“The most important thing in this world is to
learn to give out love,and let it come in.”
~ Morrie Schwartz
Press play to hear an audio enhancement as you read.
The Beatles sang, “All You Need is Love.” Were they right?
Khalil Gibran wrote that “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”
That’s a poetic reminder of how important love is. But, realistically, we need more than a fruiting tree and loving sentiments to survive and thrive. Don’t we?
Perhaps what we really need is an expanded understanding of what love is. For any of us who’ve enjoyed pop music over the years, it’s difficult to hear or read the words “the power of love” without recalling that song by Huey Lewis and the News. Surprisingly, his lyrics actually illuminate our topic.
Lewis sang, “Change a hawk to a little white dove… more than a feeling, that’s the power of love.”
In other words, love is transformative. Love is alchemical. Love changes us.
If you google “love,” 99% of what shows up relates to romantic love. Some acknowledge there is more to love than that… but they don’t elaborate. So let’s do that here.
First, here’s a comment that confirms my point about traditional definitions of love. This comes from a blog credited to South University.
“According to the triangular theory of love developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg, the three components of love are intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy encompasses feelings of attachment, closeness, connectedness, and bondedness. Passion encompasses drives connected to both limerance and sexual attraction. Commitment encompasses, in the short term, the decision to remain with another, and in the long term, the shared achievements and plans made with that other person.” 1
This seems to be a clear and thorough articulation of key components in romantic love. It’s interesting to apply Sternberg’s triangular theory to an expanded definition that I propose, namely, that love is the power that runs creation. That’s just a bit of an upgrade in our understanding!
Love is the power that beats our hearts and steers the stars, as I like to say. You can use a different word if you prefer, like God or spirit or life force. I like love. By whatever name, “it” connects us all and when I say “all” I mean everyone and everything. So, if we embrace this expanded definition, then Sternberg’s “intimacy, passion, and commitment” model also seems to apply to our relationship with Love, capital L.
I wrote a book last year about learning how to love. I believe this is our “major” here in the University of Earth. So, how would we grade ourselves in this subject?
Here’s a 21st century reality check:
– There’s no intimacy to hiding within gated communities, separated and afraid of the village around us – full of people different than us.
– There’s no passion when religion replaces spirituality with rules instead of authentic worship.
– Where’s commitment when our allegiance swings from one addictive intoxicant to another?
Love, the expanded love we’re describing, gets so easily forgotten. So, how can we develop that relationship?
Think of a romantic relationship you’ve enjoyed or are enjoying right now. That feeling of love, flowing back and forth, it’s wonderful! In fact, we can reference another song to remind us again of our expanded definition: “Love makes the world go round.”
Here’s some practical guidance from the same post I quoted from above, a comment attributed to “Elizabeth Kane, a South University adjunct faculty member who teaches clinical psychology and behavioral science. ‘To be romantic is to make a choice to wake up each day and ask yourself what you can do today to let your lover know they are adored,’ Kane says.
“’Have fun in your romance and remember that the more effort you put into your romantic relationship, the more love you will receive in return. Be the partner that you seek and live a life filled with passion and romance.’” 2
Imagine applying that same strategy to our connection with Big Love. “… what you can do today to let your lover know they are adored?” Prayer comes to mind, meditation, and mindfulness, living in this relationship with Love as our primary one.
This doesn’t require us to downgrade our human relationships. In fact, personal connections infused with Big Love are stronger. There’s a stability inherent in them that helps us navigate the inevitable personality wars.
What if we lived in adoration then, with intimacy, passion, and commitment as the key components of our operating system? Imagine a world where we loved each other from that high place, loving not just personal qualities but also the innate presence of Love, the universal power of love, translated so uniquely within each individual human being.
If we were able to learn to love that way, then the Beatles would be right. Love is all you need … when we’ve awakened to the real thing.