Recently I entered a room where two young adults were having a discussion. I surprised them. My impulse was to retreat, however, with a slight wave of the arm, I was invited to proceed as my destination was a storage room just to the side of where the discussion was taking place. Doing my best to focus on my task and to respect the privacy of the discussion, I proceeded. On passing, I thought I heard the words of the question “What is love?”
Valentine’s Day is looming next week as is Family Day Weekend. To speak and ask a question about love is timely.
My mind suddenly remembered a time many years ago when I was about their age. I had the same question. This wasn’t an easy time of my life as I struggled with this question. It didn’t occur to me, at that time, to search out other’s opinions and views about this question.
As a young adult, I stumbled unexpectedly across an answer to this question that has resonated with me for many years. Scott Peck, in his book “The Road Less Travelled” suggested that love is simply “taking action” for the person you love. The insight for me was this….I thought that love was a feeling that would emerge out of the natural chemistry between people and somehow would remain regardless of the nature of the relationship. Peck suggested otherwise – he suggested that love is a verb and if you wanted to experience love, you needed to take some action. In other words, do something for the person you love. Take action and love would be created. I tried it and it worked!
In the mindfulness practices that I teach, taking action is essential to cultivating a stable inner core. A strong commitment to yourself by taking the time to practice is essential. While these practice periods are important, the power of mindfulness is in its application.
This week, here is the informal mindfulness practice. Consciously choose to take thoughtful action for someone you love and pay attention to what happens. Then, decide for yourself whether love can exist without a conscious and sustained effort.