Friday, March 9, 2012

Spirituality is Love

Spirituality = Love

February is the month when we celebrate Valentine’s Day; the Love Month. And we usually associate the celebration of Valentine’s Day with thoughts about those in a relationship with another; wife, partner or significant other…but it is also the occasion when we can broaden our horizons and think about the concept of love itself. What is it? Where does it come from? What does this feeling do for the individual?

Before we explore the concept of love I do not wish to minimize the power and healing that comes from loving another person; to love and be loved is a wonderful thing. Most people pray or wish for this experience in their lives; not to have to go through life alone. And I really get this. Over the years I’ve been in love-based relationships and they’ve certainly made me a happy man. I cherish each and every one and I regret none of these experiences.

But are we really alone if we do not have a partner? That brings me to this wonderful wordspirituality. For me, and I realize I’m only speaking for myself, spirituality is the demonstration of love; it involves taking something of the divine that exists in every life force and manifesting it in a thousand and one ways. It can never be fully explained and yet it carries within it something of the Creation: When we express love in our spiritual attitude and behavior we bring about something that was not in existence before the act of loving. In this sense, the act of loving is a demonstration of the divine.

I’ve come to the conclusion, after years of searching the many aspects of spirituality in recovery, that it needs to include a love of self. As Oscar Wilde says: To love yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Tragically, some religious messages seemed to infer that if you love yourself you were considered to be selfish and arrogant, but healthy spirituality affirms that in order to love another we need to have a balanced love of self. This love of self avoids the dangerous slide into co-dependency, where we can only experience love if we have somebody, anybody, in our lives. I’ve come to the conclusion that, for me, the spiritual awakening involves a love and genuine respect for myself. And this spiritual love moves us beyond the human dimension; we begin to love life, nature, creation itself. God has placed us in a world, indeed a Universe, that generates pleasure, mystery and mysticism. The fact that we do not understand everything does not stop us loving the experience of this life force.

Last year I visited Cambodia and Vietnam along with other spiritual travelers and recovering friends. The year before that we experienced Egypt and for this year, I’m inviting people to join me for my Spiritual Journey to Southern India in September. And I’m loving the anticipation of all that we will see. Indeed, I’m creating the journey, making a comprehensive and interesting itinerary, inviting speakers to explain the history, culture and religion of the parts of India that we will be visiting. If you are interested in joining us all the information you need is featured on my website.

Spirituality reflects an aspect of love that seeks to explore the divine in all its many and varied dimensions. As someone who is healing from the lost years of stagnation, created by alcohol, I want to see and taste the world. Yes, I’ve grown to love people and, incredibly, allowed others to love me, but also developed a love and appreciation for life itself.

As we acknowledge February, the “Love Month”, I hope you are able to experience the many aspects of divine love throughout the year that surround us every day. Finding a spiritual fascination in the varied manifestations of love that are part of this thing we call life. As I heard said in a support meeting recently; don’t leave before you experience the miracle.

Leo Booth

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