What is love? The Authors Collection.
May 16, 2014
HAVE YOU SEEN the movie Love Actually? Its full title is Love Actually Is All Around Us and is a lighthearted, slightly irreverent movie, about seeing love everywhere. It points out that if we would just look, we would see that all there is — is love.
Which prompts the questions, “What is love actually? What does love do? How do we see love more often? What does love feel like?”
It’s easy to talk about love. Songs, poems, movies, and TV shows are full of talk about love. Love is the one word for God that almost all spiritual movements and religions agree upon as another name for God, and the primary quality of God. However, there is a huge gap between talk of love, the action of love, and feeling the effect of love.
Does just saying the word love bring love, give love, and help us feel love? Does it help in a church to hear a sermon on love when the members of the church are at odds with each other, or visitors feel unwelcome? Does it help to hear the words “I love you” if there is no evidence of love?
We find Love in the action of love. We are all moved by the accounts of love demonstrated when people gather to help those in need during “special circumstances” — but what about everyday love?
Years ago a friend asked me, “What is love to you” and I realized I didn’t know the answer. It was a “duh” experience for me because it was suddenly obvious why I continually found myself in situations and circumstances that did not give love to me.
To help myself begin to understand love, I made a list of qualities that I thought love would be. The list included qualities like these: always present — no matter what the need — always giving, always available, always kind, and always generous. The list continued with more quality words such as comforting, providing, consistent, uplifting, and inspiring.
When I finished my list, I was shocked to discover that these true qualities of love were not what I had required from human love relationships. If they showed up sometimes and in some ways, I thought that was enough. I had unconsciously agreed to the common human perception that love is only sometimes present, sometimes available, sometimes kind, and sometimes generous.
Once I rethought love, I started looking at love in my life differently. I realized that I didn’t even love myself enough to always be present to what I needed, to give love to myself, to be available to myself, to be kind to myself, to be generous to myself. So of course, I didn’t expect anyone else to be that way to me either.
I didn’t try to change the human situation I found myself in at that time. Instead, I started to identify myself, and everyone I thought about, as representing and expressing the qualities of Love. I expected Love to be, in all ways, the qualities of kind, generous, available etc. This also included my response to others, no matter what the circumstances. I didn’t want to settle for “human love,” I wanted to start with Divine Love and let that spiritual perception work out my human love situation.
It did, and continues to do so as I remember to always begin with a spiritual perception of Love.
If at any time I begin to think from a material limited perception of love, with the thoughts of “what about me” leading the way, then for that period of misperception I feel separate from Love. It’s true for all of us. When we base love on human material love we will always come up with “not enough.”
However, when we begin our thoughts and actions with the awareness of Love as all there is — then Love is easy, immediate, and healing.
If we desire to have Love be the action and effect that everyone feels, even in the remotest corner of our world, we must be willing to make Love the motivation of all that we do —and expect. When we base our thinking and our actions on the understanding of Divine Love’s always, and all ways, qualities, there will be no need to work to change people or circumstances.
When we choose to see with spiritual perception, all we will know is Love. Any action we take that comes from this awareness will always be healing and effective. Living in and with spiritual perception, every day we will experience in more ways the fact that Love Actually is All There IS.
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