Years ago, I remember being disturbed by my spiritual teacher, John-Roger, describing love as activating or stimulating that place inside of each other where love resides. It seemed so unromantic. I had been raised to believe in the Valentine’s Day romantic version of love where you find love outside of yourself in that one special person who lights up your world and then, as the fairy tale goes, you live happily ever after.

What if love serves a different purpose in our lives than that? What if love is a kind of awakening of something that lives inside each of us? What if others who rouse that place of loving inside of us are simply serving us by reflecting to us the best that is within us? What if the point is not to find and grab ahold of one special person, but rather to figure out how to shine our own inner light of loving on as many people as possible to do our part to heal this world?

This is by no means a prescription for either sexual promiscuity or exclusivity. Sexual expression is a separate matter entirely. However, whether you are two friends, family members, or romantic partners, there is a fine line between a healthy relationship of love where two people are choosing to serve as awakeners and reminders of the power of love for each other and a dysfunctional bond where two people try to isolate, possess, and control each other.

If indeed love is something that already exists inside of us then perhaps the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to use the light of love that exists inside of you to awaken and lift others to what is the best within them. Love is not out there. It is in here – inside each of us.

Let’s reclaim a higher purpose to Valentine’s Day than trying to seduce one another with gifts and romantic gestures that fuel a $22 billion industry. Consider taking the time to write love letters to the people in your life who serve to remind you of the best that is within you. Who are those people? How do they make you feel inside yourself? How do they inspire you? What are you most grateful for about having them in your life? Tell them. What greater gift could there possibly be?

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