“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. The world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.” ~Marianne Williamson
“…real love changes and grows with time and discovers new ways of expressing itself.” ~Paul Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments: “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…” ~1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“Fear less, HOPE more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, BREATHE more; Talk less, say more; Hate less, LOVE more; and all good things will be yours.” ~Swedish Proverb
How would you like to be unconditionally loved, just as you are, without having to be or do anything special? What would it be like to feel truly, completely, radically accepted, with out feeling as though you had to hide or deny or apologize for any aspect of yourself?
All of us crave this kind of love and acceptance, but few can honestly say we offer ourselves such unconditional regard. The trouble is, if we cannot love and accept ourselves just as we are, we will find it difficult to truly love anyone else in such a limitless, unconditional way. And, perhaps even more unsettling to contemplate, if we are fortunate enough to find someone who accepts and loves us unconditionally, how can we be open to receiving that love from someone else if we haven’t fully accepted ourselves?
Unconditional love becomes possible when you practice cultivating the four states of mind known as the brahmaviharas. Collectively, these four qualities of friendliness or lovingkindness (metta), compassion (karuna), joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha) are the qualities of true, authentic, and unconditional love. Both Patanjali, the Indian sage who compiled the Yoga Sutras in the second century BCE, and the Buddha taught the importance of cultivating these four states of mind.
“By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.” ~ Swami Satchidanada (1914-2002) (translation of Yoga Sutra 1.33)
“Consciousness settles as one radiates friendliness, compassion, delight, and equanimity toward all things, whether pleasant, unpleasant, good or bad.” ~ Chip Hartranft (translation of Yoga Sutra 1.33)
Stachidananda says that these qualities are the four keys to establishing the mind in serenity.
Cultivating these states of mind is a way of restraining or reversing what Patanjali calls vikshepa, the tendency of the mind to be distracted and outwardly directed. Patanjali tells us that when we react haphazardly or callously to what people do around us, inner disturbance is the result. These four attitudes combat that disturbance and bring us closer to a state of balanced equilibrium.
For example, in everyday life when we see happy people, cultivating a friendly attitude toward them will help forestall feelings of jealousy and envy. When we encounter those who are suffering, we should compassionately do what we can to help – for our own sake as much as for the person who is suffering. And finally, when we are faced with those we deem non-virtuous, the classical yoga tradition teaches that we should strive to have an indifferent attitude towards them. Often, we indulge in judging and criticizing those who we feel are misguided. This hardly helps keep a serene state of mind! Commentators in the classical yoga tradition point out that the yogi should not divert attention from his or her own practice in order to try to reform those who are unlikely to heed advice. As Satchidananda points out, “If you try to advise them, you will loose your peace.”
Reference: Yoga Journal 2010