This past holiday weekend I had the privilege of witnessing two weddings. Love was the focus of each of these celebrations. Love was talked about in a way that downplayed the popular culture’s understanding of love as an uplifting, erotic, exhilarating emotional experience. Love was equated to the decision that one makes to consciously act in the other’s welfare, even, at times, setting aside that warm lovely feeling of being in love when the beloved is irritating and self-centered.
Love in these marriage ceremonies meant selfless service, always focusing on the best for the other and setting aside one’s own needs and desires.
These past few days I have wondered whether a person can maintain the feeling of “being in love” with the “nasty” partner, or the selfish spouse or significant other.
I think it’s possible, but it takes self-discipline to develop the habit (samskara) to always stay in the state “in-love”.
When I teach people how to meditate, especially in a large crowd setting where I only have one hour with these learners, I ask them to feel the breath in their nostrils as they sit with eyes either closed or open staring at something. I ask them to feel the cool air come in and the warmer air come out of their nostrils. Then I ask them to “fall in love” with their breath. I am really asking them to decide to feel loving toward the flow of life in their nostrils. I ask them to “fall in love” with the feeling of the cool and the warm. I ask them to “fall in love” with the joining of the breath from the right and left nostrils at the bridge of their nose. Slowly, I see a gentle smile start forming on their faces as they experience the sweetness of their own breath at the bridge of the nose.
I ask them to continue to stay with that sweetness and to continue to “fall in love” with it. This experience is incredibly pleasing and delightful. It always brings a smile to my face whenever I experience my breath in this way.
I encourage all of you to try it—Fall in love with your breath. Then sit with that feeling and that experience for as long as you can. It will train your mind to be able to experience that even when a loved one is yelling at you, or the traffic gets irritating or boring. Bringing our awareness back to the love we have for our breath, makes it possible for us to love our spouse or our friend all the time, even when we don’t feel initially loving toward them or their actions.
It’s fun to experience! I encourage you all to work at this. It brings joy out of potential suffering. Who knows, it might even save a relationship.
Happy falling in love!