Parenting: a matter of setting a good example, right?


I am sitting in an office with the owner and his son of 2.5/3 years and a cat. 
The owner tells about personal developments in recent times. 
I'm listening. In the meantime, his son plays with the cat.
"You must come here," the young child says to the cat, "come here."
He commands the cat several times (as his father commands him), but the cat just goes its own way. At a certain moment the child picks up the cat. He holds the cat between his arm and his side. The cat tries to break free, she is not in a panic, she doesn't scratch or meow, but she wants her freedom of movement back. The father intervenes. He says: "The cat doesn't like that, you shouldn't do that, let go of the kitty, come here" (the commands).
Jim lets go of the cat and goes to his father. 
The father takes the child on his lap and says: 'I will let you feel what you are doing with the pussy..., you hurt the pussycat, the cat doesn't like it when you grab her like that'. 
The father clasps his hands around the flanks of his son, around the rib cage and presses forcefully on the rib cage of his son, who starts to cry loudly and says: "That hurts, don't hurt, Daddy." The father continues the movement and says: "Yes, that's how it is for the cat, that's what you do to that kitty, never do that again, have you understood that?" 
The child cries even more violently and in the meantime nods 'yes'. And then Daddy lets go of his son's rib cage. The child pushes the father away and on the other hand he also moves towards the father (mixed feelings). The father puts his arms around his son's waist and comforts him: no more, huh?
When the child stops crying, he leaves his father's lap and the father continues to talk about his experiences to me. Then the phone rings. Father answers the phone. In the meantime I look at the boy and the cat. And then I see the following scene: the boy grabs the cat and puts both hands around the rib cage of the cat and starts squeezing firmly. This time it is serious. 
Where the first time there is an unintentional holding of the cat, now a conscious act is taking place: what does it do to you, kitty, if I press your rib cage together like my father did with me? I see it happen..., and jump up to free the pussy from his hands. The child lets go of the pussycat, because of my unexpected movement and at that moment the telephone conversation of the father also ends.

Yes, that's how it goes. From an early age, we unconsciously copy the behavior, habits and beliefs of our caregivers. As parents, we often don't realize how much impact our actions have on our children. We don't realize that what our children show us (openness, closedness, helpfulness, distrust, violence, etc.) is a mirror we give them by the way we live.

The father commands the child; that is the example he gives the child and the child commands the cat. The father wants to teach the child that it should lovingly interact with other living things (the cat) and uses violence (the opposite) to make this clear. The child copies the behavior of the father and treats the cat with violence. And possibly, at a different time in time, the "child" uses violence against his father or other people. And the father wonders why his son has become so aggressive.

Like father Like Son.

Patterns, customs, beliefs that are passed on from one generation to the next, without us being aware of that. Well, that's how it goes... until our heart opens and a wakening up from our unconscious state of being takes place. Then we can rewrite our history, then we are aware of that what is taking place in us and around us; we see through the beliefs on which our actions are based. Then it is possible to transform patterns and deep imprints of beliefs. Everything starts with 'awareness', with 'seeing'. 

Until that time...
Forgive them, for they don't know what they do.
Forgive us, for we don't know what we do.

To see is to be free.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes


Addiction: It's such a fight in me to stay away from the alcohol ...

