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The Kindness of Love


Image of a beautiful water lily

All spiritual teachings tell us that Love is at the heart of everything, that it is the sea we swim in. Can you see Love in you and in your life? I realised some years ago that I could not. That something about this was eluding me. This wonderful, mystical, ever-present Love didn’t seem to be present in my daily experience. I couldn’t seem to find it - either within myself or within my world. And yet, more than twenty five years of exploring spiritual teachings, and my own private daily conversations with the Divine, were all telling me that Love Is, and every time I read this or heard this I felt within me a deep recognition of the Truth of this. So, I began to get curious: If I am Love and everything about me and everything around me is Love, and there is nothing but Love, then what am I missing? How come I don’t experience the world as this when the beautiful enlightened teachers I am following so obviously do? How am I missing it? What in me stops me seeing, receiving, giving and enjoying this deep eternal ever-present Love? As I looked around me, I realised that I wasn’t the only one, that other people have found Love to be elusive, and are wondering what it is and where it is. I found myself embarking on a journey to understand Love better. Now, several years on, I am beginning to recognise that which gets between us and our experience of Love.


What Blocks the Experience of Love?

Tiny blossom coming out of a thicket of dead branches

If Love is everywhere and all that is, but we are not feeling it, then what is it that comes between us and the experience of it?


In meditation circles, a particular metaphor is often used: our thoughts are like clouds, moving across the blue sky and blocking out the sun. The density of our thoughts (clouds) covers up a deeper reality (the sky that exists beyond them).


What is often not clarified is that this deeper reality - the sky beyond the clouds - is Love. And, the only thing that stands between us and our experience of this is a quality of thinking that is not loving. Let me say that again:


The only thing that stands between us and our experience of Love is a quality of feeling that is not loving.

In my coaching practice and in daily life, I meet with all sorts of different people. I work with executives, creatives and entrepreneurs, with elderly people, with teenagers, and I now also volunteer as a buddy for people in prison. Across this diverse range, everyone I meet is nothing less than inherently good, everyone simply wants a happy and meaningful life, and everyone wants to love and be loved.


But what I also see, over and over, is how very hard we all are on ourselves (and on our loved ones and our lives) in the privacy of our own being.


Most of us are innocently engaging in a quality of thinking that is judgmental and harsh. If you stop for a moment and reflect, you will see the truth of this. How often have you deemed yourself, your circumstances, your job or contribution to the world, your home, a loved one or a peer to be not good enough, lacking, a failure or ‘wrong’ in the past day and week?


Can you see that this isn’t Love? Love simply doesn’t feel like this.


Love is warm, inclusive, generous, understanding, patient and inclusive. It is infinitely kind and enchantingly beautiful, like the scent of a blossom or the touch of a cool breeze on a hot day or the first flakes of snow in winter. It gives and gives like a fresh water spring, and never dries up. It feels like a balm - like nectar - so perfect and sweet and right for us.


When we are actively engaged in a quality of thinking that is hard and critical, we literally push the experience of Love away. It prevents us from directly knowing and receiving that Love that Is, in this moment.


Judgment Obscures Love

Image of towel and essential oils for an aromatherapy treatment

The first place and the only place where we are not seeing Love is within ourselves. And what we don’t See we don’t experience.


How often do we deem ourselves unworthy? How often do we jump on ourselves with self-criticism as soon as we feel we are not doing/showing up/being/acting/achieving as we should?


How often do we assume that things ‘going wrong’ are our fault, and we need to work on ourselves more, think better thoughts, or contort and change ourselves in some way?


How often do we jump on our dreams and visions, picking over them and doubting them, until they are in danger of disintegrating entirely?


What if this is a waste of time and energy? And Love?


At such times, we are not giving ourselves a loving chance., and in that moment it seems - not surprisingly - as if Love is not here. Because it isn’t. It is isn’t here in us for us. And thus it is absent from our experience. The sky is being obscured by the cloudy nature of our thoughts.


The moment we think an unkind thought, we have stepped out of Love.

The habit of seeing ourselves - and others - without kindness is not innate. Rather, it is something we have been trained in from a very early age - so as not to appear selfish, or arrogant, demanding or needy, or whatever else might be deemed socially unacceptable. We have learned to keep a critical eye on ourselves and others, to keep ourselves in check, and to distrust anything that might be o