“Who do you love in this world with whom you have little or no conflict?” This is the third question of the Simple Path that I have been writing about for the past two weeks. Please see the two preceding posts for background.
How long or short is this list?
When you think of these people, one by one, do you get the sense the relationship is a bit stunted or is the channel between you and they open, bright and opening wider?
There is a simple reason this is an essential question. Whether you make any progress with the study of silent meditation depends on one basic practice. Are you willing to improve the quality of love you offer to others and to receive more openly the love others wish to give to you? It just happens that the best way to begin serious work with this aspect of the spiritual path is to reflect on those relationships you are closest to and with which you have the least conflict.
While those who believe in God will engage this exercise differently than will those who do not believe in God the work remains to be essential to anyone seeking deeper experiences of peace in silent meditation.
If you find you are surprised at how few people there are in this life you really love, that is good information. If you come to realize the channel you have with one or more of these people is constricted, that is good information. If you come to realize that you often do not feel much in the way of love and connection for those you say you love, that is good information. If you come to realize there are many people in this world you love, and that the channels you have to them are open and bright and opening wider, that is good information. If you realize you often feel the love you hold in your heart for others and that you often feel loved by others, that is good information. If this is the case, never, never forget how fortunate you are.
This process is an excellent way to think more consciously about your skills with love and the health of your primary relationships. It is simple. As you heal and enrich your most viable relationships, the love you give and receive will sustain and transform you. The deepening love you come to feel will give you the strength and intuitive skill to work with those relationships that are more conflicted. Some day, with real work and probably quite a few setbacks, you will learn a critical lesson; how to love the unloveable.
When you learn that lesson you will find yourself sitting on the cliffs that overlook the lakes of heaven and it really is quite a view.
Are you good at love? Great. What do you need to do to get even better?
Is there room for improvement in the quality of love and respect you have to offer to others? Then do not shy away from that work and certainly do not be embarrassed by the fact that you may have some work to do.
Ask yourself this question, “What reasonable requests are being made to me by those I care about the most to change certain behaviors or attitudes? To what degree am I ignoring or only giving lip service to their requests?
More next week.
Let me know what you find as you engage this exercise? All constructive comments will be posted.
Will Raymond Author of The Simple Path of Holiness and Host of MeditationPractice.com