The word love is used lightly in so many different circumstances. However, the true definition of love challenges us to dig deeper.
I remember so many levels of understanding in life while I was searching for the true definition of love. I thought about the young love that I experienced as a teenager and wondered how much I had changed since then.
Then, I think about love throughout my twenties and thirties and I recognize the differences between how I felt then as opposed to my emotions now. Although my understanding of love has matured, I still question things.
Love, as a spiritual emotion, sometimes seems cruel and heartbreaking. I question the purpose of feeling such a strong emotion. I question why love exists as well. What is this mesmerizing, yet completely all-consuming mystery?
“True love is born from understanding”
The true definition of love
I think it’s okay to question things because within these questions we examine who we really are. To know oneself is to get to know love just a little better. No one understood love quite like the Buddha, and while his words seem ethereal and otherworldly, they hold the priceless knowledge to help us see true love for what it really is.
The first of Buddha’s truths “Life is Dukkha” explains love quite well. Here are several Buddhist points to help us see the true definition of love and find happiness.
Struggles are not the materialistic problems that we deal with in daily life, like work and our social life. According to Buddha, the struggle is that war which we wage against existential loneliness from having our consciousness separated from the divine consciousness.
This is the pain we experience when we look for love. When we find love because we are struggling with this disconnect, this will not be true love.
We seek to fill a void that only the divine can fill, and during and after relationships, the void remains. True love is not dependent on this suffering. Our separation from the divine consciousness has nothing to do with the true love we develop for another.
True love is unconditional. Where do you think that came from? Everything affects everything else and the feeling of love that we are used to is moved by conditions. It grows stronger or weaker according to our status or situation in life.
It moves according to our moods as well. The true definition of love says that nothing changes love in a world of constant changes, and love like this becomes a part of who we are and not how we are treated.
The world is always changing, as I stated above, and with those changes, love is changed but not destroyed. True love doesn’t fade because of change of address, change of job, or change of lifestyle. It remains the one static yet flexible state of being in a species that is always evolving.
While some things break under pressure of change, true love adapts and finds other ways to mold into its new skin.
The true definition of love is even more than all that!
True love is tough and its resilience is something to be marveled. It is beyond the realms of human suffering, being something that originated outside our idea of reality. Yes, it is spiritual, and within meditation, we can encounter the purest forms of this emotion.
The loss we feel when things change is like suffering, but we must remember. Suffering is an illusion. We cannot lose love because we never owned it in the first place. Love is enduring, and this helps us understand how true love cannot be found on a date or in marriage.
Love isn’t defined by human feelings. Love just is. It is within us and we cannot attain it from another person. In order to find love, we simply look within, we look at our faces in the mirror and we glance to our hands. These are the human embodiments of love.
Until we are filled with a divine consciousness, our own created self must hold the highest form of love that we know.
Struggling to find true love in another will probably lead to a feeling of hopelessness because no one will give you that happy ending except for yourself. Yes, we need the companionship of others, but we also need to be whole within ourselves.
We can share the true love between us, but we must never rely on anything outside our being to control our power to love.
Maitri and Karuna
When Buddha spoke with the king of Pasenadi, he explained Maitri and Karuna, two elements of true love. Maitri is the ability to show compassion while Pasenadi takes away suffering. What’s so important about learning the true definition of love is that we can share this love in the form of compassion, spreading our unconditional care to all who need it, not just members of our families, friends, or partners.
The Buddha, in his wisdom, shared valuable truths, and so we should continue to share these truths of love with others.
Now that’s a true definition of love.
By Sherrie H.
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