Valentine's Day is around the corner and the mere mention of it raises levels of stress, potential depression and anxiety. This holiday, much publicized for the financial gain of advertisers, chocolate manufacturers and the jewelry industry does hold behind it two elements that can either make or break the human spirit. The first being the Ego and the second the Soul.
I grew up in a culture where Valentine's Day was not really celebrated as it is now, however as I reached my teens dating pressures grew which included Valentine's Day. Who was the lucky individual to receive a card or the most luxurious gift? Which student had the highest social status in the school who was giving away the gifts/cards? Nowadays, little children exchange love notes to every person in their class including the teacher as there is an awareness of inclusivity, and universal love for everyone being celebrated on this day. Yet with the influence of social media, nowadays beyond the age of 8 online postings of flowers, jewelry and large romantic gestures cause equal anxiety and stress comparable to when I was a teenager. The number of likes and comments based on each romantic gesture’s image adds to the pressure. Where did we go wrong? From the innocence of a child expressing openness and love to the need for external validation with material goods and social status in such a brief period of time? We have confined the expression of the deepest and most powerful emotion from the Soul within the Ego which stems from the mind.
A child expressing love opens hearts everywhere . To hear “Daddy I love you”,” Auntie I love you”, even the most stoic and cold-hearted individual finds a smirk at the corner of their mouth appear and a softness cultivating within. However, as we reach the age of approximately eight years old (sometimes earlier via trauma or conditioning), this is transformed into a reflection of status by the Ego, not love from the Soul. The Ego is run by the mind. The mind is designed to protect the body from harm. Hence all fight or flight responses are triggered when the mind recognizes a potential threat to the body. The expression of pure unconditional love comes from deep within the Soul. The Soul understands nothing of money, status, cultural conditioning or religion. It simply feels. It is expressed when one is capable of being vulnerable, and that requires opening the heart and taking a risk. The risk of facing ridicule, rejection and diminished status triggers a defense pattern in the mind. Quickly the mind begins to assess the risk factors and ruminates over and over the pros and cons according to safety. Often it simply resolves to stay safe and take no action. The mind feels calmer but the Soul does not. The Soul runs from deep intuition and when the heart space is open, the heart communicates with the mind in an attempt to calm the rapidly moving mind and encouraging it to take a risk and follow their Soul's Desire. If the heart is closed off (past hurts not being processed or previous scenarios listed above), a battle begins between the mind and our inner truth (Soul). Any resentments or scarring from a broken heart, is simply the Ego attempting to block off the heart again. If not addressed, it can lead to addictions and unhappy people. When core hurt issues are released and forgiveness enters the heart then the Ego may surrender.
The expression of Unconditional love is fulfillment in its action. It does not require validation from an external source. It’s pure expression triggers deep connectivity from within the Soul to all things. This is not conditional upon another's action/response. It does not require reciprocation or validation. This does not mean one continues to give and give unconditionally to a unreciprocated relationship devaluing one’s self-worth. One can love another human unconditionally and leave an unhealthy situation. One can also let another party go and still feel unconditional love towards that person. The family (quite often the primary figure is the mother) who begs the child not to fly the coop for their own validation/ survival with guilt trips of, “don’t go, stay close to the family”, or “what will I do without you? What will people say? and We will cut you off from the money”. Rather than allowing the individual to go out into the world and live their own authentic life - that is conditional love. Unconditional love is selfless, encouraging others to follow their own path and listen to their soul’s desire irrespective of one’s own wishes.
This Valentine's Day in 2022 is the first celebration outside of lockdowns and restrictions. Will we enter the holiday with the same anxiety/stress from years prior? We have an opportunity to cessaste the Ego and follow our Soul's desire. Those who have experienced the loss of loved ones during the pandemic may now show their love and express it more often than before. This Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to carry these lessons learned forward.
