What is the meaning of love? A question that people spend their whole lives looking for the answer to. Some are lucky enough to find it - in a partner, in the feeling they get when looking at their children, in their own inner peace, in the commitment to religion and worship.
Love gives us strength. It gives us hope. Love inspires us to move mountains, to hold on to what is most important to us. But was it always this way?
In the context of religion, one thing is clear across the board: Love is a selfless act. It is how you care for another person and how you love your God.
In Buddhism, love is giving the feeling of love to another living thing. Love is finding comfort in the act of unselfishness and causing no harm to another.
In Judaism, love is one of the ten core commandments - some others being respect your father and mother, do not steal, or worship any other idols.
In Christianity, similarly, there are also ten commandments, but in terms of love it is the belief that God is the source and the essence of love. He showed his love for his followers by sacrificing himself to save his people.
And in Islam, true love is God's love - and it is our duty to love one another truly as he loves his creation.
In a forward-thinking 2021, we hope that love looks more like mutual respect, valuing the life of the person next to us as much as we value our own. And not hesitating to teach the next generation that love can come in all forms.
Romantic love is similar in that it asks us to be devoted, wholly, to another soul. To make a connection with another, mentally, physically, and emotionally. You accept each other's flaws, quirks, and the like.
What does love mean to you? Where do you find your heart fluttering to?
Famous historic poets write of epic love and the tragedies that you feel with losing such a coveted vibration. Playwrights and myth tellers dating back to ancient Greece choreographed scenes around love - the act, the feeling, the goal. Songs about love since the creation of music have come from heartbreak, from discovery, from a longing for "someone" or a place of "someday."
Thirteenth century poet, Rumi, compares love to flight.
"This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet."
William Shakespeare, the famous Elizabethan playwright, wrote of love as the basis of most of his works, telling the tales of turmoil and tragedy in lengthy prose. Simply put from A Midsummer Night's Dream,
"The course of true love never did run smooth."
A point he made over and over in theme. But there were also many lines in these plays where love was the breath of life and the reason to live - even if it was followed by tragedy. From Romeo and Juliet:
"My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee the more I have, for both are infinite."
There are countless songs from genres across the billboard charts depicting love in all forms, belted out at the top of your lungs, or sung by heart on karaoke night. A chart topping hit from the 70's, by the Bee Gees has a catchy tune and deep lyrics for How Deep Is Your Love:
"I believe in you / You know the door to my very soul / You're the light in my deepest darkest hour / You're my savior when I fall / And you may not think / I care for you / When you know down inside / That I really do / And it's me you need to show / How deep is your love"
However you view love, whatever it's definition is to you, wherever its origin, one thing to takeaway - we could all use a little more love in our daily lives. Act with love. Speak with love. Teach a wholesome love. And may love find its way back to you, twofold.