December 2010


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machines are mediocre in creating means of effective communication. marshall mcluhan is intelligent. ecopsychology seems relevant. music teaches rhythm… so do waves. trees grow, so do people. everything is perpetually changing. i’m just trying to keep up with the pace of rapid eye movement by following my dreams. so far, so good. dream on.

Love – what is it? Why do people need it? Why do some of us struggle to obtain, maintain or discover it? Nearly everyone talks about it, but who is practicing it? What are they doing? And furthermore, how can this become a part of daily life for all individuals?

I have learned to turn to music (which I consider the language of God) and nature (which I consider God’s creation) to find harmony when I can’t discover it in my own life. In exploring these great sources of inspiration, I have found what I think love ought to be. In fact, I believe we have  plentiful examples of how this idea can implemented. I don’t pretend to have all the answers; I just am sharing my discoveries thus far. It is a perpetual journey, of course. The writings are simply to share with you the progress of my knowledge.

Why Should We Love?

Love exists to help teach many values and principles of life to people… Love is to create and commit to. It is perhaps an opportunity for actions of being and doing positive things for another can occur. It is the most intimate form of good living. For many people though, intimacy is difficult to embrace. We can’t be any more good to another person than we are to the self. In fact, this is the root of the saying, “you must love yourself before you love someone else.” So, basically love must be practiced because we need to love ourselves. And once we love ourselves, we will love those that are deserving of our love.

Love inspires the most varied forms of human action. The absence of love can evoke suicides, murders, poems, art, music…  Love is to share, inspire, and create. Sometimes it destroys but this is no reason not to engage in the act of loving.

Nietzsche said, “We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving.” Love makes life more valuable – it provides meaning. Love gives us a chance to share – and sharing is at the root of human desires.

Peace is something that must be obtained inwardly, we cannot reach outward to find it. If we are not at peace with our past or present, it seems it would be almost inevitable to ever obtain happiness in the future. At any time we must know the direction our path is meandering and if we are at peace with it. Once we have peace we can seek love. This of course in turn means without inner peace there is not love.

What is Love?

Love must not be given lightly or without probable cause. Love is a passionate thing. It is not completely irrational, though. Many people believe love is a chemical reaction that you have with someone. Perhaps this is so, but undoubtedly it is also the connection and creation of good between two individuals. Care, friendship, family, these bonds become interwoven with the inside of an individual. The people in the relationships become one because how they feel for another and how that person feels will be reflective of the self. For example, when my brother is struggling, I feel his pain. When a friend is frustrated, I often am too.

This is otherwise known as empathy – the ability to step outside your own box of selfishness and feel what another may be experiencing. So – love is perhaps ultimate empathy. Empathy is defined, as “the capacity to share the sadness or happiness of another sentient being through consciousness rather than physically. Empathy develops the ability to have compassion towards other beings.” If you learn to love yourself, undoubtedly you’ll learn to love others. Some cultures have varying words for love in their languages. In English, we use the same word for the love we feel for our dog, house, boyfriend and children. This might be limiting since the dictionary lists nearly twenty definitions of the word.

In love the practices of good and truth can become clouded. Nietzsche says, “What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil.” And I tend to agree.

According to scripture, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – (1:13 Corinthians) This is a great illustration of qualities to include in the practice of love.

Many of us do not practice a lot of empathy towards ourselves. I am not sure if it is our society, our upbringings, our broken hearts, or the culture of fear that many social scientists discuss…  fear is often at the heart of loving for many people I meet. Yet, we all take risks in many ways, sometimes strange ones! Essentially, we must have freedom from fear of love, whether it is internal or external. So, what does this mean, exactly?

I guess this implies we must practice the following ideas in order to have tangible love. None of these are easy acquisitions, but they exist and are concepts we should try and engage in readily. To love another is a gift of complete devotion to you, that person, and the world.

Freedom

To love, to be open, to be free – the anarchy that comes from liberating your life and intertwining it with another is good for the individual spirit. However, being independent is too. Independence must first be mastered.

In essence, this means to create, not deteriorate the self. (For further thoughts on this topic, see my blog post titled “Gospel of Creation.”) Love must allow a person to be at ease and do as they please for themselves without hurting another. I think of birds that fly off each day to obtain bountiful food for their young. The baby birds must trust their mother with their lives to return safely with all they need.  Certainly many would argue that the love between mother and child is a different love than I have for my friends. Perhaps they are somewhat contrasting, but these forms of love shouldn’t be polarized ideas. You should always love your husband or girlfriend with the same intensity of familial love. All of these genres of love are vital for the human experience.