What is love? Many romantic comedies are based on the premise of one person completing another. This often leads to individuals participating in traditions of marriage or cohabitation even though neither of the individuals are happy. They have simply been with that person for a significant amount of time, an age where it seems appropriate to settle down and wish to feel validation or cultural acceptance from the tribe. It is important to note here, that much of this conditioning occurs in the first five years of life and most individuals are not even aware that they're following this course. Reflection may occur later in life (often during a life crisis) where people discover they simply are with the wrong person and wish to take the leap, follow their own intuition but feel bound by practical binds. Perhaps you are single and have experienced an attraction to another individual who is completely not your type? Or someone that would never fit in with your family. So the mind (Ego) attempts to logically shut down these feelings for your survival. However, a true Soul connection will not diminish, no matter how hard you try to immerse yourself in worldly endeavors: Fighting for a new promotion, attaining more money, telling yourself the person you are with really is the one (when you know they are not), countless affairs, addiction to substances to numb out the impulse, staying in a relationship because that’s just how relationships are - unhappy and miserable, or being financially bound because you like the material or the family expects it. The recent freedom of shame from divorce has allowed couples (with conscious mind awareness) to raise children much more healthily than if they stayed together in a toxic environment. The children witness collaboration from the parents by their actions. The children understand healthy relationships involve surrendering one’s personal preferences for the betterment of the others. Many individuals especially from Gen X, Millennials and some Gen Z’s experienced wretched divorces where both parents were subject to traditional ideals and held each other hostage for financial stability, social status, vanity etc. all stem from the Ego. A child's nervous system raised inside toxic parental relationships attempting to save themselves from the same repeating cycle fosters ideologies such as “I will never marry”or “marriage won't work”, “ relationships are restrictive” or I “need to find a partner but they must really prove they love me over and over again”, with a never ending series of tests in an effort to fill in the gap that was missed by the parents. This gap, by the way, is a hole that cannot be filled by human ego based behavior. Only the Soul experiencing unconditional love from within and forgiveness for the other parties (parents) can do heal the wound fully. The opposite behavior is also true. Staying steadfast in a relationship for years and enduring the pain and suffering simply because they did not want to get divorced and be like their parents. Neither of these behaviors demonstrate the expression of unconditional love. Unconditional love requires vulnerability and releasing prior hurts. We just experienced the suffrage of being in isolation of a lockdown? Little do we realize that we are placing ourselves in emotional lockdown regularly. The rom-com that has the dorky looking guy dating the super attractive female does so, because he is vulnerable and willing to offer up his cup of love to another in the face of ridicule. It is a demonstration of pure love from the Soul. The recipient, tired of ego based attention, opens up their love and reciprocates.
When one has experienced a deep meditation practice there is a connectivity within to a deep sense of belonging and bliss. This is a feeling of pure inward love. If we continue to meditate on a regular basis we also experience this in the waking state. As a result one feels less at the effect of seeking outside validation known as Ego based gratification. One is in fact, connecting to unconditional love. It is not by surprise, that meditators express their love to each other more freely and Valentine's Day is simply a reminder to express unconditional love to one another. We are in a culture, a global culture where the mind is constantly fighting the Soul. We have unhappy individuals fighting against who they really are, and the inability to be emotionally vulnerable. We have to maintain all social status, be accepted by conforming to specific behaviors or bank account numbers or types of clothing to be revered. We are fighting to be revered in a culture that is upholding the ego and diminishing the open heart and unconditional love and at the same time teaching our children to be caring, understanding and compassionate. There is a disconnect. Many are not aware of the disconnect and Valentine's Day simply swells up the Ego as the heart isn’t open to validate our status which causes mental stress and causes depression and anxiety. Many break ups happen over Valentine's Day. Either the Ego takes over and cuts out any possibility of vulnerability or the Soul finally speaks its truth. Neither are usually presented with grace and love.
Meditation specifically the practice that Aware Meditation Inc. teaches allows the mind to dexcite and the body release stress. Stress cycles in thought patterns which hold us back from emotionally expressing love. As the body goes into a deep state of rest and the mind has a process of expelling these ever repeating stress thoughts, one is capable of witnessing them diminish while the body gains deep rest. It is exhausting being stressed out all the time. As the nervous system experiences more replenishment, the body chemistry shifts from the fight or flight response to the relaxation state. This means one is able to feel safer and become more vulnerable. One is able to express unconditional love without anything expected in return. Listening to your Soul is part of our course listings. Who are you going to tell you love unconditionally this Valentine's Day without requiring them to reciprocate? Take the leap and let me know what happens.