Love, love, love, love, love, love.
Next to the word “god,” it is hard to imagine such an overused yet misunderstood concept. Yet love is the most written about, talked about, dreamed about, sought after, sung about, subject on the planet. With all the attention we place on love, most people are hard pressed to tell you what it really is, but we all want it, even crave it.
According to Psychology Today there are seven types of love:
1. Eros. Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. In Greek myth, it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows.
2. Philia. The hallmark of philia or friendship is shared goodwill. Friendships founded on goodness are associated not only with mutual benefit but also with companionship, dependability, and trust.
3. Storge. Storge (store-gae), or familial love, is a kind of philia pertaining to the love between parents and their children.
4. Agape. Agape is universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God.
5. Ludus. Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. It can involve activities such as teasing and dancing, or more overt flirting, seducing, and conjugating.
6. Pragma. Pragma is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests such as shared goals.
7. Philautia. Philautia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy.
However we define it or look at different aspects of it, all the expressions of love stem from the origins of love: “Love is the result of the One recognizing Itself in its Creation” ("A Spiritual Masters Guide to Life").
Reportedly the full experience of “Love of Divine” is when we are in the non-physical. Almost all who have had “Near Death Experiences” talk about the unspeakable love they experience as they move towards and into the Light. As they return to the physical world the experience of this incredible love is life changing.
The mystics say that the more we recognize the divine in others and all that is around us, the more we experience the “Love of God.” If love is the result of God recognizing Itself in its creation, then as we do the same thing we experience the same love. The more we recognize Source Energy in all things and beings the more love we can embody.
As we step into this physical world from the non-physical, we carry with us the remembrance of Unlimited Love. It is who and what we are, but the more we are indoctrinated into the illusions of limitations of our physical world and its societies, the less we experience this magnificent love. As this desire to experience this love again, we search for it, either consciously or most often unconsciously, and it becomes a strong yearning. We look for it in romantic love, we look for it in material wealth, we look for it in physical achievements, we look for it in sexual experience, we look for it in self-created drama of social life and we look for it in drugs. The more we experience the lack of this Divine Love the more intently we try to find it in increasingly unfulfilling physical experiences. This search oftentimes becomes addictive.
“Looking for love in all the wrong places,” as the song goes.
How is it we can start to experience the Love of Divine again?
The best place to start is to love ourselves. Not the ego-encapsulated self, but acceptance of what we are, just the way we are. Love is acceptance. Accepting ourselves is necessary in order to start to accept others. In is in this acceptance we will start to find love. The more we love ourselves the more we can love others. “Learning to love ourselves … is the greatest love of all,” so says the song.
Loving a newborn baby is easy and delightful, mainly because we have not judged that baby and also because they bring in with them a fresh experience of the Divine Unlimited Love from the non-physical. This is a wonderful example of how we can start to love others. Keeping in mind the love of a child, we can start accepting others as they are, looking past any judgements, and looking to the essence of who they are.
This is a great Spiritual Practice, starting with ourselves. It does take practice, but when done regularly, you will begin to find real love in all the right places.
The world is not broken. Be in peace.
—Jim Hatton is author (under the name James Apollonius Alan) of “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life,” available on Amazon or at www.spiritualmaster.co. Send 600- to 700-word articles to Sally McKirgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.