A person needs to be free during the day to come home and share their love. Freedom is critical. Ultimate freedom is truly ultimate peace. When a person can trust their steps, then another can too. All will falter, but it’s important to engage in freewill and learn the things we need to. People must walk with their own two feet and be at peace with the destinations they choose to meet. Thus, we should be filled with fidelity and truth in all our steps.

Connection

When one loves, there are often certain emotions that are difficult to understand. Certain actions or emotions that are experienced may be really inaccessible to the brain. We are still trying to understand what the emotions are scientifically, biologically, chemically…

For those that are convinced we already are at full potential knowledge of the brain or any science, really… I leave you with the following questions: How does the brain know of its own existence? Why do people die for someone else if the point of our species is the survival of the fittest? Why has every culture ever encountered practice some form of supernatural belief?

Undoubtedly a person should be quite content with the knowledge they have over their personality, ego, spirit and intellect before committing their hearts to another individual.  It’s important to be connected to the self and know who you are or what you might need. This is especially important to understand before connecting at the level of depth required for love.

Freewill

The narcissists of science say that we can conceptualize, create, and alter what reality is for any person based on certain criteria. I do not know if this is always the case since life intervenes with plans constantly. However, I believe that we can choose what our reality is with those that surround us. We can CHOOSE to love, or not. We can CHOOSE to live, or not. We can CHOOSE so much – it’s our attitude that truly determines the reality of so many situations.

God gave us the gift of freewill… (and if you refute that then you still know that we always have the liberty to make our own decisions, though often with limitation). It is quite clear that this should be something we use to better the world and promote positive experiences for the self & others.  God gave us the CHOICE to choose how we express love! I think this is quite beautiful. Thus, if we choose to love a person and love ourselves, it will be a given that all decisions made will be for positive growth. It comes back to the premises of creation that if you love something you respect it. 1. Love the self. 2. Love the world & others 3. Love intimately with one another. You must water your own garden before you garden another.

Trust

In life we should practice self-control, balance and empowerment… In love all of these practices must be conveyed with an even greater depth. It seems that in love, to have a full circle of care and for it to be effective or fulfilling, one has to be truthful, honest, open, and faithful to the other and the self. If someone hurts you in their actions or you hurt them, this must be addressed.  You can’t have a reciprocal relationship between two human beings without complete connection spiritually, mentally, physically or emotionally.

In a society so self-driven, it can be difficult to put trust in others, but the world teaches us time & time again to share love. Nearly all animals need each other to procreate, survive, and enjoy leisure time. We simply must trust ourselves to execute our emotions and live in a positive manner. In love you must always be honest and truthful to yourself, and ultimately anyone that is important to you.

Growth

Living plants know not to overtake an entire field with their roots so others foliage can grow. A tree may shelter a plant from sunlight so it grows. Bees pollinate flowers, and flowers provide nectar so the bees can survive. The bee has to commit itself each year to do this; otherwise the flowers will stop growing. For example, perhaps Adam & Eve were supposed to watch the flowers grow and be content rather than try indulging in so many unnecessary things.

The connection between all living things is fascinating, and it is imperative for us to recognize that we are not separate from nature. It’s illustrated for us in the wilderness and modern world that we need to achieve balance and positive relationships with others for optimum growth. The importance of balance in nature, relationships, and spirituality are certainly intertwined and we should follow those examples if we seek love in our own lives. A huge part of that growth is being committed, remaining faithful, and always practicing positive actions for one another.

Preservation

Love can be an act of self preservation. It gives a place for extra energy to feed into. It is also a place to receive support and resources when the self is struggling. It helps us survive and endure.  Probably why the Beatles sang “all you need is love.” Love is something that we ought to not try and control too much, though. When animals try and control one another it can cause suffocation and hinders personal growth. SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIPS ARE LOVE. Yes, nature shows destructive relationships, and ones of species that are only out for themselves, but WE ARE NOT THOSE SPECIES. The act of love will commit, support, and maintain the individuality of the person that is loved or doing the loving.

We are such social beings – any person that refutes the need for love must be so lonely. Our culture has always lived in societies – whether state-level, or tribes or chiefdoms. We need each other and our strengths so we can be productive members of society. We have to preserve and maintain with a high level of commitment to succeed in love.

Respect

When sharing your life with another, your happiness can become somewhat contingent upon their actions, words, thoughts. It is self-sustaining, but ONLY if it is good. Otherwise it can be the greatest toxic source of pollution for the human spirit. I have seen love both create and absolutely destroy, as well as perpetuate stagnancy. It’s easy to cross from one line to the other. Many relationships start off in one area, and then meet a point where they no longer create growth.

Love has to maintain itself as only positive interactions. If it becomes unnatural and difficult, perhaps it is not meant to keep growing. And if it is to grow, the disease hindering the growth MUST be destroyed.  This is done through lines of open communication and restoration. This means to respect yourself, one must respect the person they are with as well as the relationship they create together. This is not incredibly easy, and hard to maintain when something is better for the self rather than the person in the shared relationship.

In love, your actions need to respect the needs of the other person without inhibiting the needs of yourself. When you love, you don’t make living and growing difficult for each other. Love isn’t practicing negative actions to others or perpetuating drama. Love is minimizing the stresses of living as much as possible. When I see people in relationships engaging in drama or destructive habits towards each other, I can always see that they are hindering growth due to lack of respect for the other’s emotions.  Usually these people are most vested in their own feelings (selfishness) and not the other person’s. This is always sad to witness though it happens to almost everyone at one moment or another.

Balance

If you do meet a person that can collectively improve and positively inspire your consciousness, then you have discovered a sustainable community for the self.  Ecosystems demonstrate the importance of balance and circularity and recycling energy between living beings. In any relationship the movement of energy which occurs between people must be positive. In love, we must simply practice the gift of reciprocating mass amounts of good.

However, the bee cannot spend all day pollinating for the flowers – it must work on its own creations. Just as lovers can’t spend all day loving without losing the means to pay rent or create for themselves and others.

In fact it is the same with music.  One drummer cannot overpower an entire band, or the melodic instruments will not be heard. The sounds must be moderated. This is the fine line of balance that relationships undoubtedly need.

Rhythm

In love, a person needs to understand that each man moves at his own pace. Nothing should be stagnant– every river flows to the ocean. Every lake has tides that rise with the moon.  Heraclitus states, “For everything flows and nothing abides; everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.”  Each season comes and goes, and people get old and children are bornIt is imperative in love to understand the rhythm of change. Every song has a beginning and end, a time to be legato, a time to improvise. The rhythm of life is always changing, and we have to be adaptable.

In an ideal marriage, the two people will grow together and not have the need to embark on permanent solo adventures. But if this does occur, it is simply important to be honest. Sometimes a person is drowning and you can no longer pull them to the shore, where you are standing. Other times, a person can feel like Columbus, ready to travel, while their partner is ready to build a home. These things are just the rhythm of life – this is why we have music. There are moments of discord, but we must embrace them as much as possible. It is in these moments that people must learn to make harmony (peace) with whatever it is that faces them. Sometimes the guitarist knows her song must be one she writes alone instead of with the band.

Beauty

Hafiz states that we should: “Know the true nature of your beloved. In his loving eyes your every thought, word and movement is always beautiful.” When you love, you give yourself and let go so beauty can be foremost in all actions.

It is something like this: love is a flower that can grow or a river that flows, and we have examples to dissect and discover. These things demonstrate both productivity, and counter-productivity to growth for any given set of species.

Laughter

Sometimes we’ll mess up – nature is incredibly inconsistent and certainly not monotonous. Even the best musical moments are improvisation and on the offbeat. In love, when you encounter moments that are frustrating, difficult, or devastating, remember to take the weight of that heavy emotion off your back, sit back, and laugh. A new season is just around the corner.

Seasons

Living in the modern world can make it hard to see growth. We are surrounded by buildings – our own creations. This is not inherently bad but is lacking in variation for the human psyche and experience. It is relevant to see many kinds of growth from humans and other living beings. All things create – birds build nests, and beavers construct dams. But most of what we need – air, water, sustenance – surrounds us.

The thought that sums love best so far to me is from Hafiz: “Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, ‘you owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that – it lights the whole sky.” Indeed the best love will never be stagnant or destructive, but always promote positive energy in the world.

And so, like a river, our tears flow and are replenished. They will grow and pass on from us. And the river teaches us to embrace change. Water circulates from the sky to rain drops and in fact we are made mostly of this molecular compound. But we must listen to the stream arrive and pass us by (perhaps we need to jump in sometimes). I insist that the world and music will teach us things we ought to know best.

freewill will do freedom of good(ness) peace love growth. connection is change & perpetuates rearrangement of thought. love comes from the small stream that feeds water to the river/lake/ocean/cloud rain(drop) thirst & yes the tear. we flow like water you know. free will leads you to the ocean of love.

what if seeking smiles is what will free our hearts?

we must know love but we must grow and feed our own hearts to find it.