An Invitation toHigher LoveWhen one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world—no matter how imperfect—becomes rich and beautiful;it consists solely of opportunities for love.—Søren Kierkegaard, nineteenth-century philosopher
In medieval Japan, the fierce samurai warriors were revered as kings. They carried large swords and were highly skilled at using them.
One day, a famous samurai set out to find an aged monk who was known to be very wise. When he arrived at the monastery, he flung open the door and demanded of the old man, “Tell me, you are learned in these matters. What is heaven and what is hell?”
The monk sat still for a moment on the tatami-matted floor. Then he turned and looked up at the warrior. “You call yourself a samurai warrior,” he said. “Why, look at you. You’re nothing but a mere sliver of a man! I doubt you could cut off the head of a fly with your sword.”
For a moment, the samurai stood gaping. No one talked to a samurai like that! Then, as if someone had waved a red cloth in front of a bull, the samurai’s face contorted in rage. He bellowed, “How dare you! I won’t let you get away with such an insult.” Pulling his huge sword from its sheath, he raised it high above his head, ready to kill the old monk.
Unperturbed, the monk looked directly into the eyes of the furious warrior and said, “You asked what hell is? This is hell.”
The samurai froze, his sword still raised, as the hatred and anger that had consumed him drained away. He looked at the old monk in amazement, realizing that this small, stooped man had risked his life to answer his question.
Lowering his weapon, the samurai bowed to the monk, as tears of gratitude appeared in his eyes. “Thank you for your teaching,” the samurai said humbly, his heart filled with love for the monk’s gift.
The monk smiled at the samurai and said, “And this, my friend, is heaven.”
The book you hold in your hands is your passport to experiencing heaven right here on earth—no matter what your idea of heaven is. Because in the end, heaven on earth is about love—the biggest, most powerful, all-encompassing love you can imagine.
We All Want Love
What a small word for such an enormous, expansive, exalted experience!
Since the dawn of civilization, humans have been engaged in the pursuit of love. Monuments have been constructed, fortunes made, and treasuries emptied—all in the name of love. Whatever we think we want—more clothes, more friends, more money, more status, more power, more anything—in the end, it boils down to love.
When love flows in our lives, it opens our hearts, our arms, our eyes. We blossom, like a flower in the springtime sun. When love is missing, we wither and close, protecting ourselves against the harshness of life.
Imagine being so full of love that no matter how much you gave, there was always more than enough, and any love you received was just icing on the cake.
Every spiritual tradition tells us to love one another, and we’d all like to do just that. So, what’s the problem?
In a nutshell, we’re handicapped in the love department—both giving and receiving—because we’re disconnected from the state of Love for No Reason, the source of love inside us.
When you learn how to access that huge internal reservoir of love, instead of looking for love outside yourself, you’re able to bring love to every situation. And that’s when your life becomes magical—a whole lot juicier and more fulfilling.
Living in Love
This isn’t just a nice idea. As I discovered in my research, some people are actually living this way. After each interview with a Love Luminary, I would shake my head in wonder. The accounts of living in Love for No Reason were far better than any fairy tale—because they were true. For some the experience of this expansive state came on dramatically and suddenly—in a moment of grace—while for others it was a more subtle and gradual process.
One beautiful example of someone who experienced a moment of grace that changed her life came from Love Luminary Mirabai Devi, an international spiritual teacher from South Africa I interviewed while she was teaching in California.
Her experience of this pure state of love first happened almost twenty years ago, when as a young woman traveling through Europe on her own, Mirabai had an awakening:
It was as if a dam burst in my heart, and the waters overflowed. The love that came forth was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. Like a flood, it was all-consuming and all-encompassing; I could hardly contain it. I felt electrified; my body was tingling all over. I was so in love with the whole creation that I wanted to hug everyone I met. I knew that I couldn’t do that because people would think I was crazy. Still, people could feel it. Everywhere I went they would just come up to me and say, “What can I do for you?” “Can I help you?” “Can I give you a ride?” “Can I get you some food?” “Can I … ?” They just wanted to be around me.
