How often we use the word love! However, do we always aware of the content we contribute to it? Is this word alive, or just a set of sounds? Nowadays, love is often mixed and misunderstood and unfortunately turns to heavy paralysing bonds. Instead, it should bring freedom and happiness, as it is the most sacred feeling in the world.
Love has many faces, and each has a different expression. The ancients were wise and had a special term for every revelation of the complex and multilevel human relationships. They underlined phylia as the bond of friendship, a warm attraction is common between close, reliable and understanding people. Storge was an honourable worthy bond among the family members, especially between parents and children. Close to storge was pragma, enduring love, developed with time and enriched with tolerance, patience and reciprocity. It was also reasonable to highlight love for yourself, philautia, which was understood as knowing, compassion and improving your own self. The only destructive form of love was mania, an obsessive and jealous yet seductive with desperate passion love.
Of course the most stereotypical meaning of love is eros, the fragile balance of passion, attraction and tenderness which powerfully drives people towards each other. And then, there is the most wished for and idealistic for the modern world, love called agape, which received the name of unconditional love today. It is empathy in its highest revelation, it is a pure altruism and dedication to others, even forgetting yourself. The unconditional love suggests that we feel and worship Love prioritising something bigger than our needs. Many saints and hermits since the dawn of civilization were trying to grasp and obtain the art of unconditional love; and many succeeded. But then, why others, who dream about the purity and peaces of unconditional love, fail or experience difficulties, or simply, cannot overcome laziness and power of ego? If this is so worthy and distinguished, why majority would simply laugh at it?
The question is to decide whether it is possible to skip all other stages of love before arriving at the point when you truly can be free from destructive and disturbing selfish desires. Human best learn best from personal experience, and the sad truth might be that many mistakes should be taken before the awareness of true love without deals and bargaining comes.
The ancient goddess Aphrodite which almost everyone knows, except her association with physical and romantic love, had another name, not that popular, yet linking love to the divine, Aphrodite Urania, which means “spiritual”, “heavenly”. Unlike the common, Pandemos, who was the goddess of erotic drives, Urania turns the thought towards cosmos and heaven. As a daughter the god of the sky, she bears the idea of blessings, honour and purity, having the whole cult of chastity. It is only with times, that the goddess started associated with courtesans and free love. It is also significant that one of the symbols of Aphrodite Urania was a swan, which cannot leave us indifferent to their praised loyalty so loved by people. Faithfullness is another side of agape love.
Doesn’t the legend tell us the secret of love? If the single goddess was the patroness of the opposites of the body and spirit, then perhaps we should consider both material and spiritual needs thinking about unconditional love. For sensitive people and natural empaths it is extremely important to revive the significance of unconditional love, to restore the cult of Aphrodite Urania without killing Pandemos. The world needs it, because it is unconditional love which can break the spell of indifference, cruelty and aggression. It can break the chains of illnesses of body and mind, but the veils seem sick and hard to uncover.
Respect and gratitude are those ingredients without which no sincere feelings are possible. Respect shouldn’t come from fear, and gratitude – from the feeling of guilt. True respect is recognition of others’ skills and talents, and joy from the achievements. In a broader sense, creative constructive efforts of others cause admiration and desire to follow and learn, then we can tell we respect people. Same is with gratitude. “Thank you” may be an empty polite phrase, but coming from the heart, can become a magic word powerful enough to build an inseparable strong bridge between people. Faithfulness may turn into chains, but it should be a support, a safe harbour, and give wings and strength to both. When it is mutuality, respect, trust and open heart, there is no need for control and forcing, .Unconditional love doesn’t stand guilt and sacrifice, it accepts only joy and free will. There is nothing more powerful than desires and wishes, it is the initial impulse of every action. Therefore, instead of following the famous Buddhist prescription to get rid of desires in order to release the sufferings, try to ennoble the inner desires, which will motivate you to the noble actions. This will attract the relevant situations and people, who will feel the love you share and radiate, and receive the gift of heaven, of the divine, and will become better and nobler.
Love is an art, it should be learned, by loving parents, or attentive teachers, or experienced friends, or the books. If you are lost, and have no authority to trust, refer to the book a holy or fictional one, but in every one you will find a different face of the unconditional love: friendship, passion, obsession, altruism, heroic and devoted love. And if it doesn’t appear in your life, let’s create it sending the waves of divine power through the heart as the centre of love, around us, into our home, family members, job place, strangers in the street, the whole world. And let this light heal, bring joy and inspiration, and establish harmony and bliss of love.
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