What is Love?

Baby don’t hurt me…

I know, it’s a terrible joke, but I couldn’t help myself. 

The truth is that I have been thinking yet again about what love is and how we can determine whether or not we are experiencing it or choosing it.

I have been in love, and it was a wonderful and terrible experience.  The depth of emotional experience was incredible, making my good feelings greater and I thought possible and my bad feelings far worse than I thought possible.  These emotions and sensations are a part of love, and they are not to be missed if you want to full experience and are willing to face the pain they bring along with the joy.

I have also loved.  It transformed me in ways I never imagined.  I became less selfish, more at peace with myself, and more attuned to the importance of my choices because of their impact on the rest of the world.

I liken being in love to a powerful storm over the ocean, and love to the strong current that flows far below the waves.  The first is beautiful and spectacular, but it often hurts and destroys as well.  The second is constant and life-giving, ultimately more powerful than the storm though less spectacular in appearance.

For all my sentiment and poetic imagery, I understand that being in love has a strong biochemical component to it, that hormones and pheromones and all sorts of cool neurological reactions in the brain are occurring at the same time we feel these things.  I know that love can be explained via evolutionary theory as a phenomenon that is advantageous to us because it aids our survival as a species in myriad ways.  The science of things is not lost on me.

But I do acknowledge that scientific explanations of the phenomenon of love are incomplete, and will never be until science is no longer itself.  I also readily admit that no matter how many songs or books are written about love, no one will ever be able to understand it by reading them.  The nature of Love is such that it must be experienced to be understood. 

Like God, Love does not reveal all that it is to even the most keen of observers, and it constantly challenges us to grow beyond what we are now.  This is part of why I believe that God is Love, that Love is the eternal and powerful expression of all that is good in the world, an implacable and life-giving force that will prevail over all once we realize that choosing it is the best thing we can ever do.

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