Integrative Pathways to Healing

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in Chicago

Love is all around

“We can search the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of our love and affection than we are ourselves, and we won’t find that person anywhere.” Sharon Salzberg quoting Buddha

I was so struck by these words of Sharon Salzberg who said this in a meditation practice. I call her the Metta goddess. One of my first 7-day silent retreats was led by her at Insight Meditation Society in Barre Massachusetts, which she founded with two other teachers, Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein over 35-plus years ago. They were the first to bring the teachings of metta (lovingkindness) and mindfulness to the west.

I spent a lot of my young life searching for love in all the wrong places. Most of my love interests were focused on another. I practiced yoga in my early 20’s and loved it but mostly because I was flexible and was able to achieve many of the poses. The ‘inner work’ of yoga, self -study and transformation came later when I was in my 40’s, in the midst of a divorce. It was then that I realized how much of my love was given to others and so little to myself. Many of us will spend our whole lives looking for love from someone else, without ever really loving ourselves. It is an anomaly, or a maybe cultural phenomena – romantic books and movies when I was growing up ended when two people met and ‘fell in love and lived happily ever after.

Not to say that my life has been loveless – certainly it has not. But it was through the practices of yoga and mindfulness meditation that I began to understand how much I didn’t offer myself love and understanding. While we are so busy looking outside of ourselves for love, there is an unlimited supply at our proverbial fingertips. When we turn our attentions inwards and connect to our hearts, endless and unconditional love and self-acceptance can flow and grow. To get there, we need to pause and create time in our lives to receive. Through yoga, mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation practices I found my ‘authentic’ self, and learned that this being, my being, is worthy of love.

We are all worthy of love, kindness, and compassion. Bringing those qualities of heart to yourself naturally fills you and allows you to share your love and kindness with everyone around you.