A woman comes into practice, around the age of 40. She experiences an alcohol addiction. 
For years she is involved in a fight with 'alcohol'. Her partner is often gone, he is very active in club life, so she is alone for many evenings. 
If he is there, she says, I know how to hold back, I drink two glasses in the weekend and I don't drink during the week. But if he isn't there..., there is nobody watching me, there is no outside break. Then it goes well for a few evenings, but after a few evenings, when I am in the supermarket, I can't resist buying a bottle of wine. Then I say to myself: okay, one glass of wine..., you deserve it, but at the end of the evening the bottle is empty. 
I'm just stunning myself. 
If I listen to you, then I hear/feel that dealing with alcohol is based on 'willpower' and then it becomes a fight with the alcohol: you have to be strong of yourself, you have to persevere, you aren't allowed to drink. Is that right? 
Yes, that's right and I'm so tired of always forcing myself to the edge. 
I can imagine..., you never get out of this pattern when you follow this strategy of the mind, it remains a fight. Willpower doesn't bring you home, it keeps you trapped in alcohol addiction. And it is precisely that same willpower that makes you drink..., how crazy that may sound to you... Just before this, you said in our exchange that your husband irritates you... 
You have a few days off, vacation... and then your husband comes with a plan for some jobs that needs to be done at home.
Yes, she says, those eternal lists of him of what needs to be done in and around the house, I just want nothing, just REST... 
Do you recognize yourself in it? 
What do you mean, she asks? 
Could it be that you don't have an external list of assignments and jobs that have to be done as your husband has, but that you have an inner list? That you are always in the 'to do' mode, you just keep going on with all kind of tasks that you impose on yourself? 
Yes, she says, that's right, the line is always taut with me..., I am always running and flying. Sometimes my son says:'Go sit on your ass'. Then I react:'Yes, you have easy talk, I would like that too, but I still have to do everything and someone else doesn't do it for me' 
That sounds pretty 'victimized', 'poor me', I say to the client. 
Yes, that is true, she says. 
Okay, what happens in you when you drink those glasses of alcohol? 
I experience that a load of tension falls away from me, finally no 'have to do'.
That is interesting..., that you use the word 'must' and 'have to do' so often. 
Yes, she says, I long for REST... 
Yes, I say, I can understand that. Can you see that you are in the grip of the slavedriver in you, the doer? If you are constantly under stress of the internal lists in you that you must follow up, then compensation is needed..., there is no other way..., no man will keep it full if the bow is always tight. And that compensation looks to you in such a way that you long for relaxation and you think you will find it in alcohol, while it is actually sedation. And sedation is something different than relaxation from within. Another person will watch series or eat to numb themselves, you use the alcohol to experience a sensation of 'loose', 'rest' and 'relaxation'. So you can be in a fight with alcohol, but that is not the solution. The solution lies in seeing through the 'doer', in letting out the personal will power, which is equal to tension and overstrain. That peace that you long for, can only arise if you recognize the slave driver in yourself and don't act on it anymore. That is not a simple process, because 'not acting' can also be used again from the mind, from the same level of the slavedriver: I have to relax, I must relax. That doer is completely interwoven with your personality structure, so the pitfall is that you want to tackle the slavedriver by the mind, which is doomed to fail in advance. But it is possible to let the transformation take place if you are really fed up with this pattern of numbness. If you want to live from relaxation, then there is a way out, but it does require total effort... 
Do I have a choice? she says, the alternative is that I still go on with this issue, year in, year out, that's not what I want. Because? I ask. 
Because life is just not nice, you live from one job to another job, everything is 'work'.
Okay, well to realize that..., if you really want to break with the slavedriver, then give your total commitment to see through the 'doer'. Break through the addiction of 'must' and 'go on'. Live from relaxation. There is everything on your internal list, but that doesn't mean that it has to happen all today... Feel, experience what is right on this moment, which indicates the flow of Life. Release the helm, let yourself be guided instead of living that 'me' that is always tensed and stressed, because it isn't connected to Life itself. 
I will give an example. Suppose the thought comes to up that the shed can use a turn, organize everything again, sort it out, clean up etc. Previously the job was planned, according to how you and your husband act. The date was fixed and whether it felt good that day or not: the barn had to be done. Often this meant a certain tension, because the action didn't match the current that was going on in me or my partner at that moment. Now, that process is very different. The thought blows through me at some point and I wait... until the impulse comes by itself to tackle the shed. This impulse doesn't come from tension, from 'it has to happen now', from the 'me' that puts itself under pressure, from the voice that says: if I do it today, then it's done, then I can rest (which is of course an illusion, because from the point of view of the slavedriver, the 'I', there is always another job that still has to be done). 
If you live from the energy of the 'doer', then everything is 'work' and 'duty', then compensation is needed, then you need a vacation or a bottle of alcohol to silence the doer. 
If you act from inner relaxation, from Life itself, then there is no longer a dichotomy between 'jobs/work' and 'free time'. 
Listen to the voice of Life itself: what is right for you at the moment? There are also tasks that come back every day, or there is a job you have to 'go' to. Here too: do you work out of stress, out of the slavedriver or from presence and relaxation? You can't enforce that relaxation. If only there was a button that would bring you home, from one moment to the next, in Life itself (what you are), beyond the slavedriver and the "I" who wants and needs everything…, that would be great, but unfortunately it doesn't work like that. Sit down on the couch, as your son indicates, be present at the resistance which then arises from the slavedriver. Don't listen to the voices that wants you to take action at that moment..., let the adrenalinerush cease raging. Be open to the impulses of Life itself, take the time to lie down, to walk or sit in the sun..., so in time the wheel of the doer can come to a standstill. 
See when you get back in the grip of the 'doer', take a step back, breathe a bit deeper... and consider the following questions: What am I doing? Is this what I want? Do I want to live like this? See through the automatic pattern of the doer. And one day you notice that something has shifted, you experience relaxation, you enjoy life..., everything is good as it is..., you discover that no slavedriver is needed to accomplish that what should be done. Your job hasn't changed, but you are changed. And a glass of wine in time..., delicious, but not a must to come to a feeling of relaxation (which is actually sedation). What a liberation... 
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes

