by Etecia Brown
Who do you love? Are you for sure? Often times our first lessons in love comes from our mother. Our mothers are our source for nourishment, security; so much so that an infant's brain and a mother's brain releases chemicals, triggering a natural high. We try to recreate this "high" in romantic relationships often times leaving us feeling attached. We navigate through life alone, yet we create spiritual attachments to those we love, we store this attachment in our memories in our thoughts. Attachment is important because it bonds humans together, thus love is essential to human flourishing. We must first learn to love ourselves. Self-love leads to self discovery...when you strip away your clothes and you are naked what do you see? What scars are left behind? What folds and curves have you formed? When you shed your flesh and bones, when you have no identity, no physical body, just the stillness and quietness of your mind, who are you then? We approach love as if its something we seek to conquer or enclose in a vial to be worn around our neck; when all the while love is in ourselves. Who we are sets the stage for how we love. We can not go into romantic relationships by casting out a wide net hoping that we catch someone we kind of get along with or whom we think can support us financially. But rather, we must be selective in who we choose to attach ourselves to. Who we are in the bath water and who we are in the darkness of our minds helps us to remind ourselves of our true identity. Often time we succumb to our bodies and let our animal nature get the best of us...we fight, we kill, we over eat, we indulge in our sexual fantasies even if we are supposed to be in a committed union with another. Our bodies are fueled by desire, but what of our spiritual self? Sometimes these two "selves" come into conflict. Seeing the world through our spiritual eyes instead of with our animal cravings we are able to come to a deeper understanding of love and compassion. When we spend time focusing on how to develop our spiritual self, our enlightened voice, our acceptance that we are simply a force moving within a temporary vessel then we are able to meet another spirit who was cut from the same cloth. It's like meeting your soul in the flesh. Sometimes it's a de ja vu like experience whether it be a romantic partner or best friend. Stimulate this attachment by creating a spiritual cord that is fueled by the exchange of information, knowledge, life experience, wisdom, laughter, passion, understanding, and respect. Next time you are "looking" for love, look within first.