Friday, June 8, 2012

What is Love?

         “I would define love very simply: as a potent blend of openness and warmth, which allows us to make real contact, to take delight in and appreciate, and to be at one with – ourselves, others, and life itself. Openness – the heart’s pure, unconditional yes – is love’s essence. And warmth is love’s basic expression, arising as a natural extension of this yes – the desire to reach out and touch, connect with, and nourish what we love. If love’s openness is like the clear, cloudless sky, its warmth is like the sunlight streaming through the sky, emitting a rainbowlike spectrum of colors: passion, joy, contact, communication, kindness, caring, understanding, service, dedication, and devotion, to name just a few.
         According to the saints and mystics, love is the very fabric of what we are; we are fashioned out of its warmth and openness. We don’t have to be great sages to recognize this. All we need to do is take an honest look at what makes our life worthwhile. When the presence of love is alive and moving in us, there is no doubt that our life is on target and meaningful, regardless of our outer circumstances. We feel that we’re in touch, connected with something larger than our small self. This lifts the burden of isolation and alienation off our shoulders, filling us with peace and well-being. But when the presence of love is absent, something often feels sad, not quite right; something seems to be missing, and it’s hard to find much joy, even in the midst of favorable circumstances. We easily fall prey to meaninglessness, anxiety, or despair.
         These simple truths are also upheld by neuroscience research, which confirms that our connections with others affect the healthy development and functioning of the brain, the endocrine and immune systems, and our emotional balance. In short, love is the central force that holds our whole life together and allows it to function. …"

             John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006.

Photo: Dana Reed

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