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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Love All Around: Love IS All We Need!

John, Paul, George & Ringo were right! Actually, there're many such lines from popular rock ballads that have the right idea, they just have the wrong foundation. 'What IS love, anyway? This, along with other like questions, may seem to be headed in the right direction, but they are generated from a different starting point altogether. Love, it might be said, is a human emotion, but how then does that explain the several examples of selfless love that one may witness in the animal kingdom? Do animals even have emotions? I believe we could easily assume so, but it is doubtful that these emotions, if such, have much if anything to do with how they practice love on a daily basis!

Speaking of rock bands; I've always loved to listen to the popular group, 'Queen'. One of my favorites of theirs is a song titled 'Somebody to Love': Queen sure had their problems, like all rock bands, but they really have a unique sound & this ballad is no exception! I believe that my speculation is well-warranted that they, like most, were speaking of physical intimacy. To be truthful, if we're honest with ourselves, as human beings, we all yearn for, you might say, 'lust' for, that human touch & though there is, in itself, nothing wrong with that longing, we tend to look for 'love' in all the wrong places, to quote another popular singer. Many also seek 'love' in the wrong way, again, because they have a faulty definition of it!

'Love' is not synonymous with intimacy, in particular sexual intimacy, although it is often a very intricately intertwined & many people seem to equate the two! This is not true however, of all people, though most often, it is identified as having to do with feelings. In the Greek verbage, this is what is known as 'phileo'. As we have previously explored in this blog, though feelings are very often involved & indeed necessary, 'love' is, first & foremost, a choice; one decides whether to treat another with kindness, respect, equity & charity. The practice of 'love' most often leads to feelings along the lines of what most people think of when the word is used, but the difference comes when that 'love' is not returned!

As defined by The Free Dictionary, to become intimate with another, the relationship, of whatever sort & to whatever extent, must be 'characterized by close personal acquaintance or familiarity'. To be intimate with another, then, need not necessarily involve sexual 'intercourse' ( there's another subject for another time ); intimacy often refers to intellectual stimulation, a very strong connection, or just a very close friendship, all of which are relational. Love, though it often involves intimacy, as we have also explored previously, need not be of an intimate nature; one may simply choose to be kind, respectful, equitable & charitable to another!

We can all sympathize, I believe, with those who echo the sentiment, '(Somebody ) Send Me Someone To Love'; we are built, in this biology, for it: we all long for, yearn for, even lust for that physical intimacy, The Human Touch! As above, there is nothing inherently wrong with this desire, though many are guilty of 'looking for love in all the wrong places'. There is a time & place for everything, but there is also right & wrong! The right way to seek physical intimacy is to seek first a spiritual connection, for if one has the physical connection without spiritual intimacy, that relationship is fated from the start; it may not even make it out of the gate!

It is evident that animals know how to love; one only has to Youtube 'animal love' to watch a plethora of videos proving this fact! Even better though, pretty much any pet owner will gladly testify to the glory of this truth! In fact, many pet owners, in my experience, prefer the companionship of what we call 'dumb animals' over that of their fellow human beings. I'm not advocating 'Animal Love' over Human Love, but I can't really blame these people either; some human beings are just plain UGLY ( I'm not speaking of physical appearance either )! One can only speculate as to whether animals experience intimacy like humans do, or whether their love is a simple blind devotion, bit it goes without saying that for many people, animals exhibit something more like the 'unconditional' love that we all seek!

So, it is well-established that to love is a choice, whether conscious or unconscious, however, the 'rub' comes when we define 'love' in these several different ways! Brotherly love, or 'phileo', the love that one naturally feels toward another human being is a valid emotion: it is, however, simply that; being based on feelings, it is apt to change with the wind.When one chooses to love another 'unconditionally' & actively, based, not on feelings, but on a conscious decision, a decision to always treat that one with kindness, respect, equity & charity, then that love will last, being founded in the Spirit with the greatest intimacy!

We are built for Love: as human beings, both animal & human love are programmed into us from the start!  We all, in our own way, seek both kinds; usually that Human Touch. Everyone naturally wants 'someone to love', one that is devoted to just them, one that will spend their life in pleasing them, but too often, I believe, we miss the forest for the trees: rather than pining our life away yearning for that particular 'someone to love', we need to realize that we already have plenty of 'someones' to love: Love truly IS all around, if only we would take the time to stop & smell the roses, making the conscious choice to share the Love we are shown, the Love that we now bear Within!

Charles Haddon Shank

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