Love is the most difficult thing you will ever do
Yet love is the most effortless thing in this world.
There is no doubt that love is difficult. Just look around and see the heartache all around you. But it is also true that love is effortless. It arises spontaneously without any effort and it fills our lives with magnificence.
So how can we have two contradictory statements existing side by side? How can love be effortless and difficult at the same time?
Love is effortless because love is the language of the soul. It flows effortlessly into our lives if we allow it to do so.
Love is difficult because we have an ego and we dance to its tune. It is no use wishing away the ego. It governs our lives and understanding this simple fact can make a huge difference. Ego is the elephant we are riding. It goes where it wants and leaves a trail of destruction behind it, all we do is “justify” its actions after the fact.
The key to effortless love are the following six points:
1. Acknowledge the elephant – “Why am I doing this?” is a question to ask yourself all the time. The honest answer to this may be “Because I am hurt” Once we realize that our actions are governed by our desire to assuage the ego’s hurt feelings, or to seek attention, or to seek retribution, we can gain perspective. It becomes easier to step back and say to ourselves, “Maybe I should shut up, this is not so important after all!”
2. Dismount the elephant – The single most important thing we can do with our lives is to stop the ego from running it. It is possible to dismount the elephant, but we must understand that the prerequisite for this is love. The ground that you land on after getting off the elephant is love. This means both partners have to dismount their egos simultaneously. It does not work if only one does it.
3. Simplify life – The biggest enemy of love is stress. It prevents us from thinking clearly and understanding our priorities. Remember that it is the ego that is driving us to take on too much. It seeks attention and fame and fuels our ambition. But at all times we have to ask ourselves: “Is this really important?” It is only love that makes us happy. So all our effort should be in this direction. Instead we run in the opposite direction at the calling of our ego. It may be time to stop and radically simplify life.
4. Be faithful – A common trick the ego uses to sabotage love is it guiles us into being unfaithful. The answer to this is to remain super vigilant. Nip things in the bud and do not encourage any thought and behavior that takes you down the slippery slope. Even entertaining a fantasy or a thought is dangerous. It always starts with a “harmless thought”, so when such a thought arises you must immediately discard it. The entire house of cards can come crashing down with one senseless act. There is no room for error here so all the caution is fully warranted.
5. Make space for love – Love is extraordinarily easy if you make space for it. The moment you take away your focus from “me thoughts” you create space for love to bloom. “Me thoughts” are thoughts coming from the ego about its need for attention, retribution, and defense. Forgiveness is key. Letting go of past hurts and grievances is extraordinarily important. This creates the space in our lives for love to bloom. We forgive for our sake. It is the biggest gift we can give ourselves.
6. Dial Yoga for love – The single biggest secret of yoga is that it is a great antidote for the ego. Yoga decompresses our lives by relieving it from stress. Once this happens the “fog lifts” and we can take back control of our lives from our ego. We learn to step back from blowing up silly things that would normally cause us to be angry or bitter. With the ego defanged, love blooms. It helps if both partners practice yoga.
“I have spent many days stringing and unstringing my instrument
while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” – Rabindranath Tagore
We are here to sing the song of love, yet we remain captives to tuning our lives to our egos. Let us resolve to free ourselves from the burden of our ego and sing the song of love we are meant to sing.