At the mental level, consciousness
At the emotional level, love;
At the spiritual level God.
What is love? Hard to say. Plato believed that Love is the pursuit of the whole. In Our Culture on the Couch, I stated: “Although ‘love’ is an excruciatingly overused and abused word, there is a common factor involved whenever it is used. In every case, the active principle has something to do with togetherness, attraction, unity and unification, a joining together in some way – be it physical, emotional, philosophical, esthetic or otherwise.
This unification is obvious in the example of sexual loving, or in the case of the love between the mother and the infant, or the love of a worshipper for a Higher Power.
And in sports, (or war), we see the same phenomenon of unity that permits one team to win against all odds –athletes will often speak of the love they feel for their teammates. Whenever a certain quality of wholeness is maintained – whether it’s of a body, a relationship, or a racecar – it tends to give rise to enormous power, performance and survival potential.”
Love Is a Way of Being
Indeed, it is simply being — being with another person, however they may be – with no judgments, prejudices, or agendas. Nothing to demonstrate, no one to impress. You love when there is total acceptance of another’s being – born of your acceptance of your own.
Love (capital “L”) refers to the attractive force in our universe. It is the inner power and knowing that guides the carbon atom to share electrons with its neighbors, rather than steal from them. It is the attractive energy that sustains the integrity of the membrane of the lowly paramecium and thus, preserves the life within.
Love binds together the cells and organs, and enables them to harmonize their functioning to produce health of the whole. Love makes birds of a feather flock together, and it inspires wildebeests to travel hundreds of miles in the spring. Love is the magic bond between lovers, between brothers and sisters, between dear friends – it is the key to empathy, compassion, and community.
The Love/Violence Continuum
Love is one of a contrasting pair of forces that lie at opposite ends of a spectrum, the Love (capital L) – Violence (capital V) continuum. If perfect Love is at one end of this continuum, then pure Violence is at the other end.
In truth, few of us will ever get to know perfect Love, (though sometimes the love of a mother for her infant comes pretty darned close), and fortunately, we will probably never know pure Violence.
But who of us have failed to experience people at different positions on that spectrum?
It is crucial to understand that the qualities of Love and Violence are not to be seen as “opposites” – that is, they do not “oppose” each other. They are simply extremes of a continuum that every one of us is on right now.
To the degree that we see the world through eyes that look for wholes, harmony, balance, peace and connection, we are using the both-and paradigm/worldview. This paradigm seeks to find the “we” in every situation.
On the other hand, those who see the world completely from a black-white, me-you, us-them paradigm overwhelmingly tend to see a winner and a loser, a right and a wrong in nearly every situation.
Bringing Love into Our World
How can I become an instrument of Love? Cultivate it within until you are overflowing – then let it flow into the lives of those who are open to receive it. Remember, as Ann Morrow Lindbergh told us:
… never think of love as something you can give like an armload of flowers. Some people give love like that – they dump it down on top of you, a useless strong-scented burden.
You can’t give love; love is actually that force within that enables you to give other things. “It is the motivating power. It enables you to give strength and power and freedom and peace to another person. It is not a result; it is a cause. It is not a product; it produces. It is a power, like money, or steam or electricity.” Love has value when you can give something else by means of it.”
The highest forms of inspiration come from people who are experiencing Love in some form. The inspiration of top music, writing, dance, art – you name it –involves the metaphoric breathing in of the spirit, the arising of the quality of wholeness and relatedness. In other words, Love.
Love is the essence of what I use in healing, and is what I teach in class, in therapy, in World Café meetings. I strive to make it the guiding light in my dealings with my colleagues and coworkers. Everything I teach is, in its purest form, simply another symbolic representation of love, a vehicle designed to awaken the power of love in others.