Have you ever looked into the eyes of a loved one and felt completely safe, deeply connected, and totally in love? There’s a warm rush of excitement, and a timelessness to the moment. You could stay right there forever, wrapped up in adoration.
And then, more often than not, it flitters away, and you go back to your daily life.
But what if you could recreate that feeling whenever you wanted it? Wouldn’t that make life amazing? Imagine going through your day with colleagues and family members feeling uplifted by the smiles of love lighting up your face.
The first time I heard this idea, I thought it was crazy. I was taking a training course to be a counselor, and on the first day the teacher told us that we were going to walk through the room of about 150 students, stop in front of a random person, and spend a minute looking into their eyes and falling in love with them. Then we would go on to another person and fall in love with them, and so on. We did this about ten times, and by the end of it the room that had initially seemed scary with so many strange faces was filled with such love and connection that it seemed to glow.
My whole perspective changed, and I began to see these new people as humans like me, beautiful and struggling and loving and hurt and wonderful. We all related to each other with much more compassion and understanding after that.
So how did I do that, actually go around and fall in love with people at the drop of a hat? I don’t remember the teacher’s instructions now, but I do know how I’ve learned to do it.
Here are three things you can do to fall in love today, or right now.
1. Whenever you catch someone’s eye for more than a second, try to look a bit deeper. See if you can imagine that person as she was when she was a child, and feel the tenderness of her vulnerability. Look for the pure, innocent love of a young boy shining out of his heart underneath that tough exterior. Then notice if your heart softens just a bit.
2. This second tip is from Amma, the “hugging saint.” I took my daughters to see her last week. She has comforted an astounding 34 million people with individual healing hugs. Amma said in her talk that though you may have a hundred different buckets of water, each one reflects the same sunshine.
If you can tap into this realization that there is the same light and love in everyone else’s heart as there is in yours, you won’t feel so separate from them, and you might start to love the part of them that is the same as you.
3. We are often quick to judge people, especially people we don’t know well. But what do we know about them, really? If you notice yourself falling into judgment, as we all do, think about this quote attributed to Plato: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always.”
What if the woman on the train across from you just lost her son, or the cashier who rang up your order was recently diagnosed with cancer, or the DJ from last night’s dance struggles with chronic pain? You might find your heart feeling more compassionate as you think about them now. Maybe you feel a sense of wanting to take care of them and send them love.
So those are my three tips for falling in love today. Enjoy the experiment!