Friday, May 1, 2009

The Meaning of Love



What is love? What does it mean in our lives? We all seem to come to our own understanding of love as we mature into adulthood, and that understanding changes and evolves as we do, so what does it mean to you right now?

The Greeks broke love down for us into categories: Eros, or sexual love; Philios, or love of friends, love in return for love; Agape, or unconditional love, the love of God for humanity.

Then there is the idea that love is intertwined with death. Andre Breton, in The Lost Steps tells us, “Pardon me for thinking that, unlike ivy, I die when I become attached.” And Albert Camus: “Love demands the impossible, the absolute, the sky on fire, inexhaustible springtime, life after death, and death itself transfigured into eternal life.”

What do YOU think?

70 comments:

Alexandra said...

To me, love is God, love is light. I see love everywhere, in the plants, in animals, in the earth, in space, in atoms, in quarks, in smiles, in you and me, in everything (except for in want and desire, love knows no value of things ...)
I want everyone to be aware of this great love,

The poetry of Hafiz speaks of love in the most beautiful words, I enjoy this one in particular:

I Have Learned So Much

I
Have
Learned
So much from God
That I can no longer
Call
Myself

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim,
a Buddhist, a Jew.

The Truth has shared so much of Itself
With me

That I can no longer call myself
A man, a woman, an angel,
Or even a pure
Soul.

Love has
Befriended Hafiz so completely
It has turned to ash
And freed
Me

Of every concept and image
my mind has ever known.

Janeth said...

Thanks a lot for posting a 'Forum' on the most important qualification there is-to one day reach the point of no return to the physical body- LOVE!!☺ - unless the Ego (Ego with capital letter ‘E’ = higher Ego; ego with lower case ‘e’ = lower ego), volunteers to do so as was the case of Avatar Jesus, among other Egos in the White Brotherhood.
I would say love before we reach the point mentioned above is a combination of Eros, Philios, Agape, love of God, love in return for love and love in return for hate.
>"Then there is the idea that love is intertwined with death"--Since 'death' doesn't really exist, I would say, love is not intertwined with death. Love is the ONE thing we carry with us in each incarnation as well as in 'prelaya' - commonly known as death, but in reality is not that. What is commonly known as death is nothing but a period of time/a blessing from the Lords of Destiny to free us from any physical pain and obstacles - created by our own thoughts, feelings and actions which hinder our rapid spiritual growth.
Love builds; hate destroys. Love inspires the best in others; hate hinders inspiration. Love helps us see beyond appearances. Love help us see beauty where there appears to be none…

Evita said...

Over the years, I have learned to see love, all love as the highest emotion and place from which to come.

Today I try to put into practice into every relationship the act of "unconditional love". It is very easy with someone like my husband, but a little tougher to put into practice with say co-workers. But that is my journey of love, one which I want to continue to perfect as I go.

No matter what, I highly recommend infusing love into one's life on every level. From the morning you wake up and look outside at the world, to the subway ride you take crammed against another person, to the time you come back home and look into the eyes of those dearest to you!

countsneaky said...

The source of all misery is thinking of yourself. The source of all love is thinking of others. This is not profundity, but a daily practice for the rest of your life. If you abandon fear then love appears before you. Again, this
is nothing whatever of profound religion or philosophy, but simplicity itself.
The Count thinks this is an excellent topic for discussion.

Jim said...

Love is the absence of all harm, evil intent, disharmony, untruthfulness, selfishness, sadness, worry, loneliness and all such things. It is therefore the ultimate presence of all that is good and perfect, the complete connection to all being, truth itself. Love simply is. What else is there? All else is only a lack of love.

Some call it unconditional love. It is really the only perfect state to be. To harm another I harm myself. To love another I love myself. To love all beings, all people, is to show the good we wish for ourselves. Love is the fulfillment of all lack, the missing piece of the puzzle in our hearts.

Everyone I meet, or pass in the street, I wish them joy when I see sadness, health when I see illness. When I send them this energy it comes ultimately back to me. Love is the deep desire to bring all into a state of harmony, health and wealth and love for one another.

Nick said...

It is very important to separate love from emotional attachment. Many people (1) meet someone they like, (2) become emotionally attached to that person, and (3) experience the classic, widely-accepted symptoms of love -- butterflies in the stomach and a pounding heart. Most people accept these symptoms as being symptoms of being in love, and they are wrong. (They are only symptoms of being needy.)

Tomas Karkalas said...

Yes,yes and yes. It's love that makes our life worthy living and it's love that awakes the beauty that sits us back in awe towards the majesty of God's Spirit that overfills us with the gratitude and blossoms out with our personal participation in the sharing of the beauty that heals as us ourselves as all our fellows.

Nick said...

I think that eros, or sexual desire, is overemphasized as a cause of divorce. All of us have seen marriages that start off as truly beautiful, yet end up in divorce. Unsatisfied sexual desires is only one small part of the problem.

Everyone has emotional needs. For example, I need some happiness once in a while. I need to hear a friendly voice on a regular basis. I need someone I can share a laugh with. I need someone to talk to, especially when things are going badly. I need someone who will make me feel happy. I need reassurance that I am heading my life in the right direction. I need feedback that I treat people the right way, and that I allow people to treat me the right way. These are needs that I cannot fulfill by myself. I need someone to help me with these needs. I admit that I have these needs.

When these needs go unfulfilled, then it is time to move on. This is the main cause of divorce.

Ginae said...

When I consider this question, I consider all that love is, rather than what love itself is. Then, I get overwhelmed. Maybe I'd rather not think of love as a single thing? Maybe I'd rather think of it as a multi-faceted thing of which any one facet could be considered a lump sum definition of love on its own? Yes, that's it.

On that basis, love is kind, unselfish (per Count Sneaky and jim), forgiving, caring, considerate.

Bruce said...

easy...to make someone more important other than ourselves in our lives

Florentyn said...

Love others as you love yourself is good. However all interactions require an exchange of energy and i feel that a one way flow of energy is not really sustainable in all situations..

Alex said...

I feel that Love is very simply a transfer of the Life force. The source is that "thing' in our mind that I've been talking about. We can waste it on inanimate objects (clothes and jewelery come to mind), though I think some mechanical stuff, such as autos, seem to respond at times. To give it to beauty and goodness is simply spinning the big wheel of Life, i.e. the simple pleasures of Life. I believe we can give it to animals and they can reflect it back to us. I don't believe animals actually Love, the maternal instinct is an instinct. Loving people has the potential of extremes. One can give it all away for naught or be rewarded exponentially. I don't believe there is a direct link to eros. I do believe that two who do Love, can do so Lustily, and soup up the Love exchange to extremes.

Neil said...

Those of us who fail the long-term relationship test tick one of the psychopath checklist boxes Chris. There are twenty on the standard form (I make at least a dozen!) - I don't fall for love much as a useful emotion, tending to see a more pragmatic and comforting form in a general attitude between people that is sadly too rare as more important. Full blown, desperate shagging, of course, has its attractions - but also demerits in terms of ending up with something full-blown. In one unfinished piece of science fiction, sex had become a means of exchanging information other than genetic stuff and love the basis of collectives living as individuals. Most women turn me off because they are fashion victims sporting cosmetics based on being cruel to beagles. My love affairs have been with men (perhaps made easier because the shagging thing is left out), though there have been two exceptions. I am easily swooned by female faces and shapes and like women out for a good time. Despite pleasure, this stuff always seems too vapid to have much to do with love and more to do with turning oneself into a genetic robot.

Ulysses said...

I don't know that I could identify with true love anymore, not in the way I did 40 years ago when the heart was expendable for the sake of the other, when self didn't matter and all the other feelings we have when "Love" takes over. Sometimes I wish I could have been more the way I am today back then as it would have saved many of my hearts and dollars. Now I could care less for it, though I do have some spurts of it. Considering that I've told my wife several times that upon winning the big lotto I would set her up with whatever she wanted and that I was chao chao bambino, whether I would follow through with that is another story, I may never want to leave her. I do have a great deal of love for her and I do call it love but it's not what it should
be I guess, not sure. She is a great woman in a lot of ways, I will take care of her the best I can and protect her from anyone intending harm of any sort and kill if I had to, maybe that is the instinctive male in me, I don't do Ghandi. I still lust after women in the public arena who flaunt their sensuality and camo their wily ways. However I couldn't imagine having a relationship with them beyond patronizing passion and sometimes wonder if love is that thing in my mind or that thing in my pants. There are those that reveal a true sense of sincerity beyond the physical and are as you say most worthy of true love, but as you know, they can change. These days I just simply say, My Love, whatever my capacity is to love, that is how much I am capable of loving and you have all the love I am capable of.

.......and no matter how many women I sleep with I always come home to you, Darlin! -- Joke, Joke

Jo said...

i don't think their IS a specific nature to love, as it comes in all sorts of sizes and colors. there is love of nature, love of your pet, your friends, your kids, your mate, spiritual love, etc. each one is different yet has one thing in common, love within. in my opinion, one cannot truly love something without possessing internal love.

as far as mate love is concerned, i feel that one cannot love their mate unless the reverse is true. this is shared love (one love) and the only true love between mates. the rest of what some express as love between mates is actually compassion, infatuation, loneliness, dependency, a need for a sexual partner, etc.

if one has spirit-love they have the potential to love just about anything, without reciprocity. one cannot give what one does not have. although two may have the potential to 'create' or 'develop' love, i think the likelihood of a successful love relationship improves dramatically if one is self-sufficient in love.

Juan said...

Okay, I'm thinking my version might sound a bit cold.. but here goes. Love is any old thing that makes people stick together, anything that makes one person need another. Sometimes its attraction, sometimes its genuine admiration and trust, sometimes its fear of being alone. Its a force that brings people together, maybe even people that shouldn't be together.

That's why we have made up a fiction called true love, its not something that exists, its something to aspire to.

