What Exactly Is Love? And How Do We Learn To Love?

Written by on September 21, 2014 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 1 Comment

Andrew Martin | Collective Evolution

“Love expects no reward. Love knows no fear. Love Divine gives – does not demand. Love thinks no evil; imputes no motive. To Love is to share and serve.” – Swami Sivananda

Defining Love

Much is written about love. Countless songs have love as the main theme and thousands of movies include love and romance as the underlying premise. Religions talk about love and kindness, battles have been fought over love and it seems almost everything we do, say and feel, has undertones of love intertwined throughout. When it comes to describing love it can be very difficult to articulate.

Some common definitions of love found in the dictionary mention feelings of affection and attachment for another. Feelings of connectedness and goodwill, warm affection or devotion, sexual desire and attraction are also used to describe love. When you feel love it is hard to describe; it is a warm fuzzy feeling that just makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do.

Neuroscience has studied the brain and discovered that various chemicals present in the brain are involved with influencing how humans experience love. Oxytocin is responsible for sexual arousal, bonding and maternal behaviours, while serotonin impacts on the well-being and happiness levels of individuals.

A host of other influential chemicals such as testosterone, oestrogen, norepinephrine and vasopressin are also  responsible for attraction, attachment and bonding of couples. While the scientific community continues to delve deeper into understanding how the brain works in relation to love, many questions remain unanswered.

One could argue that human beings have one sole purpose, that is to love and be loved. It seems we do many things that have underlying themes of love and affection, our primary motive of seeking some form of love and happiness. Is our desire to experience the ultimate feeling of love the most important theme of our lives? For many, somewhere deep inside of us is an insecurity, a feeling that we are not good enough. This feeling makes us do things in the hope that we will be loved.

The marketers in the world thrive on this insecurity and our need to be loved. Hence why we see a plethora of advertising geared toward making us feel lousy and that we aren’t good enough and we need more to be truly happy and feel loved.  That’s why in almost every advertisement everyone is happy and in love and having a jolly time. Yet the reality is that the people who buy these items, as a generalisation, are seeking nothing more than recognition and love.

Born to Love

“Love is something eternal; the aspect may change, but not the essence.” – Vincent van Gogh

Nothing is more natural than love. Unfortunately we get distracted along the journey of life, forgetting what it is like to truly love unconditionally. If we act with love and compassion throughout life we will discover that our paradigm changes and we are free to engage in a more meaningful way with others. It sounds clichéd but John Lennon and Paul McCartney summed it up with their hit song ‘All you need is love.’ Presently, as individuals and as a society, we are living in a state of fear. Love is timeless, shapeless, separate from nothing, enduring, constant, non-judgemental, kind, not jealous, giving and removes all boundaries. We are scared of the uncertainty that comes from political, economic and environmental change. Only when we turn this fear into love, do we see a shift in humanity, certainty and the coming together of all, as one.

How much do you love yourself?

“Real love, true love is unconditional, love that places conditions on another is counterfeit, not real at all.” – Neale Donald Walsch

It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? For most, this question has never crossed our mind. What does it truly mean to love yourself and what are the implications? The conditioning we receive over the course of our lives leaves us questioning ourselves. We compare ourselves to others and question a whole range of other physiological, psychological and emotional aspects of our lives. We beat ourselves up, wanting to become better, stronger, faster; we compete in an attempt to get approval, respect and love. Finding fault with ourselves we spend the rest of our life trying to live up to some kind of expectation that exists in our mind. This yearning to be something else, someone else, is a complete waste of our energy.

Love Yourself Before You Can Love Another

“Nurture your true nature. Only talk the truth. Make love your gift to others” – Lao Tzu

The bible frequently talks about love and compassion. One of the most significant teachings that Jesus promoted lies in his answer to the following question. What is the greatest commandment in the law? He answers: “Love the lord, your god with all your soul and with your mind,” the second most important commandment he says is “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” These verses are effectively saying love is the most important thing there is, love is all there is. We must love ourselves completely, in mind, body and spirit. By doing this we can realise our true nature and potential and our connection or oneness with all.

By being connected with a higher power, that is, your higher self, you unleash and tap into the power of the universe and the laws of nature. By loving your neighbour (not just the guy next door), then you are respecting the highest law, the law of love. If everyone lived this way there would be no need for laws, controls and systems to apprehend and punish and there would be no need for war. Yet we spend much of our time living in fear and the opposite occurs. Ultimately we end up sabotaging our relationships due to our lack of self-esteem and self-worth. We have to be at peace with ourselves before we can truly love.

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