As children we are born to love unconditionally. We love our parents, our grandparents, our siblings, friends and life until that natural conditioning is broken in us by our peers. We are hardened by the rules and regulations put on us by our parents, schooling and the unfairness of life. The innocence that was the basis of this unconditional love is ruined by the facts of life.
Few of us are raised in a conscious loving way, which is no fault of our peers as they too grew up in this way and imitate it when they raise their own children.
Everybody wants to be loved but few people are capable of giving love. Many hold onto grievances from their past and are unable to forgive and move on with their lives, thus the heart hardens as the love does not grow but diminishes instead. Love wanes as it is replaced by anger, jealousy, hate and fear. They say that love conquers all but for that to happen one must open up one’s heart.
On this, St Valentine’s day, love will be flying around here there and everywhere as couples go out to celebrate their love by sending cards to each other, but how did this day become dedicated to love? In the early days of Christianity, Valentine of Rome, a presbyter of the Christian community, was ministering a ceremony of marriage to some Christian soldiers in the Roman army.
Roman soldiers were required to remain single during their service to Rome, so getting married was breaking the rules. Valentine was arrested for performing the wedding ceremonies and imprisoned, but before he was put away, he performed some healing on the judge’s daughter. She was blind but Valentine healed her eyes and she could see again. Whilst he was in prison the daughter and he would correspond through letters, he always signed his letters; ‘Your Valentine’.
The Ancient Greek philosophy identified that there are seven types of love that one can experience in life-
There is Eros, the passionate sexual love of the romantic, sent on an arrow it pierces the heart and loins of couples filling them with lust and new love.
Philia is the love of friendship and goodwill, often referred to as brotherly love as it is the kind of love that one wants for his fellow brother, best friend and family to live with. It encourages one to live a truer fuller life. Sometimes Eros turns into Philia as the passion of lovers burns out and lust is replaced with understanding and mutual love.
Storge is familial love, felt between parents and children and is usually born out of dependency for one another, as a child needs one’s parents and loves them for their parenting. A parent loves their child because they are replicas of themselves, being their offspring and should have that parental need to care for them.
Ludus is playful love, flirting and casual with a sense of uncommitted allegiance, both parties have to be agreed on this otherwise somebody gets hurt.
Pragma is practical love, a working love that has an agenda. It is regarded as a dutiful love with a purpose, an example being an arranged marriage, where one has to commit and to love the other as part of their duty.
Philautia is self-love, the kind of love driven by the ego that inflates the sense of one’s self. At first this sounds bad but actually it is very handy when one is healing oneself because it helps with the sense of the person and reminds one to be kind to one’s self.
Agape is the love one feels for all things, a compassionate love that is altruistic and selfless. It is one love for all and everything, in fact it is the highest form of love and is the love of god for man and the love of man for god.
Love is an energy and flows as a vibration, the seven types of love mentioned above all flow and vibrate at different degrees, Agape being the highest.
All spiritual practices promote one ideal above all else-compassionate love-agape. This love is the ultimate love, it is above the other six because if one fills oneself with this love, one then vibrates at the higher level and everything is different; how one encounters others, how one deals with situations, how one goes about one’s day, these are all dealt with differently when one vibrates with compassionate love. Life works better for us when we are on that higher level.
Rudolf Steiner wrote- “Love, then, is noble if you can rise up to higher worlds and love what you gain through spiritual concepts. We must on no account forget this: Love is lowly when it works in a lowly sphere, and it is noble and high and spiritual when it works in a higher, a natural sphere.”
Feeling the higher love, once accessed brings many benefits, physical health and mental health improve. With love comes tolerance and this helps one deal with difficlut situations.
When we operate in love with a compassionate loving nature we face life’s difficulties differently, we are more understanding of people situations. Living in love opens one senses, one’s eyes and ears as well as one’s heart.
It is compassionate love that the Dalai Lama speaks about, he advises us all to think about this when he says, “The reason why love and compassion bring the greatest happiness is simply that our nature cherishes them above all else.”
It is natural for us to want and to give compassion, just like little children, where it comes so natural to them, to be love one must be like a child, this is what the Dalai Lama promotes.
Little children have no ego, it has not been developed yet. It is the ego which stunts the love vibration, the ego wants to be in control and thinks that it knows best.
Jesus Christ also says this in Matthew 18:3; “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Christ may be referring to the Kingdom of Heaven as an actual place but he could also mean the kingdom of heaven within one’s self, the kingdom of heaven that reigns supreme within one when one is full of agape and true unconditional love. This is how one puts the kingdom within one, how one becomes the kingdom, by receiving and being the love. Your body is the temple, you can find the kingdom within yourself!
When we grow up our compassionate love is overtaken by the ego, the ego that is there to protect the personality, the person within us, and to do its job, to stop us being hurt or angered and such like, it normally diverts one away from using unconditional love.
Get rid of the ego and be like children, full of unconditional and compassionate love and live freely as one should.
The Sunday Tribune sends compassionate and unconditional love to all its readers.