We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time. ~T.S. Eliot Four Quartets

16 November 2006

Love, an essay in many parts

Romantic Love. Maternal Love. Platonic Love. Conjugal Love. Unconditional Love. Unrequited Love. Spiritual Love.

Part One. I'm halfway through Bell Hooks' All About Love, New Visions and it has certainly got me contemplating how I love, have loved, have been loved and the meaning of love itself. In the first chapter "Clarity: Give Love Words" she writes about the confusion surrounding love, how we need a good definition of what love is, in order to understand and teach and embody it. She finds meaning in M. Scott Peck's definition of love from his classic The Road Less Traveled, which I admit I have not read (but may do now). His definition is " the will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth". I find this definition makes sense to my life, but I don't think its the only workable one. Some would say love is our birthright. Love is God or God is love, love is our destiny.

The confusion around what love is seems to provide as many different definitions as there are people in the world, with each of us experiencing love differently. Different people have different capabilities of expressing and receiving love, depending on their environment, experience, and first teachers, parents. I think the point of extending one's self is essential to true and fulfilling love. It has to be about more than just ego gratification, like the maxim that says 'love is a two way street'.

Our idea about what love is changes throughout our lives I'm sure, as what I thought love was as a child, may not be the same as what I think it is now. Then there's all the different categories of love. I could get lost in the semantics, but that's not really what I want to do. I'd appreciate your comments, what does love mean to you?

No comments: