What is love? Take a look at a rose. Is it possible for the rose to say, 'I shall offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?' Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could only do that by ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature -- even the one who seeks to cut it down. So this is the first quality of love: its indiscriminate character.
-- Anthony DeMello
Since antiquity, masters, poets, writers, songsmiths and just about every other human being on the planet has sought to fathom the eternal depths and the meaning of love -- from whence it comes, and why it seems that some people experience it more than others.
The ancient Greeks fully understood the complexities of this issue. They believed that one word could not adequately describe such a powerful and all encompassing energy so they divided love into four categories:
The first being eros, which is the base vibration of love found in romance or eroticism. The second description of love was referred to as storge, which is the vibration of familial love such as a parent feels for a child, or siblings for one another. The third description for love is phillia, which is the vibration known as brotherly love, such as what we feel for other human beings beyond our immediate family when there is a sense of connection.
The fourth and highest vibration of love is agape, which has been defined as the unconditional love of the divine, because it is always giving itself to its creation, moving through us (and all creation) as life itself and never asking anything in return. In other words, agape love is absolutely indiscriminate and unconditional. We do not have to do anything to earn it because the gift has already been given.
I have been pondering the question: If the source of this love is indiscriminate, holding back from none, why do we human beings, who are recipients of this love, discriminate and hold back our love from certain others? We hold back because we tend to identify with the egoic self, which is busy keeping score, trying to separate those who are unworthy of our love from those who are worthy -- almost as if there were only so much love to go around. If we are willing to investigate the anatomy of love and its source we'll discover otherwise.
In his book, "The Way To Love," Anthony DeMello summarizes God's indiscriminately giving nature in this manner: "Perhaps this is why we are encouraged to be like God, 'who makes his sun to shine on good and bad alike and makes his rain to fall on saints and sinners alike: So you must be all goodness as your heavenly father is all goodness.'"
I interpret this to mean: As we open to its presence, the goodness of agape love flows through us and finds its way into the world by means of us, becoming goodness in the form by means of which we express romantic, familial and brotherly love in our daily lives. Love begins as divine essence, trickles into the human condition, and we don't even have to ask for it; we need only be the open and willing vessel through which it flows.
As a mindfulness practice consider trying this process:
- As a way to make this awareness more palpable, consider taking some time today to spend outside.
- Stand in the sunlight and feel its penetrating presence and warmth sharing itself with you and all others, holding itself back from none.
- Then find a flower and observe it receiving warmth from the same source of light.
- Finally, find a weed and discover that it too is basking in the glory of the same light from which you and the flower benefit.
- Then, repeat the exercise and visualize the sunlight as infinite love offering itself to you unconditionally, no strings attached.
The question to ponder is: Can you receive that love as freely as you do the sunlight? Perhaps the real question is, can you extend that love to others as freely, with no strings attached? Take your cue from the sun. This would be a good day to enter into a more indiscriminate loving of all that is ... and perhaps the best place to begin is in the mirror with that beautiful being you see looking back at you.