What is Love?

Fire-heart Ah, love. It is a simple little word that encompasses so much that it becomes nearly impossible to pin it down with a definition. I love ice cream. I also love my cat. I love my daughter. I love orchids. I love to dance. I love my husband. I love God. (Note these are not in any particular order). Each of these feelings I just described using the same word, has very different qualities. I can tell you that the feeling I have for ice cream is very different from the feeling I have for my husband, and yet I use the same word to describe it. This is in part a fallacy of our language. Some languages have different words for love which distinguish romantic love from platonic love, from God-like unconditional love. But even these distinctions do not capture the full diversity of feeling that is expressed by what we call Love.

Love can be defined in many ways, but in the end the definitions themselves are hollow, because love is something intuitive. It is not something that the left brain can fully quantify or clearly define. It simply is. You know it when you feel it. However, if I were to attempt to define love, I would express love as any reflection of the unity behind the duality. It is a deep longing for connectedness, fueled by the soul-level recognition of oneness. It is a desire to merge from separateness back to wholeness, equally matched by the desire to remain separate in order to share the space which allows the delicious experience of loving another. Any feeling that reminds us of the connection to divine essence from which we all emerged and to where we all return, we then call ‘love.’ This can express itself in many ways, and thus we have many different varieties of love, and many different qualities to the feelings which are associated with love. Even my simple love of an orchid flower is a reflection of the unity behind the duality. Every small act of love draws one closer to their source and to oneness, for no type of love is greater or lesser, all love is from the same source. When love is expanded even to the point that one learns even to love the enemy, then love becomes truly limitless, an ocean of unity within duality. There is a Sufi saying that love is the glue which holds the universe together. That is very accurate, as without love, in our state of separateness all would drift apart, there would be nothing to hold it together. Love creates the glue, it is the divine connection which holds all things together so that even when we are in the illusion of separateness, we know through the experience of love that we are still one, connected, united being.

Namaste,

Rhea Jamil

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