This is one of the three questions asked by Lord Buddha. The other two are:
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?
I will fail in answering all these questions as I have never lived any of them consciously. My actions may or may not have reflected these questions. There would have been times when my actions would be saturated with these questions but I have never consciously acted with these questions as underlying intentions.
I have loved and I do love, but how do I define “How Well?” What is the benchmark of “How Well?”
If it means non judgmental, allowing others To Be – without trying to steer, direct or change their course,
If it means not letting others actions getting to me,
If it means not taking anything personally,
If it means understanding others and myself first and then making necessary adjustments in my own attitudes,
If “How well did I love” means all the above, then Yes, I do Love well.
However, if loving well is defined as passionate hugs, physical expression of love through touching, hugging, expressing verbally by saying ‘I love you’ 400 times a day, expressing emotions and allowing emotions out pour with passion,
If loving well is defined as giving gifts, cards or even making regular phone calls to keep in touch –
then I fail miserably. I don’t know how to express love that way. For most part my culture prohibits me from external display of love though physical touch publicly. I understand the importance of it, I realise that touch binds people – however, that understanding is very difficult to translate into a reality. Cultural conditioning is difficult to transcend.
To me “How Well Did I Love” translates to how pure are my intentions behind my actions, how much I want to do for others without thinking of my own circumstances and how much I understand the motives and drives behind other people’s actions and not let my thermostat fluctuate accordingly.
My emotional thermostat is the measure of ‘how well I love’ and it is generally set at a constant temperature that doesn’t rapidly fluctuate at minor changes in the weather. Yes, it does react to extreme weather conditions but very quickly returns to its set temperature – a pleasant, warm and soothing 21 degrees Celsius. That’s my heart’s temperature. If that is loving well, I am doing OK.
Question is – if unconsciously that is how well I love, what would it be like if I consciously ask myself each day “How well did I Love”, what would happen?
If I consciously ask myself every day or as often as I remember, then the thermostat is regulated even better. My emotional thermostat can be permanently calibrated to read 21 degrees and not fluctuate to the extremities. The conscious living with Love as its intention will extend the reach of my thermostat. The radius of inclusion widens and more and more people can be drawn into that warmth.
Consciously asking myself “how well did I love” will remove even the tiniest of judgments that may arise from the deep corners of the heart and unconditional acceptance will spread as I cleanse my own heart with that question.
There are benchmarks set by people who intentionally walked with this question like Mother Theresa and there are role models who were the embodiments of the driving factor in that question – Love. Buddha, Jesus, Sai Baba – history has provided us with great beings who walked on this earth to show and tell, to demonstrate through every cell of their bodies what Love is and all I have to do is take one axiom of what they said and live it.
The benchmarks are set in statements like
Do unto others…..
Help Ever, Hurt Never……..
Take refuge in Society with righteous living……….
I am not short of stories, metaphors, examples or even cliches to fall back onto. The key is “How much do I want it” and “How conscious am I of that want”
The reason I may feel blue, down, depressed etc is because I am far removed from the desire or knowledge of that question “How well did I Love”. If I only reflect a tiny fraction and hold that question in front of me each day, it will be a shining mirror that shows who I am. The only choice I would then have is to acknowledge the reflection without judgment and complete acceptance and correct course if necessary or continue with satisfaction. Any smudges that I see are not on the mirror but in me.
“How well did I Love” will be the cleansing solution to purify my heart. Each cleanse will shine it a tiny bit until one day when I don’t need that cleansing. I drop the “How” and the “well”, I also drop the doubt “Did I”. What is left is “LOVE”. It may happen in this life time or it may take several.
Keep asking “How well did I Love” until you don’t need to anymore.
Hope that day arrives sooner………
With Love and Respect