Having just celebrated the Official Day of Love (with pizza and ice cream), I’ve been thinking a lot about all the many different kinds of love and categories for them. I know, I know….categorizing something like love? But lookit…I NEED some way to make sense of the fact that I don’t love ice cream in the same way as the way I love my Hubs (I love it….MORE! Hahaha, just kidding, Babe). So, you’ll just have to put up with my penchant for order, if you might like to spend some time with me here considering this subject.
(By the way, my orderliness is in direct and often oppositional contrast to Hubs’ chaotic leanings. He robustly ascribes the fallout of this tendency (crazy messy desk at work, “stuff” dropped randomly all over my house, the kitchen disaster after he has baked bread and so forth) as an inevitable part of Entropy, the second Law of Thermodynamics: all things tend to Disorder. I digress…again. Stream of….unconsciousness. Brain….entropy? A topic for another post, another day, perhaps).
So…what’s love got to do with it, what’s love but a sweet old fashioned notion? :-) Hubs and I were once sitting on a bench in Tobago (sister island of Trinidad) early one morning at the beach, watching the sun rise. An older Rasta guy wandered over and naturally, my guard went up at a strange man’s approach. But he soon seemed harmless enough as he began to chat. He actually wasted very little time on “chit” chat…got right down to business: discussing “higher” love. Yup, out of the clear blue (Caribbean sea and sky). And this guy, a relatively slight-built man with Big Hair, not having the most polished diction in the world (to the American ear, he may not have even been speaking English!), living an apparently very simple life, not appearing to have much in the way of possessions, began to speak of “agape” and yes, he actually used this word. Pretty uncommon for people to even know of it, more uncommon to have it be used in an inaugural conversation with strangers. Sometimes the universe has such a sense of intrigue! It hides powerful teachings in the most unlikely places and one has to be truly Hearing to catch them.
And so this brings me to a categorization…Love Levels, if you wish: Eros, Philas, Agape. Of course, things are not black and white, more often life gives us “black and blue” as we weather its storms (coincidentally, we are currently snowed in by a literal storm )…..so one or more of these can be mixed together to create a whirling mass of…chaos! Kidding.
Eros: perhaps the most elemental of the three. Sensual love. Love which excites the senses. Not to be scoffed at, not to be dismissed as being “amimalistic”, in my opinion. Frankly, if it did not exist, if male pheremones failed to excite the female of the species, well pretty soon, the species would cease to exist. This is the butterflies in the tummy, oh my gosh shall we do the dirty, wow you are so FINE kind of love. It is a love which is based in desire, often but not exclusively physical desire, and it wishes to be fulfilled. If mutual, it can be delightful indeed, while being experienced and enjoyed. However, if not mixed in with something less volatile, less chemical, more grounded, more enduring….these white hot fires of passion will inevitably fizzle out once their appetites have been slaked. Don’t call me, I’ll (like hell I will) call you. It’s not you, it’s me. Boom…over.
Philas: ah, love stepped up a notch. Here we have brotherly, sisterly, friendly, affectionate love. The love we bear for animals, activities, hobbies and things. Yes, under this category is supposedly how I feel about ice-cream (although I think mine is liberally spiked with eros). This love is essentially dispassionate. Less carnal, more virtuous than the roving eye and swaggering gait of Eros.
Agape: re-enter Rastaman in Tobago. This is the most high-vibration form of Love. Enlightened Masters like the Buddha tell us this is the love God bears for Wo(Man), and it is the love we bear for God. It is the most fulfilling of all loves because it is totally free of desire of any kind, or any need for reciprocation or validation. It is the kind of love which allows selfless service. It is unconditional. It is the love which looks upon all people and all things with the same regard. It holds no one higher or lower. It does not compare. It is completely secure. It simply, softly, strongly holds its own Highest Consciousness. It does nothing but it manages to accomplish everything. Unlike Eros and Philas, it is hallmarked by endurance. Not in the sense of “putting up with” but in the sense of “timeless and eternal and steady”. It is the love which, whether we know it consciously or not, we long to give and receive in our human relationships. For when we can approach a love like this, it allows us a glimpse into the Heart of God. And that glimpse is sufficient to fill us with wonder and glory and amazement, so much so that we keep striving to see it again.
So, all the commercialism of Valentine’s Day notwithstanding, I am happy to have had a special time to consider love in general, to reassess my relationships, to see where and how I can be more motivated by Agape and to work on my purity of intention in all interactions with others. I believe, that it is possible, with dedicated practice, applying the principles of Agape, to live in a State of Love…where love is what I AM, rather than what I feel or how my senses become engaged.
But let me just say…. at the end of all these ruminations, I yet conclude, I LOVE ice cream in a way that blends all three…a sort of Love Sundae. And yesterday (pictured below), when I ate it, sitting next to my Hubs, I sprinkled my Love Sundae , on a Valentine Sunday, with some Philas and Eros and I FEEL really good about that. Yeah, corny stops here, NOW. I Love You, guys....you can figure out under which category for yourself.
I am a field of awareness. Any thing beyond that is identification with form...