Vara said...

I think love is like a sweet ice cream, it make our feeling nice, good and wonderful same if we eat an ice cream, as if we enjoy eat an ice cream and taste the sweet, really make our feeling be happy, comfort and satisfy...That is natural of love... :)

Francis said...

I know that amazing feeling of falling completely, unreservedly, in love where brain, belly and balls are all focused in just one direction. I think, for a good long-term relationship, friendship (philios) must add itself to eros, if the relationship is to have a chance. And respect, always respect - something which isn't always easy to maintain when two people have learned to know each other (including the weaknesses of the other) really well.

That said, I'm solo for nearly a year now, having spent most of my adult life in two long-term relationships. As of now, I'm still enjoying it, although I do think I would rather see a partnership situation in the medium to long term. Still, I certainly haven't reached the stage where I actively go looking for it. Indeed, my personal story has always been that serious relationships have started out of normal, everyday encounters. But I've been lucky in that the cataclysmic break-up of my last relationship early last summer coincided with the move of my 17-year old daughter, who had been living with her mother abroad since we broke up twelve years ago (so that we could only see each other a couple of times a year for over a decade), to live with me. So loneliness hasn't been a negative factor, and we have a very good, harmonious relationship - the more so, because we both had to work hard to sustain the relationship over the years.

Writing this, it strikes me how deeply important the love I have for my daughters (and theirs for me) is in my life. And my love for my parents (even if my relationship with my father was characterised by tension for many years). I feel very privileged in this regard, as I know that being able to see one's experience of family (even "broken" family in the case of my ex-wife and our children) as positive is anything but inevitable. The older I get, the more I value the basic human unit of family as a source of dependable love (even if families can also be theatres of incredible hurt and cruelty) - something I certainly wouldn't have said when I was in my early twenties.

And then, there are also good friends, and brothers and sisters ... Thinking about it, I live in a sea of love.

...

"Amor vincit omnia" is not a phrase I would categorically affirm. Yet I can still say, yes, I believe in love.

Rosey said...

An efficacious search for that ultimate fervor will only result in a devastated state of unfulfillment; One's expectancy usually differs from that of another's. There is no attainment of satisfaction when it comes to passion; as the human being is incapable of gratifyingly quenching such a thirst.

Unfortunately, I too am a hopeless romantic. Emptor Caveat.

Neil said...

My two exceptions were both women - one when I was still young, me slugging cricket balls, she in a ballet chorus line. The loss of this relationship haunts me still (she died). Now it's great to share my life with someone who will at least admit she couldn't live with any other man. It's time, I think for something to blossom in terms of supporting each other. I've been more or less a serial monogamist too, though I have this thing for rough and ready women in my 'down- times' and have to admit to the odd breach of my rule on the beagle killers. My experience is that most people can't drop enough fear to love and I guess I think swooning is a cover for something else, a bit like needing to get drunk before making a move. Great sex doesn't need it.

Jo said...

fortunately passion and love are different...one is partially physical, the other not so much. searching for love does not work that well from what i know...when one searches, they find, but do they find what they are looking for, or just something that resembles it? the loves in my life knocked me over the head. it was totally unexpected and happened out of the blue. its nice to see that you are so passionate, but if love is the foundation of your passion you will be satisfied in my experience...love without passion is also very gratifying...

Molly Brogan said...

I think that love is an expression of spirit (I know you are all surprised.) We are all born with this connection and ability. Our love for others and life allows this expression. We loose ourselves in the beloved, meaning that we find our connection to everything and all that is. This is where eros and agape meet. To loose ourselves in eros, we open the way for agape, both feeling the same. We surrender to it to sustain it, giving up our egos to eros. When we struggle with it, when our egos step in and our feelings and thoughts that we are separate, that we need more or have less than we would like, agape is gone and the struggle is left to eros, whose sensual
demands cannot sustain that feeling of freedom and unlimitedness. When we come at love through eros only, the thrill is quickly gone with the pleasures of the senses. As much as we would like - sex cannot go on forever, it takes more to sustain life. So, eros requires agape for rapport with the infinite nature of love. It is there, always, all around us, within us, between us. It can enliven the senses and all other aspects of being. We get there, to "true love" through eros, but not without agape.

Chris said...

For the artist, passion need not be externally stimulated, but can come from within. The passion need not be chased...rather crafted, shaped, created, and continuously cultivated. Romance is not a force of nature, but an art. Ask Don Juan... ;-)

Juan said...

True, Molly. eros is something that happens to us, a feeling, a force, that is what I find most people call Love. As you say, agape is the key to a long term relationship. The kind of Love that makes marriages is not a feeling, its not something that just happens without effort. Its not a state. Its the culmination of day to day actions and behaviours, and careful regard. The result of this is the only thing
worth being a part of.

Allan said...

Used to think I knew what love was all about, since I meet my wife I am not sure it just works and i have no desire to change it.

Rosey said...

