Love can’t be understood outside the context of relationship, beginning with our relationship with self and rippling into the confusing, delightful and exasperating relations we have with others. This week, in honor of love, I decided to share an excerpt from my book which explores the nature of relationship.

Our human hearts are tugged in two directions. The illusion that we are separate entities, with precious dreams others can destroy, draws us away from others, especially those we love the most. A strong desire for union, to experience oneness with all life, pulls us toward intimacy with others. One of our life stories, then, is the tale of this tug-of-heart.

I once had a dream in which two babies were sitting side by side. Growing out of the crown of each baby’s head was a beautiful flower. The flowers leaned together, wrapping around each other, engaged in an energetic dance. The babies were in rapture. “No wonder babies always smile when around other babies,” I said aloud in the dream. “They haven’t yet forgotten their connection.” The Magic Child intuitively remembers the feeling of oneness with God and all of life and perceives the streams of glory that trail from our energetic bodies, dancing in ecstasy with the energy streams radiating out from all other living beings.

Most of us forget that connection, and our lives become an exploration of separation and a search for intimacy. The conviction that we are separate grows in us as we receive various wounds in childhood. Feeling disconnected from life, we begin to adopt false beliefs about ourselves. For example, we decide we are bad, unlovable, incapable of accomplishing our dreams, or not good enough in general. We then spend the rest of our lives unconsciously proving these beliefs true, while longing to discover they are false.

The beliefs that we hold about ourselves show up on the canvas of our lives, in the form of other people. Humans all hold the dream of true love and perfect intimacy, sometimes hidden deep inside the heart, sometimes preoccupying our thoughts. Yet the dream eludes us as long as we reject any part of ourselves. When we cast out an unwelcome quality or memory, it takes on flesh and bones and shows up in our lives to offer us a taste of our own attitudes. The purpose of this mirroring is not to punish, but to illuminate the places in our hearts where love’s flow has been blocked by the belief in separation. Partners who fail to love us, in the ways we need, serve to reveal the parts of ourselves that we have not yet loved enough. These partners prod us toward self-love without limits.

Self-rejection always shows up, in some form, as disconnection and limitations on the love we receive. Examining life’s frustrations through this lens can be very rewarding, but I caution you not to use this lens indiscriminately in an effort to explain away all the mysteries of suffering. Pain may be a reflection of the beliefs of the collective unconscious or some deeply subconscious business of our souls. I believe we abuse ourselves and others when, faced with the unexplainable, and feeling helpless, we accuse suffering people of causing their pain through lack of self-love or enlightenment.

We are all attempting to wake the slumbering Magic Child inside our hearts before finishing the earth game. When the Magic Child begins to stir and wake, our conscious minds remember that we are all connected and life is seamless energy. The rest of life becomes an examination of the ways we trap ourselves in the veil of illusion and an exploration of the possibilities available when we are consciously connected. The path of relationship is divinely designed to facilitate such learning.

Excerpted from The Magic Child by Jane Meyers (Hiatt)