What is Love?

I use generalized terms such as “god“, or “love” often in my written discourse, of which I have sometimes unconventional personal definitions. I generally feel that it is more useful to glean meaning from the context of a statement rather than picking apart individual words, but sometimes it is good to pause and step back and ask what, exactly, is meant by such over-used and yet broadly defined and abstract terms. And as it is nearing Valentine’s Day, I feel that it might be a suitable meditation to pontificate a bit on the word “love” and its possible deeper implications.

Love as defined by Merriam-Webster is (1): a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests.

Don’t those definitions all seem rather far off the mark? Mere “strong affection”, “attraction”, “sexual desire” . . . no, no, not quite. True love is something much deeper. And yes, of course, how could one ever put such love into a simple, clean, brisk definition?

I was going to attempt now to try my best to define it myself, but I suddenly realized that I’ve already got a whole stack of writing on the subject. At the risk of seeming self-indulgent, I think I’d rather just let what I’ve already written speak for itself, define itself as collected fragments, like pieces of a candy necklace, strung together now by one single word through time. So I’m going to present a series of quotes from 23 selected pieces, extending back from the last 7 years of my life:

In the midst of the fragmented shards of war, desperation, and complacency, love is the flower that can break through concrete and connect together alien worlds. (1)

Love is not a complacent plateau of stasis; only through constant struggle and transcendence does it grow. (2)

Love is the flow of divinity through the vessel of you. Love imbues anything and everything with new light. Love is the only reason life has to exist. (3)

To love is to realize the myth of your solitude. The beloved is within you, at all moments, even when you are not touching, even when you are not speaking. It is only through selfishness that your suffering is created. (4)

The potential in every person for love is boundless. (5)

Love [is] found in giving yourself, the love which always awaits just outside of the door you are so frightened of passing through. And when you pass through, you look into another’s eyes–you do not see a friend, an enemy, a lover, a sibling–you see yourself. And then you see that person for what they are:

There is no love without suffering. (7)

Love, love is the only way to live.
It is the only way to die.
It is the only way to do anything worth something
in a world that is dying to live.

Wonder, and wonder, and frightening joy. (9)

Amar una otra persona
es amar sí mismo,
es amar el viento, el cielo, los nubes,
es amar la tierra, la luna, la luz.

Love in its deepest incarnations necesitates a form of death, a scraping of the insides to mold out a hollowness that could cradle divinity. (11)

Amor esta afuera todo, esta dentro de todo, esta incontenible, movimiento a través de todo, afuera palabras, se bastado solo con manos, con contacto de cascaras–palabras se amoldado de bocas sino allende de sonidos. Amor es un creacion de la luz buscando sí mismo. (12)

Love is like an ocean, somehow keeping you afloat in the midst of continuous swelling and ebbing change. Like an ocean, it accepts everything, the only rejection coming from the mind that fears the heart that is opening to suffering like a flower. (13)

Amor es el crecimiento mas profundo de la vida. Nuestras mentes y nuestros cuerpos son huesos huecos por el incontenible de la medula de la divinidad. (14)

True love is always worth the sacrifice of long periods of lonely suffering. Even if it might mean a lifetime of sadness. There is never a reason to hold back when love is near. We must give all, we must give everything for something that can never be possessed. (15)

. . . in love there is no control, & there is no turning back – but it places you in the center of the world. (16)

Rumi wrote that “the life of lovers is in death.” Because in order to gain everything that you desire you must lose everything that you possess. (17)

We love, we love, we love, and we understand, finally, that each and every love is the ultimate purpose for which we have been placed into our bodies. (18)

What brings me higher–when my heart is widened with new, unforeseen love–also breaks me open to a new realm of emptiness, a deeper, rawer despair. (19)

Love shows you the way into this place where no one can enter. You leave yourself behind. You leave it all behind. Everything. Everything. Everything. (20)

Love is the verification of everything that you have become. Love is the refutation of everything you have been. Love is here. Love is now. (21)

It was a rollercoaster, it was a movie, it was a cup washing over the rim into aether, it was ink sloshing into indecipherable patterns, it was beautiful, it was horrendous, it was shocking and powerful and new. (22)

Love is letting go. Love is letting it all go. (23)



Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

7 thoughts on “What is Love?”

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