By: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
This Valentine’s Day, make the Divine your valentine. See the Divine in your valentine and make the divinity your valentine. Have the same love for everyone, with different flavours. You cannot behave the same way with everyone, but you can love all of them. Love transcends behaviour and etiquette.
Abiding in the Self, you become the valentine for the whole world. Spirit is the valentine of matter and matter is the valentine of the spirit. They are made for each other. If you hold on to matter and do not respect the spirit, then matter is not pleased. If you honour the spirit, then you will care for the world, and when you care for the world, it will take care of you.
Keep your heart in a safe place it is too delicate. Events and small things make strong impressions on it. A precious stone needs a setting around it – gold or silver – to hold it in the same way wisdom and knowledge are the settings that will hold your heart in the Divine. To keep your heart safe and your mind sane, you cannot find a better place than the Divine. Then the passing time and events will not be able to touch you they will not create a scar.
Often, you do not know how to respond, or feel obliged and bound, when someone shows a lot of love. The ability to receive genuine love comes with the ability to give love. The more you are centred and know by experience that love is not an emotion it is your very existence, the more you feel at home with any amount of love expressed in any manner.
There are three kinds of love. The love that comes out of charm, that which comes out of comfort and divine love. The love that comes out of charm does not last long. It comes out of unfamiliarity or attraction. In this, you lose the attraction fast, and boredom sets in. This love may diminish and bring along with it a fear, uncertainty, insecurity and sadness.
The love that comes out of comfort and familiarity grows, but it has no thrill, no enthusiasm, joy, or fire to it. For example, you are more comfortable with an old friend who is a familiar person rather than with a new person. Divine love supersedes both the above. It has an ever present newness. The closer you go, more charm and depth come to it. There is never boredom and it keeps everyone on their toes.
Worldly love can be like an ocean, yet an ocean has a bottom. Divine love is like the sky which is limitless. From the bottom of the ocean, soar into the vast sky. Ancient love transcends all these relationships and is inclusive of all the relationships. Let love be. Don’t give it a name. When you give it a name, it becomes a relationship, and relationships restrict love.
Often, one experiences love at first sight. Then as time goes on, it decreases, decays, turns into hatred and disappears. Ancient love never decays. Although its mortality rate is high, love dies very young. After a few days, weeks, months, or years, it dies. In society, you say love is never a tree, it is a seasonal crop.
When the same love becomes a tree with the manure of knowledge, it becomes ancient love that goes from lifetime to lifetime. That is our own consciousness. You are not limited to this present body, this present name, this present form and the present relationships around you. You may not know your past, your ancientness. But just know you are ancient, that is good enough.
Pain goes with love. Because you love someone, even a small action can hurt you. And in hurt, you feel very delicate, very deep. Love also creates the same sensation. Separation creates the same symptom. If you don’t love somebody, you will never feel hurt by them. Understand and accept this. Then that hurt will not turn into a sore feeling. Rather, that very hurt will take you deep into dispassion and meditation.
When love glows, it becomes bliss when it flows, it is compassion when it blows, it is anger when it ferments, it is jealousy. Let love be. Don’t give it a name!
(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader and founder of The Art of Living, one of the largest volunteer-based NGOs. He will be on a special Twitter Townhall on Feb. 23rd. You can post your questions on Twitter @AskSriSri)