Love is an abstract noun. We hardly ever use it in the plural because there is only one Love on earth which we all share, and which manifests in all sorts of different ways: romantic, filial, familial, and all the levels of it for different relationships, with others and ourselves, with animals, things, objects, ideas, Nature, the phenomena of existence and experience. This Love spans all the way from the miniscule to the large, from concrete, physical, to the abstract. All of us seek it whether we know it or not. It makes us cohere, and if the saints are right (they are; why else have they survived for centuries, millennia?), Love is the supreme purpose of our lives. In its service we become all that we were always meant to be. That is why Saint Valentine’s day, devoted to love, has caught fire and is celebrated all over the world.
We know from our experience with our pets, by the response to love of even ‘beasts’ as we call them, that this powerful, unseen but felt thing called Love, insubstantial as air, permeates and expresses itself through everyone and everything.
I had a turtle once who I know loved me by the way he looked at me, the cuticle of his eyes dropping half way down, muting his gaze to mush in response to my expressions of love as I stroked his neck; a pigeon who came to my balcony and let me know in no uncertain but indescribable way that she knew I loved her and she loved me in return. I loved an ant this morning, this micro being whose experience on this planet, like all the creatures I do not even know, is so very different from mine. I watched it go up and down the computer wire, casting a very palpable shadow, reversing directions, hesitant but moving, uncertain about where it had landed itself in its search for whatever, seemingly lost. Somehow on a bad morning it made me feel less alone.
We can get love even from the inanimate, from which the animate was born. The Earth was once a rock. Noodle, my stuffed dog, and Bongo, my teddy bear, love me and look forward to bed time when a lot of snuggling happens, and all through the night.
Wherever, on whatever and whomever we cast our glance of love, loves us in return. It sounds crazy, but what if it were true? What if the universe is crazier and more mysterious than we know? We can feel with our hearts what we cannot know with our minds. Scientists may attempt to prove this crazy idea in centuries to come, and may even succeed in proving or disproving it, though I personally doubt science will be effective in gleaning data about the amorphous and shapeless energy of the innerscapes of our lives. And I don’t want to wait centuries for proof. Why wait so long to have faith in something so outlandishly delicious right now? I chose to live in a world informed and perfused by love.
As I head into my 70’s, I treasure the omnipresence of Love even more. It cuts through all our hierarchies, including animate and inanimate. It slices through the veils of our isolation and connects us to our family of all that lives and breathes.
Love inspires, propels, heals. Hail O love that brings us gain. You are the physician of all our ills, says Rumi.
Let us remember and love the Saint part of Valentine’s day. Let us not forget our deities on this holy day. They live amongst and within us now. We own them and they own us still like the first humans who walked this earth, who inherited them from the beasts before them, all the way to the beginnings of the first amoeba that began to divide and become the thousand and many things that we see and are.
Love is a force of nature. Like all the forces of nature we can cultivate it, nurture it, increase it. We begin to cultivate it as soon as we turn to it with full awareness of its power and holiness, and choose it. When we choose it, it chooses us and comes to live in the homes of our hearts. With the fertilizer of attention and intention it blooms, flowers and fruits.
So, this valentine’s day let’s Love something else in addition to what and who we already love. Imagine your heart is a reservoir sloshing over with love. Imagination is so real! It is more important than knowledge, as Einstein has told us and demonstrated. Sit by a window for a few minutes, watch the first kiss of light of a tree, the sky, or even people passing by, and send them love. If you have a garden, love something in it, perhaps feed it; whatever you see, send it love. Send love to Spaceship Earth, our home, our own little corner of the Universe. Wonder some, for wonder is another name for love. Wonder at everything around you and wonder at yourself. Who is this thing you call your ‘I’? We will never truly have an answer, but marveling at the question is enough of a beginning. Let’s give ourselves unconditional love, even for a nano second. In this crazy world this unit of time can be an eternity.
Love is the telescope to the mysteries of God. Choose, Rumi advises, the love of the everlasting Living One who gives us to drink the wine that increases life. So, above all, let’s turn in Love and adoration to the Vaster Energy that lives us, and bow our heads in awe and worship.