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.

Happy National Honesty Day!

Steven’s books and coaching products are all available at our goddess sanctuary for our clients, too.

I know I am a day late, but happy National Honesty day! This is a day for us to celebrate all those wonderful relationships in our life that we already have straightforward communication with.  And for those relationships that are not there yet, I invite you to reach out to those that you would like to improve your relationship with and ask them, “On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate our relationship when it comes to open and honest communication?” If their answer is not a 10, ask them, “What would it take to make it a 10?” 

In my opinion, every day should be a day where we practice and model the behavior we seek in others when it comes to open and honest communication. Take a few minutes and watch the video below from one of my favorite titan clients, mentor, and dear friend who is the top honesty expert in the world.

Join me in spreading this message and encouraging all those around us to embrace living a life full of truth, self-expression, integrity, and honesty. You may have heard “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which is really another way of explaining the “law of reflection.”  What this means is that when seeking open, honest communication in others, we have to make sure that we are setting that standard for ourselves. So let’s begin, shall we?

Top 5 Books To Inspire You

Ever since I had the opportunity to receive my formal education beginning in the 5th grade, and to learn English in the process, reading has been a daily must for me.  I am a perpetual student of life, and I just cannot get enough of reading or learning new things.  If I can find a free second between work, nature walks, pampering myself at a spa-like experience, doing yoga, and dancing, I love to take a quiet break from the fast moving world and settle in to read something inspiring.

I love all kinds of books, but my favorite books are the ones that teach me something new or inspire my creativity and inner goddess. If I ever decide to take one month off from the world, you know I would be somewhere on a Greek Island under the sun and by the water with books all around me!

Here are some inspirational book “must haves” for you to add to your library. All of these books are available in our goddess sanctuary in Old Town, Alexandria and also on our website!

Chasers of The Light is a beautifully passionate book of poetry which absolutely stole my heart the moment I opened it for the first time last year when my style goddess Julianne shared with me. The titan author, Tyler Knott Gregson, describes feelings of love in such a deep, pure, and hopelessly romantic way. Can you guess which poem is my favorite? I would love to meet him in person one day.

givingtreeThe Giving Tree, though considered a children’s book, teaches me something new each and every time I read it. Although I have read it hundreds of times to myself, my students, my clients, friends and family, and lots of little children, I still cannot get through to the end without getting somewhat emotional about it. It is an important reminder to all of us who are always giving that we must also give to ourselves or we will be left without anything more to give.

datedThis book, If the Buddha Dated, was originally given to me as a gift from one of our goddess fans. After reading it, I wish that I knew about this book before I got married. Well, everything that happened was meant to happen anyway. It is now part of our permanent book collection in our sanctuary. I think the tools and wisdom offered in this book are perfect for the single goddesses and titans looking to be in a serious and loving romantic relationship. Definitely not your average dating book – it’s much deeper than that.

5loveIf you want to be in a great relationship with anyone, you must be willing to learn to express your appreciation in a way that the other person will understand and embrace. Not everyone speaks the same love language. Have you read this book to find out what your main love language is? I used this as a resource when I was teaching and it really helped me to connect with my students. The 5 Love Languages helps us all to connect with one another better. I believe that when we understand each other and combine that with great communication, our relationships improve tremendously and are happier as a result.

gratitudeHere is the secret of why fear and worries are rarely present in my thoughts: I never forget to write in my Gratitude Journal, even when on travels. It is part of my daily morning coffee ritual. Nothing is more important than centering my world each morning and focusing on the things in life for which I am incredibly grateful. Doing this daily helps me to keep focusing on all the things that God and the Angels continue to bless me with, as well as reminding me to be more present and emotionally available to the people whom I care for so deeply.

How is your summer going so far? What are some of your favorite books? Please share!