A search for love is not to be interpreted as literal. It is more or less the general idea, as love and relationships happen per chance. The search itself is from within; whether or not this person is the one. It happens through experience. But there are those rare occasions, where one is hit, as if smacked by a storm of feelings. A series of neurological blockades, that's what I like to call them, they blind you from all rational thought. You find yourself doing things that one wouldn't consider sane, unable to let a day, an hour, and sometimes a minute pass without thinking about that person. Unfortunately it doesn't mean that the person thinks of you in such a way. How unfortunate it is. I do believe that situations like that happen where two people completely hit it off, but it doesn't last. It fades. Once the human being attains the product of his desire, it will lose its luster. and yes you're right to keep the love attainable one must continuously sculpt it. So the question is, which is stronger, love at first sight or a love that grows?

Chris said...

I'll let you know on my death bed... ;)

Chris said...

I was married for seven years, and followed that with a relationship for a little over three. This made up the vast majority of my adult long term relationship experience (I'm 34). Now I'm exploring the concept of something entirely different...the happy medium of the overwhelming passion with the long term friendship.

Dogma can be dangerous in all things, Love is no different. In every Love, I have learned valuable lessons, some joyous, some painful, all important. I remain open to the lessons of Love, and in remaining so, remain open to the Love itself. I embrace it with the wanton abandon of the samurai, who enters the battlefield with no fear of death, and in doing so, leaves the field, not unscathed, but still alive, and ready for future glories.

...and may it always be so.

Molly Brogan said...

Love can, no doubt, be challenging because of our all too human trait of allowing our egos to take charge. We act out in ways that create our psychodramas in a subconscious effort to tell ourselves and everyone around us what keeps us from love. When no one gets it, conflicts arise and the battle begins. We act out in the space of our most loving relationships because they provide the greatest atmosphere of trust and safety. We all act out our shadow natures, either by self destructive behavior (dark) or pursuing the glamor or lust (golden) and if it is not recognized as shadow, and brought to light with patience and love, it is probably resented, and the loved ones feel separate, betrayed, disrespected. It is not easy afterward, to find our way back to harmony. But if we can, the intimacy will have increased depth and strength.

Sadly enough, our deepest fears can prevent maintaining intimacy. Our fears of the things that we have tucked away inside ourselves and cannot face (it will come as dark shadow anyway,) the fear of inadequacy (this will come as golden shadow - belief that we don't deserve what is good.) We mistakenly feel that it is easier to move out of relationship than face the shadow that arises from it. Then again, it is hard to say, because some relationships just run their natural course, and we are called to something higher. Safe to say, that if our feelings about the relationship are overwhelming, shadow is lurking, and we are better off reconciling our own shadow before we make any decisions about the relationship, because it will just come up again and again in other relationships until we do.

The reason that tantric sex is so powerful, is that it connects love, sex and god in a way that nothing else can. It allows us to feel intense life, all the way up and down, through and through. It makes it worth ironing out the kinks in relationship because if we can, the relationship can become endlessly fulfilling. There is much more to tantra than sex, but that is an agape discussion.

Neil said...

Thinking back. most of the professions of love I've heard have taken place in utterly stupid situations like being attacked by the beaten woman as I tossed her partner into the Paddywagon, with her now totally in love with the jerk who has been screwing her best mate behind her back for years. I suspect the nature of this crud is residual adolescence and lack of grip on reality.

Rosey said...

Molly,

Tantric sex? I've always wondered about that. What exactly does a person do to accomplish such a feat? I've tried a meditative process to no avail. And since you seem to be such an expert on eros and agape, how does one make an old love grow stronger? Do you think there is no hope of ever gaining back that special spark if someone falls out of love with someone that used to be their heart's desire?

Chris,

I agree with you, about the age thing that is. Let me try not to get too personal, About ten years ago, I once complained to an older friend about my dislike for sex, and was responded to with, "By the time you're 30, you're going to enjoy it and look forward to it. But you will have to be careful, because you will think you want it from others as well. It's the age."

"Now I'm exploring the concept of something entirely different...the happy medium of the overwhelming passion with the long term friendship." Chris

CAn you plan something like that? Wouldn't it have to be with someone whose feelings are mutual. Some people lack the ability of a compromised passion. Is it true the hopeless romantics end up with the total opposite? That's what I've concurred.

Neil,

This is where my theory that no one can attain an equally reciprocated love. I am starting to think it's impossible. There is always one person in the relationship whose love is stronger while the other partner may or may not be as much in love. I believe all people in relationships love each other, but it doesn't mean that they are in love with each other. They may acknowledge that the person they are with is a great wonderful person thus the inability to let go, but lack that ultimate passion for them. It's not a fair world.

Molly Brogan said...

The best resource for understanding Tantra, I think, is Osho's Book of Secrets. It is a nice overall view of, not only tantric sex, but the practice of tantra as the exploration of the mystery within. It is on my bookshelf and I do pick it up from time to time as it always speaks to me. The idea as it relates to sex is simply that the physical act of sex can also be sacred - meaning, a sharing of the experience at the level of soul. For those who have not experienced this, the practice is a way to bring the sacred into your experience always, which is the focus of Tantra.

