If you ask me, “what’s love?”, I must admit that I really don’t know. Or rather, it’s such a complex and deep question to answer that I have had and have a different answer at different stages in my life. So I thought, it’s definitely worth a blog post.
So, what is love?
One possible way of looking at love is energetically. The energy of love is beautiful, connected with joy, gratitude, intuition, flow and creativity. It’s an energy that we experience as fulfilling and healing, and it puts us at peace. We don’t need anything. We are complete just experiencing this beautiful energy. So it’s definitely a clear answer to the question: Love is a (measurable) high energy state. David R. Hawkins depicts it on his consciousness scale as calibrating >500.
But then, how do we explain love in moments when we feel frustrated or sad or angry because we worry about a person we love? If we follow the energetic definition, it means that many times we say we love someone, but we don’t actually experience the energy of love, but rather the fear of not having it, or other states such as worry, sadness, frustration, exhaustion… any parent will clearly know that loving you child is something that you will most likely not question – but that there are many difficult situations in which you don’t experience the energy of love as defined above.
My teacher in family constellations got me out of that inner struggle. He says that love is a matter of presence. And it means that, even though we may experience some really hard things with a certain person, the fact that we are staying, bearing it, being present for who they are even if we don’t like it, is what defines love. That is one of the wonders of family constellations. They let you see that in many situations in which we experience separation or a “lack of love”, on a deeper level, there is a profound loving connection.
But then again, sometimes people say that they looove their partner, but they never ever speak positively about that person. They speak about a struggle of power and for attention and being seen. They may speak of loneliness and even violence, and the picture you get from the outside is that that relationship is more about need than about love. In the previous definition, the fact of staying in those circumstances would have to be seen as love.
Teal Swan, a spiritual teacher who frequently inspires me, defines love as the act of experiencing something within oneself, and of taking it into what we perceive as I, making it part of who we are. That makes a lot of sense to me: When we are in love, we want to know everything about the other person, we want to feel with them and be with them and we consider their needs just as we do our own. But this definition doesn’t even only apply to people. If you love music, you allow yourself to experience it, be aware and present with it, remember it, make it part of your identity. So in this definition, love is more about the willingness to be aware of sensations and feel them – and in the case of our abusive relationship just described, that is most likely not the case. The person may be physically present, but the level of awareness is often limited – and I am saying that without judgment.
We all repress information and emotions sometimes, and we need to do that out of the pure need to survive. But I like the idea of love being the willingness to let all this information in, to see how it pertains to us, even when it’s painful. Because in this way, when we feel the pain, we can expand and see things about ourselves that we could not face before.
I think this is what happens in a break-up, or relationship crisis. We fight off things we see in the partner that we cannot bear, cannot allow within ourselves, cannot love. But if we open up to feeling whatever those “unwanted aspects” make us feel, we will most likely find those same aspect in ourselves, and be able to integrate what we formerly had to avoid. And, whenever we expand, we accept that “we are that, too”, our energy rises… so, we actually have a chance of experiencing love in the very way I’ve first described, as a high energy, a feeling of belonging, connectedness, peace, beauty, gratitude and wholeness.
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