Is love a feeling?
Is love an attitude?
Is love affection, respect, caring, empathy, understanding?
Is love willing oneself to care for another’s spiritual/emotional/intellectual/physical health?
When humans love, they feel affection, respect, caring, empathy and understanding; and they also will themselves to act affectionately, respectfully, and with caring, empathy and understanding, and to do what they can to nurture the loved one’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
However, love is more than this. Because real love successfully nurtures the spirit of oneself and one’s loved one. Real love is wise and knows how to actually help oneself and others live well. Love is not just something people do, but something that God does; and, since for God there’s no distinction between doing and being, something that eternally and infinitely IS. Human love is successful to the degree it understands and follows divine Love.
I feel that to the degree you fail to love everyone, you fail to love anyone. The proof’s based on the interconnected nature of all created things; and how the One Love shines through it all. The proof’s based on the difference between an open and a closed heart/mind (the gate must be open if anything’s to pass through, but if the gate’s open, everything can pass through). The proof’s based on all the chalk I’ve been chewing, all the werewolfing hunched-over, open arms bent beseechingly upward, yellow-fangdrooling bellowing I’ve been preening, all the alleycats I’ve been hissing.
INTERLUDE ENDS HERE
Love is a decision (we choose to love) and a feeling/action (we love) and something bigger than us that takes over and guides our decisions and actions (Love as spiritual Reality).
Can you choose how you feel?
Yes and No.
The point of a spiritual path is to change yourself, so that you become wiser: more able to understand what Pure Love (ie: spiritual love, godly love, love that is 100% good and helpful/useful/uplifting/selfless; love that only compassionately holds and uplifts) is and more willing and able to live in and through and for Pure Love.
We can choose to work every day to become more patient, more empathetic, more understanding, gentler, kinder, more insightful. And so we can choose to work to change both our feelings and ideas, to bring them more in line with wisdom — more in accordance with the counsel of Pure Love.
But ideas and feelings are not wise.
In and of themselves, they do not know what is really going on, what really matters, what should really be done. To become wiser, ideas and feelings must more adequately understand and follow Pure Love. We must ask Pure Love to guide us; It must oblige; and we must accept Its counsel. Our fundamental life-choice is whether or not we consciously turn more and more towards the Love shining in and through all things.
[Here the essay turned into another standard Something Deeperism essay; concluding standardly:]
But how? But don’t we know? Doesn’t the very sense that pushes us towards seeking a life lived in and through and for Pure Love contain within itself a sense of the path we must follow?: Think clear, honest, aware, kind, open-hearted and -minded; seek real fellowship, sharing kind joy around the understanding that we are all in this together and all share the same Light and therefore the same rights and responsibilities.
Love is accepting, assenting to, caring for, celebrating and lifting up. So I guess Pure Love does that 100% no questions asked for every little bit of the interconnected whole??
Lisa Singz Allown
Editor’s Note: Erich Fromm defined love as “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of one’s own or another’s spiritual growth” in The Road Less Travelled, but the author didn’t hear about it until Bell Hooks mentioned it in All About Love: New Visions. She also mentions affection and caring as being part of love’s works, though in and of themselves not enough to constitute love. Neither the author nor editor read Erich Fromm, or more than a few pages of Bell Hooks. Some projects are scholarly-precise, and some are lucky if they can stagger out into the sun to die a happy death* in the soft forgiving damp springtime air.
[Editor’s Note: See Albert Camus’s La Mort Heureuse (A Happy Death).
Or should you? He didn’t see fit to publish it, and though completed in 1938 it was not released until 1971, after the author had been dead for like 11 years.]