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Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they needed your approval. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. There is no greater existence than the life that gives more than it takes.

If you are in love it will show. In your eyes, your face, the way you walk, the way you sit, everything will show it, because you are not the same person. You have been touched. The desiring mind is not there. And here is a big problem.

If you are only happy when you find a lover to fall in love with, your life and relationship will be a mess. Before you fell in love there was not the same experience, so basically you were walking around incomplete without a lover. It’s like that song “You’re nobody till somebody loves you”, in reality, that headspace causes all our suffering .

It should read, “You’re somebody, whether anybody loves you”. If you are one person before you fall in love, and then you are somebody else after you fall in love, there is dependency on this great experience, and that is the beginning of relationship problems. This is the first or second level of love, where there is significant confusion between love, need, rescue and an anti-depressant.

There are four substitutes for love. They are sex, food, religion and material greed. Many people can’t discern the difference between love and substitutes. They feel in love because of great sex, or because their lover has lots of wealth. This is because the same chemicals that are produced in the body when love is there, are produced when we experience hope. So chemically, love hormones are secreted when we experience other forms of happiness, such as infatuation, but hope is also a powerful aphrodisiac.

This is the motive that attracts people together in the first, second and third levels of love. Their hormones are racing; they can’t tell if it is love, infatuation or hope. The chemistry of their body changes and they feel every experience of “In LOVE”. But they are not in love. They are in solution. Solution to a problem is a substitute for love. This substitution is unsustainable. The attachment to their lover is highly emotional, highly conditional, it’s the relationship made in hell, because there is a heightened hope that love is there, but it is not really love, and it fails. They were just not ready to be in love, because they were not in love before they met their lover.

To really be in love, we must learn to be in love without a partner, as well as with a partner. We must become “in love” without someone to love. It is a loving attitude to life, to trees and children and sunsets alone; in love with a movie, and in love with our parents. To be ready to fall in love, we must be in love with our past and our future.

When you are really in love with something in your life, you are ambivalent to it. In other words you are not attracted to it, or repelled by it. You are not afraid of it or avoiding it. That person or circumstance is a part of you. They are you. You are they, they are the mirror and you can see yourself there. In this love, there is thankfulness. You can thank someone, you are no longer trying to do the opposite to them; you are them. You can be in love with anyone if you choose. Of course, that is not to say you need a relationship with them. Love is a way of being in the world without reaction to it.

There are many single people who learn to love everyone in order to keep themselves at peace, safe. And this is healthy, but contentment is not a place to stay, it is only a place that you might become happy without a lover. That is fine if you want your ego to be strong and powerful in the world. Just stay single so there is no person who can confront your “giant within” – but this is not love. That state of contentment is a war on love. This is not what I am suggesting. Because if the ego is in control, then your contentment is something you’ll try to protect in your relationship, there will be no experience of a life with love, only sexual moments of it. If your ego wants contentment, it is asking to flatten the spirit of your lover, it will search the world for someone who is “trustworthy”, but what it is really asking for is “non-disturbance”, authority. Eventually, that relationship will deteriorate, then you will be controlling, possessive, jealous, fearful, unable to trust, judgmental, self righteous, blaming. And frankly, what level of celebration of love is that going to promote? You will lose that chemistry of falling in love and gain the acidity of resentment.

This tension will usually kill love before it begins. Remember, nobody can do to you more than you do to yourself so, if you are not sitting on a beach, painting a picture, or doing your work at the office with love; if you are unhappy before you meet someone, or addicted to the substitutes, then your love will have all the chemical experiences you want, but none of the sustainable spiritual experiences you need. If you are not in love with life before you meet your lover, then it’s a bit weird to expect that you will be able to fix all your emotional problems by falling in love. You’ll only find someone to relieve the pain. And nothing is going to do that for long.

Many people I have worked with blame their relationship for everything. But when you look inside their heart, those issues, that unhappiness, has been there forever. They may have channeled it to their parents, ex-partner, children or brothers and sisters, even the business can get the blame, but when they come into relationship, their partner gets the blame and everything else is let off the hook, including themselves.

In nature, the forest is the same forest whether you are in it or not.

Romance is not built out of a fearful dependency that says, “Without you, my life is not worth living”. That expression comes from someone who is severely depressed and you have become their anti-depressant. You are not an anti-depressant, you are a lover of life, and a lover of lovers. So, the question is, are you in love, before you fall in love with someone?

In nature, there is nothing missing, there is always love in one form or another

When I was first married, I thought there was only one person I could be in love with. So, that became my wife. There were people that I loved, but there was only my wife to be in love with. I didn’t really think about love as something I could do at work, or at sport. online said, “Love is for my wife, and everything else is something else”. It’s like putting on a straight jacket. It’s inhuman because anything we do in life without love is competitive and dry. So in my business, I was not interested in loving what I was doing, I was dry and tough, which made my leadership very aggressive. When my divorce came, I realised that I had been inhuman to myself. That I needed to actually be in love with my world, and with what I did, in order to be in love with a partner. Then, my relationships were not little love moments in an otherwise hard working life, my relationships were a magnificent extension of what I already had.

To be in love we cannot become exclusive. We cannot pretend to be loving and open hearted to one person, and judgmental and protective toward another. Love is not like a suit we wear that can be put on and taken off. Love is a way of living, an attitude from which we choose a relationship, and there we become exclusive in our actions. To love is not exclusive, that cannot be. But from that love, we can choose to be in relationship, an intimate, romantic and beautiful relationship, and then we prioritise that person, and choose to open to them. So we focus significant energy in this book on becoming that which you want others to be, to make your life an act of love.

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