Love is an essential part of all of our lives, and while it is an uplifting emotion that we all crave, it can also cause many problems and much hurt. However, it doesn’t need to be this way.
There are many kinds of love: love for yourself, love for other individuals, and love for a group. There is romantic love, familial love, and platonic love. Most importantly, there is emotional love and pure love, which is what some people describe as unconditional love, disinterested love, unattached love, or agape love.
The greatest love is this last kind of love, which I would also term Tao love
. Tao love comes from the recognition and real experience that all life is intertwined and connected
. In fact, all life is the same essential existence in many temporary forms. It is always morphing and changing on the outside, but at its root, it is the same energy. Tao is this essential energy and the consciousness associated with it. When you experience this energy, you experience Tao love. Then it becomes obvious to you that what you do, think, feel, and say are influencing and are influenced by all the life surrounding it.
In a world where people fight each other for survival and protection, where we see each other as resources and have a primal need to possess and control, it may be difficult to experience a Tao love. This limited perspective of “us” against “them,” and of not having enough for everyone, is the current consciousness of much of humanity. But we can evolve.
The evolution of our capacity to love is tied to the evolution of our consciousness. We can start with loving ourselves
and move quickly to loving our parents and family
Although not always easy, this kind of love, which in Korean is called Hyo, is common and natural. It’s an interpersonal love, or a love between individuals. Human beings have a natural propensity to love their children and the parents who took care of them, even though, as nature is always variable, this is not always the case. This is a basic kind of love we need to start with in order to experience greater love.
The next level up from Hyo love is love for a group, such as an organization and, especially, a country. In Korean, this is called Choong, which translates into “loyalty.” Love for a group is expressed as loyalty. The Chinese character for loyalty is a compound letter with "center" and "mind." Put together it means “the mind is at the center.” In order for a group to work together, it needs a common goal. This goal is the center on which all of its members focus their mind. Regardless of what hardships befall the group or the changing dynamics within the group, showing loyalty by staying focused on the goal is essential for the group’s survival.
The energy of love lies in our heart in different layers. The outer layers are made of emotional love while the innermost center is pure love energy—Tao love. Loyalty is a kind of love that is not simply an emotion or natural instinct. It’s a choice we make and carry out with our mind and actions. Because loyalty transcends personal consciousness and emotions, such as selfishness and the feeling of being victimized, focusing on the center—being true to the purpose of the group to which you belong, even your family—purifies your energy. It releases the energy of old wounds and brightens the emotional energy around the purest energy at the center of your heart, bringing you one step closer to Tao love.
To experience Tao love fully, however, loyalty to a group is not enough. The interests of different groups—companies, religions, nations—often clash, resulting in conflict. Conflict is the opposite of Tao love. To cross the final bridge to Tao love, then, requires another jump in consciousness. It requires letting go of our attachments to our sense of self, or ego, to other individuals, and to the groups to which we belong. We need the center on which we focus to be the goal of spiritual completion for all people, which means the complete expression of the innate divinity of humanity in the physical realm.
While this goal may seem abstract, I think we can substitute another common goal that, if it’s achieved, will result in spiritual completion and love for self, for other individuals, for our groups, and ultimately for all. This goal is Earth Management. In the process of everyone working together to manage the earth’s resources
fairly, productively, and sustainably, we will experience Tao love, and pain and conflict from love will cease.
(Photo courtesy of Doriana S.)