Why do others view me so differently than I do myself?

Why do others view me so differently than I do myself?

We have all been given the option (potential) to awaken, to come to Love, to Consciousness. A divine gift, a possibility. Some of us feel a strong call, from the inside, for total liberation: they follow a spiritual path with a master who has awoken, and they practice Vipassana meditation (1), because they realize that Pure Consciousness is the gate to total liberation.

Others do not feel that call, but they do long for liberation from deep, painful basic convictions, which stem from the psychological mind (the "I", the ego). The suffering that comes from those deep imprints can also serve to awaken from the dream state. 

Often liberation does not happen, because Pure Consciousness has not yet been recognized, so the identification with convictions (and the resultant suffering) is so strong that we simply avoid challenging the convictions and allowing the connected pain to melt. It simply feels too painful to enter into, too painful from the perspective: what I feel and think is true (identification with the psychological mind).

Nevertheless, we all do our levels best, we are all on our way and one tulip is blooming in May, the other in July. 

Those who want to come to Love long for liberation from the yoke called "I"  which gives humanity, deep down, such a strong sense of loneliness and alienation. The ‘I’ (ego) which applies everything to itself.
‘I’ means tension and a self-centered attitude, which stems from the fear: Am I welcome?  Do they like me? Am I really a part of the group? Am I good enough? Everything happening around us, in interaction with others, leads to this self-centered attitude, to self-talk. We think about ourselves for hours, because we apply everything to ourselves: he isn’t looking at me is translated to ‘he doesn’t like me’; and if we don’t receive a reply to our e-mail, we are afraid we may have said something wrong etc.

In essence, the psychological mind knows two modes: attraction or rejection. Attraction means: getting what you think you need or deserve, often through manipulation, from neediness. In other words: life or the other person ought to give us what we can’t give ourselves, because we are not at home in our Heart. 

Rejection means: everything we want to get rid of, everything we perceive as unwanted, everything that inhibits our alleged happiness or sense of well-being, actually everything we say 'no' to: I don’t want to experience, feel, face or acknowledge this. 

And it is these two modes of the psychological mind (attraction and rejection), resulting from identification with an ‘I’, with all convictions connected to that, that make people suffer. The basic tenor of the ‘I’ is fear, in contrast to the basic tenor of Life itself, which is Love.

Some time ago, a client visited my practice with the following question: I feel such a massive difference between the way others view me and the way I feel inside, how is that possible? People see me as an independent and strong person, who can help others with advice and wisdom, but I feel insecure and afraid of rejection, especially falling short and not belonging, and I often feel that way…, like I’m not a part of the group, excluded (for the reader: this is the ‘I’ and the self-centered approach to life, the self-talk, the psychological mind; a collective inclination based on age-old conditioning).

I ask her whether she can show others this insecurity and vulnerability. In many cases, no, she shows the outer world a self-confident attitude.
Then it is not strange that the outer world views you that way, isn’t it? Yes, that is true, she says.
What scares you about showing your vulnerability and insecurity? I ask.
Well, she says, when I show that, I feel like I disappear or dissolve.
What do you mean, disappear or dissolve?
Well…, I have the feeling that I don’t belong, and then I see this image of myself, standing outside the circle.
Do you recognize this from the past? It seems to refer to a family in which there was no room for vulnerability, softness, insecurity…, did you feel like an outsider in your family?

And then the stories start to flow:
She graduated, and some family members were there but her father was absent. After the graduation ceremony they get home, and the family members confront her father: your daughter graduated, shouldn’t you congratulate her? Her father answers: it was no more than her duty. He turns around and walks away.

