Fact Checked

Importance of Word Love: Love is Love. Really? By Daka Karuna

Love is Love Really

Love is Love Really - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

How we use and understand language is important to our mental and emotional well-being. When a word is misused, the communication becomes suspect, misunderstandings result, and language and words become stressors.

Misuse an important word like ‘love’ and the damage can be catastrophic. Love is an essential component of men’s physical, spiritual and mental/emotional health and well-being.

There’s a lot of banter about the now commonplace slogan, “Love is Love,” but I wonder how many who wantonly fling the slogan around really know what they are saying.

First, making a statement like “Love is Love,” is like saying an elephant is an elephant. Most would complain that that is a tautology or a circular statement. I suspect that most slaves-of-slogans don’t think that way, and think that the slogan simply means that any love is virtuous love, in order to justify same-gender or homonormative attraction and sensuality.

Infantile at best, it is useless in terms of expressing a meaningful statement. It’s a slogan, a periphrasis. Love has become an ideology, a sociopolitical agenda, and has lost its mystique for a vast majority.

Second, as will become clearer below, I interpret “Love is Love” as a statement meaning that the subject is so unique and mysterious, that it can be defined only by itself.

Love is, unlike pleasure, inherently and intrinsically valuable; as such, it cannot be quantified, as can those things that are valued at a price. Love cannot be bought, sold, or traded because nothing has a comparable worth.

Nevertheless, love is one of the most misused and abused words in the English language, at least. It’s so bastardized that it can be used to mean anything from infatuation to extreme pleasure to almost nothing.

Pleasure

We ‘love’ a casual partner with whom we make ‘love,’ and then part never to see each other again; even in that situation we use “Love you!” as a reassuring good-bye. We love our children, our country, our job, a god. We love chocolate cake. How arbitrary, vague, and meaningless can a word get?

But maybe the way we use the word ‘love’ may actually indicate how we love. That’s a real possibility — and a real problem.

Sort of like the once highly expressive word “fuck;” it’s been used so often in so many contexts that it has become totally bland. People use it without even thinking.

A reasonable corollary would be that the number of words a language has to describe an emotion such as love might be an indication of the importance of that emotion in that culture.

For example, in Japanese, ‘love’ is expressed by the words koi(恋) and ai(愛): the term yūgen (幽玄), used in the sense of ‘love,’ means a profound awareness and connection with the Other[1].

If that is so, then we may benefit from knowing that, at last count, Sanskrit leads the world’s languages with at least 96 words for “love.” Fact is, when discussing words, we must make subtle, nuanced distinctions depending both on the words themselves and also on the context in which they are used.

Regardless of how many words there are for ‘love,’ we should be clear on what love actually is; only then, perhaps, will we be more confident about what we actually mean when we use the word.

Let’s start out with several concepts that I will develop further when I discuss ‘happiness:” pleasure, enjoyment, meaning in a follow-up article.

Discuss happiness

Pleasure has most to do with the senses, and so relates very powerfully with what we commonly call love. Enjoyment, too, shares a connection with the senses but at a higher level, and can involve higher faculties like fantasy, imagination, focus, flow. Meaning is closely allied with ‘purpose,’ and is likely the highest level most men will attain when considering love as a component of ‘happiness.’

Love implies ‘otherness,’ because love requires an object to love. You can love only an other; it’s not possible to love yourself — except pathologically as in narcissism —, despite the many clichés. Remember, I’m now speaking of higher love, not sex, infatuation, pleasure, etc.

Even if you say you love another person, that perception of love is in your mind only, it’s not something that the other person is doing.

The love is not a natural quality of the other that you come to possess — and once possessed there is no longing — nor is it something that radiates from that person to you.

It exists only in your mind, and it’s based in previous conditioning, socialization, experiences, etc. If it were coming from the other person, then love would leave when that person is no longer present but it doesn’t; because it is in the mind, even when that person leaves or dies, the feeling often remains.

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” ― John Milton, Paradise Lost

The Muṇḍakopaniṣad (मुण्डकोपनिषद्) states that anything that is not eternal, cannot be made eternal; attempting to do so entraps one in saṃsāra (संसार) or the cycle of worldly illusion[2].

love is pleasure

This message is echoed in Somerset Maugham’s observation that single-mindedly chasing pleasure will soon mean that nothing is pleasurable. If love is pleasure and pleasure is transient, fleeting, then so, too, is love.

