Trust: Love's Sweetest Gift

Have you ever deeply thought about what love is?

February is a time to think about those we love. Even more importantly, time to consider what it means to truly love another. Have you ever deeply thought about what love is? Have you ever considered where it comes from and why we feel drawn to be with certain people over others?  Love is indeed a complex and multidimensional subject . . . 

We can understand love either from the perspective of what it is or what it is not. Love is the uplifting experience of joy, ecstasy, fulfillment, contentment, delight, and abandon. Love is not the painful experience of fear, doubt, suspicion, jealousy, obsession, and attachment. More than anything else, I think the highest expression of true love is trust. Indeed, trust is love’s sweetest gift. That is because trust gives rise to an experience that ordinary love cannot: Freedom and space. In fact, trust is the powerful experience of spiritual freedom within the context of human relationship.

We can easily experience spiritual freedom when we close our eyes and let the world disappear, when we contemplate the infinite nature of consciousness. But how do we experience that same freedom within the complexity of our relationships with each other? That’s a much more difficult endeavor. Attaining the perennial mystical experience of freedom by oneself—walking in nature or sitting alone in quiet contemplation—is, I believe, less of a challenge than achieving that same kind of freedom in relationship with other human beings.

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In the utopian paradise of a spiritually enlightened world, “I love you” means much more than the expression of deep affection and attraction. It means “I trust you.” Think about it. For most of us, those words are not necessarily synonymous. It’s easier to tell somebody you love them than to tell them that you trust them. More often than not, love tends to amount to a strong emotion of affinity, fondness, intimacy, longing, and attachment. To be honest, it is an experience that, under the light of close scrutiny, is neither as profound nor inherently meaningful as it appears to be. We easily allow ourselves to feel affection or attraction without becoming truly vulnerable, without dropping our defenses. But if we want to know the extraordinary freedom that the awakening of profound trust bestows upon us, we must open ourselves up far more that most of us feel naturally inclined to do.

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Andrew Cohen
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