It’s what most of us want more than anything else. Most people cannot get enough of it. Children need it as much as they need food and water. It’s the theme of countless songs, movies and novels. Some people will die for it; some people will kill for it. It’s perhaps the most wanted, the least understood, and the most distorted of all human aspirations.

And yet, paradoxically love is very the core of who you are; love is what you are; it is your true nature.

Love is real; it is an archetypal reality; a divine idea. It does not come from you, it flows through you.

We seem to be desperately yearning for what we already are. How can this be?

Love, like sunlight, is indestructible; and yet, like sunlight, it can easily be blocked or distorted.

It all began when we were born. Not yet able to access our own love, we craved it from others: first from mom, and then from dad, and then from other family members and later on from our peers, friends and lovers. From day one we were conditioned to seek love from external sources.

Our parents, being human, were imperfect. Perhaps they did the best they could… perhaps not–but either way, their love was less than perfect; it may have been inconsistent, or conditional, or distorted in some way. It was not necessarily their fault; they were imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world.

So we developed strategies for getting the love we needed. These strategies became habits, and eventually they became the very fabric of our identity: our ego structure. We learned to be good, or smart, or pleasing, or tough ….or whatever it took to get the love we needed.

These strategies worked to get us what we needed (otherwise we would have tried something else!) and yet in some sense they did not work. They did not work in the sense that anything less than unconditional love cannot truly nourish our soul. Imperfect love may sustain the body and mind but the soul remains malnourished. And thus we keep searching for the perfect love that will nourish our soul.

The deepest desire of our heart is to be loved unconditionally (as we are), and that’s difficult to come by in a world of imperfect human beings.

The great irony is that the ego’s strategy to acquire love externally is the very thing that keeps us from experiencing the love that we inherently are. To discover the love within you, you must be willing to give up the ego’s strategies for finding it outside of yourself. And, you must remove the barriers to realizing the love that you are.

 One way to begin this process is by examining and releasing our misconceptions about what love is. Our culture is rife with false beliefs about love. We are inundated with these fallacies from television, from movies, from books, from songs. And even though we may not buy into them consciously, they may still be embraced deep in the subconscious.

A few common misconceptions about love:

• Love is an emotion.

• Love must come from another person.

• We are incomplete until someone loves us.

• Love must be earned. We must be “worthy” of love. .

• Love means getting all your needs met. (And vice versa)

• Love means you will do anything for me. (And vice versa)

• There is a “one and only” other person that can give me all that I need.

• Love means being nice; it means never saying no; it means never being angry.

• Love is about the other person. “I love him/her because s/he is so wonderful/beautiful.”

We experience real love only as we are able to identify and release our false beliefs about what love is and what it means to love and to be loved. This requires self-awareness and the willingness to feel our feelings. It takes courage and diligence. But it can be done–and it is well worth the effort!