Valentine’s Day is a good day to ponder the mystery of love. According to Lao Tsu (Laozi) from Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing ) Chapter 1, “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao. The name that can be named is not the eternal name.” For me, this is the case with love.
Psychologists try to name love by categorizing it into many different types of love: Agape, Eros, Philia, and more. Musicians try to express the meaning of love in songs. In 1984 U2’s Bono composed Pride (In the Name of Love). In 2016 Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha came out with a music video, In the Name of Love. The Persian poets Rumi and Hafiz wrote about the ecstasy of divine love. The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote a book of love poems Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Artist Gustav Klimt depicted love in his work The Kiss. Sculptor Robert Indiana created a 12 x 12 x 6 foot sculpture out of the word love. Most of us have heard the quote, “Love makes the world go around.”
Why do we have this need to express love in so many ways? For me, part of the answer came from the tag of a little Yogi tea bag. On it was written, “You don’t need love. You are the love.” Love is what sustains us and lies within us. For me, it is hard to define and to understand its diverse ways of manifesting.
One of my spiritual teachers, Ishwar Puri, has many things to say on the topic of love. He says love comes instantaneously and does not involve the mind. We love at first sight but then our egos and minds confuse us. Our minds start asking questions and doubting. Ishwar is not talking about not using our minds wisely to decipher whether someone is healthy for us or not, but rather, not over analyzing so that the essence of love is squeezed out like an old rag.
Because we embody love, we must first honor ourselves. This is not selfishness but rather self-love, which leads to self-care. We must love ourselves so that we can honor and love each other in a healthy and pure way, without strings attached. Ishwar Puri once said, “No matter what the question is. Love is the answer.” If our actions are guided by love, it most likely will benefit us as well as others.
Eternal and unconditional love, like the Tao, is hard to be told, or to be named. Love exists in its purity. Love flows inside us and we can work with its energy to manifest a lot of good within us and for others around us.
Love is also fun and playful to experience. We might never understand love’s mysterious ways, but we can feel it and enjoy it, especially on this Valentine’s Day!
I am filled with wonder, gratitude and awe for the journeys we travel and for the teachers we meet along the way.