Synopsis: A wonderfully powerful and useful way to go about enacting healthy, real love via learning and practicing a venerable, Eastern mindset which can be of great benefit to love relationships of all kinds is presented and discussed here, with clear how-to’s given.
Could This Be Your Very Best Gift of Love?Here is a gift of love that can make every day better than it otherwise would have been. It is a gift everyone can afford yet it is far too rarely given. This is a gift the giver often benefits from giving as much, or more than the receiver. Furthermore, it is one of those few gifts that tends to grow bigger and better every time you give it. This is a gift which is inclined to brighten dull days, spark up the mundane and make the ordinary just a bit extraordinary. It is good on happy days, bad days, extraordinary days but especially is it good for blah and boring days.
This gift of love does take some work, some regular and repeated practice, occasional tolerance when there is poor reception, honing and perfecting skills and some perseverance. There are far more spectacular gifts but very few that can do as much good for making love relationships of all kinds stronger, happier and healthier. If this gift is not the very best gift you can give, it definitely is in the top five.
What is this gift? It is the amazing gift of what is known in the East as “Mudita” love! (Spellings vary)
Mudita Love – A Best Practice of LoveMudita love here means to choose to be happy, joyous and positive on purpose and then give or share that happiness with those you love and care about every day you can, day after day after day. On days of difficulty you may switch to “Metta” love which essentially refers to loving kindness and/or to “Karuna” love which basically means compassionate love, and on days of conflict to “Upeksha” love according to the Buddhist and Hindu teachings about these forms of love. The four together are known as the Bramavihara, or four immeasurables of love (other similar titles exist as do ancient Sanskrit and Pali translations).
On most ordinary days, regular days, usual days and so-so days, Mudita love would have you choose to be genuinely happy with a countenance of upbeat joy which you repeatedly present to your loved ones and others of your choice. This can include everyone you meet and, of course, you also can give this gift to yourself thereby making every day at least a bit better than it might have been. Thus, this becomes a great way to love others as you love yourself.
A Mudita Love PrerequisiteMudita love also means doing one other thing that is quite hard for a lot of people to do. It is an extremely good thing to do but it goes against a very common, Western world, cultural training. Mudita love requires that you disavow and reject the thinking that we need an outside something or someone to make or cause us to be happy. That is so difficult for many people because the teaching that happiness is dependent on something or someone outside ourselves has to come along to make or cause our happiness is so prevalent.
Mudita love teaches us we can often be happy just because we choose to be happy. In fact, we can come to habitually and authentically have a happy, loving positivity as our most regular daily countenance. At the same time, we still can be happy about good things that come along and special people too. Likewise, we can be unhappy or upset when appropriate and functionally useful.
How to Learn to Do Mudita LoveThere are many ways to learn and do Mudita love. Here is one.
Start by choosing to act happy whether you feel that way or not. Remember, often motions lead emotions. So, smile, say something in happy tones, sing, whistle or hum a happy tune, stride not just walk, and make open arm gestures while standing tall or dancing energetically. Don't let any nay-saying in your head stop you. Next, put your focus on things to be happy about. You are alive, you are breathing, you probably are able to see color, hear music and smell nice scents, read interesting stuff, and so forth. Yes, all those are quite ordinary and ordinary is to be quite happy about. Bear in mind, there are lots of people in the world who would be glad to trade what they have for your ordinary. As you focus on the good stuff more, it also is good to focus on the bad stuff, worrisome stuff, etc. a bit less. Where you put your focus the most has a lot to do with your healthy happiness. We need to focus on some of the bad stuff a certain amount so as to understand it and be motivated to do something about it. However, many over-do that and under-do the positive focusing.
There is evidence that as you do regular and repeated, positive focusing you are causing your brain to regularly and repeatedly make more happiness producing and processing neurochemicals. In time, that can become your brain’s habitual level of healthful production. This, in turn, is thought probably to contribute to a sort of habitual tendency toward happiness in many people. If you are not already, how about becoming one of them?
Next, start practicing giving or sharing your countenance of happiness with those you love and anybody else you choose. Go do happiness at and around those you love and like. Later you can try strangers and even enemies. Keep doing that especially to those who act with indifference or some form of negativity while you practice not letting their lack of positive response steal your happiness from you.
Finally, start leaving out the focus on things that can help you be happy and, instead, just start relying on your choice to be happy. Keep choosing happiness because it will help you increasingly own that ability. Remember to keep taking your happiness to your loved ones and others, and doing happiness toward and around them.
Being Happy At !!!Happiness done toward and around those you love can help them to feel glad, elated, more energized, positive about life, good about themselves and more love-bonded with you. Likely, it also will help them want you around more, be more positively disposed to your ways and wants, and be more upbeat-cooperative with you.
Being happy toward someone you love or like is very healthy for you and them. For both of you, Mudita type love likely will reduce destructive hormone production as it lowers stress and stress reaction while also improving immunity functioning and contribute to general well-being and longevity. Mudita love definitely is a high quality gift of love to give those you love again and again, day after day, plus it is really great for love relationships of every type. It also is often a fine way to simultaneously love others as you love yourself.
Are There Drawbacks?There is some evidence that in adulthood many people make themselves about as happy and unhappy as they were programmed to do in childhood, irrespective of what is going on in their adult life. If that is true, it means you might have a subconscious program for habitual unhappiness that you will have to unlearn as you learn the ways of Mudita love. Your anti-happiness program may come on stronger as you work to change to the ways of Mudita love.
Sometimes the way others see you starts to change as you grow with happy, Mudita love. Usually that is good but not always. Some may envy you and not handle their envy very well. Worse, others may be jealous of you and try to sabotage your countenance of happiness. Keep in mind, the envious only want something like what you have but the jealous do not want you to have it at all. You can show the envious how to get their own Mudita love and, hopefully, spot and dodge the jealous who might try to take it from you.
The Four Immeasurable Ways of LoveMudita love has a lot of other aspects and facets to learn about, as do the other Buddhist and Hindu "Immeasurable Ways of Love". What you have here in this mini-love-lesson is just a small starter lesson on the marvelous wealth of useful information about love found in Eastern teachings. To learn more you might want to do some reading in Buddhist psychology or at the online site of the Brahma Vihara Foundation, perhaps followed by the Teachings of Love, a book by the world acclaimed Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn. (Spellings very)
One More ThingMudita love is a great thing to tell somebody about and see what they think. If you do that, please mention this site and its many mini-love-lessons and, hopefully thereby, spread some needed love knowledge around. As Thich has said, "To love without knowing how to love wounds those we love." (Translations vary a bit)
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Quotable question: Can what you do not know about love be harming your love relationships?