spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily
 
PictureFoxiebeau naps before noon
Tomorrow is Valentines Day. Knowing I am loved unconditionally and loving my one and only in return, I am an expert on the subject of love. Here then, based on my experiences both giving and receiving, is a short list of three Sublime Love States. If you and your one and only already practice what I’m about to preach, you are expert love-givers and should serve as examples for your friends or anyone else who meets you.
 
The first of the Sublime Love States is the ability to forgive. I put forgive in first position because of the numerous mistakes I have made and the equally numerous times each mistake was mopped up without a shriek or slap from my one and only. Once I ran toward the new picket fence that surrounds the front yard. I had a cat in sight. My one and only had to smash through tall, wet grass to catch me. Because it was night and we were about to go to bed, she wore a robe and slippers. While my one and only is in the habit of placing me in the grass at night for dog purposes, she rarely has to chase me. That time with the cat, I know, was not to her liking. She scooped me up around my wet belly, my muddy paws streaking her robe. No yelling ensued, just a wipe down with a towel kept next to the front door for wet dog purposes.
 
The second Sublime Love States involves flexibility. To be flexible is to pause the meditation timer no matter how much or how little time has passed. I admit to interrupting many of my one and only’s meditation sessions to be fed or get seconds or even leap at the refrigerator for string cheese. She always gets up. She never yells. Actually, she laughs, knowing that when she glances at me eyeing her from a crouch position with my tail wagging hard, she will not be able to say “no” or “not now.” I imagine she is saying to herself, “Five minutes is fine.” Once when she was at the computer, deep in thoughtful composition, I barked loudly and fiercely at some goings on next door. Our neighbor was wheeling his trash barrels to the street, which seemed exciting at the time. My one and only interrupted her typing to calm me down and apologize to our neighbor.
 
I have adopted my third Sublime Love State from my one and only’s Buddhist practice. It is called equanimity, which means mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation and appears in many numbered lists used by Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Gautama Buddha, to teach because in those days no one wrote. Numbered lists helped everyone remember, even after penmanship came into play. I like equanimity as part of love because I can’t imagine my one and only always being happy and in the mood to pay attention to me or take me for a walk or chase after me when I bark loudly at stray sounds. She must owe her never-ending affection and attention to something other than happiness. I know that she is often sad and suffers from loneliness despite the love I bring to our lives. So I think she relies on equanimity to balance the negatives of her life in Los Osos with the positives. We might take a walk while she is crying or if she is coughing with long-lasting bronchitis. For these reasons, I like equanimity for my list.
 
Three Sublime Love States make a short list but are a start and might be useful as you think about how you and your one and only manage to love.




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