Matters of the Heart: Want More Love? Give the Very Thing You Want to 'Get'

We love: that is why life is full of so many wonderful gifts.
— Rumi

Valentine’s Day is next week, reminding us—whether we want it or not—how love is in the air. But maybe Cupid is shooting his arrow in every direction but our own? I’ve been married for almost twelve years and feel deep gratitude to the universe that I have my Valentine by my side every day, not just on the 14th of February, but I've spent many a Valentine's alone or with the wrong Valentine, so it's a day I have both loved and dreaded. If you tend to dread this day, then this is . . .

THE ONLY LESSON ABOUT LOVE YOU WILL EVER NEED . . .

Some years ago, I learned an extremely simple, but important lesson about love and karma from my friend, Geshe Michael Roach—who was the first Westerner in some 800 years to be honored the Tibetan Buddhist title of Geshe. For those who don't know of him, he's written several books, but his book, The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life, changed my life. I gave the book to my husband too, who also embraced its teachings, and then we met Geshe Michael personally and invited him to Zurich for a lecture and to stay in our home. I've been inspired by so many teachers on my path, from different traditions, but Geshe Michael's teachings on karma are truly inspiring.

GIVE THE THINGS YOU WANT TO RECEIVE . . .

Are you single and feel alone on Valentine's Day (or any other day)GIVE LOVE.

Want to find a life companion? GIVE LOVE.

Want more love from your current companion? GIVE LOVE.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s not dwell on who loves us, but rather focus on helping another find love. This is the great lesson I learned from Geshe Michael: giving love and helping another to find love is the seed that will allow love to grow in our own life. Geshe Michael is often asked how one can find a love-mate, and his (tremendously successful) advice is always: give love to someone who needs it. (We don't have to look far to find someone.)

How to rekindle the love in your current relationship? Give more love to your partner and see it magically boomerang back to you. If all couples did this instead of waiting for the other to give or love more, we would probably have so many more happy couples.

So, whether you're single, in a fading relationship, or even in a thriving relationship, play Cupid and help a friend find love or give companionship to a person who is lonely—perhaps your grandmother who spends hours alone and just needs someone to talk with, or someone who lives in a retirement home, even someone you don't know. There are volunteer jobs for this. A volunteer position helped heal my grieving after my beloved sister died sixteen years ago in a scuba accident. Many weeks after her death, I still cried every day and dreaded going home after work because I would sit alone and weep, missing my sister who was also my dearest friend. I lived in a fog, but somehow it dawned on me that I could spend some time after work volunteering in the Child Life Center of New York Hospital near my home. I spent those hours playing and reading to children who were chronically, even terminally, ill—children who were in and out of hospitals all the time and who were frightened, but possessed great courage. As I spent time with these little heroes, my sorrow began to lift, slowly, but noticeably. I stopped crying every day, felt more gratitude for life and the time with my sister, and felt more value in my life. These children made me smile and even though I didn't know it at the time, with each kind word or gesture I offered a child, I was planting little karmic seeds for my own healing and happiness. I could have probably achieved this with just being nice to everyone I encountered, but according to Geshe Michael, offering our love to those who need it most creates even more seeds, resulting in a greater boomerang effect. (I'm simplifying these teachings here.)

Another example of karmic seeds: a billionaire can write one big check for a charity. In the time it takes to write that check, little seeds are planted—these seeds are planted not in some karmic seed garden 'out there,’ but in our own mind and our mind's eye 'sees' it and manifests it in our lives. (Geshe Michael's explanation of how we create our own karma is mind-blowing!) And of course, the goodness that the billionaire's donation will bring to those in need will also create more seeds. However, if this billionaire would also devote hours to fundraising, or even physically working at the charity, he would be planting thousands and thousands of seeds during those hours, minutes, and seconds he devotes— which would manifest in both an immediate feeling of goodness and compassion, but also karmic reward in the future. This karmic principle can be applied to every aspect and every goal, situation, or problem in our lives. When we start to experience this law in action, it changes our entire outlook!

Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love
— Rumi

Be in love with yourself, with nature, with life, with your spouse, your child, your mother or father, your sister or brother, your friend or neighbor, your pet . . . there is opportunity to be in love at every moment, at every turn. 

Love is perfect and whole, but with our limited capacities and perceptions, that’s not how we always experience it. Since it’s difficult to entirely escape our own notions about love, we often try to force it into a small box, such as: February 14 must include roses, chocolate, champagne, a romantic dinner, and whispered endearments! Let's try to remember that the marketing around Valentine's Day is to sell an image of romantic perfection and the products that go with it. Romantic love might indeed start with a spark, but it doesn’t thrive on that first fire alone. It needs constant rekindling, but also time and space in order to continue expanding. A caged bird cannot fly. So, I believe, is true of love. We could do ourselves a favor and accept that love is perfect in all its imperfections.

Let's give ourselves a Valentine's gift and worry less about the perfect day and give the very thing we (all) want to receive: LOVE.

Wishing you radiant health, happiness, and profound love . . . and Feliz día de San Valentín on the 14th!!

Love from the Baleares, Juli