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“Love is the wish for others to be happy.” ~Atisha

People just don’t understand what love is, so they suffer. Most Westernized people think love is when you can’t live without someone or some object. Any doctor will tell you that actually sounds like a disease.

Atisha, a Buddhist monk in the 10th Century echoed what love really is:

“Love is the wish for others to be happy.”

Do you really love your mate, spouse, parents, siblings? Honestly? The moment you aren’t wishing for them to be happy, that’s not love. And if you only wish for them to be happy some of the time, you don’t really love them, you need something from them.

A headline yesterday from India reveals the kind of addiction people think of as love: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=13475321 It should be clear this man did not truly love his girlfriend. It’s the same kind of addiction and suffering promoted by Romeo & Juliet. Love defined by wanting to die. These two things don’t go together.

You can actually feel love even when you are alone! Do you wish happiness for yourself? Try it now, see, hear, feel yourself happy. Now, wish for someone you know to be happy, see it so. Imagine now everyone around you, in your city, on the planet, to be happy. Just see them as happy and notice how you feel. This is what love truly is, wishing all beings, including yourself, to feel happy. Not from what they have or are doing, but to simply be happy now.

From this place of wishing & seeing all beings as happy, now act. This becomes the action of love. You become an act of love.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Joy Livingwell June 28, 2011, 12:06 pm

    “Love is the wish for others to be happy”? I disagree.

    I do agree that an addiction to someone is not love. But I have seen and heard far too many people who are convinced that they “love” someone because they feel loving, or intend good things for the other person, while actually treating that person badly, even abusively.

    Erol, thanks for inspiring me to blog about this topic myself. It’s a good one.

    • Erol Fox June 28, 2011, 12:59 pm

      We could have a beautiful debate here @Joy and truly open some hearts.

      As an NLPer, let’s model this out. Also, I work to come from the NLP place of believing nothing but testing it. My thought is that internal state is the source of our experience and action.

      First test: If a person’s actions are harmful, in that very moment, are they wishing the other to be happy?

      Take an abusive spouse. She yells at her husband, calling him degrading names. In that moment of action, is her mental state also “wishing for him to be happy”? Or, is she just focused on herself and what she wants for herself to be happy. If she “loves” him, until Atisha’s definition, he actions would match her wish.

      Another test, a parent spanks their 5 yr. old child with one pop to the child’s hand as it reaches into a fire. Now the action, on it’s own, without intention can be called “abuse”. It is harming the skin of the child. But if the parent is holding a mental state of pure “love”, wishing for the child’s ultimate happiness, a pop on their hand is so much better than letting the child get burned and having a drawn out logical discussion with the child about fire. (At 5, the child has little logical ability and these discussions can be abusive.)

      Sometimes one can act seemingly harmful, from a place of love, and truly free another. Like shouting at someone to break their state so they don’t harm themselves.

      So in practice, my experience is that Atisha is speaking of a perpetual mental state of love, of wishing others to be happy, so that all action flows from that well.

      Thus, can one be half a globe away and “love” their parent? Or must they be continually on the phone with them to “love” them?

      What a wonderful exploration you have caused here! Thanks you!

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