Of all the emotions we feel, love is probably the one that most of us would say they could identify. Yet probably few of us would actually agree on what exactly it is and how it feels.
Love is many things to many people: a mother’s love or a father’s love; physical love, sex, passion; love for God (and country); unconditional love; romantic love – what we fall into; love of a friend; love for a pet; love of food (or money etc.); universal love; the love of the universe / God / Goddess; etc.
It is a sign of the importance of love that there are so many expressions of it. Love’s expressions span from the purely materialistic to the purely spiritual and every level of existence and energy in between.
When we think of love we think of comfort, warmth, belonging to someone (or something), being allowed to be who we are and what we are without judgment. We think of love and connect it with freedom without loneliness. We think of true connection.
And true, unconditional love is exactly that: a full and complete expression of our being part of the whole, part of everything and everyone else, perfect in our own right because the world is perfect and we are off the world and we are the world. One of the lines in Max Ehrmann’s poem Desiderata speaks to this:
“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Unconditional love is the full embrace and embodiment of our connection to the universe. It is no longer a question of feeling it, acknowledging it, knowing it: we are part of it all and the all is part of us. It is truth. And this one quality is true for all forms and expressions of love. Their differences lie mostly in the strength, duration, and expansion of this truth.
Consider this for a moment:
When you are in love, the whole world seems rosy and wonderful. You somehow know that everything is just right – that is if you are truly in love. If you are infatuated there may be more worry and jalousie than anything else.
When someone becomes a parent, this is true, too. Yes, there are concerns and worries – but most new parents experience that amazing sense of having received a gift and feeling truly connected when they first hold their new child. One parent once described it me as “seeing God in her (daughter’s) eyes”.
Many people experience that feeling of deep belonging and love when in nature, especially when encountering a “perfect” moment. And you could go on relating this feeling to all true moments of love.
Some say that there is only one force in the universe: love! And that fear (which, others hold, is the second, the balancing force) is simply an absence of love. If we look at love as being truly connected, this concept makes sense. When I am connected in such a way, when I am living this connection, I can handle anything. There is no reason for me to be afraid. I understand – because I live it – the rightness of anything that happens to me.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything about it. It only means that I fully understand (with my heart if not with my head) that this other is also a part of me and that in order to deal with it I have to treat it accordingly. That is not an easy concept or experience to hold on to – and in our human lives there are very few (if any) long stretches of true unconditional love toward others. We are after all human! We have our needs and insecurities and many times some of that slips in with our love: I want my partner’s love in return for mine; the new mother or father hopes that her / his child will love her / him, too; I want to have the wonderful feeling I have in nature – every day. But for moments in time we can feel this wonderful, connecting, unconditional love and we can remember it.
Because love gives us this wonderful, connected knowing we can come to crave it. We believe that we will be better off when we feel it and have it all the time, and so we may start to hold on to the material expressions of the moments in which we felt love. Material distortions of love are just as many as love’s true expressions: obsession, infatuation, desire, jalousie, greed, sex drive, addiction, etc. All of them can be linked back to our need to feel the connection with the web-of-life.
We need to remember that we do have love in our lives all the time! We just often miss the subtle, gentle experience of it while we are looking for the big physical expression that we expect.
As cliche as it may sound, love is everywhere and in everything. Finding a real, true connection to anything means finding a way (back) into love. Love is our birth right and our natural place of origin and destination.
However, it isn’t always a big feeling. Love is a constant, low-level emotion that sometimes bursts out into the open. Connecting and holding on to love means understanding and accepting that and allowing that low-level feeling to be enough and to fill us completely.
Connecting to love can be as easy as facing the sun and taking a deep, conscious breath. With this breath we re-establish our connection to the world – and thus to love.
Connecting to love can also be done through creativity. When we consciously create something truly new, faithfully copy something old, or try to find our own way to express something we have seen or heard before, we connect to the web of life, we tap into it and feel it flowing in us. We are in love.
Connecting to love can also be done by connecting to beauty, by learning to see with the heart again. When we find beauty – the flutter of a butterfly’s wing or the play of a tree’s shadows against the walls of a high-rise – in an otherwise gray world, we reconnect to the web-of-life, to the truth of the unity of God / the universe / the All, and to love.
Reading some lines of Barry Manilow’s song I Write the Songs it becomes obvious how much he must love music. Although his words were written to describe his understanding of music, they are equally true for love.
“My home lies deep within you and I’ve got my own place in your soul. Now when I look out through your eyes I’m young again, even though I’m very old. […] It’s from me, it’s for you. It’s from you, it’s for me. It’s a worldwide symphony.”
Love lies deep within us – and within the universe. It has its own place in our souls – and it is our soul purpose. It makes us look at life with new, young eyes although it is as old as the world and older. It always gives to both – the one who gives and the one who receives – at the same time. And it truly is a worldwide symphony!
Summer is a wonderful time to find our way back into the connectedness and love of the world: spend time outside; play, talk, and connect to other human beings; look around and find the beauty in everyday life; be creative; move your body; breathe deeply of the world and you will likely find that there is a constant, gentle love surrounding you – always.
Have a wonderful and loving summer experience,