Do I think that two people can rekindle love that was lost? Sure. Sometimes love dies because two people have gone in different directions. If one person experiences life at the level of survival and their partner experiences life in a state of cosmic bliss, chances are their love is lost to them because the basis of their experiences are vastly different. But such extremes are unlikely and more often than not couples are brought together with less extremes to their differences. My experience has been that a similar viewpoint is essential to a good relationship for me. Somewhere I heard that every couple creates their own sacred space of relationship that requires honesty, mutual appreciation and psychological safety to sustain it. I keep going back to this model because I think it is true. I know that when I feel in trouble in my own marriage, if I go back to this model and see where we fell out, we can always find our way back to sustaining the sacred space. Each person in the relationship needs to be allowed to be who they are, work through their own shadows, and find their own way in concert with the relationship. But they also need to do this in the spirit of honesty, mutual appreciation and psychological safety for themselves and the other. Not easy, because it means we have to stop acting out, but it can be done! And the rewards are infinite.

Chris said...

Indeed, Neil. That's neither Eros, Philos, nor Agape, but rather simple codependence ...psychological dependence, and fear of abandonment. The word does become abused quite a bit, but I think such usage is a clear conflation with the topic here.

Rosey,
It's well documented that the cycle of a woman's sexual hormonal peak tends to be in the early 30's, which leads to both my comment, and your friend's.

The foundation of the compromised passion is a long term friendship, with honest and open communication, and the aforementioned desire to sculpt and create that passion. It does require a commitment on both sides of the relationship, but often one side is going to be the driving force...usually, the hopeless romantic, which in my mind, makes the most sense. In the Shambala tradition, one wages a war of love...if Eros is the battlefield, there are three possible outcomes I can see: contempt, indifference, or reciprocation. If the relationship is based on love, as you say, and there has been a maintenance of friendship, I don't think rekindling a tepid passion in this fashion is out of the question. If the response to a continuous wave of romantic energy IS contempt or indifference, than I would suggest there are greater issues at play in the relationship than a tepid passion.

All of this, of course, my humble opinion.

Ulysses said...

I might add that much of my feelings at this point are based on the fact that she is without exception my best friend in the world. The monogamy issue for me is moot as I would hurt as much as she would, and mutually so. I guess in that sense the love factor reveals itself to be the core driven emotion that keeps us together. When that emotion is present, the thought of infidelity never enters the mind. Love, being faithful, gives relationships integrity and provides a sound platform on which to continue building. Newly founded relationships or marriages are like a complete white circle that accumulates black spots for each little transgression, larger spots for more serious infractions. As time goes by the circle may seem more black than white and the imbalance weighs heavier on the side of failure due to the loss of integrity, eventually with nothing left the relationship collapses. We can fantasize all we want about how much greener the grass is on the other side but truth is it takes mutual effort no matter where the grass is. I would venture to guess that there is that one perfect soul mate relationship out there waiting for us to find it, that being the hardest part of it all.

Chris said...

I agree completely about fidelity. For some, a dip in another pool provides added excitement...but for me, it cracks the foundation of the love I have, irreparably, no matter which person is to blame. Trust is key for me, and without faithfulness, there is no trust.

Ulysses said...

Exactly, trust is essential to the bond, it is the adhesive quality that transforms two into one. The bond can be broken and repaired but it forever has the crack that remains a visible detraction and possibly a perpetual doubt which can fester at anytime under testing situations, such as out of town overnight business meetings or the introduction of a past friend, literally anything can set off the process of relationship erosion. I can only wish that everyone would find that special soul mate and live happily ever after.

Neil said...

There is some thinking that love is over-stated and leads to over- expectation, perhaps rather strangely making loving relationship more difficult than it needs to be. Raising any of us fallible humans to a golden pedestal is to put whoever it is before a fall. One can certainly be loving and it appears this can be reciprocal, though I'd expect this to be less than perfect or bound in mutual illusions. Freedom from exploitation seems key to me, along with some form of understanding on equality. I can say that I wish I had been better able to enjoy sex earlier in my life through some decent education about it.

Ulysses said...

Expectation is somewhat of a peripheral experience. Love has not a bit of expectation, or should I explicitly state "true" love. The mere introduction of "expectation" renders the love as less than that of being true. I think you might be referring to arrangement of a situation for the purpose of mutual satiation of desire. You know the expression "pride comes before a fall" and in this you should recognize the aspect of expectation, that which is the result of one's pride in thinking that the other should fulfill ones expectations. In true love there are no expectations but more so the element of personal abandon, the willingness to forfeit personal will for the accompaniment of another, through life and hopefully through death. You unfortunately persist in that which is less and therefore the lessor is that which you receive, whether it be neighborly or worldly, the why for which I've encouraged packing and moving but most importantly is not packing that which you need to leave behind.

Chris said...

