Qualities: Love, Devotion
Message of Self-Mastery: Realization of the inner source of love; purity; loving without condition, demand, or expectation; patience with others’ shortcomings; flowing with the longer rhythms in relationships; healthy sexuality; for transcendence.
Pattern of Disharmony: Negative emotions such as envy, greed, lust, jealousy; for issues of abandonment, including separation, divorce, or death; neediness; cruelty; loneliness; feeling disconnected; feeling alienated; a noncommittal nature; vulnerability; “sour grapes” attitude.
By loving all, I become whole. I need nothing, for I am ever one with Spirit!
|A sharing nature||Loving without expectation|
|Having sexual problems||Grieving the death of loved one|
|Unrealistic in expectations||Noncommittal|
Love is the essence of relationships-with a partner, a child, a parent, a friend and with ourselves. We are relational beings. As the popular song says, we are “people who need people.” Although not everyone is cut out for or desirous of a close love relationship, here are some facts to consider:
“Health statistics reveal our innate need for relationship. People who are single over long periods of time tend to suffer from depression to one degree or another; they have weakened immune systems and so are more vulnerable to disease and have a shorter life expectancy. They are also less efficient in the workplace, and less able to weather crisis or disappointment. It is practically commonplace for a widowed person to go into decline, to become ill and even die within a year or so of a spouse’s death-whether the marriage was a happy one or not. And numerous studies have demonstrated the withering effect of neglect or lack of affection on babies.” 14
The positive Grape state is one of an open heart, willing to take the risks involved in opening up to others. “I’d rather be hurt a thousand times,” said a friend, “than lose the capacity to love.” In fact, a common response to Grape is crying, a sign of a closed heart in the process of opening. “I had shut down from past relationship wounds,” Chloe confessed to her massage therapist. “I cried a lot for two days on Grape and then felt fine-changed.” Phil recounted a similar story: “I cried for three hours a couple of days in a row. I just felt this impersonal sadness about the separation of mankind from its source. As a result of these few days, I now feel a greater awareness. Many insights have come.” Laurel’s story, too, illustrates how Grape can benefit us in the dance of relationships in which we sometimes, unwittingly and unintentionally, step on our partner’s toes:
“Geoff and I are both under much pressure in regard to selling the house and the timing of an interstate move. It brings up a lot of stuff and some of our patterns are as old as our relationship. We fell into one of our patterns of disagreement and, as usual, it felt awful. He yells, I cry. We both seemed to be in that twilight zone of being misunderstood.
“When he went to work, I put two little Grape drops in a glass of spring water on the counter and sipped it whenever I walked by. I noticed within hours that I was feeling differently than I would have before under similar circumstances. The first word that comes to mind is that there was a ‘softening.’ Somehow, some of my thoughts loosened up. I didn’t feel so heavy-hearted. I had more kind words to offer my two kids. The key here is that even without further interaction with Geoff, I felt something had been worked out.
“Anyway, I have to tell you-as odd as this seems to put it right out there on paper-there was a point late in the afternoon when, as I mulled over the experience I was having, the words came into my head that. . .I have become love. If that isn’t a profound moment, I can’t imagine what is. Even though I have not sustained the exact feeling of that moment, I still have a sense of it.”
The simple message of Grape is unconditional love. “You learn to love by loving,” St. Francis of Sales explained. “Begin as a mere apprentice, and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master in the art.” And a Jewish saying which humorously illustrates Grape’s love coupled with acceptance advises: Love thy neighbor, even when he plays the trombone.
Poets throughout the ages have extolled love’s power and beauty. “Take away love and our earth is a tomb,” mused Robert Browning. “Man, while he loves, is never quite depraved,” philosophized English essayist Charles Lamb. Indeed, we do feel deprived in the negative Grape state. This essence deals directly with those periods when we feel a lack or loss of love in our lives from death, divorce, separation, loneliness, emptiness or experience feelings of abandonment. Any sense of neediness, isolation or disconnectedness sounds the warning signal on the negative Grape condition. How do we recognize this state? It just doesn’t feel good. Something is missing and that something is part of ourselves.
Grape is the perfect essence for the loss of a loved one. The message of this essence is to look within, and then give to others the very love we feel has been lost.
“It is better to have loved and lost,” counsels the poet Tennyson, “than never to have loved at all.” If we have loved and lost, our natural defense mechanism-and a symptom of the negative Grape state-is to shut down and fabricate barriers to ward off the fear of future disappointment. Unfortunately, this action only creates more problems.
Love is powerful and its absence in any form can be a major source of suffering. Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who nursed thousands of the homeless, hungry and ill, once said that she found no suffering greater than the loneliness of people in America’s crowded cities. To make matters worse, we are accustomed to looking for sources outside ourselves to heal this deepest of pains. And while relationships are a vital source of connectedness and nurturance, the lesson of Grape is to find that love from within. The best cure for loneliness is to befriend the lonely; the remedy for grief is to comfort the grieving. Life becomes dry without love. Like the grape vine that entwines its leaves around whatever it grows on, it is our nature to develop divine love and devotion.
To live a full life, our heart’s feelings must be awakened. Don’t wait in the hope that others will love you. Love them spontaneously, whatever their feeling for you! Grape helps to develop selfless love for everyone and everything. Best of all, it helps to develop a love for God and for all true and noble qualities.
When you’re out shopping, dining, in line at the movies or anywhere in public, observe relationships and how people treat each other-mother and child, same-sex peers, older couples, boyfriend and girlfriend. Mentally note the dynamics between people. Are they loving? Courteous? Expansive with each other?
Review the relationships in your present life and the quality of love you give to others. Note areas that need improvement and resolve to work on them.
Meditate, ending each session with a focused prayer from your heart to send love out into the world.
Stand in the sunlight, both drawing in and sending out rays of love through all the cells in your body.
Try this cure for loneliness-befriend your own mind. Involve yourself in creative projects. In other words, make your “alone time” dynamic.
Buy some flowers for yourself or a loved one.
Take yourself out on a date; enjoy your own company.
Am I dreaming? you ask yourself. This can’t be what it’s like to pass on. There was no pain, just an effortless wafting into the clouds. These are light clouds-not the clouds of an impending thunderstorm, but the soft, billowy clouds that get whooshed away by the slightest icy breeze on a sunny winter’s morning.
You are floating, floating, many pounds lighter than you ever remember being while on earth. You can still speak, but your voice is now only an echo of itself. You can see yourself, though you are now only a translucent shadow. Light, everything is ligh.t And the most wonderful thing is that you have no fear-only a deep peace and an even deeper sense of being cocooned in a very great love.
And you can fly! What fun to look down on the mountains! How little they look, how tiny the earth. Your life, from this vantage point, looks like a checkerboard; your most loved friends and family, like chess pieces moving to and fro. The wind, like a warm breath, steals up behind you. It takes shape aurally, forming words. The words come into focus, like tuning in a radio dial.
“Did you learn to love more deeply each day than the day before?” The voice comes from nowhere and everywhere. Just as the thought forms, how to answer-a plane flies overhead. It startles you from reverie. You awaken from the dream.