Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~Jalal ad-Din Rumi
While meditating on love, it occurred to me that I cannot define what love is. We mistakenly label love an emotion but it is not. Emotional reactions are conditional. Love is unconditional. When we allow emotion to get the better of us, we are reacting instead of responding. When we lose control of our selves, we do not have the presence of mind to choose the path of love. Love has more substance than a silly little transient emotion. Love is eternal.
Passion is wonderful but love is not passion. Love is not desire. Love is not sex. Love is not lust. Love is not security. Love is not dependency. Love is not validation. Love is not appreciation. Love is not trust. Love is not integrity. Love is not gratitude. Love is not strength. Love is not courage. Love is not patience. Patience is patience. Gratitude is gratitude. I have mistaken all these things for love.
Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not. ~ Carl Jung
Love is not based on what you have done for me. Do I love my mother because she gave birth to me, protected me, raised me, taught me, loved me? Would I love my mother if she had not protected me, raised me, taught me, loved me? Does my mother love me because she spent nine months carrying me in her womb or because I represent the survival of her DNA and she is biologically programmed to protect me? I can choose to love anyone I want. If I love everyone does that dilute my love for my mother? Does my mother's love for my siblings dilute her love for me? Love is infinite. Infinity + infinity == infinity. Love cannot be diluted.
Love is not based on what you have done to me. Without villains there are no heroes. Without dramatic conflict there is no story. If I love the story, must I love the villain as I love the hero? Should I love the villains in history? We reduce villains to demonic stereotypes to distance ourselves from them. Shall we find the humanity in everyone? Can we relate to everyone? Can we learn from everyone, especially those who have made mistakes? Shall I love those who ate the wrong berries or stepped into quicksand? Their folly makes me wiser. Shall I love the misguided monster whose damnation has enlightened me?
Shall I love the destroyers of worlds; the hurricanes and the tyrants? Shall I love the disasters and tragedies that bring us together? Do you love the people you only see at weddings and funerals? Do we only love each other in the wake of a tornado? A flood? Do we only learn to love ourselves when despotism has left us with nothing to lose? Due to light pollution, we could not see the Milky Way until the Northeastern United States lost all power. My neighbors and I did not emerge from isolation until we had no working lights, no working televisions, no working computers and no working phones. Our backyard bonfire was a brief glimpse of what a community could be and then the electricity returned... Shall I love the technology that makes captives of us and makes forums like this possible? Shall I love the darkness or the light? Can I love both?
Shall I love everything I've been conditioned to hate? Shall I love the challenge? If I love the truth can I still love the mystery? Shall I love you? Shall I love strangers I will never meet? Shall I love those who will never hear my voice? Shall I love the story? My story? History? Our story?
This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. ~ Yeshua of Nazareth
Show... don't tell. The true masters always remember to speak and act out of love. Sometimes I forget. Love is my new mantra. I strive to become love.