Ask for love that’s always there. This practice will connect you to the compassion and tenderness that is surrounding you.
The deepest feelings of human suffering are those of being unlovable—shame, fear, hopelessness, and isolation. When you become lost in suffering, a key question to ask yourself is, Can I let in love?
Let me explain. I began the practice of letting in love from a greater source years ago when I was at a meditation retreat. It was just after the holidays, and I was drowning in feelings of shame and self-recrimination because I hadn’t been very present with my family. I tried arousing mindfulness and self-compassion, but an angry, shameful voice dug in its heels: I’m not OK. I’m selfish and unloving, and I don’t want to be this way!
Once the anger turned to helplessness, I began to cry. A deep part of me felt unlovable. I asked myself what this sad, vulnerable part of me needed most. Suddenly, I whispered out loud, “Please love me.” Over and over, a heartbroken plea: “Please love me.”
In this moment, I became aware of an intimate presence—a field of sentience and light surrounding me—that was entirely tender and compassionate. I bowed my head slightly and sensed a kiss on my brow, a blessing of pure acceptance and care. Something in me opened. I felt bathed in loving light.
The more light I let in, the more any sense of separation fell away. Whatever arose—outside sounds, a memory of a friend who’d died, a wave of sorrow—was held in this luminous, open heart space. I remembered the words of one of my teachers: “Love …