I Want to Know What Love Is

“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one come to you without leaving happier.”

~Mother Teresa


I awakened in the middle of the night, and I was not surprised as to where my thoughts were taking me. I will sometimes do this – especially if I my mind is trying to figure something out. Last night, it was the concept of love. I suppose it all started with the fact that February is known for its day of love – Valentine’s Day. Well, it is also known for President’s Day and Leap Year every four years, but most people recognize that Valentine’s Day is in February.

I have been reading a lot lately. It all began with a book called The Divine Dance of Diani which, in a very convoluted way, led me to reading the whole The Dharma Bums book in one day. The word ‘dharma’ led me to this book after searching through the Bhagavad-Gita to find the four main paths that we should live by. If you have good dharma then you have good karma. These are the paths that not only govern the individual, but all of society as well. The first path is that of selfless acts given to others. Those good acts done from love without expectation of reciprocation.  This is when I started to think about what love is.

“Act without expectation.” ~ Lao Tzu


My mind kept returning to the concept of love. What is love?  We give it.  We receive it. We make it. But, what does it mean? You can insert Foreigner’s song “I Want to Know What Love Is” because I can’t get it out of my head now. When I tried, my brain went to the Yes song, “Love Will Find a Way”, but they also have a song called “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. This was not helpful. Switching to Three Dog Night I landed on “One” (is the loneliest number). Seriously, I need to stay focused.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. “

~Dalai Lama


Yesterday, I went to meet a dear friend and mentor for coffee. We talked for almost three hours, and it seemed that time stood still as we were together. I am just now realizing, as I write this, that we primarily talked about me. She listened and advised me on so many things that I left feeling excited and invincible. I never leave her without feeling better and happier after our conversations. I always leave with direction and purpose. She doesn’t blow smoke, but she showers me (and everyone) with unconditional love and compassion. Her wisdom and insight are invaluable. She is love. This is when I started to figure out what love is.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~Aesop


It seems that all of human existence revolves around ‘finding’ love. It is not a spot marked with an X on a pirate’s map. Rand McNally hasn’t written the guidebook to this destination. Mother Teresa, on the other hand, has. She is the first person I think of when I think about love. I am not particularly religious, but I am spiritual, and I do believe in those who ARE love. There is nothing more spiritually gratifying than loving-kindness.

When I was looking up the definition of love, I found the definition for agape love. Agape love is, as defined by thefreedictionary.com, selfless love of one person for another without sexual implications (especially love that is spiritual in nature). Selfless. Love is giving, not receiving. It is selfless. It is never wasted. Love is the feeling you feel when you give unconditionally without expectations. It comes from a deeply spiritual place that is open to the whole world. William Wordsworth said it best when he said, “The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” In giving love freely and with no expectation, it is reflected back on me.  Now, I know what love is.