Here's how it goes for me:
Me: I long for love and connection
Universe: I love you so deeply. You are special and dear to me. You are a gift to this world and to me. I Love you.
Me: Sh*#! I gotta get out of here fast!
What I most often wish for in my life is a felt sense of love and connection between myself and the world. I have positioned myself in fields of work and relationships where I am regularly invited to drop into streams of unconditional love and abiding connection. The streams include other people but also include Universal Love. Divine Love. I sit in it regularly when I'm with my teacher.
It scares the sh*# out of me! When I feel love and am in the silence of my practice or my meditation, I can handle it. But if you speak love to me, some part of me inwardly bolts for the door. I think of the ways I feel unworthy of this love. I immediately think I'm not allowed to have love like this in my life. I imagine that you are just blowing smoke - don't mean it, are only trying to be polite and actually would rather I left you alone already.
When I think these thoughts, I dismiss the heartfelt words of people who actually love me. I often distance myself instead of drawing closer. It is a strange paradox, I genuinely love the people in my life and I often keep them at arm's length because of that love.
From the Tantric viewpoint, the entire universe is created from a single Consciousness. It happens because Consciousness has a deep yearning to create. And yet, the creation is not separate from Consciousness herself. In some texts, Consciousness is referred to as Love. Not simple, object-oriented human love - but deep, conscious, non-objective, fully accepting Divine Love. Following this argument, if we are manifestations of Supreme Consciousness, you and I are both created by and made from love. Love is the grounding of our being. If you've ever met young children that haven't had their hearts broken by the world yet, you can see it all over their faces.
When I read teachings from Bill Mahony, Rumi, and others, I feel my heart humming in resonance like a plucked string. At the same time, my heart is a soft and tender thing. It has been hurt and confused in the past. It has been told and believed many things that would dispute the entire paragraph above.
The quest of awakening is to live more and more from the Heart rather than from the head.
To truly live from the heart, we must engage the great work of learning to BELIEVE people when they genuinely express Love. To believe them is to start to believe we are each worthy of love and belonging. To believe them is to start to believe in your own value to them and to the world. To believe them is to soften the grip of fear and hatred and to open to Love in many, many forms. We are all manifestations of Supreme Consciousness so when we love our friends, teachers and students, it is really the Divine loving herself.
Your heart is capable of great love and expansion. It can hold fear, confusion, and hurt and at the same time be filled with hope and Love.
And so, I invite you to trust in your heart, turn towards it and not away again and again. Slowly, let us teach ourselves to believe in Love.
Recommended Reading: Exquisite Love Heart-Centered Reflections on the Narada Bhakti Sutra by William K. Mahony (Bill)
* Quoted from the Tantra Yoga Immersion at Kripalu April 2017