All I wanted to do was make humanity feel how loved it was. To let them know that this love was everywhere, and available to everyone. Nonstop I just sent it out to all people, all beings, and all life forms. I sent it to all those who were suffering.
Traveling through Holland one afternoon, I stopped on the side of the road and looked at a field of cabbages. All the cabbages were filled with this iridescent, luminous light. My heart was bursting with love for the cabbages.
I felt union with the whole creation. Everything was the creation of love. Everything was pulsing with love. It was everywhere, in everything. It was in the walls and in the trees. It was as though it was coming through the sky.
I saw that everything is connected and everything is one. And everything is radiant with this exquisite, ecstatic love.
That was the beginning of Mirabai’s experience of living in an ongoing state of Love for No Reason. Today she travels around the world, speaking and teaching others about love.
In interview after interview, I heard more than a hundred variations on this theme. I thought, If so many people, from all different backgrounds and all different walks of life, experience this, it must be possible for me and anyone else.
My question became: How did this awakening of love happen for Mirabai and the others? And what are the conditions that you and I can set up to invite this experience of love into our own lives?
The Three Love for No Reason ThemesWe are made by love, we are made of love, and we are made for love! Everything is love anyway. Our hate is love turned sour, jealousy is love turned bitter, our fears are love standing upside down, greed is love gone overboard, attachment is love gone sticky.—Khurshed Batliwala, blogger
The starting place for inviting more love into your life is to understand the perspective of people who are already living this way. After listening to more than 150 hours of interviews with my Love Luminaries and reading through six thousand pages of transcripts, I saw three main themes that stood out in neon lights.
Love Theme #1: Love Is Who We Are
All the Love Luminaries told me that love isn’t just something we feel for others, it’s who we are. Love is actually the substance, the building blocks, the essence of everything in our lives. We’re made up of love. Our molecules are formed from love. We are love.
I know that when I first heard this, I rolled my eyes, thinking, I’ve heard this all before. But at the same time I realized, I have no idea what that really means.
We think of love as a stream of emotion flowing between two points—between us and whatever we love. But in fact, love is more like an ocean that’s inside and all around us.
We walk around with our little cups, begging for a few drops of love from others, when actually we’re the huge ocean of love. This is why I say that when you experience Love for No Reason on an ongoing basis, you stop being a “love beggar” and become a “love philanthropist.” Instead of looking at every interaction as a potential source of love—something to fill you up and make you feel good—you come to every interaction radiating love. You’re overflowing with love because you are the source!
Having great relationships doesn’t depend on finding the right person or circumstance; it depends completely on your capacity to love. Unconditional love for others is based on “being the ocean of love.”
Experiencing that you are love is the ultimate form of self-love. It’s not love of your small self—your personality. It’s not about loving yourself because you look good or you did a great job or because you’ve gained a certain status. It’s the love of your big Self—your essence. It’s the love that comes from waking up to who you truly are.
Love Theme #2: The Purpose of Life Is to Expand in Love
Why are you alive? The Love Luminaries say that our ultimate purpose is to grow in our ability to give and receive love. In other words, love is our job here on earth!
So if love is your job description, the most important thing you can do is to find that ocean of love within you and bring it to the world—to yourself, to your loved ones, to strangers you pass in the street, to everyone and everything.
Now that doesn’t mean standing on a street corner with a sign that says Free Hugs (although that might be fun!). What it means is that you live your life in a context of love, seeing that everything that happens to you is to help you expand your ability to love. It’s easy to love things that are charming and attractive, but the real challenge is to experience love in difficult situations and with people you don’t even like. To maintain an open heart when your spouse is being difficult, your child is throwing a tantrum, or your boss is making what seem like unreasonable demands requires a commitment to love as the number one priority in your life.
In fact, all the accounts I’ve read about near-death experiences point to the importance of focusing on love. Many people say that at the end of our lives there’s a life review during which our souls are asked only two questions: How well did you learn your life lessons? And how much did you love?
If that’s going to be our life’s final exam, maybe it’s a good idea to prepare now to answer those questions well. I don’t think this is the kind of test you can cram for at the end!
