Taking Care Of Love


I don’t remember exactly when it began, but I do recall walking in the playground aged eleven.  We’d just started high school and a friendly girl I’d met was on the receiving end of some nasty bullying.  She was very upset and the old soul in me stepped in and gave her advice on how to handle the situation.

It worked, she was able to stand up for herself when they had a go at her in the maths class.

However, all of a sudden I was the outsider and the girl I’d helped was accepted in to the bullies’ gang.  Then they turned on me.

It didn’t matter to me, however.  They were trying to build an empire.  I was mentoring someone who was anguished.

I used to wonder what it all meant.  Often I felt as though I was looking at the world through a pane of glass.  I always wanted to know; “Why?”

Once, when I was a child, we went to view a house that was for sale.  I didn’t like it.  I remember sensing something unpleasant about the house and I demanded to leave.  We didn’t buy the house.

When I was twelve or thirteen I was meditating one night gazing out of my bedroom window, taking in the stars.  After an hour or so, I experienced a strange sensation, a knowing or new kind of awareness.  The bush and the tree at the bottom of the garden were speaking back to me, smiling in the darkness and telling me we were all one.

Suddenly I was overcome with a tremendous sense of oneness and nothingness at the same time.  I was immersed in the true nature of everything and myself.  I had a great feeling of euphoria.  I will never forget it; I’ve had similar experiences since but nothing as powerful.

Nearly thirty years later I was sitting on the sofa listening to some wisdom from a great teacher I know.  She had loaned me a book to read.  It was Mans Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.  I hadn’t read it before so I was looking forward to it.

I found it a great read, I was interested in the Logotherapy hypothesis and of course, the story itself of the holocaust camp inmates.  The premise is that the desire for meaning rather than power or pleasure is the greatest driving force of humanity.

I imagine power and pleasure are drivers for many.  We seem to be entering a phase where the corporate mind-set is being presented as the ideal.  There’s nothing wrong with corporate success, but like everything there must be a balance.  Who’s looking after love?

And what is love?  What does it feel like to you?  Is it important to you?

My teacher and I were discussing the book after I’d read it.  She asked me what the overall meaning of the book was, for me.

I said, “Love cannot be taken.”  For me, the message was that when everything else is taken away, freedom, money, possessions, housing, justice, loved ones, etc., love is the only thing remaining that cannot be taken.

Love can be given, it can be received, but love can never be taken forcibly from you.  You can always find it in your heart if you get in touch with it.

I hadn’t read a review of the book until afterwards, and the synopsis taken from Amazon.co.uk says

“A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn’t) with the experience. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest – and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances. The sort of person the concentration camp prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. Frankl came to believe man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.”

So, while for the author, it was our “ability to choose our attitude” that could not be taken away from us, I realised that my own attitude, buried deep beneath everything else, was one of love.  Love is giving and receiving, never taking.

So it doesn’t matter what happens to me, no-one will be able to take love from me, I am its guardian.  Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about giving things away.

I had a Reiki session where, in my trance like state, I was transported to a lochside.  I was old with long white hair.  I had a sack brimming full of stuff with me and as I walked along I decided to stop at the banks of the loch.  I peered into the sack and it was full of glowing, pearly, rainbow coloured spheres.  A bit like those bath pearls you used to get.  In among the pearls, I began to see words appear, and I observed them come and go.  The first words were written in jaggy black writing, “Dagger” “Hatred” “Vengeance” I was surprised by how onomatopoeic the words were, how they did have a tangible power despite them being unmanifested intention; how out of place in the sack they seemed.

The words soon faded and were replaced by softer kinder words written in white, “peace” “overflowing” “abundance”. As these words appeared I reached into the sack and began pulling out handfuls of the pearls.  I threw them into the loch and the water started to glisten as they hit the surface then gradually sank down.  As I looked back into the sack I saw that it was not getting any emptier, it was staying just as full no matter how many handfuls of pearls I threw into the water.

I believe we should be making time to discuss how we can contribute to the good of society by having a loving attitude.  That is not to say we must ignore the practicalities.  There has to be a balance.  Don’t tell me love doesn’t solve problems.  A compassionate approach must be given the respect it is due.  We are a society of people, and people have human needs.

If you’ve ever been in hospital, you might have been lucky enough to encounter medical or nursing staff who showed real compassion and love in the way they treated you.  If you did, it would have contributed to the quality and speed of your healing.

However, if you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to have encountered uncaring medical or nursing staff who seem to hate your very presence, you’ll understand what I mean even more clearly!

I don’t think we can sit back and watch our caring society being eaten away by a gangrenous greed for money and power for its own sake.  We have to care.

Are you taking care of love?  Look after yourself.  Look after other people.

by Marion McGunnigle