I think (a very necessary disclaimer in topics such as these) that the secret may be to only require commitment from your partner, to continue to freely be who you are, and expect the same from them, and to strive for the happy balance of compromise and acceptance in the places where friction inevitably occurs. Sometimes we align ourselves with partners who have drastically different life goals, and that's simply not possible. Other times our partners, or we ourselves, are in a self destructive place which is simply not conducive to a healthy relationship. If, however, we are both aligned similarly, and both committed to that goal, then a zen state of love, where it is not questioned, but simply is, seems to me to be the path to a long term bliss.

If everyday, despite the day I've had, I make the effort to express some portion of Eros energy to my partner, even if in no other form than text message, I've "been", in the zen sense, affirmed the love, made it be by being it. When that is affirmed in reply, that circle is completed. The actual physical expenditure of the ritual is minuscule, yet the effect is powerful.

Affection, in all forms, is an extremely valuable and important part of the relationship to me, which Is just one of the many ides of Love I inherit from my Father. He's still married to my Mom, and from all appearances, still in love with her in an Eros kind of way. :-D It's a strong archetype to have in your head of what a long term love can be. I can't imagine the idea of my Father being unfaithful to my Mom. It's inconceivable to me.

It strikes me Neil that one of the problems with Love is that most of the wisdom about it doesn't come until our later years, and many of us either don't have a proper Sage around, or are a bit too damn fool hardy in our youths to listen if we do.

Vamadevananda said...

" Affection, in all forms, is an extremely valuable and important part of the relationship to me ... "

And Grace, both while giving to and receiving from ... But, valuable and important as they are, these are still the atmospherics. The crucial part is the quality of ' being ' individuals sense within themselves, and the opportunity they have to ' be ' themselves, to grow and evolve and continue to transform the ' I - Space ' within to greater sense of strength, happiness, freedom and self - discovery.

We are all striving for that rich and pregnant ground of ' I - space ' in which our finitude dissolves. The others are important to us, in this context, for the atmospherics they cause or contribute to. It can aid or mar the ' awakening.'

We each love the other, for the love of our Self !

( I waited long before punching the ' Send ' button, wondering if what I'm posting makes any sense. Even, if it is appropriate ? )

Molly Brogan said...

I think I understand and I do appreciate your words here Vam. We all, each of us, deserve to be surrounded by those that love us unconditionally, and allow us to be who we are as we evolve and awaken. The key for me has been to provide this to those around me. I have found that in doing so, I am surrounded by folks who can love in the same way. This does not mean that I allow myself to be exploited or abused, because I think that a part of unconditional love is bringing such behavior by the other to light, and then moving away from it, allowing the other to learn or not. There are times when compassion is enough and the relationship becoming peripheral is in perfect order. Your unconditional love then includes honesty, appreciation and psychological safety for all. These can be provided through deep intimacy or great distance. There is a grace that leads the way.

Rosey said...

Is affection healing? Can a person kiss and hug the pain away? I believe this tactic works. But for some it does not.

Chris said...

Not always, but definitely at least sometimes. There is much healing in a loving touch.

Martha said...

Love is a myth and marketing tool.

Chris said...

Ah, the voice of the jaded.

Martha said...

I am one of you- though disappointed and resigned. I look back over my life as a grief of love. Take my heart but spare me my money. The last time I heard "jaded" was from my highschool sweetheart who I dated for a year after he divorced from a 30 year marriage. He was still a jerk and died soon after I left him. Stuff happens.

Rosey said...

Love is beauty and pain defined. But in order to experience the pain you must see its beauty. Which often happens unexpectedly. I wish I wasn't one of those people that think with their heart. What is the value of brilliance when the actions of your heart blind you from using it? When I think of love, it's a deep, deep, longing for passion. Perhaps a flight without a plane. Or a swim without water. Maybe even a delicacy tasted without swallowing. It's there but your wary from it, worried about losing it, careful but not capable of determining whether you keep it or not, as love does change. It gives one the ability to things they would never expect.

For example: I was able to play a tune on the piano, yet I don't play the piano. No, not expertly, I would post a link to it but would be worried about getting critiqued by experts. I am no expert and don't play the piano, never have, we bought a keyboard about two months ago, yet I managed a whole heart felt tune, I closed my eyes and let my fingers work their own magic. Do you think love gives one abilities?

Martha said...

Yes. It explodes in the arts. Have done the whole trip- painting, music, needlearts, poetry, gardening, cooking, diplomas. It still doesn't cure a lost heart. I am now a hermitess living in a grand house. My children are scattered and I was a good mother to them. Maybe that is Love.

Alex said...

I would think the 'exploding in the arts' would be better classified as insight, inspiration or revelation rather than Love.

Chris said...

...and yet Love can be a powerful source for all these things.

Ulysses said...

Let us not forget that, for some people, Love presents emotional expectations, reciprocal interaction that mirrors that of the person expecting. When those expectations are not met or when they are merely cast into the wind as just fanciful notions by the object of the projected love, hurt, pain and disappointment erode that initial love, rendering it crippled.