Love Theme #3: The Heart Is the Portal to Love
The Love Luminaries all agreed that the heart is the central access point for our experience of Love for No Reason. Not our flesh-and-blood heart but our spiritual heart—the place in the middle of our chest we point to when we indicate who we are. In all cultures throughout history, the heart has been considered the seat of love.
The ocean of Higher Love flows into your life through this portal, and the more open you keep your heart, the healthier, happier, and more loving you are. It’s the key to succeeding at your life’s job: expanding your ability to love.
That’s why keeping the heart open is the goal of all the practices, tools, and techniques in the Love for No Reason program that you’ll learn in Part II.
These three themes are the bottom line—the CliffsNotes of the information I discovered in my research—and the foundation upon which this book is built. Keep them in mind as you continue to read. They are the mantras of Love for No Reason.
A New Paradigm of Love
I know all this can sound kind of airy-fairy. What does all this really mean for your day-to-day life? You may be thinking, My heart is aching because my child is ill. I’m incredibly angry because my husband had an affair. I just lost my job and I’m scared I can’t pay my bills. I’m eating all the time because I’m feeling so depressed. How can Love for No Reason help me with all that?
It can, because Love for No Reason allows you to come to all types of situations with more centeredness, flexibility, and peace. You’ll see more clearly how to respond to conflict, handle emotional upsets, and most important, feel compassion for yourself in the midst of your daily challenges.
Living with an open heart helps you cope—even thrive—as you deal with the frustrations and disappointments you face in everyday life.
Experiencing Love for No Reason doesn’t mean you never feel sadness, anger, or hurt; what it does mean is that you also feel the comfort of the pure love that underlies those painful feelings. That pure love acts as a cushion, allowing the painful feelings to dissipate more quickly.
Love also helps you handle your difficulties more effectively. We’re used to dealing with our problems on the level of the problem, but as Einstein said, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” Introducing Higher Love to any of your problems is like turning on the light in a dark room; it helps dispel the difficulty with grace and speed. You gain perspective and free yourself from old negative feedback loops. This approach to handling your everyday issues requires a new paradigm of love, a new way of considering what it means to “love.”
Though we talk about love in so many ways—I love my family. I love my pets. I love to shop. I love to eat. I love to help others. I love to watch television or read a book—all our experiences of love can be divided into four distinct categories along what I call the Love Continuum. The following diagram illustrates the complete spectrum of love:The Love Continuum
No Love: In this state our hearts are shut down; we’re in pain or feel angry or sad or may experience profound exhaustion. Feelings of fear and anxiety, which are hallmarks of No Love, often trigger the fight-or-flight response. We may feel empty, bored, disengaged, disconnected, or alone. We may want to lash out at the people around us, especially those we think are causing our pain. The state of No Love is the absence of everything that makes life worth living.
Note: People may find themselves in this state when dealing with serious grief, depression, and trauma. In these situations professional treatment may be necessary to help them come out of the deep well of sadness they’re experiencing.
Love for Bad Reason: This type of love isn’t actually love at all. It’s really just No Love on painkillers. Love for Bad Reason is primarily concerned with “being loved” to fill a void inside ourselves. It isn’t about appreciation or true caring; it’s about trying to escape or ease our emptiness. We see this in the obsessed lover intent on getting his or her “love fix.”
The state of Love for Bad Reason is the basis of all addictions and in the long run erodes our health on all levels—body, mind, and spirit.
Codependency falls into this category. People who are co-dependent get swallowed up in the lives of others in an effort to fill the vacuum inside themselves. They want to please the other person—in order to get love back. You can’t tell from the outside whether someone is acting from Love for Bad Reason, as it depends on his or her internal motivation. But you can become aware of when you’re loving for bad reason. Watch for any time you’re feeling or doing the following.
