Sunday, 19 August 2012

In Search of: Love

Love does not cause suffering; what causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love's opposite. 
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I spend a lot of time thinking about Love. Part of this fascination comes from my curiosity about relationships and the way people relate to each other, part of it is due to my romantic and idealistic nature; and then, there's the spiritual questor and philosopher in me that can't resist.

Apparently, there are lots of different kinds of love: familial, platonic, unconditional, conditional, romantic, religious, self-love etc. People really do like sticking things into boxes. As if it makes it any easier to understand.

We could start from the beginning. Love is a feeling. When a person experiences this emotion, their system is flooded with happy hormones which makes the sun shine brighter, their smile even wider. The absence of love causes all manner of physical and emotional problems. Children have been known to wither and die without it; growing up in an un-loving environment creates shocks that may take years to over-come and some people never do. Living without love can create a state of un-health and non-wellbeing.

The personal development industry moves to address these issues and it's so saddening to see the genuine suffering of so many. And all from the poverty of emotional experience. It seems to be the root cause of so much unhappiness.

I wonder if by trying to define Love causes part of the suffering? Or if it is more the lack of expression and acknowledgment? Sometimes I think people say "I love you" and there's so much more attached at the end of the sentence. The full-stop at the end of "I love you" is actually a colon and what comes after is a litany of expectation, demands and conditions.

I wonder what would happen if people say "I love you", enforced that full-stop and breathed through the silence.

Wouldn't this keep things really simple? Love would just be, what it is; with acceptance, reverence and joy. Just to be able to be acknowledged, for itself. I think there would be so much freedom: freedom to be yourself completely. There would be freedom from pain, because there's no disappointment, no lack, no expectation, no judgement. Nothing to cause discomfort.

And of course, Love is free to be expressed and experienced universally. Because, if you're not expecting love to be fulfilled by one individual - you are experiencing Love for yourself, so you don't need them to love you back, or even from a human being, you are free to experience Love all around you. You see it in your pets' eyes when they look into yours. You lavish it on your home, your economic endeavours, your community...there is so much abundance. 

I am Love; you are Love; we live in Love. 

How simple it is really, how incredibly complicated we try to make things.

Our soul journey then is the quest to come back to this simple state of being: joy.


  1. So well put, I love the ending that lets me begin with Love - and the moment a person has started to really love himself or herself is a moment, where this world became an even better place!

    1. Thank you Tom.

      And you are right: by loving oneself, first and foremost, Love is then able to be received with an open and joyful heart.

  2. My pets always loved me more when I had a can-opener in my hand...

    Love = A psychological, 36 paged document of expectation!

    1. All pets love you more when you've food in your hands.

      I've learnt to be wary of expectation, I've found it leads to disappointment...and oh boy did it ever.

  3. High honeybunny - I just come here after a few weeks to find you on heavy duty thinking ... BTW I'd love MsScarlet even more without the help of a canopener ...
    All I can say seriously about what we call "love" is that love is. This may come over a bit very simplistic, but it's the end of all ontological thinking about such truths like justice, love and for fuck's sake Erkenntnis. It is.
    Anything else is what we do.

    Nobody saied that philosophy would actually "help". It's not her job.

    1. Hey gorgeous!

      When do I ever not do heavy duty thinking?

      I agree, can-opener is unnecessary to adore Ms Scarlet.

      Yes, I agree, we create our own reality, therefore if we believe love is painful, then it is.

      Philosophy isn't supposed to help? Really? Bugger.

  4. Hi Roses,

    My idea about love follows somewhat a similar path as Herr Mag. I like to consider love as a intransitive verb which means love has no object. I love. Period. But I go even further as to say that love has no subject either. "I" connot love "you". Love is. That's it and that's all. It doesn't need us to exist. We can only choose to live in it or not. And from that point, love becomes what we want it to be, filtered through our beliefs.

    I know it may sound too esoteric and I'm preaching the gospel according to me-myself-and-I. I don't pretend owning the thruth in that matter and I'm not trying to convert anyone either. ;)


    1. Hi Jon

      I really like your thinking. I am Love. Therefore, I don't need a who or what! Very close to the philosophy of Byron Katie...who I adore, but sometimes find a bit inaccessible.

      But I really like your perspective, and it's given me a pause, which I always appreciate.

      And honey, this is a place where everyone is free to air their thinking. I know you're not preaching or trying to convert. It's great you've shared...


    2. Nothing esoteric about this: Jon explained what I understand as the end of ontological thinking, the result if you like. "It" "is". Ontologie, I just use the German name because I have an idea (yeah, nail me on this) what it is and am not sure whether the English word would fit, is the Lehre vom Seienden, von dem was ist - thinking about all this and trying to understand what is may have an influence on the person who thinks, may change the idea of world, life and all the rest.
      As I understand it it puts a lot more responsibility on the single being, for choosing "things", for expecting "things", for being self. It makes things not easier, but forces the being, the human, to make decisions, to reflect the decisions and the self ... can be a bit of a purgatory.
      "things" mostly means other humans' deeds, expectations of these and so on - it all comes back to the questions about what we can hope for and what we can expect [from other humans - and hence from ourselves - we are always the other]: Again, nothing esoteric, but simple hardcore western philsosophy.
      Here the words escape me, I can not express it in this language, it's difficult enough in my native one.
      After all I think it sums up to something like "Man muss 'Dingen' erlauben zu geschehen, man muss es zulassen" - but this is my very personal "result" and there is no "muss".
      Sorry for blabbing nonsense. Ts ...

    3. The SEP may be a source, if you like to drill more into philosophy.

      SOrry, I'm too tired to link this correctly now.

    4. Hey darling.

      I understand where you're coming from now.

      And yes, taking responsibility for yourself is the harder, more rocky path to follow.

      As someone who really wanted Prince Charming to rescue her, whose bad decisions were always excused by circumstances...I get that.

      I work towards being self-reliant. To expecting nothing from anyone, to be grateful for the Life I lead. So far, I've been the only person I've been disappointed by.

      And that's easier. It's simpler. It's down to me to make things good, bad or indifferent. I think, it's been an exercise in freedom.


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