Mention the word “love” and it immediately conjures up a whole gamut of emotions and electric impulses. Hearken your ears to the passionate utterances. Heads bow gently the heart drops its pride, eyes close and arms open a little. Love is the fire everyone loves to get burnt with. Love is the eternal sun that dispels the mist of sadness and despair in us. Love is the quivering spring in every winter’s heart.
Yet, is there any emotion more complex and abstract than love? Can you buy a kilo of it when you need it? Can I bribe, demand or coerce it. You don’t get it when you need it most but you often pay heavily for it. Still, we hunger for more love every moment of our life. Mother Teresa once said “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than hunger for bread”. How can we dig into this enigma called love? Experience teaches that love is the most burning and perishable of all human passions. But, certainly it is also the most human of all feelings with all the limitations and exaltations the word evokes. Yet, it is the very same love that sometimes inflicts the most festering wound within us when its labor is lost. It can sting like a hornet or stab like a knife. Love has the least amount of pity. In love, even the tiniest things count and nothing is forgotten and forgiven.
In our youth we were sugar coated with desire and sentimentality, which many of us mistook as love. Yet, is desire love? Certainly not. It is because we have not pondered on all the facets of love we see in nature. Look how the sun warms every one of us in the morning with its soft dappled beams. Look how it fills the flowers with honey and opens the tender leaves and wakes up the sleepy rose buds.
When we open our hearts to our fellow human beings, we start giving and receiving love. Love can flourish only in the field of human relationship. There is no better exercise to the heart than reaching down and lifting someone up. The greatest obstacle to our progress in love is our own self-love, our own ego and our self-regard. Love is a choice.
To give understanding we must continue to understand; to give live one must continue being loving. To give a hand to another we must grasp firmly the only hand that has held us. All these underline that our longevity in love is decided by our loving actions.
Love is a well from which we can drink only as much as we have put in, and the stars that shine from it are only our eyes looking in it. How can we solidify our love? We should first seek to listen. This is the first duty in love. The second duty is to understand at an emotional level. We can do this by opening the floodgates of our heart. Finally we should realize that love is a commitment. Without commitment, we can never nurture enduring relationship in our family or elsewhere. Building a family, parenting, caring and nurturing our children, partaking in all the drudgeries at home—all these require a lot of patience, commitment and sacrifice. This commitment never presupposes anything in return. Your commitment in love should be total and unconditional. It shows again that love is intention and action. That is why it said that the opposite of love is not hate but indifference, our apathy to act, our coldness in commitment. People who do not choose to act in love, who deny love to others out of fear or loss, their lives are barren and empty. Only they are the losers.
The strings of love are like the strings of a violin. Once you have learned the rules you must play with your heart. It then requires no map or chart. You only need an open heart.