What is Love?

For centuries poets, philosophers, theologians, artists, and mystics have done their best to define the elusive and ineffable qualities of love. In fact, love exists on many levels from the lowest lust and obsession to caring and romance, to forgiveness, compassion — even sacrifice.

Most interesting is the nature of Love as Consciousness — the mysterious, magnetic nature of Love that allows the One Life to manifest in so many diverse and antagonistic physical forms without being diminished in any way. As author Anne Morrow Lindbergh has written, "Only love can be divided endlessly and still not diminish."

Love is everywhere, ever-present. Love is caring, kindness, affection, tolerance, patience, generosity, forgiveness, and compassion.

Love promotes peace, growth, healing, humor, harmony, transmutation, refinement (redemption), unfoldment, evolution, and at-one-ment — that is, unity with all diverse things.

Here are few more quotable quotations about Love:

That Love is all there is,
Is all we know of Love.

Emily Dickinson

Love is the Divine Homesickness.

Roberto Assagioli

Love is the longing of the part to be whole.


Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Love your enemies,
Bless those who curse you,
Do good to those you hate you, and
Pray for those who despitefully use you, and persecute you
That you may be the children of your Father who is in Heaven
— Matthew 5:44-45
God is love, and he who abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in him
1 John 4:16
Infantile love follows the principle: "I love because I am loved."
Mature love follows the principle: "I am loved because I love."
Immature love says: "I love you because I need you."
Mature love says: "I need you because I love you."
Erich Fromm

Your body needs to be held and to hold, to be touched and to touch. None of these needs is to be despised, denied, or repressed. But you have to keep searching for your body's deeper need, the need for genuine love. Every time you are able to go beyond the body's superficial desires for love, you are bringing your body home and moving toward integration and unity.

Henri Nouwen

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery


When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
Jimi Hendrix

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
— Robert Heinlein
We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.
— Tom Robbins
If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don't have it, no matter what else there is, it's not enough.
— Ann Landers

Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being "drawn toward." Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one's friends and enemies.

Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to makejustice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. People working today on behalf of women, blacks, lesbians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this country and elsewhere know that making justice is not a warm, fuzzy experience.

I think also that sexual lovers and good friends know that the most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds. For this reason loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, or God. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called "love."

Love is a choice — not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice — but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile. Love is a conversion to humanity - a willingness to participate with others in the healing of a broken world and broken lives. Love is the choice to experience life as a member of the human family, a partner in the dance of life, rather than as an alien in the world or as a deity above the world, aloof and apart from human flesh.

— Carter Heyward

And from I Corinthians 13:1-13 —

  1. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
  2. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
  3. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
  4. Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful;
  5. it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
  6. it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
  7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  8. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
  9. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
  10. but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
  11. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
  12. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.
  13. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

E-mail - MB@theagelesswisdom.com





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This page was updated on Thursday, March 25, 2004 6:50 PM