I have had plenty of time for introspection in the last couple of weeks, and have done a lot of thinking and processing. And it has all come down to one single, very important realisation.
Love is ALL that matters.
It doesn't matter who did what, who said what, or what anyone thinks anyone else did or didn't do - it really doesn't. Because when it comes down to it, everyone has their own set of experiences and conditioning that defines how they perceive things (and in many cases people read things into the actions and words of others that are not necessarily there, so that even if the perceived motive is not there, that person's experiences and conditioning says it IS - this is the cause of so much negativity in the world, if people would just STOP and take a step back and BREATHE before they jump in and make assumptions about the motives of others or about what is *really* going on or being said or whatever, life would be so much simpler and people would get along SO much better!) And none of us can control anything except for our OWN actions - it would be a better world if people started realising that and DOING it instead of getting so up in arms about what OTHER people do or don't do, wouldn't it?
I have always held the belief that if you have an argument with somebody, it's not so much the actual argument itself that's important, as how that dispute is dealt with and whether the parties involved can communicate and find a middle ground to resolve it where both learn and understand each other and can move forward without holding resentment or anger. My recent introspection has reinforced this view and pared it down even further - as I said, it doesn't matter what events may have occurred or how someone saw things or what assumptions get made in a situation. That's all extraneous stuff, it's a human excuse to avoid the simple reality of the matter, that LOVE is all that matters. This is why I forgave my brother- because I realised that he IS my brother, and that he means far more to me than any argument we may have had, regardless of how big it seemed at the time. And this is why I can let go of any perceived hurt and not let it eat at me, because it is not important, not as much as the fact that he is my brother. And if I love my brother, that IS all that matters.
Negativity in any form (anger, resentment, fear, hatred, you name it) causes so much pain - especially when people buy into that negativity and allow it to feed and dictate their fears and how they see things. But if you bring Love to a situation and step back and detach from it a little and view it with Love instead of fear and anger, it changes the entire picture and you realise that what you thought was such a big deal and so hurtful, was really nothing. And that makes it so much easier to let go of negative emotional attachments and realise when someone is more important to you than being right, proving a point, scoring points, punishing them for whatever your conditioning tells you they have or haven't done or trying to find reasons not to trust someone (Trust is another thing I have been hammered with recently, it's a longtime lesson of mine that I have FINALLY understood and been able to translate from theory to practice, I may write another post explaining how that came about).
This is also why I have been able to do what I have talked about in previous posts and let go. Let me clear something up right off the bat - letting go is NOT the same thing as not loving. No sir. TRULY letting go, so that someone else's actions and words don't hurt me and I can allow them to be who they are without needing to try to change or control it, comes from Love. So letting go is an act of Love, not of denial or any negative emotion or any kind of dependence. I can let go fully *because* I Love, not because I *stop* loving. I can love without attachment - for example, if I had an argument with someone who then decided that they no longer wanted to be in my life, if I come from that place of Love, I can let them go in Love to follow their own path and do whatever they choose, without needing to keep them close to me, BECAUSE I love them (which means that by definition, I want what is right for them, and if that means it doesn't involve me, I am perfectly okay with that because I love that person enough to be able to let them go and find whatever it is that makes them happy). And Love is about as far as it is possible to get from Fear (for example, being afraid that the person would not want to be part of my life and needing to hold on to them and keep them in my life - that is not Love, that's possession, and I don't do possession because it interferes with the free will of others). Fear and negativity by definition can not coexist with Love - because Love is everything those things are not.
Love is not about possessing someone or owning them or controlling them - it's about just loving them as they are, accepting everything about them even if I don't like it or agree with it, and accepting that if they choose to walk out of my life, that's their right and their free will, and I can let them go with Love. Love has a great capacity to transform a situation - if I bring anger and pain to the table to resolve an argument, what do you think is going to happen? It's a given that the argument will escalate, because if *I* bring anger and pain, then others will start to reflect my own anger and pain back at me and then EVERYONE will feel that negativity and be directed by it. But if I bring Love, it means I remain calm and centred and see things as they truly are, and I cannot bring negativity in any form if I bring Love.They simply can NOT coexist. Love will overcome Fear and other negativity, EVERY time. I know that Fear is very loud in convincing us otherwise, but the reality is that Fear is only so loud, BECAUSE it is Fear. Fear HAS to be loud to be heard, because it is so afraid that it will NOT be heard, that it doesn't know HOW to be quiet and still. Love, on the other hand, is that quiet voice of reason that brings security and peace and more Love.