- Giving love to get love
- Pleasing others to be accepted
- Feeling addicted to the object of your love
- Trying to fill a void inside yourself with something outside
- Feeling needy, hungry, or desperate for love
- Controlling those you love (trying to “fix” your partner or children so you’ll look or feel better)
Love for Good Reason: This is what most people understand as love. It’s when you deeply appreciate or feel connected to certain people, situations, or even material objects. Whatever you love in this way becomes special and valuable to you. When you love for good reason, you feel inspired to contribute to others and are able to both give and receive. This type of love is healthy and strengthens you.
Having many good reasons to love is a wonderful thing; my life coach, Bill Levacy, calls this having “multiple streams of emotional income.” It makes you feel truly rich.
But this kind of love does have some limitations. The main problem is that it’s linked to reasons, and if those reasons change, your love usually changes too. For example, if you love your spouse because he or she is wonderful to be with and then your spouse disappoints or betrays you, where does your love go?
Love for Good Reason has some other major drawbacks: you may feel attached, jealous, afraid of losing the object of your love, or you may feel satisfied but still sense there’s something missing. Love that depends on any reason can come and go.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent too much of my life at the mercy of “reasons to love” and they didn’t bring me what I was really looking for. Fortunately, there’s another level of love beyond this.
Love for No Reason: This is Higher Love, an inner state of pure love that doesn’t depend on other people, external conditions, or circumstances. It’s a love we experience from the inside out. When you’re in a state of Love for No Reason you experience freedom, peace, joy, openness, and deep fulfillment. When you “Love for No Reason,” you don’t need a reason—you love just because.
When you love for no reason, you bring love to your outer experiences, rather than try to extract love from them.
Love for No Reason is entirely different from our old, limited concept of love. Even science points to this. According to the latest research, unconditional love appears to have its own unique state of brain functioning.
In a study conducted at the University of Montreal, researchers found that the brain scans of people consciously experiencing unconditional love showed a pattern of activation in areas of the brain different from the areas activated in people experiencing romantic or maternal love. A distinct neural network, including the insula, superior parietal lobe, and right caudate nucleus lit up when people were experiencing unconditional love.
When we live from this state, we create a radically different physiology. One of my first Love for No Reason interviews was with Love Luminary Eva Selhub, MD, a recognized authority on the physiology of love and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. She told me, “Love sets off a set of physiological events in the body: peptides and hormones are released, including endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, vasopressin, and nitric oxide. These help turn off the fear response, evoke the relaxation response, and create a positive physiology.”
Dr. Selhub calls this your body’s “Love Response” and says it allows you to adapt to life’s challenges, stop and even reverse disease, and maintain health. “The Love Response makes it easier for your body to improve rather than deteriorate with age.” A very important ingredient in the body’s love response is oxytocin. It’s known as the “love hormone” because it stimulates feelings of bonding, safety, and trust, and reduces fear and anxiety. Activated by warmth, touch, movement, orgasm, and breastfeeding, oxytocin is also involved in what’s called “tend and befriend” activities, such as taking care of children and pets, or talking to a close friend. When oxytocin is flowing, you feel full of love.
Living in a state of love transforms our experience of life, as the Love Luminaries demonstrated time and again. While they have a wide range of personalities, they all embody similar qualities that reflect this new way of being:
- Being fully present in the moment
- Feeling oneness and a sense of connection to all people and nature
- Trusting that they are supported by a friendly universe
- Living in the flow of their feelings and having great physical vitality
- Owning their power without ego
- Being equally comfortable giving and receiving love
- Speaking and listening from the heart
- Being compassionate and nonjudgmental toward themselves and others
- Feeling full and content and being able to love life as it is
- Feeling universal love flowing through them
My guess is that you’ve had glimpses of this state—I call them “peak love experiences”—when your heart was open and flowing, when you didn’t need anyone or anything to be different, when you felt a strong sense of well-being and that all was well. These peak love experiences leave their mark; we never forget them. Growing in Love for No Reason means experiencing these qualities—from the inside out—more of the time.
My colleague and Love Luminary Morty Lefkoe, developer of the Lefkoe Method, a system for eliminating limiting beliefs, told me a beautiful experience of his that illustrates what it feels like to love for no reason in relationships:
When I married my wife, Shelly, almost twenty-nine years ago, she asked me why I loved her. I answered, “Just because I do.”
