"What is Love?"
-Age Old Question
"Whenever we place a condition on what
we perceive to be love, it is not love."
- Joseph Panek
Perhaps the most talked-about, fantasized, and misunderstood issue
confronting us in our current Incarnation is the concept of feeling
and sharing Love with another person.
Love...it is a Word that is so haphazardly tossed around that its true
meaning has become diluted and confused. Is it any wonder, there-
fore, that we are so bewildered when we attempt to understand the
true meaning of that Divine Essence which we call Love?
Numerous books and articles have been written about Love. Yet,
it seems the more we read about "Love" the less we are able to
understand this Divine and mystical concept.
We ache to receive Love. We long to share Love. We fantasize about
a perfect "other" to be in Love with. But how can we possibly find
Love, give Love, and receive Love if we do not honestly understand
what true Love is?
Perhaps the simplest way to resolve this age old dilemma of what
Love is is to first determine what Love is not.
Love is not to be confused with infatuation, lust, passion, or
possessiveness. It is not a fleeting interest, a momentary desire,
a tempting flirtation, or a temporary excitement.
Love is not obtained, or given, under any form of duress, guilt, or
force. It is not a contract with rules, regulations, expectations, and
Consequences spelled out. It is not demands imposed upon one
another, nor is it an agreement, treaty, or Compromise.
Love is not an empty Oath given, or taken, under the guise of force,
duress, guilt, loneliness, lust, jealousy, possessiveness, platonic
motives, group acceptance, mutual benefits, or carnal expectation.
And finally, Love is not expressed by way of a far-off, dreamy, and
deluded smile of false ecstasy which some adopt into their behavior
to both convince themselves, and impress others, that they are
Simply put, Love makes no demands; nor does it burden itself
with expectations. In addition, Love makes no attempt to "live up
to the expectations of others".
look at what Love IS.
Love is any Action we perform for the benefit of someone, or
something, else for which we expect nothing in return. Love is
expressed by way of a Selfless Act, Unattached Caring, and the
voluntary Sacrifice of oneself to a Higher Cause. In short, if we
were to define Love with just one Word, that one Word would be
With this in mind, let us examine the different ways in which Love
manifests itself through us by Acts of Kindness.
The Selfless Act and Unattached Caring are very closely related
to each other. They are the simple Kindnesses which we
unconsciously bestow upon someone, or something, else. Some
examples are: placing a divider on the conveyor at the checkout
stand for the benefit of the person behind us; providing a bowl of
milk for a hungry, lost, and frightened kitten; healing an injured
bird's wing and nursing it back to health so we may set it free; and,
comforting someone when they are emotionally distressed.
The Higher Cause is a much rarer form of Love which we may
experience perhaps only once or twice in our lifetime. It is when
we voluntarily forego personal safety, personal gain, and
egotistical theatrics for either the betterment of humanity or the
well-being of another person.
Those who find themselves participating in A Higher Cause are the
unsung heroes of the Spiritual human condition who experience the
highest form of both Self-Sacrifice and Love. (See: The Higher Cause)
Love, therefore, may best be described as a warm, inner glow; a
state of oneness, contentment, and Harmony in which the purity,
or Kindness, of our Action Becomes our Unexpected Reward.
This is why romantic novels, movies, songs, and poems move us
to tears. They stimulate our deep, inner longing to participate in,
and share, true Love. A longing that can only be fulfilled by
experiencing the results of Unselfish Acts of Kindness on our part
which Harmonize with, and draw out, the highest Spiritual virtues
and rewards available to us in the material realm.
True Love is rare. True Love is pure. True Love is unselfish,
compassionate, and tender. And although our experiences of
True Love can be fleeting and rare, they are certainly worth the
Quest. For our Quest may eventually lead us to a Compatible
partner who shares the same feelings, Beliefs, and dreams as we do.
Then we can experience the kind of Harmonious Romance which
is probably best expressed by our poets and ancient philosophers
through such tender and heart-warming phrases as:
"Love is One Spirit occupying two bodies"
"Love does not consist of gazing at each other,
but in looking together in the same direction."
-Antoine De Saint-Exupery
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Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.
© copyright Joseph Panek 2010