Issue No. 12
Table of Contents
- Why Important
- The Nature of Love
- How to Express Your Love
- Teaching children how to love
I. Why Important
There is universal agreement that love is perhaps the most important value
in life. First, it makes us happy to love and be loved. Second, the capacity
for genuine love is the mark of spirituality. Third, love is ultimately the
key to social and global harmony. But it appears that so many people do not
experience love in its true sense. They say they love someone, but the
behaviors do not indicate love, for they often cause unhappiness. Hence when
people talk about love, it seems that they are really talking about something
else. Therefore it is important that we clarify what love is not, and what
true love is. How do we develop the capacity to love? How do we teach children
Giving and receiving love clears the nervous system of its muck and
mire. You feel strong when you give love and worthy when you receive
it. You can't be distressed, confused and unhappy in an atmosphere
Dr. David Goodman
II. The Nature of Love
- Love should not be confused with need, desire or attraction --
Need: "I love you because I need you. I love you because you make me
happy." This is self-love and not really love of the other person.
Suppose I no longer need you, or you no longer make me happy, do I
cease to love you?
Desire or attraction: "I love you because you are beautiful and
intelligent." What happens when you're no longer beautiful or
intelligent? Does that love disappear?
These therefore are not really love, but needs or desires of people.
If these are the foundations of a relationship, then they are neither
deep nor long-lasting.
- Love is not selfish or self-centered -- Love that is centered on
oneself is not really love for the other person. It is merely the
satisfaction of one's own need. Therefore, when a relationship is focused
on what one can get, then it is doubtful whether it is love at all.
- Love is unconditional -- Love means unselfish appreciation of, and
benevolence to, another person or being, regardless of whether we derive
any benefit from him or it. Love means we appreciate and accept another
as he or she is, not for what we can get. This is unconditional love.
Examples: Happily taking care of an invalid or comatose person; loving
another person and wanting him or he to be happy even if the other person
does not reciprocate that love.
- Love means not deliberately hurting another person -- This seems an
obvious guideline, but when we look deeper we find that it is not that
simple. When a father angrily spanks a child, or locks him up in the
bathroom, and he says that he is doing this because he loves the child,
is this really love? When we punish someone in anger, is there really
love? Or are we carried away by the emotion of anger, resulting in the
tendency to harm or injure the child or wife or "loved one"?
There is a mistaken notion prevailing almong some parents that
discipline is the same thing as punishment. It is not. Discipline
comes from a Latin word meaning "teach." The best discipline is
that which teaches, not the kind that hurts.
J. C. Wynn
How do we combine love and discipline?
Criticize the act but don't condemn the person. Show you care for the
person even if you strongly disapprove of the action. If you need to
penalize a child, do it without exhibiting rejection of the child.
Avoid such threats as: "If you do not eat your dinner, Mama does not
love you anymore."
- Love means patience and understanding -- When a child is not
behaving well, do we easily become impatient and angry? Or shall we
take the time and patience to teach the child? When a friend or a
loved one is late for an appointment, do we immediately get irritated
and angry? Or do we consider that perhaps our friend met an accident
or a problem?
Example: A mother is a nagger, and she does not realize that it
is an unhealthy habit despite suggestions to her. Can we still
love her with this imperfection?
- Love is sensitive and listens deeply -- When we talk to someone,
do we really listen not only to the words but also to the feelings and
concerns of the person?
- Love is the essence of spirituality -- Love is a state of being
rather than an emotion like desire or attraction. It is a state or
experience of unity with another, resulting in compassion.
Example: Love does not discriminate whether one is a Catholic or
Hindu, whether one is black or brown, whether one is an American
or Filipino. Such distinctions are really but larger forms of
III. How to Express Your Love
- Say so (Express your love by saying "I love you" to the person, or
writing a letter, a note, or a card).
- Hug and touch them (Frequent hugs to our children is one of the most
reassuring gestures to show that we care. Physical gestures are important
messages that people understand and appreciate).
- Be thoughtful about their needs (It tells people that you remember them
and that you deliberately spent time to think about their needs). It may
be a special book that you bought for them, or get for them something
that they particularly like. Be always ready to serve. The highest
spirituality means love and service to all without distinction.
- Spend time talking to them and listening to them (We should not be too
busy that we have no time for those whom we say we love. And when we
talk to them, we must be sensitive to things that will make them
genuinely happy and fulfilled).
IV. Teaching children how to love (from Teaching Your
All rights reserved. Peace Center, Theosophical Society in the Philippines,
1 Iba Street, Quezon City, Philippines. This outline may be reproduced
provided this notice appears.
- Love them unconditionally,and they in turn learn how to love.
- Give them opportunities to serve, and they will learn how to be
compassionate to others.
Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines
"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."