Love is not about losing the self (although it IS about losing the Ego) - Love brings freedom with it. Freedom from a catalogue of emotional pain and negativity, from all the things that people can do that can only hurt you if you take them on board and nurse them with more negativity to allow them to take root and grow. But if I choose to Love and to BE Love, these negative things cannot find a place in me to grow or thrive, because Love is all there is. And I choose, consciously, to BE Love and do all things from a place of Love and Compassion, rather than fear and negativity. So I do not need to fear the loss of any sense of control over others (when I never had that control to begin with, and any kind of belief that I *can* control others is pure illusion) if I Love - all I need to do is to allow Love to settle and find a place to start growing, and then Love takes care of the rest and I have such immense freedom of the heart. I know that others will do things that could hurt me time and time again - but because I AM Love, it doesn't matter - I forgive them, because in a lot of cases they have no idea they are doing it; they are so entrenched in their negative conditioning that they are too afraid to see that there is any other way to be or don't believe that there is any other way (or perhaps they feel that any way that is different to their own is wrong or stupid or any number of other negative things - but it doesn't *matter*, the point is that they are not open to Love). And those who are not open to Love, I forgive - some, I can change by giving them Love because they are ready to receive and accept and embrace it. Others are not ready (and some will never be ready because they are too stuck in fear) - and that's okay, because that's their own journey and who they are, and I Love and accept them as they are in this moment, without judgement, and if they need me to do so, I send them on their way with Love and sincere wishes that they will find happiness and Love in their life when they are ready. So I give them Love anyway, that's all I can do - what they choose to DO with what I give, is entirely up to them and out of my control, so I choose not to worry about it ;)
Something else I want to clear up too is that Love is not about backing down and just agreeing with someone else in a dispute to keep the peace. That's not Love, either - that's denying your Self and being dishonest, and not really helping to resolve anything in a dispute. Love walks hand in hand with Truth, and instead of just going along with someone else to keep the peace, Love means not only standing up for the Truth, but also recognising that sometimes our own perceptions do not accurately reflect the Truth, and Love means admitting where we are wrong and apologising for it, while asking the same from those who we may feel have wronged us (and if we bring Love and Compassion to the table, we are more likely to get the acknowledgement we are seeking for the hurts that we have perceived). Love is often about compromise - but not the one-sided variety where one party backs down and the other says "I'm right and you're wrong" and crows about it. That's not Love - that's insecurity speaking (because anyone who needs to constantly be right no matter what the cost, is insecure and trying to validate themselves - and far from deserving scorn or ridicule, these individuals are among those who deserve Love and Compassion the most, because they lack it for themselves).
In the last few weeks when things could have been very traumatic and painful for me, I have instead chosen to step back and take a breath, and to consciously respond to every situation with Love (instead of any one of the negative emotions like fear, anger, pain, hate, or any others). I have gone through a most amazing and incredibly deep journey of self-discovery, and I have come out of it with a profound understanding and a vastly increased capacity for Love, trust, forgiveness and letting go. I am becoming more and more the man I always aspired to be, and for possibly the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I am proud of who I have become, because in such a short time I am a very different man. I have nothing but Love and gratitude to those who have been the catalyst for this journey, because they have brought me so much - joy, love, understanding, and many opportunities to see fear and negativity in action and understand that they are reflecting things that were buried in myself that I did not want to see, and then take the gift of that opportunity to discover the things they were reflecting and work on them and change them into something better.
So to those people (you know who you are), I say thank you, and I love you. You have taken me far deeper into Love than I had ever ventured before and shown me some profound truths that have forever changed this man. And I hope that perhaps you can accept that you deserve a nod for it and take some pride in the fact that you have helped me to change so much into something I have always wanted to be. And even if you chose to end our shared journey here, I will always be grateful for your lessons and love you for what you have given me. And I hope that I have given you something of equal importance - if you take no other lessons from our interactions, if I could choose the one thing I would have you take, let it be that you have a deeper understanding of Love in the context in which I deal with it, and not as just some over-hashed Hallmark greeting-card type emotion or dependence or any of the other shallow views of Love. Love will overcome ALL negativity and transform it into something beautiful and wonderful. Love will heal all wounds. Love will take you deeper and transform you in ways that you could never have imagined, and surprise you with how much it multiplies and grows. It will surprise you with how much it will make YOU grow.
These last few weeks have dramatically altered my perspective and deepened my understanding far beyond anything I ever imagined. And it has brought home that single, all-important Truth to me in the most undeniable and life-changing ways:
Love is ALL that matters.