When February 14th comes round it brings to light our culture’s obsession with romantic love, love directed solely at one other person, often attached to all sorts of longings and projections. So let’s just press the reset button and broaden things right out- what about the experience and the active practice of metta, or love for all beings. Surely that’s the parameter to go for!

The Buddha talked about wisdom and love- prana and karuna as being vital to our development as humans, these two qualities which need to be actively practiced, are like two wings- perfectly balanced so that we can lift up and soar away and from a height see all the beings worthy of love. And Patanjali in the sutras gives four cornerstones for our practice: maitri, karuna, mudita and upeksha. These are friendliness, love, joy and detachment- so that we can offer compassionate love without needing something back. By actively cultivating these within our being we are able to offer love to all beings, whoever they are, regardless of what they do, or don’t do for us.

These sentiments are perhaps first expressed in the teachings of the Vedas and continue through the Upanishads: –  

“The one who loves all intensely
begins perceiving in all living beings
a part of himself.
He becomes a lover of all,
a part and parcel of the Universal Joy.
He flows with the stream of happiness,
and is enriched by each soul.”

Yajur Veda

More recently scientific research has shown that the heart centre is not only a vital organ for the individual but also literally serves as a transducer for converting and integrating higher-dimensional energies into the electrical system of the human body, allowing us to not only  ‘download’ higher dimensional information from the universe, but retransmit this energy to others.  The Heart Math Institute

“I have little doubt that the heart is not only the major energy center of the body, but that it also has its own intelligence, an intelligence superior to the brain’s and its cells hold memories that influence only every other cell in our bodies but also every cell in the bodies of those close to us, and even those faraway, in both space and time” – Paul Pearsall Ph.D.

Cardiology has established the heart generates energy in the form of an electromagnetic field that can be measured extending out 10-12 feet from our bodies. But this field also extends outwards merging with electromagnetic fields of the earth, plants, other living beings, even the sun, the moon, and stars.

So this valentines, instead of a narrow interpretation of “love” celebrate in the ability of the heart to spread its magnetic field, practice loving all beings, and celebrate life and love in all its full amazing glory!

Laura Gilmore is a student and teacher of yoga and the Director of BCY and BSY. Follow her on Instagram @lauragilmoreyoga