“What is love?” was the response to a question I posed to a guest around 1:30 am at my Chinese New Year Party.
It was a late-night, several glasses-of-wine question, and possibly fell into the category of none-of-my-business. I have a need to understand why people do what they do and think how they think, so I ask lots of questions. Of course, since we often can’t answer those kinds of questions even for ourselves, we certainly can’t answer them for others.
However, this question, “What is love?” has kept my wheels spinning since the party. The truth is that I can’t answer it to my own satisfaction because love is as complicated as it is vast and as simple as it sounds.
We seek love because loving and being loved makes the happy happier. Little things don’t bother us. We feel we can move mountains. The colors of the world seem brighter.
Yet, we fear love because it makes us vulnerable. Another person’s happiness, hopes and dreams become part of ours. Their consideration—or lack of consideration—for our feelings, hopes and dreams can be the wings that help us fly or the sword that causes emotional angst that can leave lifetime scars.
The types of love are almost impossible to count.
The way we love romantic partners, children, parents, siblings, friends and pets is different yet, the basic emotion of feeling connected to another is similar. We can also love songs, movies and books because they move us emotionally. We can love goals because they inspire us to become better souls. We can love things, not so much because of each thing, but because of the experience and feelings we associate with them.
Love is so vast that it can literally consume us and everything. Some spiritual masters would claim that our only goal in life is to love.
Yet, can we really love everything and have any boundaries of self-protection? The paradox is: if we did love everything, would we need boundaries?
The truth is that boundaries don’t define love.
Ironically, sometimes the most loving thing we can do for someone is to let them live the consequences of their own actions. Sometimes love doesn’t require a hug, but instead requires a push. Neither the pusher nor the one being pushed may feel the love at that moment in time.
Love is a paradox because it can make us feel happier and more connected to the universe than anything else, but can be, literally in the next breath, the catalyst that pushes us into a hole of depth and despair that’s almost indescribable.
For me, most moments I’d answer the question “What is love?” with a simple thought that I aspire to achieve daily: Love is the heartbeat of life.
What is love to you? Leave your comments below! I can’t wait to read them! They just mean the world to me!
For a lighter look at love check out last year’s Valentine’s Day Blog: Thirty-One Shades of Love