She goes to gymnastics, it is evening, she has a nasty fall, the teacher calls home and asks her father to pick her up. He tells the teacher: she should just work out a way to get home. That night, she sleeps in the house of her teacher and his wife. When she gets home the following day, her father walks away without greeting her or looking at her.

She falls off her bike in front of the kitchen window. There is blood, grazes, the bike is damaged. Her father says nothing, except: you will pay the damage to the bike yourself.

And there are many similar experiences to share, she says quite composedly (an attitude that relates to her question: showing no vulnerability).

Imagine, I tell her, that mankind incarnates here on earth with a package of convictions that the soul took on to resolve during this lifetime. And the circumstances in which a person is born matches completly with these convictions so that the soul has the possibility to resolve these beliefs…, to reach liberation, to clean up that facet of the diamond. And existence is merciful…, you can take as long as is needed…, one life or hundreds of lives…, it is up to you, existence makes no demands, it is eternally patient and compassionate.

And if we look from the perspective I just outlined: the soul who brings along a package of convictions to work out during this life (or a next one); the soul who attracts those circumstances that match these convictions…, then what is the conviction that ‘your’ soul wants to resolve, I ask?
What is the conviction, that has a deep imprint in you?

I can’t be vulnerable. Showing softness, vulnerability, pain and insecurity leads to lovelessness, rejection and exclusion.
Yes, I say…,  and that is exactly what your soul wants to solve in this life. Do you see the perfection of existence in this? Do you see how these circumstances match with what 'your' soul wants to experience and heal?

And can you see that vulnerability is a great power, which is very disarming, unlike your conviction that showing vulnerability only leads to rejection and lovelessness?

You live on one side of the spectrum, but like light and dark can’t exist without each other, vulnerability can’t exist without the other side of the spectrum: inner strength and independence. Existence is challenging you to unite or outgrow this seeming contradiction. Strength is only truly strength when it carries softness and relaxation within it (and vice versa).

It is up to you whether you face the resolution of this conviction, but if you continue to act (or avoid action) based on this conviction then nothing will change, you will remain the captive of this conviction and you will leave life with unresolved convictions.

Thankfully, existence is merciful and simply gives us another round to work out what has not yet been resolved. The question is whether this is what you want? No, she says, if possible I’d like to heal all in this life, but how?

See (Be Aware) how this pain shapes your actions. See the movements of the mind. The principle of attraction based on neediness/pain: searching for confirmation ‘I belong’ or doubting whether you belong. And the principle of rejection, i.e. avoidance: I don’t want to show vulnerability, because I don’t want to feel the pain of exclusion and lovelessness.

Break the pattern of avoidance: show your insecurity and vulnerability. Realize that you interpret others behavior based on this deep conviction: they will not like me if I am myself, if I also show my vulnerability and insecurity.

If your daughter-in-law doesn’t return a call, take responsibility for the way you interpret this, do a reality check: is it true that you don’t want to have contact with me? Yes that’s true, she may say, I know that you empathize, but I haven’t recovered from the concussion yet and I need rest. Feel the pain of exclusion when it is triggered, while realizing that the pain says nothing about your daughter-in-law, but everything about the interpretation that you attach to it; it is old pain (exclusion), a residue from this life and others, that is being triggered, that hasn’t healed yet.

What is going on in me, but what I don't say outloud to her: go meditate (Vipassana), so that Pure Awareness can sprout and then the convictions are seen through and gradually extinguish. 

From Pure Awareness it is much easier to clean up your history, because identification with the psychological mind (e.g. convictions) loosen up (or dissolve completly), so that the pattern of avoidance is seen through and the pain can melt, without much effort: it no longer feels so ‘real’ or ‘true’. 

From Pure Awareness rises the possibility of total liberation. 

Liberation is the light of the diamond in its totality and not merely one or a few facets like specific convictions based on karma that you (the 'I', ego) try to change in this life. If you only focus on solving all kind of issues of the psychological mind (the facets), total liberation is not possible, because the psychological mind, the 'I', the ego, stays in charge, you are the one who is working hard to improve your state of being, but it is the identification with the 'I' that causes the suffering in the first place. And the psychological mind will continue to bring up a new problem after you have resolved the previous one. So meditation is a strong medicine to provoke Pure Awareness, to break down the identification with the psychological mind (the 'I'). 

