“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all belief, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am none at all. “
There is a lot of talk about love in this world. Numerous songs have been written about it, endless poems and stories, movies, and all manner of art have been inspired by it. We particularly like using the word to express our feelings toward each other, toward our favourite food, puppies, the latest fashion, the latest miracle product that everyone is using, and anything else that we fancy.
I really really love chocolate.
So why don’t you marry it?
We seem to have lost the meaning of Love. Yet every living thing from newborns to those passing on, and every stage of life in between needs it. As much as there is a survival instinct within each and every cell of each and everything living thing, I believe there’s also an instinct for love. On some level, we all crave it. It makes us feel good, to give love as well as to receive it. Sometimes – all too oftentimes – this need, on both accounts, is unmet, perhaps due to ignorance, to previous hurt, or to anything that has closed our hearts. You see, in order to receive and to give love, we need to acknowledge that we also need to be vulnerable. We need to have an open heart. We need to be able to feel. Because Love is a verb. It’s an action, a way of being and doing and seeing and thinking and feeling, and living. It is the fundamental principle, and the most radicle (and in today’s world – radical) foundation for optimum wellbeing. So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good place to start in an exploration of the holistic foundations to good health. Consider this Foundational Principle #1.
The ancient Greeks identified at least four types of love, and several expressions associated with love-like feelings. Although I have it on good authority from an authentic source that there is only one word for true love (agape). Nevertheless, I find all of the expressions attributed to love interesting because I found that they can be correlated with the five elements of air, water, fire, earth, and the quintessence or ether (or life force that animates and permeates all things). These are the same five elements that the ancients recognised as the basic building blocks of the entire universe, and which we explored in my previous post on the energetic architecture of our constitutions and tissue states. And like the interplay of the elements that make up our individual architecture, they can become a little imbalanced, some can become a little too dominant, or not engaged enough. But let’s explore these correlations a bit deeper.
Love is Elementary.
Eros (ἔρως)= Fire. Intense, primal, that initial spark of romantic love. Passionate. Can burn out quickly or become lustful if not supported by the other elements.
Storgè (στοργή) = Water. Kinship, organically flowing between family members, such as a parent and a child. The familiarity of family, and good friends.
Philia (φιλία) = Earth. Brotherly love, grounding. The deep and shared experience between friends. Denotes loyalty and comradeship.
Ludos = Air. Playful young affection. Euphoric. Laughter, banter, light, and carefree.
Agape (ἀγάπη)= Quintessence. Selfless, compassionate Love. Empathy for all beings. Godly, or the Highest form of Love.
Three other forms were also identified, two of which are expressions of imbalance in the elements;
Pragma = A Deep understanding and harmony between two people. Long-lasting love. Really a combination of Storge, Philia, and Agape, that develops out of Eros and Ludos.
Mania = Obsessive love. Stalking, jealousy, co-dependency. Unbalanced Eros.
Philautia = Love for oneself, taking care of oneself. If not kept in check, can lead to narcissism.
Let’s focus on the foundational concept of the Quintessence, the Vital Force that expresses itself through these bodies of ours, and enables us to function in the world. This is manifest in the Agape type of love. It is foundational, because we ALL need it, the world as we know it REALLY needs it. I believe, to that end, that it also represents the goal of optimum wellbeing – to have love for everyone, to have compassion on all living beings. I think, perhaps, that it should permeate all of the other types of love that we express and receive, keeping their elements in balance so we don’t become manic/obsessive or narcissistic, or led astray by lust. We become whole when we become Love. So let’s look at what that is, and what it isn’t. Some of you may recognise these.
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love is peace.
Love is joy.
Love is gentle.
Love is faithful.
Love isn’t envious.
Love is not proud.
Love is not full of itself.
Love does not behave indecently.
Love doesn’t seek things for itself.
Love is not provoked.
Love does not reckon with evil.
Love rejoices in truth.
Love covers all, believes all, expects all, endures all.
Love never fails.
Love does not murder.
Love does not have extra-covenantal/commitment affairs.
Love does not steal.
Love does not lie.
Love doesn’t want what someone else owns.
Love sets us free.
Love is merciful and forgiving.
Love makes recompense.
Love is fair toward both poor and rich, treating them both equally.
Love is hospitable to the native as well as the foreigner.
Love does not slander, or gossip.
Love does not take vengeance.
Love cares for the poor and the stranger.
Love is grateful.
Love picks up a wounded enemy out of the ditch and cares for them.
Love is dignified.
Love is integrity.
Love is humble.
Love is wise.
Love hears the still, small Voice inside.
Love is not confusing.
Love is uplifting.
Love is discerning, but does not discriminate.
Love is not idle.
Love is fruitful.
Love is laying down one’s life for a friend..
..…as well as for one’s enemy.
Love, agape love, is true love. It is the yardstick by which we should measure our relationships with others. It brought the universe into being, and it sustains it. Being born of it, we can access it if we turn back to it’s Source, and we can then work to cultivate it within ourselves, for ourselves and toward each other. The world doesn’t seem to know this love very well, but it really really needs it, so maybe we should start to focus on being that change we want to see in the world. Maybe we should put down our weapons, tone down our voices, stop listening to those that divide us, lift up our hearts and begin to simply be Love. Are you with me?