How to love? It’s a strange question, right? The other day I looked at a leaf and found my answer. Yes, a leaf. I felt so much love for that leaf and wondered why. I immediately found my answer:

“Love is the absence of judgement”

In fact, to tell you the truth, when this realisation dawned on me, I tried to contemplate further, but couldn’t. This is it. When we are not judging something or someone, the only emotion which remains is love.

Reflect on it for a moment. Think about something you love, it doesn’t have to be a human or your favourite food, but just about anything you love. It can be a holiday spot, puppies, toddlers, a special type of flowers, or anything. Chances are that you love it because you are not judging it. Yes, you may be admiring its beauty or innocence, but in essence, there is no biased judgement.

Biased, stained or any judgement arises from our societal conditioning or acquired knowledge during upbringing. In fact, everything we know is conditioned. But strangely, our soul can only be nourished if we let go of our beliefs and judgements. We are able to love unconditionally when there are no pre-conceived judgements coming in the way.

Perhaps if I had seen a Cactus leaf, I wouldn’t have immediately felt love for it. The reason is simple: We have been conditioned (via people or our life experiences) that Cacti have thorns and thorns can hurt us. Our judgement gets in the way of love, and it applies to most situations you can think of. Others who may love Cacti were perhaps conditioned to love them but then maybe those same people hate roses.

When we see a stranger, very often our subconscious conditioning creates a barrier of judgement before we even have time to acknowledge their presence. For instance, if we see a tall muscular guy walking toward us with a frown on his face, we may judge him as being dangerous and sense danger (especially if you are as little as me).

However, he might be the most adorable person in the world, who is just frowning at the fact that his wife asked him to buy coriander and he has no idea where to find that herb in the supermarket! (I bet you love him a little now, right? Right? Find the guy some coriander, please! Or at least pity the wrath which awaits him at home)

It isn’t hard to love, we just need to be aware of our judgements. And if we dislike someone, it is possible to find the barriers which stop us from loving them. As Rumi says: 

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have build against love.”

So, how to love?

I came up with a few steps below, all of which are from my life learnings based on Om Swami’s posts and videos and some of my experiences from yours truly; life.

1. Identify who or what you want to love.

How can you know whether you love, hate or have negative feelings about someone? If we are unhealed and have not forgiven someone, the thought of them will make us uneasy and uncomfortable. 

2. Identify your judgements about that person or thing.

If we were to sincerely ask ourselves what we think about someone or something, we would be able to remove all the layers of judgement one by one, until we eventually identify them all. Once that’s done, we’re ready to move on to the next step.

3. Ask yourself how you know what you know.

Most of the things we know have either been passed on to us from someone else, or we arrived at the conclusion based on our existing conditioning. Perhaps that’s why it’s so easy for toddlers to love! They don’t know much and they live in the moment. 

4. Remove the barriers of judgement and replace them with thoughts of compassion.

Compassion is the understanding that the other person is also going through their own battles, and they are also a prisoner of their tendencies, mind, desires and conditioning.

5. The absence of judgement will automatically give rise to love.

Judgement is the barrier and as Swami beautifully says in his “I love You” post and one of my favourite quotes:

Nearness is love and love is nearness.” ~ Om Swami

Let me tell you one more thing. Self-judgement also gets in the way of love! Hence, identifying the self-created barriers which prevent us from acknowledging and loving ourselves is also essential if we wish to be an instrument of love.

Now, if you want to love this post, you know exactly what you have to do! Don’t judge! Okay? Just kidding! And if someone tells you that they hate themselves, something or someone else, just smile and tell them.

“Don’t be judgin’, yo!”

Oh by the way, if you fancy some cuteness watch this cute video. But I warn ya: You might question your own existence, wisdom and ability to love after watching this empress! Go on, enjoy!