The Four Elements of True Love

Now available in our sanctuary, and I also assign it to my clients to read.

So it seems that I have been looking for love in all the wrong places and with the wrong people for over four decades, without knowing that all along, the answers come from within. I have always been a lover of knowledge, philosophical wisdom, and mystical phenomena, always searching for that one spiritual teacher to guide me through love in addition to God. I have devoured numerous enlightening literature from all over the world – great thinkers, artists, outcasts, religious leaders, and spiritual gurus, and have definitely developed a beautiful, enriching and peaceful frame of reference. But there has always been something missing in my life, no matter how many times I thought that past loves were the one for me, that I had finally found true friends, that I could get true love from my family, something was still off.

In my search to discover the secret ingredients to true love, I finally have found him, my modern day spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, a renowned Zen master, poet, and peace activist who travels the world and shares his teachings, wise words, and love with people internationally through talks and retreats. His beautifully packaged books and his loving practical, poetic writings really resonated with me in mind, body, and spirit. When I read his words, I get chills of excitement because I have finally found someone in real life that I can call my life teacher because I am forever thirsty for learning, growth, and enriching experiences. I not only love parts or some of his books, I do indeed love them all!

Here is a little taste of his wisdom from  True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart, that has shaken my core and thrilled me with such an understanding of what true love really is, and this will forever be the guide to all my relationships in business and personal moving forward, including the relationship with myself. Slowly, we have added a nice collection of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books in my Goddess sanctuary and soon I will have every one of them here for you to read. Enjoy his deep words and brilliant emotional intelligence below…

According to Buddhism, there are four elements of true love.

The first is maitri, which can be translated as loving-kindness or benevolence. Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person; it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer. Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking directed toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha. If a husband, for example, does not understand his wife’s deepest troubles, her deepest aspirations, if he does not understand her suffering, he will not be able to love her the right way. Without understanding, love is an impossible thing.

What must we do in order to understand a person? We must have time; we must practice looking deeply into this person. We must be there, attentive; we must observe, we must look deeply. And the fruit of this looking deeply is called understanding. Love is a true thing if it is made up of a substance called understanding.

The second element of true love is compassion, karuna. This is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person, but the ability to do so. You must practice deep looking in order to gain a good understanding of the nature of the suffering of this person, in order to be able to help him or her to change. Knowledge and understanding are always at the root of the practice. The practice of understanding is the practice of meditation. To meditate is to look deeply into the heart of things.

The third element of true love is joy, mudita. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love – it is even the opposite. If there is no oy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love.

The fourth element is upeksha, equanimity or freedom. In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. If the opposite is true, it is not true love. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free, not only outside but also inside. “Dear one, do you have enough space in your heart and all around you?” This is an intelligent question for testing out whether your love is something real.

Well, what do you think? Are these four elements already in your relationships? If so, I congratulate you for being ahead of me. Please share your thoughts with me if it pleasures you so.

Love Always,

tu-anh

True Love is seeing my Nini Love sleeping peacefully with a smile on her face.

We Will Miss You, Teresa Scalzo

CAPTION

The memorial service at Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria for Teresa was beautiful.

Last month on May 23rd, we lost one of our dear and sweet sister goddesses, Teresa Scalzo to Cancer. At 47, she had achieved so much and have traveled to so many places as well as living life to the fullest. She was a brilliant, passionate and accomplished prosecutor who was the perfect example of a modern day Goddess. Although powerful and respected in her titan career, Teresa outside of work was feminine, fun-loving, giving and generous. But most importantly, she was beautiful inside out and knew how to balance her inner Yin and Yang. She was proud to be a woman and really embraced her femininity instead of shying away from it like most successful modern day women I know and work with.

I want to thank Teresa for coming into our sanctuary and bringing her beauty, her light, her fearless can-do attitude, and her big ray of sunshine and contagious smile!  Her presence was a gift to us all…she made a positive impression to those she encountered and blessed them with her loving energy and inspiring spirit. We will miss her very much. You can read more about Teresa here.  A memorial fund has also been set up by her family to continue Teresa’s mission to help others. We will be hosting a fundraiser soon for Teresa’s causes. I will keep you posted.

IMG_8896

CAPTION

Even when she was in pain, her smile was still bright.

13220764_10154202338372766_6116605964976537303_o

Teresa and I before a goddess dinner last May.

CAPTION

We all will miss her so much!

CAPTION

22 Ways To Live A Spiritual Life

IMG_1397

I love the energy of the full and new moon. It’s when I feel the most awakened.

Being raised in a strict Asian and Catholic family, “guilt,” “sin,” “anxiety,” “shame,” and “sacrifice” were the words that played importance in my life.  And then, I grew up and understood life a little more and to my surprise, I do not have to be a religious Catholic to be a good person. 🙂
I was very sheltered by my parents when I was young. So it cost me some great relationships, some mistakes made, and lessons learned to reach the life that I am currently living. In fact, by the time I turned 40 I was already living a spiritual life…and I did not even know it.
I truly believe an awake being is an aware being, and that is a person already living on a spiritual path.
Here are 22 ways to know if you are already living a spiritual life:
  1. You know who you are and what you want
  2. Love is the reason you exist
  3. You follow your heart and not always your head
  4. You listen to your intuition
  5. You believe in dreams coming true
  6. You love animalschildren, and nature
  7. You love inspiring others to help themselves
  8. You focus on the positives instead of the negatives
  9. You live everyday as if you may not have another day to live
  10. You love unconditionally
  11. You give freely without any expectations
  12. You live your life with only truth and nothing else
  13. You forgive easily and don’t hold grudges or resentment
  14. Your embrace your feminine and masculine energy
  15. You appreciate quality over quantity
  16. You take care of yourself – body, mind, and spirit
  17. You appreciate your alone and quiet time
  18. All your senses are heightened and awakened
  19. You engage yourself in many creative endeavors
  20. You believe that everything happens for a reason and there are no mistakes
  21. You are willing to confront your inner darkness
  22. You are constantly learning, growing, and improving yourself

Are you already living a spiritual life?

IMG_1794

My Nini Love teaches me the importance of keeping calm and carrying on 😘.