When love evolves to become enjoyment or engagement, then we experience a more evolved form of the emotion. Enjoyment (engagement) — in contrast with pleasure —, refers to the good feelings one may experience when he breaks through a threshold, when he does something that transforms him from what he was before.

Enjoyment, rather than pleasure, is what leads to growth and transformation, and longer-term happiness. Think E3: enjoyment, engagement, enrichment, and you’ll have a good idea of what I mean.

The love that most people call ‘ideal,’ is not ideal at all; in fact, it’s very attainable, and just requires a bit of effort and awareness. You simply have to love authentically and then keep loving.

In western thought many positive qualities, virtues, that form the firm foundation needed for a good life have been either marginalized or explained away as trivial transformations of more transient cultural values, strivings, goals.

Dominant cultural norms in the West, and particularly in the United States, continue to focus on increasing one’s material wealth while ignoring the human needs of others.

Such a course has led to increasing selfishness, to alienation between the more and the less fortunate, and eventually to chaos, loneliness, despair, and dissolution.

Loneliness

The reality of authentic love has become a frustrating ideal, because western culture’s concept of love is primarily self-driven and pleasure-seeking, and we’re feeling the effects.

When I was in divinity college I became interested in attraction and relationship. One of the authors who initially influenced my approach to teaching love was M. Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist.

In his book, The Road Less Traveled, he writes “[Love is too large, too deep ever to be truly understood or measured or limited within the framework of words.” Peck also attempted to define love, and does a fair job of it, as “[t]he will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s personal growth[3].”

I believe that Peck was clearly aware that the nature of love is so mysterious that any definition will fall short. He also recognized that ‘love’ is categorically so vast that it cannot be embraced by a single term.

Homoerotic yogic Tantra (तन्त्र) is unique in that the fundamental philosophy is that of acknowledging the physical body and senses and portals to the experience of the divine — mysticism — while teaching that separateness is a fiction; union with the individual Self and the Absolute Self is mokṣa (मोक्ष), which is true ‘happiness.’

The sage Ādi Śaṅkarācāryaḥ (आदि शङ्कराचार्यः) describes this union as what happens with the space in a clay pot when the pot is broken[4]. In Tantra (तन्त्र), this is what I call the “melting into each other” of tāntric Divine Union, maithuna (मैथुन).

This is tāntric love, unity, longing to belong, the air in the empty pot joining the atmosphere, once the pot is broken; the souls of the Tantric Lovers melting into each other and finally with the Divine.

Returning now to Peck and applying the concepts of sacrifice (= making holy) and selfless action (niṣkāmakarma, निष्कामकर्म), meaning and purpose in life comes when our practice of love transcends selfishness and becomes selflessness. In the words of the Bhagavad Gītā (भगवद्गीता), for example,

When a man has freed himself from attachment to the results of work, and from desires for the enjoyment of sense objects, he ascends to the unitive state. (BG 6:4)

We read something similar in St Francis of Assisi, “’It is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,” and in St Benedict, “Love seeks no cause beyond itself and no fruit; it is its own fruit, its own enjoyment.

I love because I love; I love in order that I may love.” And who can avoid thinking of St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, “Love is…”

Most men are plagued by doubts: “Does he love me?” Sometimes he thinks “Yes,” but maybe he doesn’t. The other is likely thinking the same thing. A mentor of mine had an insightful statement to make about this kind of doubt.

He would say that we doubt whether others love us because our own love is divided. Wherever we have some reservation or division within ourselves, we look at others through it and immediately say, “He doesn’t love me enough.”

The whole secret of love is to ask not how much he loves me but to keep on loving him as much as I can. It is through loving selflessly that one learns to love more.

O Bharata, cut through this doubt in your heart with the sword of spiritual wisdom. Arise; take up the path of Yoga! (BG 4:42)

Man is not a physical being having a spiritual experience but a spiritual being having a physical experience; love is the first step on the spiritual path.