Without the expectations factor, love can be resilient within oneself. We should not let our ability and capacity to love be crippled due to the disappointment of others not living up to our expectations. It is not our failure when reciprocal love is not achieved but the failure of the other to understand love. There should not be any expectations, we should love unconditionally and love should be expressed expressly as an outward emotion. Love is not something to fill our emotional voids, reinforce our weaknesses or confidence. Love will not suffer for the incapacity or inability of others to experience it, for whatever reason. Love will endure as it has through eons of time. To those who bash love, I say, take your indifference and scorn and drop them into the deepest well for there is not any emotion in the universe that is as powerful as that of love, when we embrace it. The beauty of love is that we can always love again.

ornamentalmind said...

Love of course can mean whatever a person says it means…such is the relativism of today. And, you have pointed directly to the emanation aspect of the heart. It is no accident that in a few theologies there is iconography depicting people’s hearts with wings, rays of light etc. In all cases, the person being represented is as the sun… radiating divine love to the universe.

Molly Brogan said...

I wonder if hate isn't Eros driven. Unrequited love can easily turn to hate which still allows the expression of passion although with a destructive tone.Why do we step so easily into the role of hater?

Ulysses said...

Yes, interesting enough, hate can sometimes seem the equal counterbalance that allows for tolerance. We know we can love and we know we can hate as they both sit within us awaiting their turn to be expressed. It is the love/hate relationship with life.

Chris said...

Hate is a passion, much like love. Some suggest it is the opposite of Love, but I disagree. I believe the opposite of love is indifference.

Molly Brogan said...

Sometimes walking away is the only loving expression available. When one is intent on war and the other peace, this may be misinterpreted as indifference.

Rosey said...

Hate is a very strong word. I would agree with Chris where its element is strongly associated with passion. But wouldn't you say that it all depends on the use of the word hate? Hating tofu versus hating your ex-partner's latest mate.

Neil said...

Dear old Chris is still trying to track us back to bonk inspired lure. I'd rate this as a rather enjoyable disappointment most of the time. The biologist in me wonders on how long certain pleasure receptors take to get bored, throwing us back into the market so our selfish genes spread further. Some hornbills spend many years wandering about behind Mom and Pop in complete chastity until Pop dies and son namberwan takes over. Bonobos use sex as a kind of social cement. There's a great French comedy 'Marius et Jeanette' that says a lot of it for me - people somehow finding something rather sweet in adversity. Most of do what most of us do in respect of relationships, so I suspect we make up fictions about love to differentiate our conformity, much as we wear clothes and engage in the same cycle of fashions over and over again.

Chris said...

French Cinema explores the concept extensively...have you seen The Mother and the Whore?

In classical psychology, it's the Madonna-Whore complex. In modern culture, Ludacris calls out for "a Lady in the streets but a freak in the bed!" The clash of puritanical public values with animalistic private sexual desires creates a conflict that men (and less often women) who are not honest with themselves and/or their partners often express extra-relationally. In the ideal Eros relationship (ever IMHO), honest communication and a desire to please the other allows for mutual open exploration of the poles of desire, negating the desire to engage in such dalliances. Despite a variety of cultural relational phenotypes to choose from, I believe monogamy to be the Eros ideal.

Neil said...

In some of the crasser gutters I have found some relationship between begging and gratuitous offers of sex - Eros and other ideal Greek forms perhaps easing the innocence I use as a shield. Monogamy sounds a bit like something one might find trying to swim in treacle. This said, I would have made a pretty poor bonobo or chimp and have considerable respect for pair-bonding and explorations of equality that may move us away from selfish forms.

Molly Brogan said...

Is Eros selfish, relating only to the pleasure that I am receiving, and the overall feeling of being loved that it may bring? Or can it include a real connection with the other, two moving as one, without falling into the domain of agape?

I spent life as a single for fifteen years between marriages because I preferred expressing my love of life and others as a single than falling into a partnership where each expressed the other as the object of their love. For me, if love is limited to this, it becomes two people living side by side, expressing love as what the other can do for me, and what I can do for them, but not really feeling the true connection of two as one that I know is possible. As it turns out, I am glad that I held out for a love that is more in tune with what I know to be true, because it was totally worth the wait. Not that it isn't challenging, because all relationships are. And in between there were many interesting offers to combine my life with another - although I felt that I was being seen as object, as someone who could fill a predetermined role for the other - madonna/whore; housekeeper; business manager; arm candy... Whatever the case, I wasn't sure that I was appreciated for who I am, my viewpoint, my work, my being - but rather, expected to slip into a dutiful role that fit the others needs and lifestyle.

I think that there are many relationships around me that are a comfortable arrangement of finances, social activities and home life without much Eros or Agape. And I think it is wonderful that people can find their comfort zone in life and be satisfied with that. But I wonder if it isn't part of what Neil refers to as selfish forms of love, aside from the more exploitative kinds.

Neil said...

