By Leo Babauta
You reject the limitations of being a romantic Cassanova, restricted to loving only those who fall for your seductions. You want to love every one. Every single living being. Everything in this miraculous universe.
You learn to love it all, in its majestic entirety.
You don’t discriminate between the aesthetically beautiful or the squalid, the dirty, the flawed. You don’t require near perfection for your love, nor do you need people to act the way you want them to for them to receive your love.
Your love is unconditional, limitless, all-pervasive. It cares not about political differences, ethnic differences, gender, wealth status, fame, achievement, body shape, education level, religious beliefs. It loves every person, because they are all deserving of love. Your love reaches every living being, including animals, because they deserve love. Your love spreads to plants, mountain ranges, galaxies, as all part of one ever-changing, fluid energy.
This doesn’t happen every second of every day. In fact, it happens in fleeting moments, and then you return to your self-centered concerns. But for that fleeting moment, you are the World’s Greatest Lover.
So what? Who cares about a title like that? The title doesn’t matter, but being able to love like that changes you. For that evanescent moment, you feel that love completely, and are therefore lifted out of your petty concerns about what people think of you, whether you’re doing something right, whether you’re missing out. You are elevated above your usual limitations, and all of a sudden you are happy. You are at peace with the world, and want nothing but everyone’s happiness.
You also see that other people are suffering, in similar ways to how you’re suffering, and you have a genuine, whole-hearted wish for their suffering to end.
And so those brief moments of pure love are powerful. And worthy of trying to get to, over and over again.
To find these moments of love, you train your mind:
- You meditate every day.
- In meditation, you see the way your mind works.
- You see the ways your mind avoids discomfort and habitually runs to comfort.
- You learn to stay with discomfort, and find that pain and frustration are not unbearable.
- You train yourself to see others as going through the same things you’re going through.
- You train yourself to see yourself as not solid, but fluid.
- You train yourself to see everything else as fluid and changing as well, not static but dynamic.
- You learn to find happiness in your connection to everything else, in seeing the fluid nature of the moment.
- You train yourself to meditate on the wish for others to be happy.
- You train yourself to not judge things as “good” or “bad” but simply be curious about them.
- You start to accept others as they are, love them for their flaws and uniqueness.
And this practice doesn’t come overnight, but in small steps. It is messy and full of uncertainty. That’s OK, because uncertainty is exactly what you’re learning to work with.
This practice helps you overcome fear and self-doubt and uncertainty. It helps you overcome all the limitations that have sabotaged your attempts at habit change, that have held you back because of fear, that make you stressed and frustrated each day. The practice improves your relationships, makes you happier with yourself, helps you to be more mindful, and gives you inspiration to do your best work.
When you find out how to become the World’s Greatest Lover, of course, you want to help others do the same. That’s part of the love.