What is love? This may seem like an odd question but let us be honest in understanding that it is something we all say every day and possibly at times without much thought. Not that we don’t mean it, but in a loving partnership, we know the other wants to hear it and when we part, or at moments appropriate, it is part of our lexicon and leaves our lips. But right now, I want to investigate what it means to love, what is love and how do we define it.
Of course, there are different types of love. The love we have for our relations: our mother, father, children and so forth. Love for our pets. Love for humanity. And there is of course, love for that special person in our lives: our muse, our inamorata or inamorato, our sweetheart, our beloved, our heartthrob, our partner. Why do I love the person I am with and not another? What is it about this person that resonates and infects me so deeply? Why do I want to dedicate time to this person and not another on such a profound level?
So, what is love? An emotion? No, I think it’s more than that. It’s a bond, a glue. It produces an effusion of emotion. It enables us to open up. It gives us wings. It makes us question ourselves. It challenges us. It has an insurmountable strength. It compels us to act in ways we thought unimaginable. If embraced, it will truly change our lives. It can fill us with fear, and it can make us feel safe. A life lived without a love is an emotionally impoverished barren landscape.
So, what do we mean when we truly announce to another: I love you. It is a declaration of devotion. An acknowledgment of affection. An expression of passion. It is to broadcast to another that they are exceptional, exclusive, and extraordinary. That there is no other. That they have been chosen. But who has chosen? For when we are lovestruck, we can feel out of control. Yes, at times we may think we are in love only to realise it was a false start. But when love hits, like a tsunami of tenderness, washing over us leaving us gasping for air, the best approach is to just lie back, float and lose ourselves. The ineluctable nature of love envelopes us like a suffocating shroud. You can run but you cannot hide. At some point, you must submit, capitulate, resign.
Love will follow you up the street, into shops, into your car, make itself present while you work, lie in bed with you at night and still be there as the dawn calls staring you directly in the eyes. My friends, you cannot shake it or lose it. It’s an introduction to a path that will improve you as a human being. If honestly embraced, you won’t always be the first person in your thoughts. If imbibed one will grow, be defined, and evolve. The elixir of love is to be swallowed whole, not sipped, and slowly tasted, rinsed around the mouth, and spat out like a cheap wine. No! It is to be drowned in, submerged in, immersed in. Let it soak you through. Let it drench you, become saturated in the deluge and revel in the flood!
I think, I feel, I wonder that maybe the ability to define love is so hard, so complex, because it is simply something that is so profound, so beyond words, because one has to just let go. One has to give. It is beyond intellectualism, it is indescribable, it is numinous. If it was so easy to comprehend it would have been manufactured and marketed to us all. But it is fortunately far from the realms of advertisers and PR machines. It is something we share with another. Almost a secret. A pact. It is something we feel only ‘we’ know when are amalgamated in our amour. It need not be described, because we know deep down what it is. It holds us together. It binds us. It gets us up in the morning. It makes us smile. It is the greatest gift to mankind, and all the riches, the gaudy ostentation in the world will never be a worthy substitute or suffice.
As I get to the end of this brief exploration of love, as I read through the words, I wonder if it’s best left uninvestigated, unspoken and unsaid, and rather just felt, tasted and sensed.
Such is the power, the conundrum, the mystery of love that this article need not have been written.
Photo by Jiroe