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loving by not doing
Photography by curtis aiken

loving by not doing

by Curtis Aiken curtis aiken
Live Healthy | Tips | | Personal Story

experience more love in your life... effortlessly
For many years I wished that I innately acted with more love and compassion toward others and myself, too. When I have tried to act loving because I think that loving actions are required, my love seems to have been expressed or received wrong. Because of this I have often felt misunderstood and unaccepted. When I couldn't get love right, I would punish myself with my words.

Then one day I decided I had had enough! I wanted to express love toward others more often and I knew the best place to start was by showing love to myself. So I began coming up with ways that I could show myself love. What better place to start than with meditation? It isn't always easy to meditate, but that makes the effort put in an expression of love. So I got comfy and began my meditation.

But I couldn’t meditate; I felt tired and weak. Why? Possibly because of the couple of wines we had with our neighbours the night before. We had fun with them; we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal and some fantastic wine. It was a great night; it could be seen as an act of love toward myself and others because there was connection, laughter and friendship. There was platonic love in the air! So why was it that I felt like shit the next day? How is that fair? I wasn’t hung over; I didn’t even drink that much! Should I have stayed home instead? Should I have drank less and had less fun? How was I supposed to meditate and show love to myself the next day if I felt like shit and was annoyed at myself for feeling that way?

Then other thoughts crossed my mind, like was I even meditating correctly? How would I know? I recalled a story Ram Dass told about how he once meditated with "real meditators." If even Ram Dass didn’t consider himself to be a real meditator, what exactly was I doing? Why does it sometimes seem so damn hard to be loving to others and myself? What exactly is love, anyway?

I had a conversation with God. It’s funny; I don’t very often have conversations with myself. Usually my thoughts are just a bunch of statements I am throwing out there, so when I had a conversation in my head (like crazy people do) I was surprised that I had some wisdom tucked away. I asked myself questions, then answered myself without hesitating, as though I already knew the answer deep down inside me. I asked what exactly is love and why do I sometimes find it so difficult to be loving toward myself and others?

Then it hit me! I was so caught up in trying to do love, that I was overlooking something so obvious... Love isn’t just something that you do, love is also what you don't do. I spend most of my days trying to do things to show myself that I love me, such as exercising or making a green juice, and then when things don’t turn out right love is the farthest thing from my mind.

I show my dogs that I love them by cuddling them, feeding them, playing with them, giving them medical attention if required, and even raising my voice to stop them from getting into mischief and possibly harming themselves. I don’t even question these actions. It is not a question of acting with love; with my dogs I just act how I do, because I love. What I don’t do is starve my dogs or hit them or continuously yell at them for something they already did.

What if rather than feeding my dogs out of love, instead I didn’t starve them, out of love? In life, what if instead of doing things because I was trying to act more loving, instead I simply did no harm because I love? What if I didn’t do harmful things to myself and the world around me out of love, because not acting in a harmful way is in fact the act of love?

For years I expected God to be ‘doing’ something to prove he loves me and has my back. But what if God loves by not only providing what we need, but also by not providing what would be incredibly damaging to us, with consideration of the evolutionary journey we are each on during this incarnation?

I am feeling much better about not acting non-loving than I ever did when I tried to act loving but was attached to the act of love – which is all ego. I used to think that love was an action, or a feeling. But I have now discovered that it is also the absence of actions, thoughts and feelings that are unloving. 

What God doesn't do is unloving actions. When we think he does, it is merely a perception issue, rather than the truth of the situation. Hindsight always reveals this, if you are paying attention.

So, you want to experience more love in your life? Here is how to do it: Don’t do things that are unloving, including negative self-talk and harmful acts toward yourself and other living beings. This is a form of love with no defining boundaries. When we try to act in a way which we think is loving, we are trying to define what love is. But love can’t be defined. To define something is to say that this is what it is, and this is where it ends, and outside of this, it is not. Love knows no limits.