Love has many phases and states. I would like to describe how our love can be innate, inspired, efforted, cultivated and transcendent.
The innate love in our heart is the love that is there wether we are conscious of it or not. It is what we feel when we are at rest. This love of ours is not other than our own innate preciousness and value as human beings. Imagine holding a newborn baby, feeling her preciousness, her warmth, and her love. That is the innate love we all have. When we are at rest, we are natural, at ease, and overall feel a sense of being “ok”. This feeling of ease permeates our entire body. That ease and naturalness is our innate love. Even if there is someone who is a very negative person, who's heart is closed off to the world., this innate love is not gone but obscured. By removing the blockages in the heart of anger and sadness we would still reveal a love that has always been there. This love that is felt at rest is the naturalness we can rely on when we are worried or afraid, feeling a sense of groundedness in our truth, our innate love, that which is known well in our own hearts, that is to be and trust our selves. That is the nature of innate love. Besides this love that is always there, there is the love that we are inspired to have for others, ourselves, and other things in the world. This comes about when something moves our hearts to love, wether it is the joy and love we receive from our friends and family, recognizing the preciousness of others, or finding an art, hobby, or job that brings us joy and fulfillment. As for ourselves, we recognize our own preciousness to ourselves through not wanting to suffer and wanting happiness, being sensitive to the world and therefore realizing our own preciousness. This we all have from birth, however sometimes our ego can take the place of our own preciousness and we cling to our idea of ourselves selfishly, causing harm to ourselves and others through the negative states of mind that come from this ego. Knowing the difference between loving ourselves and our preciousness and clinging to our ego is pivotal to overcoming the most hurtful obstacles in life. When we are inspired to love our heart recognizes its own nature in someone or something else, a nature that is innately fulfilling, a nature that is love as well in some way.
Once we are inspired to love something or someone else we can mature to efforting to love those people. Through obstacles in life and conflicts we are challenged to push ourselves to go beyond petty conflicts and return once more to an open loving regard for one another. This allows us to realize that love can be chosen, and not just inspired. Finally, we can choose to have love not just for those who are close to us, but for complete strangers as well, and even for our enemies. This ability to love beyond our “normal” boundaries allows us to begin to cultivate love consciously, for its own sake.
Love that is cultivated is the open-hearted intention to have more and more love for everyone and everything in life. The people on the street, the trees in the park, the animals in the forest, the environment, the stars in the sky, everything. This progresses to the point where the love we have is strong and without any bias or boundaries.
Finally, love that is transcendent can be realized through prayer or meditation to hear the whisper of the Transcendent within us. Realizing the Transcendent as being transcendent love itself in ourselves and in all people and in all things allows us not only to have boundless relative love, but love that is as, and in, and of, the Transcendent itself. All love comes from the transcendent, and is the breath and being of the transcendent as well, though to realize the love of the transcendent itself, and not merely our own, is a pivotal insight. In this love everything and everyone is connected in love, boundless love, and is revealed as the ever-new radiance of this love in all things. May you come to know the phases of love that you may learn how to stand, to walk, to run, and finally to fly.