Note: for the purposes of what follows, I am drawing a careful distinction between love and Love. I will be treating them as separate words with separate meanings.
What does it mean to Love? I've seen a lot of people profess to feel it, and they've treated it in many different ways. How does Love differ from love? I'm certain that if you asked a dozen people, you'd get a dozen answers; some would have points of similarity, and some would be fringe responses that might seem alien to most folks.
Let's start, then, by defining the terms. It's worth mentioning, here, as an aside, that I have a very serious problem with the inadequacy of our language. We label things, thus limiting them, and so many words mean so many different things under so many different circumstances that, from a certain viewpoint, this entire writing is a contrivance, an exercise in futility... that said, it DOES give us a place to jump off from, so take it as read, please, that this are not meant to be "hard and fast" ideas, but rather, a framework on which to build.
When I talk about love, really, what I mean, is "like," or "enjoy." Using it in the lesser sense is much like the way people toss around the word "hate." "I hate this or that food, or sports team, or brand of what-have-you." I would venture to guess that in the vast majority of such usages, "dislike" is what they really mean. It's little more than a statement of preference. So to "love," essentially, is to "prefer."
Flipping the coin, when I say I "Love" someone... well, this is how I've explained that feeling for a long time, and I think it's the most clear: if I Love someone, it means I would kill, or die, for them, if the circumstances called for it. It means that they are an element without which my life would not proceed properly.
I think we've all got "people" (by which I mean humans, nonhumans, spirits, and the like) in our lives who's departure would wound us badly. We've all lost people in one way or another, and those losses have marked us, scarred us. Those marks, those scars, they never go away. Eventually, the pain fades, but it's always there, and if the scab that grows over it gets torn loose somehow, that pain resurfaces, and has to heal again.
This all makes Love sound like a pretty crappy proposition, I suppose, given the temporary and transitional nature of the world we live in... but let's dial the view back a bit, away from the individual level, and look at things from a Spirit point of view, from a macrocosmic point of view.
All is One. I've said that before. As above, so below. I've said that, too. How do these things apply?
First of all, since All is One, that person, that tree, that cat, that ancestral relic that you Love so dearly... it's outside of you ONLY in it's capacity as a temporary, physical manifestation. It's Essence, it's Absolute Reality, exists NO WHERE except inside you, as a part of you. As such, it can never be lost, destroyed, or taken away, until and unless you renounce it, forget it, or forsake it. If the memory of the manifestation lives in your mind, in your heart... then it's not gone. It's not lost. It's a part of you, and will always be.
The Emerald Tablet, on the other hand, teaches us that as our Spirit moves, so moves our body, and where our body goes, our Spirit will follow. Love is a perfect demonstration of that process. Like all other resources and forms of energy, when you share Love, it multiplies. Hoarding Love is such a ludicrous and silly idea that it warrants only the faintest of acknowledgements, enough to say that the person who hoards Love will be lonely and empty in short order. 'nuff said.
In the end (which is really a very silly phrase, since there isn't really any such thing), Love is the glue that holds any living system together. It's the fuel that powers any group of like-minded Pathworkers. It's the luminescence that allows us to see the way forward in any given situation. Best of all, it is, really, an effortless thing. If you find that Loving someone, or something, is proving to be hard work... look again. Is it Love that is costing you the effort, or is it some hidden expectation on your part that is making you feel like you're not getting out what you put in. I've heard is said that "the reward of patience is patience;" likewise, I believe, that truly Loving is it's own reward. "Unconditional Love" is, to me, a redundancy, because if your "Love" has conditions, then it's not Love at all, it's a contract, a business arrangement, and has little long-term value.
My Very Wise Friend told me once that I had his permission to "fuck up completely," and that doing so would in no way change the Loving nature of our relationship- that it's ME, as I am, which he Loves, not some idealized image of me built in his mind.
All is One; As above, so below. Give yourself permission to "fuck up completely." Give yourself permission to make mistakes, fall short, stumble, miss the boat, and drop the ball. In doing so, you also do so for all beings, for all things that you Love. If this permission is sincere... if you really will not change your view of someone over a mistake... that's when you're really talking about Love. (Note Well: making a mistake is in no way associated with genuine malice, abuse, or selfish, greedy, grasping behavior. The former is par for the course in this world we live in; the latter are the actions of the unenlightened, sleeping person, and at some point, you have to cut such people loose if they're toxifying your reality.)
In closing, I'd like to present a quote from an unlikely source (for me) that most of you are probably familiar with. It's from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
I'm not usually the sort to quote the Bible... but there are few places where I've seen it expressed so well.
Much Love to you all.