By Shivi Verma
Communion with God teaches us how to love, says Shivi Verma
I often wondered what the gurus meant when they said that love was the solution to all the ills of the world. Loving others was not easy. Not because I was not capable of it. On the contrary, my heart usually overflowed with love. There was always something in the other which I found very endearing. But trouble started when they discovered my love for them. Either the person used to consider my love a weakness and try and manipulate me, or become too dependent on me, knowing that I would always be there. Too often people considered my affection for them as a hint, and fell head over heels in love with me, making me highly uncomfortable. And then there was another class which would become dismissive or scornful of me on knowing that I liked them and go to the extent of back-stabbing me. Of course there were some pure simple people too who felt happy to receive and reciprocate my love, and did not bind me with expectations but they could be counted on my fingers.
Quote: True love is birthed out of freedom, and is not a slave of approval from others
Such inexplicable responses to love used to fill me with bitterness and rage. And I used to surmise that most people were unworthy of being loved. Truly, nothing in this world made you more vulnerable to hurts and injuries than love. And I could understand why people folded up in self-defence, carrying an armour wherever they went. Loving meant giving power to others to ill-treat you, injure you and make you feel miserable. Yet nothing except love could heal the world. It was such an irony.
As I licked my wounds in private and confided in God about the perils of loving others, I saw tender realisation dawning upon me. There was nothing but love and love alone in people's hearts. But someone in the gigantic circle of time chose to abuse it at some point. Once love was abused, it created fear and bitterness, and its natural flow got reversed. Like everything it created a ripple effect. Each one was now fearful of being caught in love and then abused, and, therefore hardened himself and misinterpreted even those actions that were harmless. As hurts rose, judgements rose and so did condemnation of the other. And as people bought those judgements, they began embracing the vices they were accused of having. In such a scenario if someone dared to love them truly, they were more likely to distrust him. The light of love powerfully highlighted their shadow areas and they mostly retaliated in anger or jealousy. Therefore saints, knowing their responsibility of correcting the fundamental error, did not return bitterness with bitterness, injury with injury, hurt with hurt. Their compassionate hearts continued to love the other despite getting bitten or bruised, waiting patiently for the day when trust would return in the human heart. And though it is easier preached than practised, the more you hone your connection with the Divine, the more natural this state becomes to you. Does it mean that we offer ourselves to others like a doormat? No, said God. True love is birthed out of freedom, and is not a slave of approval from others. It knows the value of self-love, self-respect and space, and works through these tools to reach out to people.In my own life this has been my greatest challenge and learning. In most cases I have had to work hard in trying to make people understand that I meant no harm. And God too has been very kind. In my darkest of times too, He has kept the lamp of love burning in my heart, many times even against my own wish.
Bio: Deputy Editor with Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee who found all her answers in loving God passionately.
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