What is Love?

Ahimsananda's picture

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I suppose an easy way to describe Love would be to describe what it is not. This is how the Absolute is described, and I see Love and the Absolute as the same; our True Nature.

Love is not an emotion, although there is the "emotion" of love which hints vaguely toward it. This emotion of love is an attachment. It can also be a desire, but desire and love are not the same. Desire occupies and often controls the mind. Love needs constant freedom, the mind wants to "channel" it, limit it. This is especially true when the mind is in the grip of desire. One can desire "good" things, for "good" reasons, but desire is still not conductive to spirituality.

Being contented with what we have is lack of desire. Love is contented in itself. Loving another person, or loving to learn are part of the whole that is Love, but must be placed in perspective of the greater meaning of Love. Desiring to find "Truth" or "Enlightenment" are noble desires, but until you develop trust that you will find them, even if the "you" must not be present at the meeting, it will not be found. Trust is from the heart. Trust is of Love.

Above I described the emotion of love as an attachment. We love ourselves. Our greatest "attachment" is our body/mind. When we love others, in a true manner, we see them as the same. We see them as God, or the Absolute. Just as we must see the body/mind as different, illusory from our true reality, we will come to see the "other" beloved, as illusory from the true reality as well. The only reality is the Love. This is how we overcome "attachment", by being the Love, not the lover.

Love of Family is strong. It grows to love of home, town, country, culture, religion, and if not tempered by wisdom, often leads to war!

It is the nature of Love to look after itself. No where is this more apparent that in the parent/child relationship. A parent will sacrifice, both financially and in bodily protection, for it's child, as if protecting itself. This is natural. When a stranger reacts naturally, and risks their life for another, we hail them as a hero. But parents do these things as a matter of living. The stranger, for that moment of danger, sees no separation and reacts as if his own life is in danger. The parent seeing no separation, gives all to the child. This is the natural flow of Love in action.

This love, that involves sacrifice, is called agape. This is a love that "becomes". By that I mean that Love, as the Absolute, unfolds so that each part, each instant becomes what is called for. Not predestination, but a "Wise" Love that knows what is needed, and brings it about.

A former Bishop of Durham in England; David Jenkins described the incarnation of Christ as God so Loving the world that the Love itself "became" manifest as Christ. This is an example of becoming that Love is capable of. The "infilling" of Love becoming manifest.

So, we have described Love as Becoming, and Trust as being "of Love". For this "infilling" to happen, there must be complete trust. This is the realm of sacrifice.

Sacrifice is not the giving up of something, but an emptying out. When the "I" is absent, the infilling has a space to fill. We are always as "full" of Love as we allow our selves to be. We can be full of Love or full of "ourselves". The choice is ours. Sacrificial Love is the Love that moves the love away from ourselves, concentrates it on another (God, a person, a situation that needs our help), and in so doing, discovers it is all that exists, just this flow of Love.

So, to conclude, I have to say that a description of Love, like any other "description" of the Absolute, or God is not possible in words. It is accessible to the heart. All we can do is uncover our true nature, and that takes sacrifice. Not just the sacrifice of the body, but of everything we have come to identify as "I". It is this annihilation of the mind we fear. Overcome this fear through sacrifice, and become the Love. Then you will know what Love is.