PART FIVE – LOVE. There are seven words for love in classical Greek. And there’s another kind of love for which there is no word. It is a state of being more than a feeling for someone or something. It is the Great Joy that comes from unconditional love. You live it, simply and effortlessly, when you are in full agreement with your own life.
“the moon offers light without a hand
the sun is proof of the sun,
writing about love
my pen splinters” Jalal ad Din Rumi
NLP and Love
As soon as our basic needs are satisfied, and once we are in alignment with ourselves, we come home to love. Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs includes the need for freedom of expression, creativity, and mental congruity. When those needs are satisfied, and when unconscious conflicts are resolved, you move into great joy and unconditional love. It’s that simple.
Twenty years ago, when my Zen teacher was empowering several of us as teachers, I asked. “When do you know when someone is ready to be a teacher?” He replied, “When they’re happy.”
The next question is: how do you become happy? The answer, like the question, can only be lived. But there are a few clues.
Society is driven by the assumption that happiness comes from getting what you want. Commerce depends on it. It’s our collective fantasy. It doesn’t take much to realize that there’s no end to wanting. But that doesn’t mean that ‘wanting’ is the problem. The real problem lies in the illusion that when you get what you want you will be happy. There’s nothing wrong with wanting. Denying your desires in the name of ‘spiritual’ perfection is another version of wanting, a kind of spiritual materialism. Finding a belief system that lets you close down for fear of disappointment is capitulation, a kind of death, wanting to destroy your dreams and aspiration. There’s another way to happiness outside of wanting or not wanting.
NLP provides a great road map. NLP is driven by the understanding that when you have internal conflicts you can’t be genuinely happy. There is something hidden inside you that remains unsatisfied.
Part of you wants one thing, part of you wants another. There’s a lack of clarity that feeds uncertainty and fear. You probably have an unexamined belief or two about what you can or cannot want; or about what you should or should not have. You’d like to do good for the whole planet, but you are so conflicted it’s hard for you to do good even for yourself.
NLP has a knack of pulling those limiting beliefs to the surface and changing it, After all, all beliefs are figments. We imagine that they are rooted in external events. But the beliefs we hold about ourselves are fictions that we have concocted.
NLP recognizes that everything you experience in your life is informed by your emotional and mental state. Love is simply the highest and most beneficial emotional state. It’s a natural combination of joy, energy, mental clarity, creativity and whatever natural positive tendencies accompany your own personality once you have become free from emotional encumbrance.
Four Parts to love
- Affection. Familiarity. Getting to know you. Feeling safe, known, seen, appreciated and owning those feeling as your own, as a natural way of being yourself. When we work with new clients we often begin by teaching them to like themselves. Perhaps it’s the single most powerful thing they can do. It is the beginning of love.
- Friendship. There’s a saying that money can buy anything except old friends. There’s consistency and faithfulness in friendship. There are common aims, common values, and trust. There is contact, accountability, transparency, and the challenge of growth.
- In the Greek conception of the world, Eros was the first element that took shape from primordial Chaos. We turned Eros into lust and pornography because we were ashamed of desire. Think of Eros instead as the embodiment of life, love revealed. It includes sexuality, because it includes everything we call life. Eros is celibate or fertile. It is the abundance of embodied living.
- Imagine the unconditional love of a mother for her child. Remove the child and let the love remain, now direct that love towards everything and everyone that comes within its reach. Or imagine the exquisite pleasure of being in love for the first time. Remember how it transformed your world, Now remove the person who awakened your heart, but keep the transformation. Neuroscience has measured the healing and creative capacity of that state. NLP teaches you how to own and embody it.
It’s almost meaningless to speak of love. Love is simply life lived. The only certainty is life itself, the only law – ‘more life!’ Love is the experience of life, the embodiment of the truth of living, along with the little joys and sadness, the coming and going of things. It is clearing the way to the ongoing happiness my teacher was referring to.
How can NLP helps in this central spiritual quest? It is the nearest thing we’ve seen to a User’s Manual for how to experience the love and joy that is the natural fuel for this business of living life as a complete human-being.
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