Bertrand Russell described love as a condition of ‘absolute value’, as opposed to ‘relative value’.
Love recognizes a state of truth distinct from, and opposite to, the idea that there is a difference between the subject and the object. It is sometimes called ‘pantheism’.
Love is reality itself, of which we incorrectly perceive ourselves as an isolated part.
“At the deepest level of our being – the divinity within that we share with all beings – there is no separation between me and you. At any moment it is possible to experience the warmth and openness of a heart connection with any living creature: a lover, a child, a friend, a stranger passing on the street, or even a dog. When we appreciate the beauty of another’s being, the heart channel opens and a spark of absolute love passes through us. In this moment of connection we no longer feel so separate or isolated. We delight in sharing the one lovely, tender presence that dwells in the heart of all.”
- William Harryman
There’s love and then there’s Real Love. Small – l – love is like a little stream that will dry up after the rain stops; like a kind of barter, this for that. Real Love is like a mighty spring that gushes up – it is primal, ubiquitous, boundless, inexhaustible… it’s funny how we humans can so often be blind to such a Big Thing… hard to talk about, but I know what Love is! To say that “God is Love” is true, insofar as it goes, but these words are empty pale shadows of the direct experience of that simple, human thing we call “love”. So huge and yet so small. A light brighter than the Sun (it’s been called “the Sun behind the Sun”) yet something as ordinary as putting on your shoes.
What I discovered through the practice of Vipassana meditation (specifically the meditation on Metta, or Universal Love) is that love is something one does. One can love regardless of the object, and in my experience this led to a state of extreme bliss which I believe is referred to as the first jhana. One then feels Love as a force that is all-encompassing and all-powerful, and one’s personality is completely dissolved in It – I mean, completely swept away. It’s very difficult to describe; a pleasure unimaginable, a light brighter than I would imagine the core of a galaxy to be. And this led to a magical world where literally every thing was alive with meaning. But, at the same time, I’m aware that this enormous experience of mine was nothing more than the direct experience of the simple, natural act of loving another being (and it’s quite true that one really can’t love one being without simultaneously loving all beings)…
When one Loves, one Loves everyone, literally, and that certainly includes oneself because we are all part of the same Big Thing. The separation of individuals, at a certain level of awareness, ceases to be. It’s an illusion. So when you Love, you certainly Love yourself also, because you’re part of everyone.
I had lived for 47 years and had, in general, been a kind person who always tried to do the right thing and live by the Golden Rule, but I hadn’t actually known what Love was. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I actually Love everyone! And I had never known this.
Humans are pretty simple, really. They want to love, to be loved, and to pitch in and help one another. That’s about all there is to it. There are only two emotions: Love and fear. All of the others are just shades and tints of these two. What we call ‘hate’ is only one of the flavors of fear.