Something remarkable happened to me this year: I started loving everyone. Everyone. The hundreds of people I know and the billions I don’t.
I’m not sure exactly when I began loving everybody, but I do know when I first realized it: I was writing a short bio for my website. I composed a sentence or two about my work and family–the usual stuff. And then what I really wanted to say popped into my mind: My heart is full of love for you.
My inner critic quickly joined this party: “That is not a normal thing to put in a bio,” it warned. “That’s ridiculous. In fact, it is dangerous! You cannot tell strangers on the internet that you love them!”
But something in me persisted: this was important. The bio would be incomplete without those words. And so I typed in the last line: “Her heart is brimming full of love for you.”
It struck me, how odd and powerful this was: I had no idea who would be reading those words on my website, what those individuals believed, what grievous acts they might have committed or what hatreds they harbored for others, but I was entirely sure I loved them.
That was the beginning of–or maybe a return to–a feeling of loving everyone. That was a moment of transition of becoming a more open channel for what I’ll call The Great Love.
What Is The Great Love?
Love, as we define it in our culture, is personal, selective, based on direct contact or experience with a person or thing. It is conditional, based on particular qualities or actions of that person or thing.
The Great Love is not selective; it is all encompassing. It is unconditional, but not without reason: it stems from a profound knowing that everyone is worthy of love, that the basic nature of everyone is good.
The Great Love is beyond what we can conceptualize or hold in this lifetime, but when we experience even little shards of it, whispers of it, we are filled with something so huge and powerful that we are opened, flattened, transformed.
Those little shards show up for most of us in momentary, profound experiences — perhaps when we are in nature, when we experience a piece of art, when we look into a newborn’s eyes. For many of us they show up at moments all together unexpected–staring out the car window at a red light, cutting tomatoes at the kitchen counter, peddling along on the bike at the gym. With spiritual practice, which is consciously connecting to The Great Love itself, we can become a more frequent channel, a more receptive vessel, for The Great Love.
The little shards of The Great Love, the threads, the whispers, come into my heart often now. When I watch the news or think of a country around the world, I do so with an underlying feeling of great love and kinship toward every person in it, including the “bad guys” and the dictatorial leaders.
When I walk down the street, I feel so proud of and awed by each person I pass. I keep my mouth shut (haven’t broken that social convention yet), but I so strongly want to affirm them for just being here, existing. I want tell them how unique and gorgeous and powerful they are walking down the street. I often do so in my mind.
And when I look out my twentieth floor windows at the long twisting tail of traffic on the highway, or the checker box windows of the neighboring skyscrapers, I feel a tidal wave of good will. I feel how hard each person is trying to get the love and acceptance and stability that we all want in life. I want them all to be showered with a rain of blessings and struck with lightning hope. Above all, I want them to be good to themselves, to extend to themselves the forgiveness and loving kindness they deserve. I don’t know these people, but I know their hearts.
The Great Love Changes Everything
If you become a more frequent channel for The Great Love, it will bless all those around you. But it will also aid you, in ways practical and profound:
1. Life gets easier. The Great Love makes every interaction smoother and lighter: paying the bridge toll, taking a difficult phone call at work, tackling the to do list. Those kinds of tasks can get clunky, draining. Doing them with The Great Love is the difference between driving in traffic and riding a magic carpet in the sky.
2. Fear dissolves. Love and fear are all-consuming states of mind; they cannot co-exist within us at the same moment. This is big news; this is our way out of fear. If, when I am at a party or a meeting for work, I am in contact with The Great Love, my insecurities simply aren’t with me. The material in my brain is literally unable to receive or process negative thoughts.
3. Life is safer and saner. The Great Love is the all-encompassing, unconditional love for all of creation. It is impossible to feel The Great Love for others and not for yourself. Being a channel for The Great Love is receiving The Great Love for yourself is emanating The Great Love for others.
As you walk through life wrapped in the blanket of The Great Love, the world becomes safer, because your insane thoughts have been replaced with the sane truths of love, compassion, and calm appreciation for each human being on earth.
4. You become a magnet, in the nicest way. I don’t know any way to say it better than this: The Great Love is big, and when you become a conduit for it, you become very big. You walk into the room bigger, you exist bigger, the contours of your life grow larger.
People turn around when you enter a space. People want to go your way with things. You are empowered to say more and act more boldly because you know your words and ideas aren’t just coming from you, but from something very big and intelligent and true. You operate with a confidence, humor and calm that draws others toward you and causes them to want to work with you. And when they don’t, you don’t take it personally.
5. Most importantly, you see the truth. Keats wrote, “Beauty is truth and truth, beauty.” When you are in The Great Love and The Great Love is in you, it is as if a light snow has fallen on everything and that snow brings to everything a stunning beauty. It is as if the most well-crafted, moving, beautiful play ever written is being played out in your daily life. The Great Love is the opera glasses that allow us to witness it.
How do you put those opera glasses on?
There are more ways than there are human beings on earth. We are in no shortage of ways for each of us to open to more love.
The most important one is this: Ask. Ask God, spirit, the universe, the power of creation to make you a channel of The Great Love. Ask your inner wisdom what you need to do to become a greater channel for it. In any situation, take your focus off the whirling world around you and turn inward for a few moments. Ask The Great Love to enter the situation, through you, through others and in the space itself.
Here are some other ways to access The Great Love:
Bring More Love Into The Ecosystem of You:
Find out how you are withholding love from yourself, and work toward stopping that unjust act. Probe your destructive, self-harming beliefs
Bring love into your heart and your body by living your passions.
Be of service. In any situation, ask yourself, the universe, or the people around you how you can best be of service. Do as many acts of kindness as you can. Give generously of your time, money, and possessions. All of this will bring more love into you.
Love the People in Your Midst:
Decide that everyone around you is perfect as they are and holds 100 miraculous gifts. Start keeping a list of them. Appreciate them out loud.
Every day, give ten authentic compliments to strangers or to people you know.
Study forgiveness and work toward forgiving the people toward whom you are harboring anger, resentment, hurt and hate.
Invite the Great Love In:
End the separation between you and the rest of humanity. Realize that, since birth, you’ve been trained by our culture to believe in separation. You’ve been schooled that some people are better than or worse than others, that some people are fundamentally good and others evil. I know that you can’t just let go of these thoughts. They have to let go of you. You need to replace them with new ideas.
Grapple the idea everything is either an expression of love or a call for love. Hold this thought and look for evidence to support it.
Believe that everyone is trying as hard as you. Hold this thought and look for evidence to support it.
Believe that everyone wants the things you want: belonging, acceptance, to be heard, to feel competent, accepted, to matter. Hold this thought and look for evidence to support it.
There are millions more ways to access The Great Love, and the ones that are personal to you will be the ones that are most powerful for you. If you ask The Great Love what you need to do to bring more love into you today, it will answer you. If you invite The Great Love in, it will visit. If you give your problems to it, it will not let you down.
Go play with all of this and discover, and let me know what you learn.