Pure consciousness means transcending the mind; the light is 'on' and it shines: all convictions/problems gradually extinguish naturally in the Light of Awareness; no strong effort or hard work (= the 'I') is necessary. Yes, sometimes we have to descend deeper into certain resistances, but from Pure Awareness it's a totally different experience (less painful) than going deeper into the resistance from the mind. 

So, meditation enables you to break free from the wheel of reincarnation and karma, because you transcend the mind = it is the highway. 

If Pure Awareness is not recognized, you will remain a prisoner of the mind, a prisoner of the 'I' throughout your life, you are working hard on all kind of issues, but liberation will not reviel and then rebirth is a fact.

Time and time again, I am amazed by the strong influence of these deep convictions, which shape the lifespan of a person without their awareness. I listen and hear the strong identification, which goes hand in hand with the thoughts and emotions (that they firmly believe), which emanate from these convictions. And I feel/hear/see the perfection of existence throughout this lifespan: the potential for liberation, for which the soul is longing, liberation from the deep imprints from this life and others, which is the force behind this birth in these circumstances. 

It is this suffering, which is caused by the 'I' with these convictions, that pushes people to start searching for healing. What a beautiful design of existence. 

And I also see the other side: the massive power of maya, the total identification with these convictions which people continue to repeat, an entire life until death follows… and the next life… from which I say: look for a living master, practice self-inquiry, practice Vipassana meditation (1), in order to escape from the hold that the psychological mind has over you (including what I feel and think is ‘true’). 

(1): for more information and an introduction to Vipassana, have a look at http: // 

Boeddha: the best way to stay in samsara is to resist it. Samsara is the wheel of endless birth and death under the influence of delusion and karma which causes suffering. 
Linked-In: Caroline Ootes

Climate change is a spiritual crisis: lovelessness is the cause.

I love meat (chicken) and above all fish, like many. On the other hand, there are also people who aren't fond of meat or fish, or deliberately stopped doing so out of certain considerations.

Several times have I tried to live a vegetarian lifestyle, but without concrete results. Eventually the following movement developed in recent years: first the pig disappeared from the menu and then the cow (with some exception), but the chicken (no factory farming) and the fish stuck around. And for some time now, I feel that a next step is necessary.

I can no longer close my heart against the suffering inflicted on animals to meet our need for meat and fish. It simply hurts. I can feel the suffering of all animals on earth, of all animals that we perceive as property, as possessions with which we can do as we please.

Factory farming or grass-fed cows..., the point is that we have taken the right to deprive animals of their freedom, to treat them in a certain way (animal-friendly or animal-unfriendly) and then prematurely kill them for our consumption.

Imagine another species within the chain of life and death would treat humanity in this way?

Besides, the period of slavery is not far behind us - if it is behind us at all (think of children working in the clothing industry in Asian countries, for example). Furthermore, many people view their partner and/or kids as theirs and believe that they can rule over them. What we do to each other and to animals (exploitation, domination, compulsion, manipulation etc.) is a result of our state of 'being': loveless, disconnected from the heart, and unaware.

At the same time, I can look form the perspective that we are all part of the same chain of life and death. I'm not necessarily in favour of or against consuming meat and fish. After all, my body is inhabited by many living creatures (bacteria etc.) who use, sicken or kill us, and we are also prey for others (predators, snakes etc.) in the chain. And when we die, we are food for other living creatures or for the earth itself (ashes).

I do believe that the balance within the chain has been thoroughly disrupted.

Providing seven billion people with meat and fish is an impossible task for the earth itself: livestock farming requires unbelievable amounts of land and food. Land for growing grain/corn/soy to feed cattle, and land for grazing. And livestock farming requires unbelievable amounts of water (while potable water becomes increasingly scarce on earth). And however you treat the animals, once they are full-grown they are led to the slaughter.

Any kind of respect and gratitude for the life we consume, think of the Indians who lived in deep connection with nature, is  gone..., because we are not at home in our heart.

And then I'm watching an episode of Tegenlicht: Paul Kingsnorth, author and former climate activist (episode: De aarde draait door - The world continues to spin / The world is going crazy - 16 December 2018). And I hear the following statement: If you think that the web of life of which we are part is just a resource to mine, you are lost.

Yes, that's true. The tragedy of mankind is that we no longer live from connection with ourselves and the world around us. We are in a spiritual crisis.

The myth of progress (more and more again, so that we don't have to feel the emptiness) leads to a necessity for nature to contribute to economical growth: all in the service of mankind, all in the service of short-lived gratification, and it's never enough and we don't want to miss a thing... with the result of over-exploitation and depletion of the earth (and humanity: fatigue & burn-out).

