Working with Love
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Today is a time when I typically take time to turn inward and reflet on the many people that I am grateful for wandering their way into my life. Participating in an ongoing practice of gratitude has been one of the simplest ways for me to actively practice love in my life. Love is an active practice, something that we can cultivate and grow in our lives if we make a commitment to it.
"How can I work with love?"
This is a question that many people struggle with throughout their daily lives, whether in business, relationships, or even internally. Some of this struggle comes from another question, perhaps asked just as often, but much less frequently vocalized:
"Won't focusing on love make me weak?"
I feel as though this is an important question to address directly — rather than ignoring it, or hoping that it goes away.
Poets, playwrights, and so-called romantics have long espoused the importance of love. When pressed on the subject, many people will say that they believe in the power of love. Yet very few of us seem to be able to actually put this belief into an active practice.
As both a storyteller and teacher, I feel that I have somewhat of a unique perspective to offer — particularly within the context of language. In my experience, working with love is an active practice, one that requires us to continually tend to and readjust our perspectives towards.
In his work, the Republic Plato equates love to a "wanting to know", a "desire to understand" all that is possible for the subject of one's affection — despite knowing that such an all-encompassing awareness is impossible to attain.
When viewed in this light, love is closely related to truth. This sentiment is echoed throughout the later Neoplatonic writings that influenced Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A key component of love can then be view as:
"A deep desire, or 'yearning' to understand."
While this type of approach requires a certain amount of humility, it also keeps the door propped open for learning. Learning allows one to develop novel insights and come up with new discoveries that otherwise would tend to be overlooked otherwise. This leads us to another insight with regards to love:
Love is deeply intertwined with receptivity.
For someone immersed in a culture defined by activity, this idea of a form of "active receptivity" can appear terrifying. After all, isn't one's strength tied to action? And isn't love more of a passive force?
It is and it isn't. Love can serve as the wellspring of action as well, provided that we don't confuse it with blind, unfettered passion. While the receptive nature of love bestows more insights, the active aspect of love provides us with a unique avenue of transformation.
By moving in the direction of our understanding, we can apply our insights to everyday life. We can create without having to constantly "go against" situations or perspectives that don't align with our intended actions. Love gives us the ability to actively advocate for the values we believe in, rather than fighting against everything that impinges upon us.
No matter how seductive it might seem, hate — due to its' separative nature — can never give rise to growth. Only love can do that, which is its power, and one of its greatest strengths.