When we have the energy of compassion in us, we can relate to the world very easily, because that kind of energy helps us to get out of our prison of loneliness. Those who have no compassion, they are very alone, because they have no ways to relate to other living beings. Having the energy of compassion in you, you are already a happy person. Every time, you can do something to help another living being; the joy always returns to you.
You have to practise looking deeply into the nature of your love. And you can always improve the nature of your love. There are kinds of love that bring us a lot of sorrow, jealousy, hatred, a lot of suffering, because they are not true love. True love within the Buddhist teachings has to contain the element of loving-kindness. Maitri is loving-kindness, the capacity of offering happiness.
Making another person happy is an art that we have to learn. According to the practice, you have to understand the real needs of that person, and you have to practice looking deeply. If you do not know what the other person really needs, you will not be able to offer her happiness. And if you don’t have time, how can you look deeply into the other person? So take time, practise looking deeply into her, and see what kind of needs she has.
Maybe what she needs is not a lot: your attention, your capacity of listening to her, your capacity of talking to her in a nice way.
The second element of true love is compassion, karuna, the capacity of transforming the pain in the person you love. Your presence is necessary. If you don’t show that you understand that suffering, then you cannot practise karuna. just by the way you behave, talk, and act.
Maybe you are the cause of that suffering. You have no capacity to listen deeply to that person. You have no capacity of talking to her in a calm and loving way; therefore, you cannot understand her suffering. Now, if you are able to practise loving speech and compassionate listening, you might, by yourself, transform the suffering in her. That is true in most cases. That person might confront easily the other difficulties in life if she is supported by you, understood by you, and feels that you are on her side. That is compassion, the fruit of meditation, looking deeply.
The third element of true love is mudita, joy. There are those who love each other, but who make each other cry every day. True love must bring you joy and happiness, and not sorrow every day. If your love is possessive love, you may behave like a tyrant, so you make each other suffer every day, because of your narrow ideas of happiness. With some mindfulness, with concentration, with some training, you offer the other person joy every day; you can do that.
The fourth and last element of true love is freedom, equanimity. If by loving, by being in love, you feel that you are losing your freedom, you have no space to move anymore, that’s not true love. That is why in true love you have to offer yourself and the other person space and freedom.
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