~ Bhante Sujatha ~
The repeated mantra was, "I am well. I am happy, I am peaceful." but the practice reached far deeper than those words. Tonight was about recognizing and creating self love, "for without healthy self love, you cannot be fully present to love anyone or anything else". Well spoken words.
Our Monk, Bhante, shared stories of his life, blessed us and led us through the meditation but one thing he said prior to the relaxation really struck a chord with me. The use of the word love. I love you. I love my dog. I love ice-cream. He went on to explain how love is an emotion, and that emotions don't always serve us well. They don't allow us to have a clear mind at times. Of course, that wasn't meant to say we should hate everyone and everything, either! Bhante's words made me realize that I need to speak and choose my words with better intentions. I tell people I love "stuff" all the time, but what a diluted version of the world that not only I have created, but us as an American culture over use. We've turned love into like, and sadly we don't even recognize how great and powerful the word love can and should be at this point.
Even though I'm guilty of inappropriately using the word of love, and turning it into like, I do know what a relationship is like, how to build one, and how to truly love another person. If I wouldn't marry it, do I actually love it? I mean, I'd look pretty silly standing at the altar with a Chicago style hot-dog in a tuxedo waiting to marry me, right? Yeah. That's about the absurdity we've turned the word "love" into.
I enjoy life. I appreciate my favorite places, and things, but do I really love them in the truest sense of the word? No. Maybe I (or you) can argue that of course we all know what you're talking about Lynn. We wouldn't actually expect you to marry or be in a relationship with the inanimate things you say you "love". Yeah, I get it. But again, it comes back to the fact that we've basically learned to ignore what love is and what it's supposed to mean and more so what it's supposed to feel like.
Maybe that's what's wrong with this nation. We're too busy turning love into like, and not even liking what we have, or even liking what and who we've become. Without love, without self love, how can anyone find true happiness? Happiness begins within, just as charity begins at home. So let's get back to loving with intention, starting with ourselves. Let's get back to liking things, and loving people.