How To Expand Love by The Dalai Lama
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
World’s foremost spiritual guru teaches you above love
I can definitely say that I’d never thought I’d be writing a blog post about expanding love. But here we are.
If you don’t know already, the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He’s kind of like the Pope for Catholic people, except that a new Dalai Lama is believed to be reincarnated.
One of the things the Dalai Lama is known for is preaching unconditional love and compassion. In this book, How To Expand Love, he gives a rational and step by step process for love.
Why it’s Awesome
Spiritual leader or not, The Dalai Lama is still human. So this is not a book written by some god telling you what to do. No, it’s from human to human discussing very human concerns.
You might not think that love could be rational but you’d be wrong. The Dalai Lama lays out with cool, easy to understand logic why love is the answer that makes sense in almost any given situation.
The majority of the book is spent by the Dalai Lama giving you specific mediations to practice over and over again. Each one is meant to be worked on until you feel you’ve truly understood it.
For instance, he might give you a meditation that involves thinking about the fact that every enemy is a potential friend and every friend is a potential enemy. The goal of this meditation would be to therefore see everyone with a deeper sense of equanimity. Once you felt you’ve achieved that reasonably well, you move on.
So why is love the answer?
According to the Dalai Lama, our mind is naturally pure and full of love. That is how we are born as children. But very quickly, our minds become contaminated and unpure.
By unpure, I mean negative thinking patterns. You are conditioned to habitually think certain thoughts that cause you suffering.
An unpure mind is not better or worse than a pure mind. But it is less pleasant. An unpure mind is full of anger, stress, jealousy, resentment and fear.
Since a pure mind is your natural state, you can break negative thinking patterns by seeing them for what they are: not true. That’s where the meditations come in.
You see, when you have some sort of negatively conditioned response, you don’t say “oh, that’s just my conditioning”. That would pull the energy out from the whole thing. To you, it’s TRUE and it’s REAL.
The moment you see the response for what it is, its power is gone.
It’s hard for most people to realize that something as simple as I’m describing could work. But it can. Your thinking patterns can change and often it’s not even that difficult to do. You just have to do it.
So you might be wondering, why? Why should anybody go through this process? What is the point?
There’s two reasons. And they both matter.
- You get what you give out to the world. When you give out negativity, you get back negativity. When you give out love, you get back love. And love comes in all forms, including health, wealth and relationships. So if that’s what you’re after, love is what you should be doing.
- You’ll feel better. Life is ultimately an emotional game where everyone is seeking peace, joy and love. That should be obvious. If you don’t think that’s what you’re after, I’d challenge you to dig deeper. Ask yourself “why” until you know.
So you could argue that love is selfish. But since “selfish” has a negative connotation, I’d rather say that love is the rational response to the rules of life.
Does that mean that negative emotions or thinking patterns don’t have their place or use? No, I don’t believe that either. Check out my review of Ask and It Is Given where I talk about the emotional guidance system and the importance of contrast.
Also, consider that emotions are a spectrum. Something like anger may actually be a step up from something like depression because when you’re angry, you’re at least engaged in what’s happening.
So it’s not about judgments like “good” or “bad”. But I don’t think there’s any way around saying that you want to be moving up the emotional ladder as much as possible.
Why Does It Suck
Some people may find this book overly intellectual because of its rational approach to love. Others will find it to sound like a bunch of woo-woo spiritual nonsense because he talks about reincarnation and thinks we should all just love each other.
Those judgments can’t be helped. But you should know what you’re getting into when you pick up this book.
The Wrap Up
This book will give you amazing insights into your own mind and the nature of love. Especially useful for people with perpetual negative thinking patterns.
May All Beings Be Happy