What is love? Baby don’t hurt me…
In 1993, Trinidadian-born German vocalist and musician Nestor Alexander Haddaway posed this essential question that has been in the hearts and minds of people since time immemorial.
Is this love that I am feeling? Have I fallen in love? What is love?
Is love attraction? Is it lust? Is it a deep, undying emotion – a bond?
Is Love a Biochemical Reaction?
In the critically acclaimed book, The Biology of Love, Arthur Janov writes that love is essentially a biological experience. It is a hormonal and neurochemical event, he says, that shapes our very lives right from when we are in our mother’s womb, till the day we die.
This line of thinking, while only becoming recently popular – perhaps due to the recent increase in atheism – is now surprisingly common. Disappointed by unfulfilled prayers and exhausted by many draining relationships, people are now flocking to this new belief. And it doesn’t start and end with love. The entire substance of religion, spirituality and truth are under question.
Love and Popular Belief
The reality is that It’s easier to identify with the most dominant school of thought than to investigate, understand, and form opinions oneself. While atheism and scientific-truth claim to not be religions, they perhaps might just be so. People that adopted religion in the past frequently did it out of a need to identify with some body of thought that made them feel safe and understood. All that has changed is society and the frame of reference. It once felt safer to believe in God. Now, the thought that there isn’t one is can be more comforting.
Proponents of scientific-truth have a lot to answer to – questions from their own field that remain unanswered. Quantum physics has discovered that micro-particles such as electrons and photons behave differently based on nothing but the fact that someone is watching them. This is called ‘stream of consciousness’. The particles vibrate and move in different patterns, all conditions kept the same, just because they are being looked at by a real person. This raises a critical question about methods of scientific study. If there can be such a basic bias in experiments – where nothing is really behaving as it would if people were not investigating – how can scientific-truth be an absolute?
And what of studies that show water crystals forming in different patterns based on just who is present? These experiments have provided shocking evidence that there is something alive in our consciousness that is beyond just the brain and its biological functions. We have a capacity to influence reality, and not just to participate in it.
And the Answer is…
Coming back to the original question – ‘What is Love’ – we can answer – love is one of the possible ways that you can influence reality. It not something as rudimentary as biochemical reactions in the body – and nor is it simply attraction or a deep and endless feeling. It is a way of being.
How to Experience Love
To close upon what this way of being is, let’s look at the way of being of most people in the human population.
Motivated primarily by self-interest (which, in truth, comes from a disconnect between their fundamental experience of themselves and the reality of who they are), most people are lost in a vicious cycle of trying to obtain. They try to obtain material wealth, social wealth (friends), and emotional wealth (feelings). They seek pleasure and avoid pain. They do everything possible to make their basic experience of themselves feel good. But they never succeed.
The desire for wealth soon becomes greed, and no number of yachts or offshore bank accounts satisfy. They might have thousands of friends on Facebook, but not one they can confess their true unhappiness to. They might even have a ‘significant other’ – the holy grail of a joyous life – but they feel distant and communicate on a level that is only practical. Taking care of kids, getting to work, making dinner and having sex often form the entirety of their relationship. Their romance is based on reminiscing about the past, telling each other how attractive they are, or going to new places that make the relationship feel less stale.
But something is always missing. That something is themselves.
Ordinary man can be said not to really exist. This is because he typically lives in a dreamlike existence where he ‘follows the crowd’. His own desires and interests are government by what the public communicates to be desirable or interesting. He has nothing he can truly call his own.
But what happens when one becomes aware of this dream?
The truth of this lies in the very awareness that recognizes the dream. If something (a consciousness) can recognize a dream, it is obviously free from that dream. It is luminous and intelligent enough to recognize something that is an object to it.
So, if we are not this dream, who are we?
Only this very inquiry can awaken us to who and what we are. Looking for answers in religion, science, and philosophy is looking for an outward solution to an inward problem. And the very problem is that we are not looking inward. Nothing outside of us can pull us out of this dream because it the dreamer we must awaken to.
Awakening to this releases our energy. Initially, our mind is tied to different aspects of the dream such as our job, friends, spouse etc. When we disconnect (and it doesn’t have to be literally and physically, but rather on the level of our thinking), we discover just how much and of what kind of energy we are made.
This energy is vibrant, creative, playful and abundant. It is simple and profound at the same time.
Living with this energy becomes a way of being. This way of being can be called love.
This energy makes us feel like giving, caring, sharing and being kind. This is not only towards others but towards ourselves too. It makes us feel nurtured, whole and well.
So that’s Love!
Only a person in touch with this energy can experience love. And it is a directionless experience –there is no real direction to the flow. Not only are you loving other people, you are loving yourself, loving life and loving love itself. It is infinitely liberating and beautiful.
Live the dream, but also wake up to the dreamer.