Is It Love?

Positive emotions generated by the ego already contain within themselves their opposite into which they can quickly turn. … What the ego calls love is possessiveness and addictive clinging that can turn into hate within a second.—Eckhart Tolle

 Love is a spontaneous phenomenon, associated not so much with a person or persons as object as simply being an energetic condition. Love may also be beyond energy, at emptiness or the proverbial still point, but I haven’t gotten there (yet?). I do, however, sometimes feel the love and I can say nothing is more gratifying.

 The problem comes when we correlate the emotion with a human, personal object. We feel we’re in love with someone when what we have is simply the arising of an emotion. In short, the feeling may or may not have to do with another individual.

 Do you know a man/woman obsessed with a love object? Maybe you’re the one who’s focused on Lucy or Gary or Jean. That could be fine, or it could be entirely inappropriate.

 Thinking of that feeling of love as love for all beings is probably a good approach even if the love is sparked by the presence of or thoughts of another, specific human being. Not that personal love can’t appear, but until a personal love is tried and tested and sustained over time, love is best accepted as an impersonal love, a love that arises from a state of good fortune, even grace, and that has as its object all who live. Nothing is to be done with love, except to feel it and to express it to all.

 To immediately enclose the love as a singular love directed at one person would be short sighted. Indeed, in that case, we allow the individual to evoke and capture our love entirely for that one person’s sake, which limits the feeling that might let us grow into a full human being.

 Individualizing love also creates a condition of potentially truncating the emotion itself.

 Personal love isn’t always well suited to a situation or idea. Should it arise in a mutual, fulfilling way, then we’re blessed. But, really, the larger vision might be less arduous and invoke a lot less struggle.

 Love of all sorts waxes and wanes, even the impersonal stuff. But think, if we awake one morning and feel grumpy about humanity as a whole and disenchanted with the universe, that doesn’t imply an irrevocable split. We suppose our mood will lighten later in the day after we exercise or have breakfast, and nothing is lost. But waking up and realizing the love of “the one” is rotten to the core means a whole big mess ensues, starting with self-questioning and self-doubt and a whole lot of “what do I do now”s.

“I loved her,” said the boy who shot his beloved—and her mother and grandmother—after she’d broken up with him.

Emotions arise, and that’s perfectly fine. Love is a wonderful emotion to feel, a universal solvent that heals all ills if felt often enough for long enough. Love is, in fact, grand. But suppose we take it with a grain of salt when it settles on a particular trigger lest a heart beating with this exalted stuff later fills with a much less pleasant emotion. No, no, I have nothing again love at all. My beef is against our impulsively leaping into…trouble.

For another take on the perils and promises of love:

And for the perils and promises of the universe:

Or wait for STRINGS in paperback. .


7 thoughts on “Is It Love?

  1. Thanks for linking to my post on the madness of falling in love. I enjoyed reading this, and I always appreciate perspectives that differ from mine. They make me ask interesting questions, which I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. So there they are – I wonder, is love an emotion, like anger, jealousy, fear? I feel those differently in my body, lower, around the first and second chakra. And I feel love like an expansion in the heart, in the chest (the fourth chakra). I used to think all the images of hearts, valentines, etc. was absurd because the heart is just an organ and has nothing to do with love. But then I came across some research revealing that the heart is the first organ formed in the fetus (before the brain) and that it has its own form of intelligence, and its own electromagnetic field, which is thousands of times more powerful than the brain. Maybe that’s why love is “blind” – it doesn’t reason, weigh, calculate. It’s a different form of intelligence, of feeling and knowing.

    I also wonder if individualizing love truncates it. What does non-individualized, non-personal love, love directed towards the whole universe mean? Do we actually feel that, or is it a conceptual abstraction? I can feel love for individual persons, or even a certain dog I see passing me in the street in whose presence I get warm and fuzzy, or I can feel a sense of awe (maybe love is not the right word here) in beholding a mountain or looking at the stars in the sky. But it’s individual. It’s this person, this dog, this mountain, not people as such, or dogs as such. I believe when we extend that feeling and make it universal, that’s not something felt by the heart, it’s the mind rationalizing. I can say that all I’ve experienced of love has been individual. I can abstract from that and say, hypothetically, I can feel it for anyone, for anything. I can make it universalizable. But that’s the mind talking. Maybe some people have felt love and joy directed at the whole world, as a genuine feeling and not a concept, it’s just not been part of my own experience.

    • For me, yes, love originates in the heart, and it can be passed on from being targeted at a specific individual to being directed to the next specific individual, and further on to a group and so on while it’s circulating in the heart. I don’t mean it as an intellectual experience at all. The feeling changes my perceptions for that time so that, as yesterday, I felt a perceptible special love for my plant (after loving everyone on my subway car–but they made it easy). Love is an energetic condition, in other words, that simply streams outward. I can see that love can be felt for the mountain or the stars–the connection between us… Why not? 🙂 I did enjoy your post and thanks for your reflections.

  2. Some people have a limited sense of love. I like this quote: “Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light.” (Mary Baker Eddy)

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