Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.
Of all of the great philosophers, Lao Tzu would be on the top of my list of those I would most enjoy talking with. His philosophy has helped craft some of the deepest, most rooted components of my belief system.
When we consider love, as humans, we are quick to humanize the emotion and relegate it to our species. But in actuality, love is everywhere in the animal kingdom. We see it in countless gorgeous photos and videos of animals in both male and female sense of the word, as well as in mother child and father child relationships. We see it when animals of unlikely pairings become dear friends as little ones and become inseparable like that lion, bear and tiger who were buddies for life.
We see it in how our pets adore us and how we adore them. Every time I see one of my friends bidding farewell to an animal that has aged out, I am caused to relieve the euthanasia of my last dog and how much it broke my heart. It has been over 3 years now, and I have not found the strength yet to bond with another animal and start the process all over again.
Love drives us to achieve. Love drives us to perform. Love is not relegated to a relationship between a human and another living being relationship. Sometimes it is a passion for an art, a sport, a science, or any other devout form of personal dedication that causes us to be. To live. To experience the deepest joys that our souls may conjure. To grow into becoming who we are destined to be.
Sometimes the word, Love, is overused to the point of meaninglessness. But on the occasions where it truly describes the intense, devout, relentless feeling that consumes our entire being and drives us in inexplicable ways, then that is the love that Lao Tzu wrote about in this aphorism. It is a truly magical, indescribable experience that once bitten, we are very hard-pressed to ever lose sight of.
The metaphysical side of me has tried on many an occasion to understand what love is. It is an emotion and a feeling and an attraction and a bond and a motivational force. That is how it is able to simultaneously attack the head, heart and senses. But it is entirely intangible. Nondescript. Transient at times. It can be present at one moment in your life and gone in another moment. How is that? What actually happens in physical terms? How do we lose something that never existed in a physical, descriptive sense?
I do not think there are answers to the deeper questions. For those, you might have to ask the dog who sits grieving on the grave of its newly buried master. Or explain the tears that come when you reflect on the loss of a love.
It is one of life’s most powerful forces. One that perhaps we will never truly understand, but one that drives so many of our life experiences into greatness.
Not being religious, I asked a man (who became one of my dearest friends after this first dinner in which we were introduced…. ). “Salim, if you eliminate the triple O in the definition of God (Omnipowerful, Omnipresent and Omniscient) what is God? He blinked once and said, without pause, “God is the love and light that is in all of us.” To this day, that definition has stood for me as a greater understanding of life, of people, of our relationship with all living things and our planet.
Love is truly a miraculous force. Never to be trivialized.
CODA: I sent this to Salim prior to publishing. His response… LOVE – What a word. It is the driving force in all of us humans. It makes us do things which appear almost impossible. It is like food but satiates the heart, mind and soul. It guarantees to transport one to heights almost unattainable in normal circumstances. It opens up a degree of passion not to be seen in anything. It makes one laugh and cry at the same time. It brings a lot of happiness and a lot of sadness. It brings vindictiveness, jealousy and arrogance. It makes one fill up with pride when one has true love and makes one bitter if loved and lost. It makes one possessive in a way that one would not be with anything in life and to ensure togetherness eternally one would go to the very end of one’s Patience, Faith and senses to continue. I am one who believes in all that I have mentioned because it has happened to me and I am truly very happy because I consider this final relationship as ideal. Wouldn’t want anyone else even if I lose out because no one would come even near to give such happiness.