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5 Simple Secrets for Enhancing True Love
Are you a spiritual, mystical being, willing to try out new approaches to old problems? Do you embrace fresh new thinking? No? Well then keep an open mind anyway, and enjoy this article!
True Love, translated from the original French, is a little book with about a hundred double-spaced pages; a quick read. In this beautiful treatise on love, Thich Nhat Hanh disarms the ego and speaks directly to the heart with great tenderness. He offers the Buddhist view of love, which is direct, simple and sweet, and he offers these easy to use techniques, based on conscious breathing and "mental mantras".
Here are the five secrets. On first read, these may sound a little abstract and deep. They're not! Take them at face value. Try them all, one by one, and see if you don't bring a little more sweet love into your lives.
SECRET#1: MAKE TIME FOR LOVE
This may seem obvious, but in our busy, fast-paced lives, love often gets placed on the back burner. Hanh asks us, "Do you have enough time to love? Make sure that in your everyday life you make the time that is needed to share your love." We don't have much time together, he reminds us.
We are just too busy. In our day-to-day routines, we rarely take the time to look at and focus on our love partner. We sit down to eat together, yet at the same time, read a newspaper or distract ourselves with mindless television shows. Breaking bread together provides a great opportunity to focus on one another and lend a loving ear, so take advantage of it.
In the evening when we come home, we are too tired to even look at the person we love. We chill out in front of the T.V. or computer screen, or engage in other activities. Hahn teaches that we must make time for love. We must make it a priority. We must bring about a revolution in our way of living our everyday lives, because our happiness, our very lives, depend upon it.
SECRET #2: BE THERE FOR YOUR LOVED ONE
Hahn asks us, if we are not there, how can we love? To be there for someone we love means we have to live in the present ourselves. We must take a deep breath and be here in the moment. We must let our thoughts and worries of the past and the future be stilled. We breathe and we are here at this moment.
Hanh suggests simple mindful (conscious) breathing. "Breathing-I know that I am breathing in; breathing-I know that I am breathing out." If we concentrate in this way, he reminds us, we can begin to still our restless minds and be present to ourselves and the person we love.
Once we are present, we can recite a simple mantra to ourselves: "Dear one, I am here for you." Try it today. You'll be surprised at how good you feel and how wonderful the person you care about will feel.
SECRET #3: VALIDATE YOUR LOVER'S PRESENCE
The greatest gift we can give is to totally recognize and appreciate our significant other. So often, that phrase is overused, and is utilized to denote a legal partnership. Try to concentrate on what it really means, and make your mate feel that he really is truly significant. Hanh says to love is to be; to be loved is to be recognized by the other. If you love someone and you continue to ignore his or her presence, this is not true love.
How many times has your loved one come into the room, but you were too busy to fully acknowledge them? Hanh says, perhaps you didn't intend to ignore them, but the way you act, look and speak does not recognize the presence of the other, give them importance. Appreciate the person you love several times a day. Someday they won't be there. Live every day as if you will never see them again.
Try this mantra. "Dear one, I know that you are there and it makes me very happy." Hanh reminds us, this is real meditation. All at once there is love, compassion, joy, and freedom- the four constituents of true love.
SECRET #4: REACH OUT TO YOUR LOVED ONE WHEN THEY ARE SUFFERING
It's not always a bed of roses, modern life. We are often so stressed that we are tuned out to the suffering of the person we love the most. When you are living mindfully, Hanh says, you know what is happening around you. You are attuned to the suffering of your loved one in the same way a mother or father is attuned to the suffering of their child. When he is hurting, your loved one is a child, too, in need of loving care.
When you are tuned in to your partner, you know when they are in pain. Be there for them! There are few things more effective at deepening love than having someone to share your troubles with. True love endures through bad times as well as good.
Say this mantra. "Dear one, I know that you are suffering, that is why I am here for you." When they are suffering, we need to be present for the person we love. You don't have to do anything or fix anything. All you have to do is recognize their suffering and be there for them.
SECRET #5: LET GO OF YOUR PRIDE. ASK FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT, TOO
This is the most difficult thing for most of us. We often feel hurt ourselves, and out of pride, we refuse to tell the other person that we are suffering. We begin to feel cut off and alone and we become resentful because our partner doesn't see our hurt and come to our aid. Don't let your pride keep you from reaching out.
Resentment can cause us to withdraw, and our loved one then feels unloved. They then become angry or withdraw, themselves. Too many times, couples begin a downward spiral of hurt and betrayal until the relationship falls apart under the weight of pain and suffering. Don't let this happen to you. Let go of your pride.
Try this mantra. "Dear one, I am suffering so much, help me please." Don't suffer in silence. Let your partner know of your pain. Reach out to him.
We here at Findlove-Keeplove find much wisdom and value in the exploration of alternative religions, philosophies and "other-culture" approaches to life. If you find yourself an American, like we do, then bless the rights and opportunities this circumstance affords you. But admit it, one of our shortcomings as Americans is our lack of focus on the richer, simpler things in life. Other cultures have much to offer us in our pursuit of happiness and a fuller life. Keep an open mind...