She didn’t like this answer. She wanted to know which qualities about her made me love her. But I kept insisting that I simply loved her, not for any particular reason.
I explained. “If I love you for specific reasons, then my love is conditioned on your being a certain way. If you stop being that way or if you aren’t that way at a given time, I may not love you. But if I love you ‘just because,’ then my love is unconditional and I can and will love you no matter what you do or don’t do.”
If I don’t feel love toward Shelly at any given moment, I realize that I’m not experiencing love inside myself and that it’s up to me to figure out why and to start experiencing it again. I’m not blaming her for anything and I’m not waiting for her to change in some way. This gives me complete control over the way I feel about her. In other words, there’s nothing she has to do to make me love her, and there’s nothing she can do that will lead me to not love her.
This experience has spilled over into my other relationships. I was recently with a group of colleagues and I noticed that I was also loving them for no reason. It was as if I was filled with love and directed it toward whoever showed up in my space. I could tell you what I liked and admired about each of the people, but the love I felt had nothing to do with those qualities.
And my love was independent of the response I got from the other person. I didn’t feel more love for people who loved me back than I did for people who didn’t express love for me.
Now that I know where that wonderful experience comes from (namely, me), I am committed to learning how to experience it consistently in my life.
When who I really am sees who you really are, all there is, is love.
Feel the Love (for No Reason)
Enough explanation. Now it’s time to get a taste of Love for No Reason and experience how it differs from Love for Good Reason. Try this simple exercise:Exercise The Difference Between Love for Good Reason and Love for No Reason
- Close your eyes and think of someone or something you love. It can be a person, a pet, a place, or an experience.
- What do you love about him, her, or it? Appreciate all the wonderful qualities you love about that person or thing. Let yourself savor the object of your love.
- Ask yourself an unusual question, one that most people never consider: Where does this love come from? What’s causing me to have this wonderful experience? The vast majority of people will answer that the love they feel is directly caused by the object of love they’re thinking about. This is the experience of Love for Good Reason.
- Now try something different. Switch your focus from the beloved to the experience of love itself. Put your attention on your heart and feel your appreciation independent of your thoughts about the object of your love. Instead of thinking of the qualities of the person or thing, let yourself really feel the love you have inside for whatever it is that you chose.
- Be with that inner experience of love. You may feel warmth in the center of your chest and/or find yourself smiling.
The difference between these two experiences of love is that the second one is linked to your heart and doesn’t depend on the object of your love. This is Love for No Reason. The following diagrams illustrate what you just experienced:
In the first diagram, our love is directly linked to the object. In the second, the objects are secondary, and our primary experience is the love we feel in our own hearts. When we focus on the heart and its radiance rather than the objects the rays point to—that’s the inner state of love we’re talking about, which you’ll learn to strengthen in the Love for No Reason program.
For many people, it may be hard to grasp that love can be a stand-alone experience. We think “it takes two to tango.” We love something; we don’t just love. We consider love as something that happens between two people.
Embracing this new idea of love as an independent state and learning how to experience it on a continuing basis is the key to living a life of unconditional love. You fill your own love tank and bring that love to everything in your life.
Then, as Mirabai experienced, you still love things outside yourself (in her case, love even extended to cabbages), but the difference is your love doesn’t depend on things—people, jobs, relationships, cars, clothes … or cabbages.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this experience. This pure state of love is the most powerful force on the planet. When you develop and strengthen unconditional love and make it your default state of being, your life will switch from black-and-white to Technicolor.
Love for No Reason in Practice
Not long after writing this section, I put this new way of looking at love to the test, using it in a difficult emotional situation with my ex-husband, Sergio. Even though I was no longer living with him, I still loved him dearly, and I deeply missed his presence in my life.
One day, hanging up the phone after a conversation with him, I felt the pain and loss of not being together anymore. Even though I knew our parting was best for both of us, I was feeling enormous love for him and my heart was aching with longing for him. I felt as if I had to shut down the feeling of love because it hurt too much.
