πŸ“· Photograph: Ryan Franco on Unsplash

You are not only bound to the people you like or love. Your bondage to those you dislike or hate is much deeper.
– Sadhguru


ove happens to everyone, or so it seems. Everybody is capable of love. We can see it throughout the entire spectrum of the animal kingdom. Yet, once in a while, there is a certain need to verbalize it, to explain its meaning or even intellectualize this four-letter word. For instance, we rarely try to explain other qualities like anger, jealousy or hatred. We already know it from experience! So, why the need for love?

Be it scientists, philosophers or poets, people from different walks of life have made numerous attempts to describe love. To me, the most plausible validation of love comes from poetry. In poetry, it is the gaps between words that counts, not the word itself. The gaps allow the mind to sink in the words. As my master once said, "poetry is not an escape from reality; It is an expression to dimensions of life that cannot be logically expressed."

Contrary to that, the funniest statement I encountered was from a friend who jokingly said that, "you will know love when you feel butterflies in your stomach." Now, that's something we can all relate and maybe, he got it right!

I would say, let no man mock another over what touches many men. Time and again the wise are fettered by beauty. They ache with love-longing.
Lucky are the fools like you, Torstein, who remain unmoved and free!
– Floki (Vikings, S03E01)

I recently saw a TED talk titled: "Can we choose to fall out of love?" by Dessa. She describes how she worked with a neuroscientist to try to get her brain to fall out of love with her ex. I was very amused by the title which sparked my interest to watch it. It also reminded me of this peculiar movie called Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's among a lot of people's favorite because somehow, we can all relate to the pain of memory in the form of a heartbreak, the lost of a dear one or even the insecurity of feeling excluded. Not carrying the burdens of the past seems to give us great relief.

Memory is not useless, it is useful. But if you do not know how to keep it aside, that becomes your biggest bondage because life becomes repetitive. When you are repetitive, you cannot be receptive.
– Sadhguru

After a painful breakup, Clementine (Kate Winslet) undergoes a procedure to erase memories of her former boyfriend Joel (Jim Carrey) from her mind. When Joel discovers that Clementine is going to extremes to forget their relationship, he undergoes the same procedure and slowly begins to forget the woman that he loved. Directed by former music video director Michel Gondry, the visually arresting film explores the intricacy of relationships and the pain of loss. [Wiki]

If love is supposed to be a certain sweetness of our emotion, then why do we suffer on its behalf? In my experience, that cannot be love; It is entanglement. I realized this after great struggle. When you hold someone's well-being above your own, that's love. Love is a certain form of desire but the desire of expectation is not love. Love is absolute by itself. There is no need for the 'other.' It is a quality without any vested interest. On the other hand, to repress one's feelings only makes them stronger. Desires do not just vanish. We can suppress it but that is not solving the problem. Suppression is always postponement. It will find expression sooner or later. Love may cause pain but we need not suffer it.

Buddha had no greater miracle to offer than the realization of the inevitable truth – suffering exists and can only be transcended, not avoided. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is your choice. You cannot control stimulus but you can control response.
– Rohit Arya

Is love simply a chemical hijack?

The most provocative statement I heard came from a yogi whom I shall not name. He coined LOVE as an acronym for Lousy Overrated Vulgar Emotion. His point was to shatter the delusion of people who are usually in a state of infatuation rather than love. For him, love is something way beyond the psychological drama that's happening inside our head. If love is predicated on accepting some and rejecting others, then it is an incomplete love affair. Love can only be immutable otherwise it is conditional which means, it's no longer love. Suffering happens because of a certain need to possess, not to include.

Lust is a strong need. Love is not a need. When you love, you settle down; nothing more is needed. Love is a pleasant way to be; that’s fine. But most people are trying to fulfill a certain sense of incompleteness by trapping someone in some emotion. No one likes to be managed. But everyone longs to be included.
– Sadhguru

Love invokes other qualities that are similar. The usual suspects are inclusiveness, compassion, devotion, gratitude, contentment, reverence, freedom, empathy and the list goes on.. But for some reason, I'm unwilling to include kindness because life situations sometimes require the act of being ruthless towards oneself and others. That itself may become an act of kindness in the long run. Even so, I would rather be genuine with someone rather than act in a constipated state of kindness out of the fear of confrontation. Most of the time, kindness is just masqueraded pretension.

Freedom and love go together. Love is not a reaction. If I love you because you love me, that is mere trade, a thing to be bought in the market; it is not love. To love is not to ask anything in return, not even to feel that you are giving something β€” and it is only such love that can know freedom.
– J.Krishnamurti

That said, I might be wrong and I still need to figure it out. Maybe, there is someone out there who can change my mind about love at some point in time which again leads to the question: But seriously, what is love? On that note, enjoy this lovely song by Lady Antebellum!