What Is Love?
Very few people know what love is.
Because we are all egotistical by nature, we have a bias toward thinking that love is what makes us feel good. We say that we "love" ice cream or we love people who support our pride. We dislike what makes us feel bad, and we dislike people who do not see us in a good light.
We like or love people who make us feel good, such as people who praise us or who pretend not to see our faults. We love people who accept us just as we are. We don't like people who see us in a bad light or who don't respect us.
Can you see the fault with this type of love? It is supportive of pride and selfishness. It builds up our pride, but is really setting us up for a fall. In order to see wrong as right or error as virtue, the other person has to be bamboozled, naive, or deceitful.
True love should be good for us, it should ennoble and facilitate true character. But look at what the usual love from others does: when they are naive about our faults, we soon have contempt for them. If they are being deceitful (because they are only pretending not to see our faults), we soon see their deceit and we hate them for it.
The usual worldly sort of love only builds contempt or hatred in us, while at the same time accepting and nurturing our faults, making us worse, not better.
None of us enjoys going to the dentist to have an abscessed tooth pulled; but when it is out, we are grateful. It is temporarily painful, but we are better afterwards. True love is similar in that true love does not pretend to worship us, and it is honest with us. It is like a wet blanket on our prideful schemes. In a sense, the truth hurts, but it is good for us.
A son who behaves shamefully and receives a stern talk from his father will feel bad. But if the correction takes, he will walk away a better man for it.
Perhaps now you can see why there is little real love in the world. Mostly you get support for error on the one hand or cruel condemnation on the other hand.
Our friends drink, take drugs, and smoke marijuana with us. They encourage us to indulge ourselves. When someone is angry at a spouse or boss, he or she seeks consolation from "friends," who eagerly lap up the juicy gossip (to tell others when his back is turned) and support his anger and pride.
All this support does is nurture the fault and the error. Teens often act foolish and do foolish or dangerous things with their friends, who support them, and never criticize them.
Without real love, all we can do is condone or condemn. Parents, for example, get angry and impatient, condemning their kids for little (natural) faults. Their anger only tempts the kids to hate them.
Other parents are so guilty for being angry that they eventually support their kids in everything they do and never correct them. This condescending weakness is contemptible, and also tempts the kids to resent them.
Perhaps you can see that all the condemning and condoning, love and hate, excitement and resentment build pride, making us more guilty and conflict ridden. That is why we can start to reject those who praise us, because we sense that praise is making us worse. That is why kids resent a parent who spoils them because the child senses that it is making him or her worse.
What we need is correction with love. We need to be corrected of our need for ego supportive love. True love throws us back on ourselves. This is what a good father is supposed to do--patiently wean the children from emotional supportive love. But most fathers are big kids themselves, still addicted to emotional support.
Love is a chastening force. But because there is little in the world, and because most of our fathers have failed to properly represent this type of love, we must find it within. We must become self corrective, and this can happen when we learn how to relate to our conscience.
Many of us become impatient and resentful toward our own self. We get angry at ourselves for failing to not reach a goal or for gaining some weight. Many of us even resent our own body; but what possible healing force can there be in resentment?
Our resentment does not help anything. It only makes us guilty to the point that we crave something to take away the guilt. Soon we are indulging our food, drink, or other excesses. Which only hurts our body more.
Where will you find true love? The best place of all is conscience. Conscience (what you know in your heart) is your closest link to God. It is wordless, quietly shining a light on things so that we can see our errors.
If you permit it, your conscience will gently and persistently correct you. And when you welcome its admonitions, it will also begin to change you. Here is the mystery: just as when you conformed to the world, you began to change to become like those you hated; so likewise when you willingly conform to intuition/conscience, the inner light, it will mysteriously transform you and upgrade your nature.
Born in sin, up to this point you could not stop yourself from erring. Your sinning nature cried out for sin, the element it craves. It is the only life you have known. This is the sensual life, of loving and hating, of lying and being lied to, of highs and even lower lows. But as I said, it has been the only life you have known. And because you inherited this life, it is not your fault.
But from the time that the light begins to dawn, you begin to become transformed to the truth instead of the lie, and you begin to naturally do right instead of naturally doing wrong.
With a right relationship with your Creator, you will then receive His approval. You will not longer need the ego supportive sticky love of the world.
Your right relationship with God will also permit you to relate to others properly. You will be able to love others without tempting them, without supporting what is wrong with them and also without condemning them either. You will have understanding. And you will have endless patience for others. You will also discover that you will have patience for yourself.
You will be a better mom, dad, son, daughter, husband, wife, friend, employee, or neighbor. Life will become joyous again.
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