Love Can Circulate with No Fear
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
If we really pay attention, love and compassion can be the single most important thing that can help us get through a hard time. That could also mean getting through the year that challenged every part of our well-being. From physical and mental health, economic hardship, challenged relationships, to even our entertainment and safety. We are all one in this, and so I turn to the notion of love, because it sounds so simple and pure just as the gifts that our planet gives us each day. When you have love, then all the little moments you experience each day such as a good meal, a positive encounter, or walks through the park, can bring moments of joy. The contagion we need here is more joy, and less worry or fear.
When it comes to love in the context of teaching and learning, I ask that we each open our hearts and learn to look inward, as well as the current moment we are in. We are all anxious, but you can break through the uncertainty when you know that all is love, and all is well. Connect to the wisdom of your heart, and support yourself just as much as we all need to support one another. The patience is wearing thin for many of us, and the love and compassion you had yesterday might feel like anger today. Even when you feel that not everyone reciprocates the love to you or is showing it to others, you should continue to show it anyway. It could be as simple as that extra attention you provide to your student, your co-worker or even your employee. Everything we say and do really matters now, and the awareness that comes with it is heightened. I witnessed this first hand in the extra compassion I had to give each of my students this semester, whose life and school year abruptly shifted with no real answers nor advice from those who were supposed to be there to protect and serve. Yet, we find ourselves in a moment where our world and the leaders that let us down need our compassion too.
If mindfulness, love and compassion is something you want to think more deeply about, but not sure where to start, I recommend the book How to Love, by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. His notes on love and happiness are so simple, and it teaches you to remember to love yourself and start with recognizing it, then nourishing it. Bringing more joy into your surroundings can also help to nourish many parts of your life. Below are a few excerpts I found relatable to what I mean about spreading love.
Each of us can learn the art of nourishing happiness and love. Everything needs food to live, even love. If we don't know how to nourish our live, it withers. When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That's why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness.
Understanding is the nature of love. Understanding someone's suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love's other name. If you don't understand, you can't love.
Compassion is the capacity to understand the suffering in oneself and in the other person. If you understand you own suffering, you can help him to understand his suffering. Understanding suffering brings compassion and relief. You can transform your own suffering and help transform the suffering of the other person with the practice of mindfulness and looking deeply.
Why you know how to generate joy, it nourishes you and nourishes the other person. Your presence is an offering, like fresh air, or spring flowers, or the bright blue sky.
If we can still hold on to the feeling of love instead of fear and worry—we must also try to hold on to a life with purpose. If we come from a place of fear or anger, it won't feel human as time moves forward. When you start to forget or want to see love in action, take a look at the man waiting outside the nursing home holding a sign on his wedding anniversary when he wasn't able to visit his wife. It is the example of love that still exists through all the hardship, and the thing that can circulate through the air with no worry or angst.