How do you love, I asked the woman as I stared into her eyes. The workshop was about emotional healing through yoga and we had been divided into pairs. How do you love, I asked her as I took in the depth of her. This was work done late in the afternoon after four days of intensity and lots of warming up.
First we had sat across from each other, folded onto the floor, feeling our hearts connected and had told each other what we observed. I observe your lovely haircut. I observe your earrings. On and on, and we could see how superficial were the things we could notice with our senses. The real juice of life and of the magnificent being in front of me was dancing beneath the surface. But the looking at the surface brought an awareness of the depth, and love grew. This beautiful person who was sharing herself, her time, her openness with me, was a gift, a wonder, a stunning package of radiance.
Next we told each other what we imagined. I imagine you are tired, I imagine your life is full, I imagine you are happy and on and on. How much we imagine about others without knowing. Its mostly a guess, this communication thing, we can make an informed guess based on experience, but so much is projection and imagining. We have to ask, to really know. Then we asked each other what we were experiencing right now, over and over, can we articulate and refine our state, our moment one more time, one new way. And we could see how similar we were, and how we could remind each other of some as yet unexplored possibility of experience. Yes, I too am experiencing a sense of peace.
And, the love grew. Confronted with the humanness of this being, her sensitivity and willingness to share, I could only soften into our connection. We were melting. Melting into the moment and into each other. And we would break into giggles, and the exercise was nothing, but being together in each others’ lives, that was the miracle. Being human together, with our imaginings and our experiences- that was a miracle.
And then she was to ask me how do you love. And I would answer and she would ask again, over and over, since time was spacious and the only thing was the moment and the richness of it, and this exploration was bringing us into the thick field of shared humanity that connected us.
How do you love. I love by caring and sharing. How do you love, I love by chopping the freshest of foods into green goodness and serving the most delicious menu, everything ready at once. How do you love, I love by singing and feeling the song go out into the world like a prayer. How do you love, I love by putting my hands in the dirt and encouraging the happiness of the plants who want love too and the soil, moist, dark, and rich, reminding me of what I am made of and what I return to. How do you love, I love by celebrating our world with a sweet breath of air and the feel of the wind on my skin. I love by seeing the moonlight out my window, glowing the pale leaves, and dusting the ground golden. I love by riding the waves like a horse and letting the movement remind me I am alive. I love by touching and healing and by listening. I love by being quiet and holding a thought. I love alone and I love together. I love with joy and with sorrow. I love by letting go.
And I asked her the question, over and over, and she reminded me of ways of loving I hadn’t thought of, and ways I have never tried. And we as we talked and thought about loving, love grew, and we remembered what it is to love, and how to love, and we filled ourselves with love until our eyes started leaking tears of joy and we had to stop and laugh and could we please have a break because it was exquisite torture to go on, to go on loving so much. We were only two people in a workshop, and this love was big enough to save the world.
And then we were to ask how do you want to be loved and the answer was with care and attention, with wild abandon, with sweet gentleness. And over and over we told each other the depth of our deepest desire and our desire came from our deepest place, our most true place, the place inside us where desire is born, pure and possible, because there is nothing to block its life. We asked each other how do you want to be loved and we answered the truth that we knew long ago, before we listened to anyone. We want to be loved in the way that we know is possible because we know it in a place that has not closed down to possibilities.
And we could bring that love, those possibilities, that sweet gentleness and wild abandon, that care and attention, we could bring it into the room and transmit it from our hearts into the group heart, so the whole room could open to loving and being loved. So the whole room could feel how love had grown. And we were finally able to stop, and to collapse, and take a break. There is only so much two people in a workshop can love, before they need a nap and some chocolate.