Okay, I thought, I’m writing this book about Love for No Reason. Everyone I’ve interviewed has told me that love is who we are and that I can experience that love inside myself whenever I want. Let me give it a whirl.
Closing my eyes, I told myself, This feeling I have for Sergio—it’s my love. It’s coming from me. So I’m going to just sit here and feel it.
And I did. I really let my love flow, savoring the sweetness of that experience in my own heart. If my attention started focusing on Sergio and the fact that we weren’t together, I’d gently bring it back to my experience of love. That love was coming from me; it was mine. I could feel it regardless of who was with me or not with me. And it actually helped a lot. Normally, the pangs of loss and sadness would have stayed with me for hours, but within five minutes of just letting myself feel my own love for no reason, I felt better.
This experience reminded me of something a spiritual teacher of mine used to say: “I love you and it’s no concern of yours.” When I first heard the phrase at age seventeen, I was puzzled by it, but now I appreciate its profound message. The love that we think is for anyone or anything outside ourselves is really just our own love.
Feeling it is not the same as sharing that love with another person: that’s a whole different kind of thrill. But I’ve found that experiencing that inner state of love truly has a charm of its own. It’s filled me with a peace and sweetness that feels like home.
The Sun Is Always Shining
Look at the diagram of Love for No Reason again, and notice how the heart looks like a sun. This is a particularly apt metaphor, because when we stop connecting love to reasons—to external objects of love—and feel the sensation of pure love within, the radiant energy of love streams out from us like a sun.
That sun of Love for No Reason is always shining inside us. You don’t have to “create love.” It’s already there. Love is your essence, your true nature. (Remember Love Theme #1.) Author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle’s description of this Higher Love is spot on:
Something inside you emerges … an innate, indwelling peace, stillness, aliveness. It is the unconditioned, who you are in your essence. It is what you had been looking for in the love object. It is yourself.
All the world’s spiritual traditions speak of this larger, more expanded kind of love, though each has its own terminology for it.
In Christianity, the term that’s used for this highest and purest form of love is agape, a word borrowed from the Greeks. In the New Testament, agape is the love that God has for man and that He commands us to have for each other. It is selfless, generous, and healing—the foundation for a good life.
In Hebrew, the word for love is ahavah, and for Love for No Reason, ahavat chinam, literally “groundless love.” In my interview with Love Luminary Rabbi David Thomas, he described ahavat chinam as “the love we show to a fellow human being without regard to our own interest, simply because we are human and we see the humanity of another.”
The Buddhists call this love metta or lovingkindness, love that makes one want to help and to give of oneself for the welfare and well-being of humanity. They consider this love the ultimate source of strength and power.
Hinduism uses the Sanskrit phrase parama prema (supreme love) to describe a state of love that is full, with no conditions, and that brings a person to the truth of life. And in the sect of Islam called Sufism, the word ishq expresses this quality of unconditional and Divine love.
What is present in all traditions is the certainty that God is love and that each one of us has access to that love inside. It’s only clouds of stress, negative habits, ego, and fear that block this pure state of love and prevent us from experiencing it.
Those clouds of negativity that block the sun, preventing us from experiencing Love for No Reason, make up what Eckhart Tolle calls our “pain-body.” In his best-selling book The Power of Now, he describes the pain-body as a negative energy field of painful emotional memories that we all carry around with us. This emotional energy body is triggered when an event or remark or even a random thought resonates with a past experience of pain. The pain-body survives by feeding on more pain, and it’s always on the lookout for a chance to suffer. When you get into a fight with someone, it’s your pain-body that pounces, ready for a good meal. It’s the part of you that seems to go out of its way to stir up conflict, hurt, and sadness.
Remarkably, what hasn’t been written about yet is that we also have a “love-body.” This is a breakthrough discovery! It’s an idea that came to me out of the blue. I thought, If there’s a pain-body that magnetizes pain to you, there must also be a love-body that magnetizes love to you! I began asking the Love Luminaries about it and many of them verified its existence. The love body is a positive energy field formed from our experiences of unconditional love—the pain-body’s opposite.
