How Do You Experience Love?
By Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 Love has been described in many ways by many people. Even different cultures have a certain twist on how love is expressed. Can love really be experienced in so many different ways and still be called love? I think the answer is that it can based on the definition given love for the culture or person experiencing it. If that is the case then love really has no true meaning; it is just an experience one has with another person based on their definition.

 After all, doesn't how we love our siblings differ from how we love our parents, relatives, or friends? Isn't the love a mother has for her child the most intimate relationship that exists? How about love of country or love based on religious beliefs? How is it possible to define love differently for so many various experiences? To me, it isn't possible, because there is only one love- Divine Love, Unconditional Love. Everything else called love must therefore be something else, unless it is derived from Divine Love in some way.

 It seems to me that the word love is used carelessly and given meanings that really have no bearing on love at all. For example, if a person says "I love you" in one moment, and in another says "I don't love you anymore", how can that be called love? You can't fall in and out of love. Love is eternal. Let us examine some facets of the word love based on one of my favorite songs, The Rose.

 It, like many other songs, speaks of love. It tells the tales of people's experiences with love in just a few phrases. The song starts with what I would call the shallow definition of love, but deepens on the last line of the second verse "I say love it is a flower and you its only seed." It then moves with this depth to how life seems and how it could be. "And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live."

 I asked my mom one day when I was maybe around ten, why so many songs were written about love. She said that "love makes the world go 'round." And so, from that perspective, it does. What most songs speak about is what is called 'romantic love' which is really not love at all, but an attachment. Real love could not be described as the first line of the song; "Some say love it is a river that drowns the tender reed."

 But let's look at the line that starts the second verse: "Some say love it is a hunger an endless, aching need." This describes what I call Divine Love; that within us that calls us to be more, to awaken to the real us. As with the line that follows "I say love it is a flower and you its only seed" it is a Divine seed planted in our consciousness before we were born.

 For most of the people in most Western societies, romantic love has to be what is usually described as love, otherwise the divorce rates would not be so high. Romantic love, or just being 'in love' is mistakenly taken as real love. What is taking place is being attached to the person you are supposedly 'in love' with. How can anyone embracing deep love say, "I don't love you anymore"?

 Divine Love is the seed spoken of in The Rose. It is that "endless, aching need." We feel it from the very depths of our being most of our lives, but usually don't identify it as love. There is some longing, but what is it? The question, for many, goes unanswered all of their lives; as the song says, "Its the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live."

 I feel the closest that most humans come to actually experiencing real love is that between a mother and her children. For most, if not all, mothers it is unconditional. A mother's child can do no wrong in her eyes and even if she were to see it that way, it is usually quickly 'forgiven.' For many people in a long lasting relationship, what might have begun as romantic love evolves into deep love over the years.

 The above two examples come as close to Unconditional Love as it gets in the Western human society. Some Eastern societies, however, and many indigenous cultures have a deep love of God or whatever word is used in the culture for some higher power. This is not a worship of God, but a deep sense of connection Oneness. Many religions may aspire to that connection, but lack the commitment to bring it into their experience.

 Just as people speak of peace during the Christmas season, many celebrate love during February 14th, St. Valentine's Day, in Western cultures. But unfortunately neither peace, nor real love is what comes from these holidays; they have turned into venues for card sales and gift giving.

 What 'love' do you celebrate on Valentine's day? Is it romantic love, as described by the marketing media and at its inception in the 4th century, or is it real, deep unconditional love? For most children and adults it is romantic love, but for some, it is deep love. What do you feel when you buy and give a valentine card?

 It is time for us to look deep within and ask ourselves where we are with unconditional love.  We cannot say we love someone, have an argument, and then fall out of love with that person. The only true love that exists is within each one of us, and in every living creature on this planet.

 Close your eyes, put your focus on your heart area, and feel the deep sense of peace and love that is there. Do this often. Do it sincerely. Do with a purpose. If you can't feel deep love for everyone of your family members, your closest friends, for yourself, then you have work to do. And it is important work that is imperative at this time on our planet.


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