It has been a lazy day, lounging half asleep on the sofa, nursing a rotten cold. The mind wanders down odd paths at such times and I have been thinking a lot about the whole idea of love. It is, after all, possibly the most important of human emotions and one that preoccupies us more than any other.
We seek it on many levels and in many ways, from the filial to the romantic, from the parental and the passionate to the divine. We call it by many names that may not at first be obvious, hiding it in plain sight as with so many other things of deep significance.
Friendship is love, so is kindness, compassion, tenderness… the thoughtfulness that picks up the phone or opens a door, the small everyday gestures we make. They are all aspects of it, facets of that same precious jewel.
We seek it, consciously or unconsciously, all our lives. There is a warmth when we know ourselves to be loved, we feel complete when we share love, alive when we give it… even when things do not run smoothly, even when there is hurt or pain or the prospect of loss, there is something deep within us that is nourished and completed by the giving of love.
Nothing new there… we all know this. We have all felt it at some point in our lives, all been touched by its presence or apparent absence from our lives. We have all known the fierce or gentle joy of a love that is shared, and the subtle pain of a love given unwanted. Those pangs, of course, cut deeply as most of the time our loves are very human… we seek a return or a reflection, forgetting that there can be no pain in loving unconditionally… a simple giving without requirement, need or judgement.
Yet why does it matter so deeply to us? What is it that makes this strange rollercoaster emotion so important to us? It brings in its wake all kinds of possibilities for hurt and heartache. Remember the teenage years? Or the loss of a family pet? Or worse, a life partner, parent or beloved friend? Yet knowing the possibilities, we are still drawn like moths to a flame. Even when we shy away from it, we do so because we are aware of its depth and power.
So I was pondering.
Maybe being in love is simply a small reflection of the Love we are seeking to Be In somehow, almost as if it is all we can manage on a human level until we can Be the higher part of our self? The difference is only in focus and degree… not in the essential quality. Those who have written of the love of God have done so in the language of the heart. From St Teresa to the Sufis, the imagery is that we would use to speak of a lover.
Perhaps we could live in such a way that the levels of love we feel and give could coalesce? Instead of separating the loves we have, human, abstract, spiritual and divine.. .what would it be like to see them as a single thing?
What if all the human levels of love are just fragmentary glimpses of a greater love that we know at some very deep level of being? What if our human search for love is a quest to find a reflection, something that reminds us of a love so deep it pervades all creation and is intimately woven through the fibre of being? Seen ‘in a glass darkly’, it may be that it is a shadowy, unconscious knowledge of the wellspring of souls, a yearning for that Home of the heart, unnamed, perhaps, unknown, imprecise maybe, that fuels our dreams and hopes of love in life.