The variation and disinformation of what love is, makes for a little argument. This is especially true between males and females, religions and sects, friends and relatives, Mother Theresa and Pope Benedict, the selfless and the selfish. It is something that is easily defined having variation due to paradigms and perspectives. It is not easily boxed, especially by science, due to it’s amorphous qualities. Despite this and because of the above, there are liberal and varied interpretations by about everybody. These opinions mean that our definitions will probably change a little depending on what stage of life we are in (e.g. Erik Erikson’s stage theory of psychosocial development) at the time. A teenager’s raging hormonal physicality does appear to affect judgment and definition. The generativity of a 60ish adult would either give more to the world or withhold energy, depending on how the world is being viewed with this longer term perspective. The impermanence of who we are on the physical plane is not without exogenous forces.
“Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” according to Love Story, the movie (released December 16, 1970). This definition was part of what made the movie successful as well as part of the reason some people did not ‘get’ the movie. The take on this being, that making ‘sorry’ is superfluous in a true loving bond between people. Understanding without justification, would be inherent in this type of relationship. Ironically a subsequent movie (What’s Up Doc?) with actor Ryan O’Neal, pulls the Love Story line right out and blasts it away with “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”
Never having to say you are sorry would mean that there would be a full understanding by both parties all the time. The 50% divorce rate argues against that reality. But it is said, that it is always more fun if you believe in Santa Claus. The point being, is that eras and perception of reality define and redefine what we think is our collective reality.
Hollywood, our parents, or the 16th century, can do our defining of what ‘love’ is, if we so desire. In order to survive as a species, we began setting things apart. We effectively and anthropologically established behaviors that today still drive us to a semblance of safety. It is built-in conditioning. The saber toothed tiger has been replaced with stress and cognitive demons. This ’separation’, the setting things apart, is fear-based. The separation also is a hallmark of dualistic thinking. We are different from everyone else and everyone else is a potential enemy. The consistency of this ‘separation’ starting point, is unfortunately the unifying element of our historical definition of ‘ love’.
How much ‘fear’ do we have in our ‘love’? Do we fear that our lover will change over time? Do we fear losing ‘our’ love for another given certain conditions? Is our stability to love conditionally-based or is it beyond phenomena? Do we carry enough love to overcome hate for self and hate from others?
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr.
The 4th chakra is love energy. It is above survival (root chakra), pleasure (sacral chakra), and control (solar plexus chakra). What wheel (chakra) we are accessing is significantly determinative of the quality of our actions on this plane. The three lower chakras are typically more involved with ego-type activities and concerns. The ability to be naturally less concerned with only one’s welfare and have the inclination to help others, is the characteristic of this 4th level of energy.
The “Golden Rule” purports that love and understanding are to cohabitate together in order to generate going past survival of the fittest. Shantideva, 8th century monastic Indian Buddhist, gave us the practice point of “…exchanging self with others.” Both Western and Eastern sources guide us past ourselves. There is a reduction in ’separateness’ and an increase in spaciousness. Practicing this precept tends to reduce the concepts of ‘us and them’ to irrelevant concepts that have little bearing on our actions.
“Be born in Love, die in Love, live in Love. This means, emerge from God and merge in God; be the wave on the Ocean of Love.” Sathya Sai Baba
‘Loving’ is like ‘Being’. Love not because it is good. Love because that is who we Are always. Love is a part of Being and Being is a part of Love. The parcelling out of one or the other is part of the ’separation’ that the mind does being the mind. It Is not how It Is.
So, no longer the separation of “I will be loving,” but the deep What Is of “I Am Love now.” The former is ‘trying’, separate and full of struggle. The latter ‘Is’ accepting of the unity in the diversity and the sourcing of the eternal sublime of subtle fullness in this Moment. There is no waiting for some condition to be right or us to be right. The unity is always there witnessing without an overt pushing. It is ‘Love’ perennially Present, soft and yielding yet so full of bliss.
There are other practices that are making headway into Western consciousness. We can take these tools and evolve our ‘Love’ to go past previous boundaries. We can assert a kinder and gentler take on the world than ‘us against them’.
Metta or loving-kindness, starts with self. Then we gradually take in others who we feel are friendly and finally we give this energy to those that we feel we are challenged by, in our lives. This loving-kindness energy begins to dissolve the differences our minds and habits have generated. When we can take a perceived enemy and see ourselves in him/her, we have moved our world past the hate that is so commonly prevalent.
Tonglen practice engages suffering directly with compassion. Breathing one’s or others pain in and relief out, challenges our ideas of who we are with direct confrontation of our best energy. Freedom from the self-image of who we think we are or we think others are, is grist for the mill.
Love Is. There is no need to qualify it. To do so is to try to control it. The Universe has no need for control. It (i.e. control) is just a concept. When we Are everything, where is the need for control? When we have no separation, what is not to love? Love is the ground of who we Are. There is no story, just Love and Being with no end or beginning.