What Is Love?

In 1991, just before I graduated from college, I bought my first brand new car.
I loved that car!

Shortly after that, I bought the cassette World Clique by Deee-Lite and played it in my new car all of the time.
I loved that album!

If you don’t know Deee-Lite, their music is silly, catchy, up beat, and positive – kind of 60s meets 80s. On that album is a song called: What is Love? (<– Click the link to listen to it.)

Here’s a bit of the lyrics:

What is love?

How do you say delicious, de lovely, delectable, divine?
How do you say de gorgeous? De with it? De groovy? Define?
Ooh la la, la la la la la la.

How do you say delicious?
How do you say de lovely?
How do you say delectable, divine?
How do you say… de groovy?
De with it?
How do you say Deee-Lite?

Another song I often think of in response to my first questions is this one by Tina Turner: What’s Love got to do with it? (<– Click the link to listen to it.)

Here are the lyrics to the chorus:

Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it?
What’s love, but a second hand emotion?
What’s love got to do, got to do with it?
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken.

So, what is love?

Most people would simply say that love is a feeling. That works for me. But then, if I ask, “What does love feel like?” then we’ll really have a challenge!

In Metaphysical terms, we are told that love is energy, much like light, sound, and heat. To me, this makes sense too because I can feel love as it moves. I can feel it coming out of me, like when I am doing energy work, but I can also feel it coming out of others, like when I touch someone who emanates love to me in that moment.

So love is a feeling, which by my definition is an internal experience. We feel what we feel. If we show what we feel, then we emote. Yet we rarely say people emote love, we say they emanate love, and that touches on the energetic quality of love. In fact, the word e-motion could simply be a contraction for energy in motion.

Well, all of this is fine and good and I’m sure there is plenty one could say on the subject. But the title of this post is not really the question that’s burning inside of me. The one I really want to discuss is:

What’s the difference between loving and being in love?

How often have we heard someone say, “I love him, but I’m not in love?” or worse yet, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” So what’s the difference? Surely we’ve been on the speaking end of that last sentence too! We’ve felt love, and we’ve felt like we were in love. But what does this mean?

And notice that we speak of love like a feeling, an emotion – energy: I love you. But when we speak of in-love-ness, it is a state of being: I am in love with you. Kind of feels like we don’t take responsibility for it. We don’t say I in-love you. We don’t express in-love. We are in it or not, like hot water, quicksand, or tar – don’t know how we got there, and harder than hell to get out!

But I do have a theory, and it stems from information I’ve gotten from spirit that I’ve mentioned before. Spirit always says:

Love doesn’t hurt. If there’s pain, it’s from something else.

And THAT makes perfect sense to me. How can the feeling of love, or the expressing of love, a most divine energy, hurt?

This is my theory: in-love is a state of being where our love for someone is just about equal to our need/want for them. The Spanish figured this out long ago. When they’re in love, they say, “¡Te quiero!” – I want you! When we love someone, but are not in love with them, we love them without needing them or wanting them.

So when people fall out of love, they simply stop needing and wanting the other. Maybe they even stop liking the other, which is a whole other topic.

But what if being in love is so painful that you cannot even build a relationship around it? Anyone out there relate? I, for one, have felt so much emotional pain around my need/want of another that I’ve since built a fortress around my heart (or so I thought) and haven’t felt in love in forever! Whenever I ask spirit about it, they tell me about this protection.

But I never quite got it until just recently. I love people, sometimes adore them, and I certainly feel love from them. So I was confused. Am I closed off or not? I thought my protection was a closed heart – no love out, no love in – but that’s not true. My heart is open, maybe not wide open all of the time, but more or less normally so averaged out in time.

So now I realize that it’s not the 4th chakra, it’s the 3rd. That’s the one that has issues. The 3rd chakra, the Solar Plexus, is our power center. Need, of course, is an expression of believed lack of power. If we need someone, they have all of the power.

Want is more a function of ego. We can be in our power and want, but when that want is unmet, then the ego is bruised. And if the ego is getting more attention from us than is warranted, then the unmet want can affect us strongly.

And yet – feeling loss is one thing, locking oneself out is another.

Grief is a normal response to loss. Psychologists talk about the grieving process and often say that it takes a full year to run its course. So, in a normal case, one year after loss and we should be good to go, ready to get back on the horse, so to speak. But why doesn’t that happen for some of us?

Maybe the most recent loss is not the origin of the wound that hurt so much? Maybe there is a belief around that wound that gets reactivated every time we re-injure ourselves? Maybe the greatest pain is centered on that belief? Maybe the only reason we think we need anyone is due to this belief? And if the belief is wrong, then needing another person is also wrong. In other words, if we don’t really need another, then another cannot satisfy the perceived need. Thus we lose either way – getting or not getting. Or we come to realize the error of our belief, which is the point of the experiences spirit would say.

Want is a different animal. I think we can get past unmet wants more easily – especially if we see them for what they are. But too often, unmet wants trigger errant beliefs as well, especially when they are repetitive and chronic. If a particular want has never been met (or for a very long time) then there is likely a belief there too where we hid a perceived need underneath a perceived want. Intellectually, we see the want, but emotionally, we feel the need.

So in my case, I can love, and do love. I feel love and am loved. I am just – apparently – unwilling to let myself need anyone – or so I act. Oh, I want people, frequently enough. But that doesn’t bring pain as much as intermittent frustration and a little sadness.

So how does one break the cycle? Can one severe need from want? Can one not need, yet want just enough to be in love? Or is there even a reason to be in love? Is it possible to love hugely and freely and not want or need at all? Can one build a relationship on that?

“These questions—and many others—will be answered in the next episode of…Soap.”

Oops, sorry. Lost myself for a moment.

It feels like spirit wants me to write a mini-book called: An Evolutionary Approach to Relationship. I am sure that book will be an in-depth study, and I’m actually looking forward to it. I’ll keep you posted.

In the mean time, this song is my new mantra!

Feel free to add comments to this post – thoughts, ideas, questions, answers, anything others might find interesting. Love is subjective; we all experience it uniquely.

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