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I Love Therefore I Am

April 26, 2013

Loving must be as normal to us as living and breathing, day after day until our death.

-Mother Teresa

Choosing to love, day in and day out, is hard. If it weren’t, Mother Teresa’s above quote wouldn’t be so profound. As a yogi, this quote makes me ponder Publication1-page-0the connection between love and breathing. Breathing is something we do to stay alive each and every day and though we can do it mindlessly, the act of paying attention to the breath in our yoga practice transforms it into not only a means of survival but a tool for thriving.

So too with how we love. We need a minimum amount of love to survive, but giving and receiving love that is mindful and also given and received without a second thought makes us thrive.

The kinds of love that is emphasized in our society – romantic and familial – is relatively easy to do without thinking about it. Though being in relationship is always challenging, we generally find it doesn’t require much effort to love our spouses and children and extended family. But how are we loving them?

I think sometimes we confuse “loving” with “not actively hating” or perhaps “tolerating” or “providing for”. But, it is an all-encompassing love of Ā ourselves and others, the very love that Mother Teresa so beautifully embodied throughout her life, that must be learned (or rather, re-learned, as I believe we possess this ability at birth).

The very heart of this love is profound and radical acceptance of what is. Loving with no conditions attached, no ifs or whens. We learn to do this by simply doing it, day after day, until we die. Choosing to accept, to forgive, to embrace, and to give without expectation of receiving anything in return. The more we do it, the easier it will become.

Like breathing, first we do it without thinking, then we focus our attention on how we’re doing it thus transforming the act entirely, and then we continue in this way until the habit is formed and we no longer need to think about it. It is when we reach this place that we can become a source of healing in this world.

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