So Many Love Songs…But Is That Love?
Millions of words have been sung about love. It’s ironic, but love is not in words. Read what I mean in this week’s edition of “Isn’t That Ironic?”.
Untold millions of words have been spoken about love—in songs, in poems, in stories, in moments of hot passion. So, love must truly be in all these words. How ironic, but love is not in words, it is in silence; love is not in speaking, it is in listening. Here is what I mean.
There are several different parts to our minds. We can think of the conscious mind and subconscious mind. Freud considered the mind to contain three parts: the id, the ego, and the superego. Modern psychology considers numerous parts of the mind, those that involve cognitive functions such as consciousness, imagination, rational thinking, memory, as well as noncognitive functions such as emotion and instinct. But from a spiritual perspective, we can consider two important, and very different, parts of our mind: our false self (the ego or egoic mind) and our true self—our divine self. Let me explain these a bit.
The false self, or egoic self, is our idea of who we are, our sense of self or self-concept (not who we really are), which is created by thoughts about ourselves: "I am fat, tall, a father, a hard worker, a musician, not good enough." These thoughts create a sense of being somebody separate and distinct from others.
Our true self, or divine self, or essence is who we really are, the soul or spirit that is living this life through us. It is our essential goodness. We are actually spiritual beings having a human experience. That spiritual being is our true self.
Our true self is not only capable of loving, but it is love. It is our true self that is created in the image and likeness of God—and God is Love, so our true self is love. The false self, on the other hand, isn’t really an entity at all. We could call it mental programming. The ego is only our idea of ourself. It is not a real self at all. It is a mental construct. It is not capable of loving.
If you’re confused by all that, don’t worry. You’re in good company. Almost no one understands it. But here’s the thing, most of the time when we talk in a conversation, which part of our mind do you think is doing the talking? Usually, it’s the ego. (Note that I’m talking about the ego as the false self, not as Freud conceived of it.)
When the ego is speaking, you feel a push to talk because the ego wants to talk about itself, wants attention, or wants to demonstrate that it knows something. Thoughts about what you want to say swirl around in your head, or you impatiently wait for an opportunity to speak. When you do speak, you experience a tightness in your body and a self-consciousness or pre-occupation with yourself. All of which signal that your ego is talking. When you finish speaking, there no sense of “Ah”, but a feeling of needing more, needing more approval for what you just said, needing more attention, needing to be special. It doesn’t feel good to need. There is no peace in needing. It turns out that attempts at getting something for yourself out of a conversation only backfire, leaving you wanting more of something you can never get enough of.
Contrast that with your true self. To do that, we must drop out of the ego and into the heart. Not into feelings/emotions—they belong to the false self. I’m talking about your spiritual heart, which is your connection to your innate wisdom, your true knowing, your intuition. When you are in your heart, then it is truly possible to say something that is meaningful and true and loving in that moment.
When the heart has something to say, it lets you know through a different urge to speak. It’s a sense that something wants to be said through you. You’re not sure what it is. When the heart is ready to speak, the words come forward and you are as surprised as anyone because you didn’t know what you were going to say. The words just came out of your mouth. Words that come from the heart make everyone relaxed and that’s when you know you’ve spoken the truth.
Relaxation is a sign of being aligned with the Divine self, with truth. Whether that is a relative truth, or eternal Truth. You know when you’ve heard the truth because your body relaxes and feels at ease. You feel either an “ah” or an “ah-ha”. Your body is a wonderful instrument for guiding your conversations. Contraction is a very different state from expansion/peace/relaxation—and easy to distinguish.
So, how can you tell whether it’s your egoic self or your true self that wants to speak? Firstly, and most importantly, notice what the ego is trying to get for itself by saying what it’s saying. Is it trying to be: right, superior, special, to get attention, to be “the helper”, or the “savior” to others, to enhance its position in the world, or get something else it wants from others.
Secondly, when you’re with others, make a conscious effort to not speak, or to speak very little. When you feel the push from your ego to speak, hold back. The more you hold back your egoic impulses, the easier this becomes. This takes practice but you will eventually gain mastery over your ego. The divine self is receptive, it listens, and that is really what others want from you. When you listen, love flows from you to others and back again to you. The divine self is always kind. When you do speak, let your words be kind. Give this gift to yourself and others. Kindness comes from the truth—the deepest truth of all, that you are love and you are here to love.
Even with a million love songs and love poems, it’s ironic that love is not in the words. Love is in the listening. In short, the ego speaks, love listens. Try listening more—really listening. You might be surprised by how much love you experience.
God Bless You!
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