My relationship with the word has fluctuated over the years — I've gone from being in love with the concept of love, despising the word, romanticising about it, scrutinising it, hating it. I am now at a stage where I am learning to appreciate it in a completely new way.
In short, I don't see Love as an emotion or a feeling in any sense — I believe the concept of love is a 'verb' — a 'doing word'. I understand love as the act of giving.
"Love is the rhythmic balanced interchange between all givings and re-givings...love is the wave of dual light, where people give, receive and re-give equally and rhythmically."
— based on Walter Russell's Secret of Light
For me, it is the unbearable desire to give to your partner or partners (if polyamorous), and receive equally and naturally. Love is made up of number of acts such as; the desire to show up, to care, to trust, to make them laugh, to make them comfortable, to want to help them, to make them happy, to make them smile, to encourage growth, to trust... and the list goes on. It is not about feeling 'obliged' to do these things — love is based on the true desire to give altruistically, and although you may not expect to receive the same in return — in true love, you will receive equally and naturally.
I feel like in today's day and age many people confuse 'love' with 'lust'. They go by the sensation of 'butterflies'. I often hear people say "it was perfect...he gave me butterflies" — and I have two really big concerns around this:
The sensation of butterflies is your body's response to sexual arousal — not related to any high purpose (read more). It's a simple animal instinct. If you break it down to the fact that we all evolved from animals, and we all have animal instincts as survival mechanisms — to survive individually, but also to survive as a species. In other words, these butterflies are a simple way of your body saying "that person is good enough for you to court, procreate, and survive as a species". We don't often think about it like this, but like birds of paradise dancing, we are always putting on a courtship display — we try to prove our worth, our strength, our abilities, in order to evoke these 'butterflies' in a potential partner. So as you can tell, I have issues with the concept of butterflies — it's not the butterflies themselves that are important — it's the acts of giving and receiving, the energy and desire between the individuals. When love breaks down, it's because the giving, the energy and the desire is not equal or rhythmic. (One thing to note here is that as humans, we have obviously changed, we're all so diverse — we're more than our animal instincts and we have the ability to make choices — we can choose not to have children, or we can adopt etc. But what I'm referring to here are the hereditary animal instincts that have been carried with us throughout the journey of evolution — whether we like it or not, these survival instincts exist in us.)
Collectively, I believe we are becoming more and more emotionally unavailable. As a result of the way we interpret the world — which is through the unhealthy filter of mass media, mass consumption, materialism etc — I believe that we are becoming more and more 'emotionally unavailable'. We live in a time where our emotions, on a daily basis, are altered by social institutions that have been built to simply make profit. "For motives of profit, the lies of materialism and advertising suggests that if we're not happy, comfortable and fulfilled, we must be eating the wrong cereal, or driving the wrong car..." (M.Scott Peck, A Road Less Travelled).
I believe that because of this, collectively we have become "emotionally unavailable" — we no longer understand our emotions without it going through a filter that has been built by mass media, mass consumption, materialism for profit. This is having an effect on us all — our mental health, our self worth, our ability to understand love — so, it concerns me that the one emotion or sensation that we often do trust are the butterflies.
But yes, I do believe that love exists. I see it as the raw desire to give to someone in order to fulfil their needs, and in return they do the same — unknowingly, equally, rhythmically and beautifully.
I do believe in love, but I don't believe that many people today are truly capable of it.