seems to be identical, including the banquet table and the diners chained to their utensils. But the people around this table are well fed and happy, despite the fact that their circumstances are identical to those of the damned. The difference is not in the physical situation, but in how they respond to it. As you might have guessed by now, instead of trying to feed themselves, each of the souls at this table feeds the one across the table.”
Remembering that the ego through which we incarnate in each lifetime is little more than an accumulation of experiences and beliefs of our past lives. Change – growth and the merging of the ego and higher self are instigated by the soul. Each life is the next chapter in the evolution of the soul. This plotline of this life carries with it a repetition of situations from prior lives that were not resolved, not balanced. It also contains new areas experiences and challenges for further growth, and the fruit of lessons that we have mastered from past lives to share with others in this one. All souls who are late young, mature or old have lived through lifetimes of conditioning as beings stained at birth by original sin. Few adults living today were not there at the birth of this age, which is drawing to a close, and this age was born with the imprint of original sin.
The majority of people on earth, or at least in the western countries feel in some way inferior to almost everyone else alive. I have admired to so many people who I believed were confident, and self-assured only to find out that the singular difference between them and me was that they were better at pretending. Some assuage their feelings of inadequacy by telling themselves that they are superior to others. The more they immerse themselves in their superiority the less they have to acknowledge their feelings of inferiority. Some make a great show of telling everyone how great they are, while others find a skill, talent, or physique that they use to draw a constant flow of accolades. Then of course, there are embellishments such as wealth, fame and power to make one look superior.
People insist that their religion is the only religion acceptable to God out of a need to feel superior. It is the need to feel superior that causes people to insist that their choice of worship is the only true choice of worship. Jealousy is a sign of insecurity – God could not be jealous unless He was insecure about all of the other gods being worshiped. However, if there is only one God then that one God is not jealous, not wrathful, and not angry because all of those are symptoms of insecurity. Regardless of how superior we appear, and how content we may be with that appearance, within ourselves there are no props that can change how we feel. So, we look to intimate relationships to give us that feeling of adequacy by showering us with love. The problem is that the material world or rather the external world is impermanent. Whatever fills us up today will be insufficient to the task tomorrow. Someone will always come along smarter, prettier, wealthier, more powerful, more famous, more creative, more talented, younger etc. Everything external that matters today will not matter tomorrow, next week, next year, or whenever. Whatever exists in the external world has a shelf life. If that is where we seek our value, or sense of lovability, then we must acknowledge the expiration date.
Our past lives of belief in original sin have convinced us that we are defective. Now is the time to understand and to instill in the young children born at the dawn of this new age that we are each created so perfectly, so flawlessly, that there will never be more than one of each of us. We are each so perfect that we cannot be duplicated. We are each original signed creations of our Source, and there is not now, and will never be an artist superior to our creator, nor will there ever be materials superior to those from which we are made because we are made from the Creator. It is the uniqueness of our design that makes us each so great. And we are each here to add that unique color, that unique quality that is each of us to the great work of art that is in a constant state of becoming, entitled “Life”.
Love is. It does not exist because of what we do, or who we are. Love is unconditional. Many people have found through regressions that they suffer from debilitating illnesses in this life so that they have the opportunity to be taken care of, and to feel love from others who receive nothing in return. It is the only way that their souls can guarantee the experience. If someone loves us and we push them away because the love does not come wrapped in the package that we are expecting, although may they move away – they do not stop loving us.
All of this concern over being loved and being lovable dissolves into itself when we stop worrying about being loved and strive to be love itself. No amount of love, adoration, worship or praise can change how we feel about ourselves when the lights go dim. Most people I know who do not feel loved are really not very loving. Whatever they give to others or do for others has some form of string attached, even if it is a required amount of expressed appreciation. They may not feel that they are measuring, but they can give an extremely accurate account of their expressions of love – for people who are not keeping track. Whatever experiences have closed them down do not matter.
I once thought that we were given love in proportion to the love that we give. This is not true. Many people who are too fearful to love are themselves loved unconditionally. They are given this love so that if at any time they choose to understand what true loving is, they have it available to learn from. However, it does not matter to these people that they are truly loved, because being loved is not the same as feeling loved. So, until we are willing to open ourselves to give love – even if the whole world loved us – we would still feel unloved. Feeling the love that is sometimes all around us is only possible when we give it.
If we want to feel loved we must take the risk of loving unconditionally. And what happens when we do this, is that we forget about what we are not getting because we are overwhelmed with the joy of what we are giving. Then suddenly, out of the blue, we look around and are astounded by the amount of love that is coming to us.