Not dependent upon any external support, they have realized the joy of spiritual awareness. With their consciousness unified through the practice of meditation, they live in abiding joy. (BG 5:21)
1] Yūgen is probably closest to what I mean when I speak of meaning “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe, and the dark beauty of human suffering.” Two other Japanese words for love are: koi(恋) is a romantic or passionate love or a longing for a specific person. Ai(愛) has a meaning similar to "koi" as well as a general feeling of love. While koi can be selfish, ai is selfless love.
2] Krishnananda, Swami. Mundakopanishad Commentary. Rishikesh: Yoga-Vedanta Forest University, 1951. Print.
3] Peck, M S. The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth. London, UK: Rider, 2021. Print.
4] Śaṃkara (शंकर) is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘conferring happiness or prosperity, auspicious, propitious;’ it is also a name of the deity Śiva (शिव). Here, the name of a celebrated teacher and author, Ādi Śaṅkarācāryaḥ (आदि शङ्कराचार्यः) (8th cent. CE), an Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of advaita (अद्वैत) or non-duality (Vedanta).
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
Author
Twitter instagram instagram

Daka Karuna T.

Psychospiritual Care Provider

Dāka Karuṇā T. (दाक करुणा तान्त्रिक) is a psychospiritual care provider...

View More

0 Reviews for Importance of Word Love: Love is Love. Really? By Daka Karuna

Importance of Word Love: Love is Love. Really? By Daka Karuna
Importance of Word Love: Love is Love. Really? By Daka Karuna Reviewer Rating
3 / 5.0
Importance of Word Love: Love is Love. Really? By Daka Karuna
Write a Review Please review the Guidelines before posting
X

Hints on how to write a helpful review

A great review should have the following qualities:

  • A helpful review should connect and engage with the readers using personal experience.
  • An excellent review provides the readers with cogent and unbiased information necessary to help them make the best choice.
  • A review must be well-formatted to make reading easier by using multiple paragraphs and avoiding caps.
  • The primary goal of your review must remain to provide accurate and non-salesy information.
  • Above all, let your review be fair and honest.

We have high level of professional editorial section with zero tolerance policy on fake reviews.

To maintain the genuineness of our brand, we ensure all customer reviews submitted to us are verified and confirmed before publishing. Though we might not be a 100% accurate, however, we try our best to ensure being next to best. For a thorough verification of submitted reviews, we spend close to 7 working days before allowing any customer review to be published since we also work on the earliest submissions first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

100 characters remaining.

Your Rating:05

Submitting this review means that you agree to our Review Guidelines, confirming that you are a verified customer who has purchased the product and may have used the merchandise or experienced the service, and providing only a real interaction and experience without ulterior motives or has an affiliate or business with the company in any way. By ticking this box and submitting this review, you also accept that submitting fake reviews is a violation of Health Web Magazine Terms of Use and such conduct will not be tolerated.

5000 characters remaining.

Thanks for submitting your comment!

SUBSCRIBE TO HEALTH WEB MAGAZINE

Get the latest in healthy living, nutrition & fitness, mental wellbeing, beauty & skincare, and more, straight to your inbox!

Loading

Your Privacy is important to us

Medical Disclaimer: The content published on our website, Health Web Magazine, is to inform and educate the reader only and not a substitute for professional medical advice from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have a specific health question or concern you must consult with a qualified medical professional and in the case of an emergency, immediately contact your local emergency services. Health Web Magazine and the publisher of this content take NO responsibility for any detrimental health issues or injuries that result from following advice found in articles, reports/overviews, or other content on our website. All visitors to Health Web Magazine, particularly pregnant and nursing women and individuals taking over-the-counter or prescribed medication, must consult with their physician before starting a new supplement or making any changes to their diet or exercise plan.

All trademarks, registered trademarks and service-marks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners. © 2021. All Rights Reserved. All opinions expressed on this website are the opinion of and were written by Admark LLC, owners/operators of this website. Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these websites published terms of use and all site policies.

X

All Health Web Magazine content is thoroughly reviewed and/or fact-checked by a team of health industry experts to ensure accuracy.

In keeping with our strict quality guidelines, we only cite academic research institutions, established health journals, or peer-reviewed studies in our content. You will be able to find links to these sources by clicking the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) that appear throughout our content.

At no time do we advise any of our readers to use any of our content as a substitute for a one-on-one consultation with a doctor or healthcare professional.

We invite you to contact us regarding any inaccuracies, information that is out of date or any otherwise questionable content that you find on our sites via our feedback form.