So how do we access Love?We have to start with ourselves. The foundation of all love is self love, which is why we have to learn how to love ourselves with deep respect. Here are three tips for enhancing self-love and connecting to love:
- Self-massage. I remember some years ago, I had gone through a break-up, and in order not to lose myself to the grief of separation, I started a daily ritual of morning oil massages. This is classic Ayurveda, anointing oneself in the balm of oil. Sneha is the Sanskrit word for oil, and it is also means love. Snehana is the act of applying oil - like in massage - and also means ‘to apply love’. By massaging ourselves with oil, we are covering ourselves in the balm of love and appreciative joy. We are connecting to our bodies, giving them attention and care. I am a HUGE advocate of doing daily oil massages before we bathe. The benefits are endless and multilayered on body, mind, and spirit levels. The hot water of the bath or shower then allows the oils to properly penetrate (this is like a Pancha Karma treatment of Snehana, followed by Svedana) I like to use cold pressed sesame oil in the winter (as it is naturally warming). I sometimes add a little jojoba for extra moisture and essential oils for aromatherapy benefits.
- Morning practice. Every morning, I sit in silence in a special space I have set up entirely for this ritual. During this time, I do pranayama, meditation, and prayer. This sets up my mind and puts me in a good vibrational stead for the day. I also recommend using mantra as it is an ancient practice of clearing the mind (mind is manas in Sanskrit), and connecting to the field of love and divinity that surrounds us. Gayathri Mantra is a potent example of this. By repeating this mantra in the morning, we are actively connecting to the love that surrounds us (that I call God) for the day ahead.
- Experience nature. Try to go for walks in the trees and natural world as much as possible. Sit yourself amongst it, let yourself feel the ground and the trees around you, and allow your attention to go into your body and heart. It is the most refreshing and supportive medicine. The trees are great examples of life as well: completely rooted, asking for nothing from us, responding gracefully to the seasonal changes, and all the while giving us oxygen!