How to Enter the Realm of Love and Stay There
“When one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world — no matter how imperfect — becomes rich and beautiful, it consists solely of opportunities for love.”
What exactly is the realm of love? You know you have entered the realm of love when you have fallen in love with life itself. When you have gained an attitude of radical acceptance. When amor fati (love of fate) has become your mantra.
When you realize that life is too short not to fall in love with it and that life is way too long if you cannot, then you are ready to enter the realm of love.
Falling in love with life means being Love itself. It means allowing love to be free. It’s being in love with life as it comes. It’s accepting that everything is connected and deciding to be in love with the whole bit: the trauma, the drama, and the karma. It’s loving in an attempt to understand, discover, and co-create rather than control, own, or codependently stagnate.
The smoothest way to fall in love with life is to remain deeply curious and discover a profound sense of awe. When you’re curious, you’re engaged, hungry, and eager for novelty. When you’re in awe, you’re enthralled, enraptured, and inspired to live more fully. You’re on the edge of your seat eagerly anticipating the next chapter.
Your life’s mission becomes clear. Your passion becomes your purpose. Your immortality project becomes a reality. You feel it. You fall in love with it. Through and through. You become hungry for further heightened states of awareness.
Falling in love with life is a sense of oneness with all things. It is a feeling of unity, a surrendering of our separateness into the universal. Falling in love is being love. You cannot love unconditionally. You can only be unconditional love.
The Greeks have five words for the concept of love: Eros, sexual love; Storge, familial love; Phileo, friendly love; Xenia, hospitable love; and Agape, divine love. Being love is agape love. It transcends all other forms of love. When you are being love, you are in love with all of life—good or bad, successful or unsuccessful, tragic or comic.
Being love is unselfish, unconditional love for all things. It leaves you in a state of wonder and awe, soul-hungry for more beauty, more mystery, more life. When you are practicing agape love, you are practicing sacred presence.
When you are being love (unconditional), you’re in love with the interconnected cosmos (soul-centric) and you feel free, interdependent, passionate, alive, and connected. When you’re not being love (conditional), you’re only in love with your ego’s attachment to love (ego-centric) and you feel clingy, codependent, angsty, and disconnected.
When you’ve learned how to be unconditional love, then you know you have entered the realm of love. The question is, how do you get there? Here are four steps…
First: dissolve unhealthy boundaries:
“Life is a petty thing unless it is moved by the indomitable urge to extend its boundaries.” ~Jose Ortega y Gasset
As far as the realm of love is concerned, your comfort zone is a stifling thing. It may keep you safe, warm, and secure, but it will also keep you closed-in, mollycoddled, and placated. It’s a great place for a fragile ego, but it’s a terrible place for a courageous soul.
You cannot reach the realm of love if you’re clinging to a tiny comfort zone. You must be able to stretch your comfort zone into subsuming the realm of love. You must be able to transform your ego’s attachment to love into your soul’s detachment to unconditional love.
Second: embrace vulnerability:
“There are heights of the soul from which even tragedy ceases to look tragic.” ~Nietzsche
Once you’ve dared to stretch your comfort zone and your soul has been invigorated with adventurous curiosity and wonder, it’s time to get vulnerable. It’s time to let down your guard. It’s time to ask the tough questions, to defy rigid answers, and to let go of your attachment to comfort.
Vulnerability is courage, and vice versa. It takes courage to be open, and openness is courageous. Especially when it comes to love.
It takes courageous questioning to get past the comfortable “answers” your ego has settled for. It takes tender vulnerability to get beyond the rigid invulnerability that you’ve erected to keep yourself “safe.” It takes a good sense of humor to withstand the realization that you are the butt-end of a terrible cosmic joke. Embrace it. As they say in the Navy SEALs, “Embrace the suck!”
When you shine a light onto your mortal dread, you make an ally of your shadow. You experience a state of cosmic sublimity. Absolute vulnerability trumps naïve invulnerability. Amor fati overwhelms you and all you can do is step into the powerful role of being love itself. Fear is transformed into fuel for the fire of falling in love with your preciously short life.
Get out of your own way. Be vulnerable. Full surrender. Full disclosure. Before you can fall in love with everything, you must shed all your expectations of what love “should” be.
Third: love, let love, let love go:
“You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” ~Mary Oliver
Your ability to love another person is predetermined by your ability to love yourself. Similar to the airplane-crash-landing analogy, “Always put the mask on yourself before assisting someone who may be less capable,” you must put the Mask of Love on yourself before loving someone who may or may not be capable of authentic love.
The irony is that you must first learn self-love to understand that ego-centric love isn’t the healthiest way to love. You must first love your ego in order to transform it into an ego that isn’t just in love with itself. An ego that isn’t loved tends to become self-serving and ego-centric (codependent), but an ego that is loved tends to become self-actualized and soul-centric (interdependent).
The ability to love another person takes an enormous act of courage. If you genuinely love another person, then you must open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt. This is what it means to be vulnerable.
But pain should not be avoided at the expense of love. Love should be embraced at the risk of pain.
You must grow past the assumption that your lover loves the same way that you do. This simply cannot be true if you are genuinely allowing your lover to be a unique individual with their own tastes and opinions.
Letting your lover love the way they need to love is just as much a part of the dance as your unique way of loving is. Honesty is key. Sometimes this honesty will hurt, but pain is necessary for growth. If the way another person loves doesn’t jive with the way that you love, then the dance either needs to end or it needs to take on a new form.
~Let love go:
The ability to let love go is your ability to let go of your ego’s attachment to it.
When you let love go, you are not letting go of love itself. Not at all. You are letting go of your attachment to it. You’re letting go of your need to cling. You’re letting go of the needy, codependent, egocentric side of love that’s filled with unhealthy expectations and cultural predispositions about the way love should be.
The more you learn to let love go, the more you will realize that you never owned it in the first place. It was never a thing that could be owned. It could only ever have been free, or it was never really love at all.
Fourth: detach and transcend:
“Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.” ~Rumi
Through healthy detachment, you see how everything is attached. You see how everything is connected to everything else. You feel the interconnected cosmos as a giant web of frequency and energy, of which you are but a tiny drop of dew. But you are a drop of dew that can reflect the entire web. Through such reflection comes the power to create meaning where it otherwise doesn’t exist.
This is the power of love: to create meaning where it otherwise doesn’t exist.
This powerful meaning opens the doors into the realm of love. Where you are free to be Love in the face of expectation; to be Love despite the love that thinks it needs validation; to be Love even when it’s all for naught; to be Love even when others cannot.
In the realm of love, you are free to love authentically, to let others love the way they must love, and to let go of your ego’s attachment to love.
If you can practice being Love again and again—practice detachment; practice resilience; practice resurrection—then the realm of love will not elude you.
About the Author:
Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.
This article (How to Enter the Realm of Love and Stay There) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and self-inflictedphilosophy.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.