Healing, however, is not to be found in 'more' or in 'growth.' Healing is to be found in resolving the alienation, opening the heart and meeting the emptiness and loneliness that lies within us all.

And then I see a documentary on Netflix.
Title: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.
I recommend this documentary to everyone (first month of Netflix is free). The following was set forth:
An online report of the United Nations states that livestock farming emits more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. This means that the meat and dairy industry emits more greenhouse gases than all cars, trucks, trains, boats and airplanes combined.
Cows and other farm animals produce a considerable amount of methane during the digestive process. Methane gas from cattle is 86 times as destructive as carbon dioxide from vehicles.
Moreover, the United Nations also note that cattle doesn't only contribute to global warming, but also to the depletion of resources (e.g. water, fertile land) and environmental degradation (manure/phosphate/methane), destroying and exhausting the planet.
Livestock farming uses 45% of all available land, 30% of all available water, and is (indirectly) responsible for 91% of the destruction of the Amazon, the lungs of the earth, sniff... (The Amazon is cut down for the production of grain and soy, and for grazing cattle.)

And yet we continue to eat meat/fish/dairy and sticking our heads in the sand.

How is that possible?

It is possible in part because the information about the impact of livestock farming on the climate (next to the suffering inflicted on animals) wasn't/isn't fully clear yet in the minds of many. It is also possible because in droves we close our eyes to the fact that the globe is warming: we read and hear about it, but we don't want to believe it - because we are the ones who cause climate change (apart from natural influences such as the sun) and that has consequences for our behavior. And we are creatures of habit, who resent change.

But above all, we continue to eat meat/fish/dairy because we aren't at home in our hearts and therefore we do not feel the suffering that we inflict on other animals and on the planet. Feeling it, would ask for a turnaround in lifestyle what is a major challenge for many (myself included), because we enjoy our meat or fish. Besides, telling our family that we no longer want to contribute to these practices can cause some friction.  And then I haven't even mentioned the dairy industry, which is as taxing for the climate as the consumption of meat and fish.

Finally: I'm greatly in favour of 'clean meat & fish' (and clean dairy). Developments are going fast, and within a few years we may see the first juicy steak made from a single stem cell in our local supermarket. No more is needed for clean meat/fish than overcoming our own aversion toward cultured meat or fish. That single stem cell (from a fish or a chicken or a cow etc.) can be cultivated endlessly. No animal has to be killed, and now nothing more is needed than a single cell.The world's population can be provided with clean meat and fish (and in time clean dairy). In the Netherlands, Meatable is one of the organisations who has made great progress in the development of clean meat. And the taste... is exactly the same as the meat or fish you consumed before.

But we're not there yet... and it is five to twelve regarding global warming and greenhouse gases. Time to get moving.

Perhaps reading this blog and watching the documentaries (Tegenlicht, Cowspiracy) can trigger you to reexamine your habits. Eventually, this is about the well-being of us all: humans, animals, flowers and plants, the earth.

Should you want to inform others, share this blog. And do you know a delicious vegetarian or vegan dish: tell others, there are multiple facebook pages with vegetarian recipes to which you can easily add yours.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes

Where Love is, is Freedom.

"If you believe that the person who you love should be different then she/he is, then you don't have a relationship with her/him. You have a relation with an ideal image in your head. You have a relationship with your own thoughts." (Scott Kiloby)

