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To enjoy the reason for happiness (detailed version of a previous post)

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You are happy when you feel the emotion of love. When you realize (or more accurately feel) that that is the case, it is as if your soul has reached home. Many people have said exactly this before, and some of us find this description too simple and insufficient. If you disagree with me, I would like you to perform an experiment. A good way of realizing the importance of love is to find out how life would be without any love whatsoever. Pretend that you live in a world where no-one is liked. You don’t even like yourself. What would make you happy in that world? Reflect upon this for a while. You maybe insist that you, after all, still will be able to enjoy the taste of a cake directly taken out from the oven, or enjoy things like good music or a beautiful sunset. After all, our bodies give our brains signals of sounds, pictures and sensations of taste. In order to better understand what this loveless world is like, you have to regard your mind as a radio receiver, with the ability to process several frequencies simultaneous. If your mind is set to only process signals of sensory input, but will discard any signal of love, you will of course still be able to hear the music, feel the taste and see the sunset. But your brain will not register any feeling of enjoyment, simply because you will filter out such signals (or frequencies, to go on with the radio metaphor). Well, it’s high time to change our point of view. Now, I wish you to add love to your imaginary world. Everybody in this world like each other, and everybody are united as one big family. Now, you probably realize how the cake will taste, how the music will sound and what it will feel like when the sunlight is fading out behind the trees. Later on, you will be guided through this experiment in a more direct and concrete way. But in order to prepare you, I will let you examine what love is, and make you understand the keys for enjoying such emotions.

To put it simple, you choose if you like or dislike someone. That choice, of liking or disliking, is based on your opinions about how you should live your life. Your opinions about how you should live your life are in turn based upon your understanding of living. So whereas love in itself is a feeling, the reason for liking someone is based on understanding.
You like someone because that person cares about someone. Consequently: the more someone cares, and the more people that person cares about, the more you are able to like that person. If you reflect upon this, you will understand that this is the case. If this seems to simple and insufficient, imagine this scenario:
Your neighbour’s cat Missy has climbed up a tree, and cannot come back down. You are ill and feel really sick, so you can’t be of any help. However, you do your best, and make an emergency call.
This emergency service lets robots do the work. These robots are accurately programmed to give their help the right way, taking into account how the patients seem to feel.
Soon a robot named Tommy arrives. He gently brings Missy down to the ground. When the mission is over, he scratches Missy between her ears. She purrs in contentment.
After all, Tommy is a machine. Well, he saved Missy’s life. But he doesn’t have any emotions, and he only did what he is programmed to do. It is you, who did what you could do (taking your illness into account), who deserve to be liked.

This story shows that caring is the reason for love. Moreover, it shows how important it is to be aware of the emotions that lie behind a person’s behaviour.

The more you understand someone (in other words, the better you know someone), the more you are able to like that person. I explain further: the more you know about how a person is feeling during different stages of life, the better you understand of how much caring there is in that person’s soul. And as I explained earlier, the more caring a person is, the more you are able to like her or him. Getting to know someone better, of course might give you insights that makes the love for that person decrease, or even fade out completely. But anyway, love that is based on false assumptions, isn’t real love after all.

It is of course the case, that the more people you know, the more people you are able to like. Moreover, you may pay your attention to several things (in this case, persons) at the same time. Consequently: if more than two persons spend time together, it is possible to feel love/friendship for everyone in the group at one given moment. However, if you have lots of friends or a large social network, you might face difficulties achieving deep, meaningful social contacts. The important thing here is to feel what is right for you.

The more people you care about, the more emotions of love you are able to enjoy. I explain this with a story: Claire is your best friend. You have empathy with her to such a degree, that you care as much about her as you care about yourself. One day, when you go for a walk in the woods, you suddenly get the sight of your friend from a distance. She tenderly looks at a deer that curiously looks back at her. At this moment, you don’t enjoy your own love. In this case, you enjoy Claire’s love for the deer. As you care as much about your friend as about yourself, it doesn’t matter that you aren’t involved. You are happy because Claire is happy – you are happy because you enjoy the love that she is feeling.
However, to reverse the reasoning from before: if you have few friends, who you know very well, you might find yourself with a relatively small social network. But as I said before: the main thing is that your way of living feels right for you.

The more you care in general, the more love you are able to enjoy. I will reconnect to your friendship with Claire.
In this case, you are on your way to work. You are late, so you are in a hurry. On your way to work you get the sight of Claire, playing with her dog. Just by watching them, you realize their strong bond to each other. However, you don’t give this much attention. Instead, you worry about getting late for work.

Love is an emotion – not a thought. You don’t have an experience of love when you think to yourself: I like Claire”. You have the experience of love when you feel how you like Claire, because she is the way she is. As I said before: That experience is an emotion – not a thought, that might be expressed with words or other symbols.

Now, that you know more about love and about what makes you enjoying these emotions, it is time to put the pieces together. Now, you will perform the experiment that shows that love is the reason for happiness. But this time, you will perform the experiment in a more direct and tangible way.

Do something that you normally enjoy: play music, and/or make yourself something nice to drink. While you listen to the music, sip on your drink, or whatever you feel like doing, you have to devote your attention to something that is completely meaningless. You might for instance spend your time counting the dust balls in the room. If you have cleaned so carefully that there aren’t any dust balls, you might try to figure out where the first dust balls will be vissible. You still have to listen to the music, and feel the taste of the drink. The purpose of this part of the experiment is to pay attention to your sensory input, while you are engaged in your meaningless activity.

Now, take a break and just let go of your thoughts. If you like, you might wait until the next day.

Now, it’s time for the second part of the experiment. Now, you have to do the same as before: turn on the same playlist as before, and have the same drink as last time.
But this time, you will not count dust balls. Instead, choose someone that you like. Maybe it’s time to appreciate yourself for being the fantastic person that you really are. You also may choose a friend, a family member, a partner or a pet. Of course, you may choose several people. It is even possible to perform this part of the experiment with others. In this case, you have to agree upon a time for this part of the experiment, which ensures that all of you really know and feel that you are sharing this experience.
While you listen to the music and feel the taste of the drink, pay as much attention as possible to the love that you feel for the person or persons that you have chosen. It might feel better to use words like friendship or devotion; that doesn’t matter, those words are after all words for some form of love.
Let the emotion of love get stronger, by memorizing what this person has said and done, that makes you like him or her. And don’t forget to follow the flow of the music and to sip on your drink.
Let the second part of the experiment last as long as the first part did. Then, it’s time to finish.

Now, it is time to compare:
How did it feel to do something that you like, while paying attention to something meaningless?
How did it feel to do the same, while paying attention to love?

In love and light,

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