Learning about Love (A lifelong quest)
Where is the Love, the Black Eyed Peas, often cry out on the radio. One of my favourite songs of all time. But it has also been a life long question for a lot of us.. What is the Love? Would make for a very different song I'm guessing...
It's a very very interesting subject. I was only prompted again recently, through heart break, depression and meditation to re-look at the word, concept, philosophy, the pure states; of Love.
What is this Love, that the world sings about so much?
Do you know how many songs reference love?
I don't know but I would hazard a guess doing some quick google searches that the biggest categories of songs are Love Song's in some way or shape... Of course this is just "romantic love", if we were to add the other Loves, it would dominate the list altogether. That right there is pretty significant I would suggest....
The Beatles sang "All You Need is Love. Love is all you Need". That probably sums it up nicely but this Holy Grail for Love isn't always that simplistic, especially when you don't know what you are looking for most of the time.
The Greeks talked about a number of Loves. Plato and Aristotle were rather helpful on this...(there's a whole two books there not just one blog!)
If you do a range of research in reading and with our old friend Google; often you will find this helpful list. (in no particular order)
- Eros - Sexual Love
- Philia - Friendship Love
- Storge - Familiar Love
- Agape - Universal Love
- Ludus - Playful or Uncommitted Love
- Pragma - Practical Love
- Philautia - Self Love
- Mania - Obsessive Love
(Note - the lists of love and definitions vary so, research away and enjoy :) )
So which love do we need? Or do we need them all?
Paul the Apostle, wrote to the Corinthians (not to be mistaken with those tasty wafers), and said Above all is Love. Above Faith and Hope. This is where I find the origins of Love (the word) very very interesting. In the NIV version of the bible it talks about Love. But the King James version speaks about the word "charity". This is very interesting indeed.
If you do your digging, the word charity is connected to the word Agape which is unconditional love, selfless love; in which the Greek's considered the Highest Form of Love.
So perhaps, when we look at Love again, this form of Love, expression of Love, when re-considered as Agape or spiritual love, selfless love, unconditional love; then things start to make much more sense.
In fact, I think there is what one might say a hierarchy, and the more we operate at the highest Love, the more joy and blissful our life can be become. The more control we have. The more life makes sense. The less attachment to things out of our control we end up with. (I think...)
I'm always reminded of that (that!) movie Love Actually. The pictures of people coming together at airports. And that famous line.... "All you need is; Love Actually". Very much a connection from the Beatles song but when you think about the selfless love element, and there are many cases of them in the film, if you think through it, the expression or argument makes more sense. (All you need is; Selfless, Unconditional, Spiritual Love...... Actually)
How about Plato? "Love is a serious mental illness" What love was he referring to? The obvious distinction is that romantic love between two people (slot in Mania there perhaps...?). We have all experience losing our minds to that attachment to another person both in the state of love but also in losing that love.
But perhaps if we refer to Agape. Then again it is clear that this Spiritual Love, Unconditional Love would also be breaking the mind, the body and the ego. I myself have experienced this.
And what better case can you refer to, than the mother giving birth to the child. This love is clearly beyond self. It breaks the mind and the body, so that life can come forth. The instinct of the parent is to sacrifice all for the child. Is this not then the definition of losing ones self and mind for the love of another?
Jesus spoke of "Ye Must be Born Again". There are references everywhere in Buddhism, Hinduism and other scriptures of this death, that life must come forth. For this agape or unconditional love to come forth then first our self, mind, ego and body must come to an end.
To round out the Christian references in this blog (must be the affects of Easter..... damn those hot cross buns!!!), Jesus speaks of The Greatest Love being a Sacrificial Love (Greater love hath no man - John 15). Once again this Agape rears its beautiful head again.
And while I am feeling all religious, contrary to some areas of the world, the Quran has some wonderful thoughts on love. There seems to be (my amateurish understanding) a lot of references of love to one another and in giving love in this unselfish manner, you love ALL of Humanity.
Now over Easter I had a supernatural, amazing, astonishing breakthrough on this subject which has given me great delight in writing in my clumsy way on this most important subject. I won't go into the very personal details except to say, in realisation of this Agape, the fog was lifted in a very intense manner. Then after that, like a blind man seeing for the first time, all the signs were there. (A genuine use of the OMG expression without any accompanying emojis.)
Simon Critchley, the popular Philosopher, echoed this just yesterday on an episode of Under the Skin with Russell Brand. His proposition is that we are individuals and we can "contract" ourselves to others and that this is love is FALSE.
True love, in his most profound and beautiful way, is all about removal of self and dismantling of the individual, so that we are CAPABLE of loving others.
In another way, Simon, puts it as stripping away the "husk" of self, so that we can become WORTHY of love. Wow. Now that's a beautiful expression. There is a beautiful summary here of this on youtube. Simon Critchley on Love.
I guess in many ways I have "As Simon Says" been unworthy of this Highest Love; but I'm working on it....
If ever there was a Quest for the Holy Grail then it has got to be Love, Actually.
Here's to the ongoing quest, climbing higher, letting go of those layers of self and being more worthy of what we all need.... Now where is the Love?