In the same way that the pain-body feeds on pain, the love-body develops by feeding on more love. The more you experience Love for No Reason, the stronger and healthier your love-body becomes. And the more developed your love-body, the more love you radiate. You become like a tuning fork of love; everything around you begins to resonate with the vibration of love you’re sending out.
But for most of us, becoming a “tuning fork of love” requires creating new habits. We all have familiar grooves that our lives run in—ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that feed either the love-body or the pain-body. If you want to develop a stronger love-body, you have to change your groove. You do this through practice.
Because as it turns out, practice really does make perfect! We know this from the many exciting scientific studies in the field of neuroplasticity. For years scientists believed that the brain developed only up until early adulthood and then hardened like cement, putting an end to further growth. However, numerous studies have recently shown that the brain makes new connections and dissolves old ones in response to our thoughts and actions even up until we die. When we repeat a thought or action, the neural pathways associated with it become wider: neurons that fire together, wire together. So what we focus on repeatedly affects our neural circuits, which means that we can change our wiring, even as adults.
Fortunately, the experience and expression of love are actually hardwired into our brains—a fact borne out by research. According to Dr. Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of the Greater Good Science Center, “Compassion and benevolence are … rooted in our brain and biology, and ready to be cultivated.”
A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin–Madison supports this idea. In this study the subjects were asked to concentrate on loving-kindness toward their families, and then to extend that feeling of love to include strangers. The results showed an activation of the brain regions that relate to empathy.
When you consciously and repeatedly connect to the state of Love for No Reason, it eventually becomes your groove. And as your love-body becomes more vibrant and powerful, it exerts a greater influence in your life and the lives of everyone you touch. The Love for No Reason program is designed to strengthen your love-body and allow you to keep your heart open more of the time. We’ll explore the love-body more thoroughly in chapter 3.
How Strong Is Your Love-Body?The Love for No Reason Self-Assessment
We all experience love in our lives, but how much of it is pure, unconditional love? The following self-assessment will show you how strong your love-body is and to what degree you’re already living in the state of Love for No Reason.
This questionnaire is not concerned with measuring how much you love the external circumstances of your life, including your relationships with others: that’s Love for Good Reason. Instead, it measures the qualities associated with that pure inner state of love that forms the basis of healthy relationships and a magnificent life.
As you answer these questions, be honest with yourself. No one will see your score but you.The Love for No Reason Self-Assessment
Rate each question on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “Not at all True” and 10 is “Absolutely True.”1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Not at all True Moderately True Absolutely True
- I move through my day feeling grounded—aware, awake, and appreciative of what is happening in the present moment.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
- I feel connected to the natural world, including animals, plants, water, mountains, etc.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
- I feel supported—by my friends and family, and by a friendly universe.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
- I have a lot of physical energy and am able to feel my feelings without resisting or suppressing them.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
- I feel deserving of love and am able to be assertive without being aggressive.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
- I feel an abundance of love in my heart—I give and receive from a sense of fullness.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
- I am a good communicator. I express how I really feel and listen without being defensive.
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- I am intuitive and see the beauty all around me.
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- I experience periods of acceptance and/or peace on a daily basis.
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- I feel connected to a power larger than myself and feel higher love flowing through me.
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If your score is 80–100: Congratulations, you could be one of my Love Luminaries!
If your score is 60–79: You’re well on your way to Love for No Reason.
If your score is 40–59: You’re having glimpses of Love for No Reason.
If your score is under 40: It’s great that you’re reading this book. Love for No Reason is waiting for you.Once you’ve completed the Love for No Reason program laid out in Part II, you can take this self-assessment on a regular basis to chart your progress toward living a life of unconditional love.
This new paradigm of love is the foundation on which you can build a life of freedom and fulfillment. Having a strong love-body is the key. The good news is that you’ve already begun to develop yours. Just understanding that Love for No Reason exists and focusing your attention on it starts the process of strengthening your love-body.
In the next chapter, we’ll examine some of the blocks that limit our love and prevent us from living the most extraordinary lives we can.
© 2010 Marci Shimoff