It's that time of the year and love is in the air! Everywhere we see red hearts beaming from cards and boxes of chocolates, while a dozen roses just doesn't have quite the right impact if they are yellow.
Every day we can read about the importance of love, how to get more of it, how to be the best at it, how to make it work, how to keep it alive, how to let go if it doesn't work, and how to trust it and start the process all over again. Love appears to be the most important topic on our minds (along with elections, immigrants and teenage acne, to name but a few).
Learning to open the heart, to listen to, respect and trust what we feel, is one of life's most powerful teachings. For the heart is more than just the center of love, it is also the center of our being, the place we point to when we talk about ourselves. When we say, "you have touched my heart" we are really saying "you have touched the deepest part of my being."
We don't have to go in search of love, or fear giving away so much that we have none left. We can never lose love; we can only lose sight of it. Love could not happen if it was not already an integral part of who we are. How can we lose what is our nature? How can we be left with nothing when love is the source of all life?
However, love rarely flows smoothly. We all experience conflicts, hurt or loss, and if the pain is too big to deal with we lock it away inside. This serves to lock us out of our heart. And when we become isolated from love we become mistrustful, uncaring, shallow, hateful, prejudiced and fearful.
Fear closes the heart so we can't feel love, as when we close our arms and pull back in defense. Love comes from the open heart, when we open our arms wide to embrace another.
All this means that love needs to be remembered, restored and renewed. We remember by holding love close and feeling its presence; we restore those places where love has been forgotten or ignored; and we renew it by being aware of love in every moment.
The Indian government invited us to speak at a yoga conference being held in Pondicherry, in southern India.
When it was Ed's turn to speak he talked about the beauty and awesome power of unconditional love. A man in the audience raised his hand.
"Please sir," he said. "What is this love that you speak of? How do I get this love? Where can I find it?"
Ed replied: "You awake in love, you bathe in love, you eat in love, you walk in love, and you live in love. Love is within you; it is your true nature; it is who you really are."
"Oh sir," the man said, "You have all the right answers!"
Ed & Deb are authors of many books. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have three meditation CDs. See more at EdandDebShapiro.com