How can you tell if your love is real? The following self-tests will help. Answer “yes” or “no” to each question.

1) Does your lover need to hear the words “I love you?” (Yes. No.)

Looking into your eyes, does your lover need to hear you say: “I love you.”
Thomas Carlyle wrote: “Under all speech that is good for anything lies a silence that is better.” This is especially true of love. Love’s union is most complete when the thinking mind is silent. Saying: “I love you” (or anything else) disrupts love’s flow.

2) Is your love exclusive? (Yes. No.)

Song lyrics say: “I love only you.” Is your love exclusive?
Commitment to a partner should be exclusive, but real love excludes no one. Like the outflow of water from a hose, outflow of love touches everyone in its presence. If your love excludes others, your hose is clogged. The one you are committed to is actually missing out.

3) Is your love conditional? (Yes. No.)

Would your love end if your circumstances changed?
Would it end if your loved one changed in some way?
If so, it is “conditional” and not the real thing. Self-interest is present here, and self-interest goes counter to love’s flow.

4) Does it feel like “your” love? (Yes. No.)

Does it feel like “your” love? Does loving feel like something you do; something under your control?
The real thing doesn’t feel like something you do. It’s something you experience. It can’t be turned on and off at will. It takes you by surprise. If it feels like yours to control, it’s less than genuine.

5) Could it be an illusion? (Yes. No.)

Did you think-yourself-into love?
Could you be lost in a dream or fantasy?
An illusion of love can easily be mistaken for the real thing. Real love arises in the union awareness creates. Thoughts and dreams keep us from awareness. Without awareness, “love” can be a flight of imagination. If it’s manufactured by mind, love may be a beautiful concept, but a concept it remains.

6) Does your love have a motive? (Yes. No.)

Do you love in order to be loved?
Do you love so as to have what others want (or seem to have)?
Any such motive points to an illusion of love. Real love has no motive, any more than a rosebud has a motive for opening

7) Do the words "rapture; ecstasy and bliss" mean nothing to you? (Yes. No.)

Do the words “rapture,” “ecstasy,” and “bliss,” mean little or nothing to you?
Real love is extra-ordinary and can’t be described without extraordinary words.

8) Is there misunderstanding? (Yes. No.)

Would you say that you “just do not understand” the one you love?
The deep awareness present in real love creates empathy. You’re able to feel what the loved one feels. In real love you would rarely say: “I just don’t understand you.”

9) Do you blame your unhappiness on a lack of love from your partner? (Yes. No.)

If you are unhappy, do you blame the unhappiness on a lack of love from your partner? Do you need to be given more love?
Here self-interest wants to get (not give) love. This goes opposite the direction of the flow of the real thing.

10) Does your love make you vulnerable? (Yes. No.)

Does your love make you vulnerable?
We tend to associate love with weakness, not strength.
Weakness and vulnerability however, stem from self-interest -- from fearing loss and wanting something for yourself. Real love is the opposite. It is selfless. With no self there to be injured, love makes you invulnerable! True love is true strength.

11) Is it on and off? (Yes. No.)

Are you on and off; in and out of love?
Look deeper… much deeper. Real love is eternal.

12) Are you still seeking happiness? (Yes. No.)

Are you still seeking happiness?
This is the most telling love test of all. When love is real the answer is no.
In love, the heart goes out. This act of giving -- love’s outflow, is happiness itself. Love and happiness are not two separate things, and when love is real, pursuit of happiness ends. Then you want for nothing -- you feel you can “live on love alone.” In real love there’s no need for seeking. Happiness comes free.

Now tally your “Yes” answers. What do they mean?
For one thing, plenty of “Yeses” mean you are normal. In The Art of Loving (1956), Erich Fromm wrote: “To analyze the nature of love is to discover its general absence.” This does not mean, however, that real love is not within you.

Imagine the light and warmth of the sun. Compare this to the light and warmth of a star. We are suns by nature, but we shine dimly like stars. The radiance in your true nature is freed in the union increased awareness creates. The how-to of building awareness is explained in: Straight Line Meditation: How to Restore Awareness and Why You Need To, by Carol with Master Deac Cataldo ( Don’t let multiple “Yeses” discourage you. See them as a call to awareness!

Author's Bio: 

As a National Science Foundation Trainee, Carol earned a Doctorate in psychology from Penn State University. National Institute of Mental Health and American Philosophical Society grants followed and Carol published widely in distinguished journals including the American Journal of Psychology, Psychological Medicine, and Medical Hypotheses. Her book WHERE MEDICINE FAILS (1986, paperback edition 2009), acclaimed the authority in its field, became a driving force in the holistic health movement. Discovery of a feedback method of meditation, however, and the meditation breakthrough it produced, redirected Carol's life to teaching, testing and refining the Feedback Method and to crafting enlightenment tests to guide readers to the grand prize. This culminated in 2009 with: STRAIGHT LINE MEDITATION: HOW TO RESTORE AWARENESS AND WHY YOU NEED TO by Carol E. McMahon, Ph.D. with martial arts Master Deac Cataldo. Carol is the author of THE PIG FAIRY and other stories in a forthcoming series: Enlightenment for Children. She is married, has a daughter, holds a sixth degree black belt in Karate, and makes her book available free of charge to retreat center and prison libraries. More at: