Learning To Trust Love Again

January 21st, 2013

It’s natural to protect yourself from the elements, but you don’t need an umbrella under blue skies. The same is true in life and love. When you’ve been hurt, you naturally protect yourself from intimacy. You don’t want to go through it again. There comes a point though, when you let your guard down enough to see that the only thing raining down on you is love. You never know if it stops raining if you don’t peak out from under your umbrella to check the sky. Take a peak. When you feel strong enough, put away the umbrella, open your heart and receive the love on offer. It’s elemental to who you are to trust love. You just have to remove the protective layers to receive it.

Shakespeare wrote,

True love cannot be found where it truly does not exist, nor can it be hidden where it truly does.

You can only guard yourself from love for so long, before you end up tangled in your own web of denial. Its time to get untangled. So often animals and small children teach us the lessons of forgiveness and trust that make this possible.

A few years ago, a female humpback whale had become entangled in a maze of crab traps and lines, including a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted the distressed whale just near the Golden Gate Bridge and radioed for help. A team of divers worked for hours to untangle the whale. When she was finally free, the divers described the incredible experience of what happened next. First she swam in what seemed like joyful circles, performing her own gratitude dance. Then she swam up to each diver individually and nudged them as if she was thanking them one by one. The diver who cut the line from her mouth said that he would never be the same after the whale’s eyes followed him the whole time he was working. It’s a beautiful story about love and gratitude and what is possible when love is set free.

The Sufi mystic Rumi said,

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Like the whale, we often get tangled; tangled in our own walls of protection and tangled in the crossed lines of other people’s expectations and insecurities. The only people who get anywhere near us are those who can scale 30 foot walls of protection like paratroopers. Just when they get to the top of one wall, they look over and see another wall. We build new walls just as fast as people find ways to penetrate them.

There are many barriers to love. What are some of these defensive walls? Aside from the 30 foot high wall of self protection, there is the picket fence with neatly manicured hedges that keep out anyone who isn’t perfect. It’s easy to forget that there is no perfect partner, just a perfect connection between two people who are forgiving and accepting. Maybe you have built an inner picket fence that is the veneer of your impossible standards towards yourself. Maybe you’re expecting to be the perfect partner instead of just being who and where you are right now. Maybe you don’t think you are worthy of love. Maybe you’ve tried and feel jaded. Then there is the fence of humor that makes light of any personal inquiry or tells a joke to deflect an intimate connection. Or else maybe you have built a façade of lies, a web of deceit that you’re not even conscious of, that has become a barrier to love in your life. These are some of the many barriers we have built that prevent an authentic experience of love. What is the underlying reason for our defensiveness?

Jesuit Priest Anthony de Mello described a brief teaching conversation. The student asked the teacher, “What is love?”

The teacher replied, “The total absence of fear.”

The student said, “What is it we fear?”

The teacher said, “Love!”

It’s a vicious cycle of fear and protection. Stop the cycle today. Remove the barriers to love one at a time and enjoy the bliss; not just romantic love, but also platonic love for friends, the love of parents and grandparents, love that includes other species, love that includes yourself. Love is not something that comes down from above or from outside of ourselves. Love is something that is discovered from the inside out. You don’t even find love. Love finds you when you remove all the barriers within yourself and allow love to flow.

Once you remove the barriers to love and stand before your bare, naked nature, you will see that love is all there is. It is who you are, who you always were and what you do best. As it says in A Course In Miracles,

Love is within us. It cannot be destroyed, but can only be hidden. The world we knew as children is still buried within our minds.

The crazy thing is that it actually takes more effort to resist love than it does to surrender to love. Building walls is exhausting. Give yourself a break. Stop resisting and surrender to love’s lead. If you’ve been hurt, betrayed, exhausted and misunderstood, love your humanity and persistence and let it grow from there. Love is your nature.

Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process he was stung. He went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell in. The monk saved the scorpion and was again stung.

The other monk asked him, “Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know its nature is to sting?”

“Because,” the monk replied, “it is my nature to love.”

You know that you will be hurt again. Life stings. That’s the nature of life when we bump up against each other’s walls. Keep loving anyway, because it’s your nature to love. In any case, being trapped inside your fortress of self protection will quickly suffocate you in a cocoon of isolation.

Trust yourself. Open your eyes, put away some protection and unclench your heart. Trust others to do their best to love you.  There is so much love to receive, and all you have to do is open yourself to it.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sweet as a honeycomb…LOTS OF LOVE.

  2. Mia says:

    I write this as too many tears are running down my face that I’ve lost count. I can’t live out this article yet; but maybe one day. Thank you soulseeds for uplifting my broken spirit as always. Bless. 

  3. LOVE this article!  I also LOVE your website and all your postings!  I have featured you on my blog as well!  urbanhippieyogalover.blogspot.com

    Keep the beautifulness coming!!

    UHYL  

  4. Lisa says:

    I believe in ‘perfect timing’. In life we all have, or will for the bright eyed, fresh, young adults, experience loss, rejection, heartache, betrayal of a family member, a best friend or from the love of your life. I have experienced all of these. At 52, and even with a positive, upbeat, happy, grateful and giving personality and attitude I have been blessed with I have had several heartbreaks. The overwhelming, all consuming misery, the lump in your throat, burn in your gizzard, pain in your heart feelings of sadness and betrayal is something I would not wish upon my worst enemy. The hopeless feeling that this is it, you’re done.  No more will I ever let anyone in, never will I experience love again. The pain is simply not worth it.  I am experiencing this now. I said to myself this morning before flipping up and turning on my laptop, I need pretty much every positive affirmation of love, acceptance, and lots of positive recommendations. I need someone to tell me there is still love in this world. I need hope. The first thing I saw was my friend’s post on my facebook wall, it was a photo of the giant elephant in the room, we all know the one, explaining and needing answers from his therapist as to his problem….  “Sometimes, even if I stand in the middles of the room, no one acknowledges me.”  That was my message. Not that particular comic, but for me to click on the link in which it came. This link, souldseeds, which brought me to this subject.  THANK YOU!  This article of love and hope is just what I needed to feed my soul, so my thoughts today will be different then they have been the past several weeks.  My catapult – back to my loving, compassionate and understanding self. It also gave me strength for today.  Just what I needed! :) 

  5. Lisa says:

    ….my oopsie….. soulseeds.com.  I hope everyone has a beautiful day! 

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have read this blog several times before and today, especially today I’m feeling the message. Coming here to Kenosha to give my sister mental and physical support, I realize that I do have love to give and love to receive. If I can love nature’s beauty here in a “foreign” land, I can appreciate the beauty in my own backyard. I know that I have more to learn but I am open to receive the messages from my heart and soul, from those that are truly giving. I can undeniably say, I love soulseeds for your messages of life and love. May you continue to inspire.

  7. Mia says:

    I wanted to say… Thank you for posting such a beautiful article, I cried when I read this…. I myself was in a verbal and physical abuse for a very long time.   I was also in denial stage that… It  wasn’t  happening to me, lucky for me… I have very good friends who loves me to  say… I didn’t deserve what I was going through and to say it wasn’t my fault. Thank you again & God Bless to you both!Mia :)

  8. Mendi says:

    That’s beautiful! only then we become completely free and more spiritually aware within ourselves and all around us!

  9. Sandra says:

    What a soul enriching article, thank you Ian. It is so easy to build those barriers when we’ve been hurt, rather than look at what the lessons were from the broken relationship so we can be ready to embrace another with new eyes and a more open heart.Sandra