Monday, March 21, 2011

What is Love?

What is love?  I'm a romantic at heart.  And yet the difference between "intellectual knowledge" and "experiential knowledge,," has always intrigued me, because I believe that knowledge also plays its role in love.  Reading a book about playing the flute, or even learning to read music is "intellectual." The training that goes into making music on an instrument is "experiential." So, what does this have to do with "love?" It has taken me a lifetime to realize a simple truth: "love is acceptance." I've known for years that to love someone is to take that person as he or she is, without conditions. But this is merely an "intellectual" understanding.  "Love is acceptance" is an experiential concept and takes so much training and exercise, that you sometimes feel your arms and legs are about to fall off from exhaustion. But why should that be?
Perhaps it is because in order to accept another person, I must first learn how to meet my own needs.  In this way I become grateful for rather than take for granted a person's help, companionship and kindnesses.   The  hardest struggle for me, and it is an ongoing one, is learning to take care of myself. But I consider it to be worth the effort because what's left over, when I am no longer in need of other people doing or being such-and-such, is the pure essence of love.