An old friend of mine wanted something of a return to primitive 'New World' relations in her life. I sent her something on Kikuyu adolescent sex huts and some other anthropology - all readable as patronising male dross (the girls were not supposed to turn down any boy who asked etc.) - she sent me some William Goulding that might equate to Mills and Boon for the literate, perhaps a tale of love before the Fall. I do think we might find something worthwhile in loving another and finding the place of this in a wider form - the and seeming very important. One can give oneself and others a decent measure of unconditional, positive affirmation. Love may be traumatic in the sense of only dawning on us after an event, only available in the differment of self. This differment seems to entail not thinking to badly of the other in disagreement, perhaps in viewing this in terms of necessary honesty and a need to consider personal change. A wider concept of more personal feedback is probably needed to stop us taking personal attack into polite agendas hidden by rhetoric and never say the very things that need to be said in order to understand them in differment.

Molly Brogan said...

Good point that any contact with other is worth something to us. I have a very bright friend who once told me that people move in three directions with each other, toward, away and against. Moving against and attacking has never been my style and I have found that sometimes any response to an attack just flames the fire as that may have been the intention. I think we have come back to the love/hate discussion. When one is intent on war there may be no other peaceful action than to move away, and leave what need be said unsaid, because it will just be misinterpreted as the weapons of war by folks who feel alive when moving against others. Personal feedback does work in the context of win win (covey's original 7 habits of highly effective people) and if everyone moved in this spirit toward others we might have more of what tink is talking about. But letting go of the need to injure and have the other lose is deeply personal journey and as you say, Neil, often differed as attacking others distracts us from it. What is interesting, is the attack itself tells others much of the nature of the person and more often than not, the person attacking is blind to that.

Does this have some of your idea of selfish love in it? I think that idea is worth exploring.

Neil said...

Selfish aspects are difficult to recognise Molly, yet perversely obvious much of the time. Clearly, many people show a professional persona to the world - whether lawyer, teacher or magical bulldunger - yet one can also present innocence in a skilled manner. There is some selfish love here - I want her to be a real version of my held images - yet I want no one to conform to any dreamed-up stuff of mine, and yet again there is a clear non- conformity that conforms with my desire. If I make you into an Angel Molly, I would probably merely be confirming some desire for you to be everything I would hate if I could hate! Though an alternative would be to fall from grace together! "Silly boy", I hope you both might say, though even that might just be said in a tone I might desire. I guess, to a fair degree I can't hit at what I mean in that the real selfishness brings the paranoid-schizoid position with itself and exclusion zones that prevent love as a process that can wander its own course and touch us all. Attracted by an Angel one finds a Devil, projecting a Devil one finds and Angel in real deeds. Finding that a politician has charged us £340 for horse manure we might be upset at having to pay his expenses, until discovering he means to pour it over the other bastards! My guess is that there is very little positive affirmation of human motivation and that most people falsely believe they can tell what is honest from what is not - explaining why we are conned over and over again by dross.

Molly Brogan said...

So, selfish love would be making people into (in your mind) what you want them to be to satisfy your own needs. I suppose this would be selfish, as it does not leave much about the other in the equation but what you make of them. Of course, I have seen relationships like this work, because there are those folks who would rather be used and abused than lonely and don't think more of themselves to know or care that there is more to love.

Martha said...

We are somewhat stuck and molded, Molly, by our original family and often our adult choices are attempts to repair or fill in empty spaces even if it is destructive. There is a difference between being lonely and alone- a big difference. I smile now to think of remarks made while I was in two unhappy marriages and other sub-plots, based on their presumptions of what love looked like.

Molly Brogan said...

I must say I agree with your insights, here, Martha. We are formed and reformed as we go through life loving and those first years with are family are very formative. Getting a perspective on them that allows us to witness ourselves as if in a movie, objectively, can be key as it allows us to let go of the emotion and see ourselves operate in the scenes. From here, we can make our adjustment and fill in the empty spaces.

I also understand first hand the difference between lonely and alone. Although single for nearly fifteen years, I was never lonely, and preferred a solitary life that allowed me the freedom to make my own choices and be myself always. Then I found someone who would allow and support this all ways. We still shadow dance, as everyone does. But I finally said yes because I believe he can move beyond it, and has no attachment to some vision of who I should be. He can take the point of the witness that transcends object and subject, and allow love to be what it is. Very rare and well worth the yes.

Like you, when I look back at past loves, I can smile at the journey and enjoy the rich tapestry - can appreciate them, and am very glad to be where I am now.

Andrasnm said...

In "The Little Price" the fox said that the most important things in this world are invisible. Love is invisible. Everything that you see and can touch is supported and made alive by the unseen.

Abhaa said...

Seeking ones own complement, happiness and stability.
A state of rest, equilibrium.

Haver said...

Love maybe the joy of giving without expecting anything of it.
I feel-think love is the key, sense and nature of Everything (God, Being, Cosmos, Universe, Absolute...), because all is One and there is no separation. All is interrelated, coupled; so Love is the cohesive element, the primary and final nature and movement.
And also, love is you... and I, and he, she, them, everybody.. lets dance in the light, hahaha