What is Love? Part I

love2….why must we define love? Can’t we just feel it?
Stacey in Kentucky

That’s a wonderful question, because there are so, so, many ways to describe the one energizing force that moves the universe. So my challenge has been to find the best way of sharing them all with you: Some people can say a lot in one or two lines; others, e.g. Krishnamurti and Coelho, need a couple of pages. (Parts III and IV respectively). But all ways are perfect just the way they are. In that connection, I have arbitrarily chosen to put most of the One-liners in Part II. And I have put a link to a movie at the end of this one.

There is no force in the world but love.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Love is an endless mystery for it has nothing else to explain it.
Rabindranath Tagore, Indian mystic.

Love is the light in which we see the [Divine] light. Love is the light in which we see each thing in its true origin, nature and destiny … [and] … No matter where we are, who we are, or what kind of journey we are on, we all need love…. Love is our deepest nature and consciously or unconsciously, each of us searches for love….The more love you give away, the more love you will have.
John O’Donohue

Love is not just a deep inner feeling, love as meditation, nor is action and deed in the world, love as demonstration. Love, in this new sense, is deep interior contemplation so strong and so intense that it constantly moves out into the world, but does it in ways that are unexpected. The way of love is another way of describing the binding between the individual soul and[Sophia] the Soul of the World.
Robert Sardello

Love is the ultimate value, the final flowering; hence you cannot perfect it….It comes like a breeze with great fragrance, fills your heart, and suddenly where there was a desert there is a garden full of flowers. But you don’t know where it comes … It comes on its own and remains as long as existence wills it. And just as it had come one day, as a stranger, as a guest, suddenly one day it will be gone. There is no way to cling to it, to hold it….It is the greatest danger there is … because you are possessed by something that is bigger than you … but it cannot be trusted. In the moment it is total, but the next moment remains open. It may grow within you: it may evaporate from you.

Love is our true destiny … a very special way of being alive… the only thing that makes it possible for me to continue to tick…. We don’t find the meaning of our lives by ourselves – we find it with another…. The meaning of our life is a secret that has to be revealed to us in love, by the one we love  … [so] … we will never be fully real until we let ourselves fall in love – either with another human being or with God.
(emphasis in original)
Thomas Merton, Trappist monk

Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves….One day after we have mastered the winds and the waves, gravity and the tides, we will harness for God the energies of love. And then for the second time in human history, mankind will have discovered fire.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French Jesuit priest.

Love is the answer. Love, covered in a hundred million sayings and songs, in all it variations …. The umbrella, the Root, and us in between, connected to top and bottom, Heaven and Earth as we are calling them.
Carol Belanger

The ritual has not changed me. The mantra has not changed me. Meditation has not changed me. Tofu has not changed me. But love has changed and transformed me. Love is the power of transformation.
Peter Caddy. Co-founder, the Findhorn Foundation

Love has nothing to do with mental or emotional agreements but comes from another dimension. Love is the natural expression of the soul, streaming out through the heart. Sharing and caring: truth Liberates, Love heals. Truth first, then Love – and is not truth the other face of Love?
Renata Caddy

Our task then is to harness the energies of love – to actualize its enormous power in practical and meaningful ways. Love too must announce its intentions to the world with all the passion born of a compassionate heart … [for] … It is the conviction to love that gives birth to miracles.
Marianne Wilkinson

Love is something that you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become faint and weak. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look confidently at the world. But with love we are creative. With it, and with it alone, we are abler to sacrifice for others. Chief Dan George

Love is not ours to command … [because] … Love is the organizing and unifying principle which makes the world a universe and the disintegrated mass a community. It is the very essence and character of mind, and becomes manifest in action when the mind is whole…. There is no problem of how to love. We love. We are love and the only problem is the direction of love, whether it is to go straight out like sunlight, or try to turn back on itself like a candle under a bushel….The world is filled with love-play, from animal lust to sublime compassion.
Alan Watts

Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One you see. And the only laws are paradox, humour and change. No need to resist life: just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It’s all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humour….You are already free!
David Millman

Love is the energizing elixir of the universe, the cause and effect of all harmonies…. the water of life. Drink it down with heart and soul….[Because] .A lifetime without love is of no account…. There are lovers content with longing. I am not one of them

The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along….. Is it really so, that the one I love is everywhere?

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you are not here, I can’t go to sleep,
Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between

Love in the Past is only a Memory. Love in the Future is only a Fantasy. True Love lives in the Here and Now…. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and attention.
Gautama Buddha

Love isn’t as simple as you wish it would be. On the other hand it is nowhere near as complicated as you fear it is. My advice to you is to extinguish any itch you may have to compel love to serve any agenda whatsoever. Instead bow down before it all with all the innocence you can muster and declare yourself ready to be its humble servant. Celebrate through surrender.
Robert Brezney

Real love hurts; real love makes you totally vulnerable and open; real love takes you beyond yourself; and therefore real love will devastate you. I keep thinking, if love does not shatter you, you do not know love…. Love is a time-honoured way to transcend the separate self sense and leap into the sublime. Treya and I held hands, closed our eyes and jumped.
Ken Wilber

And these next two quotes are  what Thaddeus Golas had to say in his book A Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment (publisher Unknown):

Love as much as you can from wherever you are…. You may not want to love what you feel or see, you may not be able to convince yourself that you could love it all. But just decide to love it … and say, I love myself for hating this….

[So] … love it just the way it is ….Start by loving your own negative feelings, your own boredom, dullness and despair …it is not an accident that you are where you are, so you might as well get your attitude straight before you make a change.

We can learn that the essence of love is not to use the other to make us happy but to serve and affirm the one we love. And we can discover, to our surprise, that what we have needed more than anything was not so much to be loved, as to love.
Robert A. Johnson, US Jungian analyst.

I had found a kind of serenity, a new maturity…. I didn’t feel better or stronger than anyone else but it seemed no longer important whether everyone loved me or not — more important now was for me to love them. Feeling that way turns your whole life around; living becomes the act of giving.
Beverly Sills, US opera diva.

Today, on this traditional day of love, practice loving until it hurts. Love those you think don’t deserve it, and those you think do. Love those who are loving in return and love those who are not. Love those who smile and those who frown, those who are up and those who are down. Love everyone you meet and everyone who comes to mind. Love without reservation or stipulation. Love without question. Just love them. And then bask in the warm glow of love that is returned to you.
Kate Nowak (Valentine’s Day, 2006)

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
Kaira Ayer (age 16)

Lastly, here are some other Rainer Maria Rilke observations:    

There is no force in the world but love, and when you carry it within you if you simply have it, even if you remain baffled as to how to use it, it will work its radiant effects and help you out of and beyond yourself: one must never lose this belief, one must simply (and if it were nothing else) endure in it. 

Two individuals who are quiet to the same degree have no need to talk about the melody that defines their hours. This melody is what they have in common in and of itself. Like a burning altar it exists between them, and they nourish the sacred flame respectfully with their occasional syllables. 

To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is to cast light with inexhaustible oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last. This is the miracle that happens each time in the case of people who are truly in love: the more they give, the more they own of this delicious nourishing love from which flowers and children receive their strength and which could help everyone if people would accept it without doubt. 

It is part of the nature of every definitive love that sooner or later it can reach the beloved only in infinity. 

It is possible to love to such an extent that the short comings of one’s beloved begin to appear touching, even wonderful, and become an incentive to be all the more loving…. [Because] …There is no more wretched prison than the fear of hurting someone who loves you.