Before you read on, take a moment to examine the following question: 'What does Love mean to you in relation to your lover?'
Below are some answers, which have come over in exchange with people:
  • That you love the other person as he/she is... Even if he is grumpy or doesn't meet his/her appointments with you or is busy with the phone instead of with you...? Do you still love him or her?
  • If you really love someone, then you are there when the person needs you... Right? Then you are prepared to set yourself aside.
    After all, you are not only living for yourself.
  • In a love affair you agree with each other what you are going to do. You can't always do what you want, you also have to adjust to your loved one... Even if the inner voice actually indicates a different choice at that moment? Yes, even then.
  • Love is respectful to others, so you say 'yes' to an invitation to a birthday party or wedding party, even if you feel a 'no'. Not going is not loving towards the other person. You wouldn't like it yourself if people didn't show up at your party, right?
  • A love relationship is not only a love affair with the person him/herself, but also a relationship with his or her family. If you are not invited by your sweetheart to his/her family, then there is something wrong..., then he/she doesn't really love you, because otherwise he/she would involve you into the family, right? 
    Or the other way around: if you indicate that you have a relationship with him or her and not with his or her family, then according to your partner that isn't a full-fledged relationship, because that includes encounters with the family...
  • Love means that you don't criticize your partner in company. Even if you don't agree with your partner or if you really notice that he/she is talking nonsense…, you don't speak out because you don't want to hurt him or her. You have to be tactful, so that he/she doesn't have to feel ashamed or experience a loss of prestige in the sight of others. And above all, you don't want to have problems with your partner afterwards.
  • Love means you like being together, you want to spend as much time as possible together, you go on holiday together, go to friends together, watch series together on the couch etc. Or the opposite: you don't want an intimate relationship, because you experience a relationship as suffocating.
  • In conclusion..., Love is exclusive, special: I only love you... even though I sometimes dream about someone else who really listen to me and understand me... 
And is that then Love, the package of images/beliefs that we must adhere to or behave under the denominator of 'Love'???

Is that Love with a capital L? Love that is unconditional: love that doesn't want to change the other person, but takes the other person as he/she is. Love that doesn't get disturbed if the partner behaves differently from all those views and images we have about Love?

Or do we talk about love with a small letter 'l'? Love that sets conditions for the other person: I only love you if you follow a certain image I have about you and about love. Love that exists by the grace of rejection, disapproval and hate. In other words, a love that waveres: one moment I love you, the other moment I absolutely don't like you, I hate you and I dream about another partner who is capable to give me attention and see me as I am. 

Love that consists of needfullness, the other person must make me happy: he/she must give me a feeling of safety, support and friendship, because being alone and figuring everything out on my own is to difficult for me.
We think we know what Love is, Love with a capital L. We assume that the conceptions of Love are Love itself, but is that so?

And at some point we step into the marriage boat... because we love each other so much..., we marry to seal our love relationship…
But if we know so well what Love is, how is it possible that one in three marriages ends in divorce?

Well, we have just been brought up with different views (ideas) about the Heart, about Love and it is precisely these views that make us miss the Love with a capital L.
The head versus the heart.

Maybe we don't know what Love is. Perhaps the Love that we know exists only from all kinds of ideas about Love, but that is not Love itself, it are only ideas that we have received in the course of our lives, based on all sorts of cultural, religious and social influences.

And a recipe for Love is not Love, it is a recipe and a recipe leads in advance to frustration, loneliness, emptiness, disappointment, fear and guilt. The other doesn't meet up our expectations..., he/she doesn't behave according to the recipe, according to all conceptions of love that come from the mind. He/she doesn't make me happy..., he/she doesn't take me into account, he/she doesn't want to do anything for me, he/she is always working etc.

The heart however, has no conceptions about Love, the heart is Love. The heart makes no choice: for or against. The heart rejects nothing, is open, unlimited and unconditional, without any requirement or expectations towards the other.

The heart has no resistance switch. Love is total acceptance of what is, which, incidentally, doesn't mean that you take everything as sweet cake from the other and accept it.
It also doesn't mean that you can't express your wish or desire... you can, but don't expect a 'yes' in advance or if the other person says 'no', don't interpret this as: she/he doesn't love me.

Recently I listened to a satsang from Adyashanti.
An aged man who was born and raised in Japan said the following about his 30-year marriage: "When we marry in Japan we don't assume that we know what Love is, we see marriage as a possible opportunity to discover what Love is. At the beginning of our marriage there were all kinds of aspects to my wife that I didn't appreciate, that I wanted to change; some things of her bothered me and I tried subtly to change certain characteristics of her until I discovered that it wasn't Love with a capital L, so after a few years I stopped doing that. It took me 15 years to extinguish any form of subtle manipulation, to totally accept my wife as she is. And now I can rightly say that we discover Love."

Perhaps it is time to recognize that all these images of unconditional love are not Love itself. Let's start there..., let's assume that we don't know what Love is..., let us see through all ideas and opinions for what they are: inventions from the mind, the head instead of the Heart. Let us approach the other from openness and emptiness, all demands and expectations on the shovel. Maybe..., maybe we discover at some point in our lives what Love really is...

If you love a person, how can you destroy his or her freedom?
If you trust a person, you trust his or her freedom too.
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes