Love – The Purest Expression of the Soul

Love

The Purest Expression of the Soul

Chapter 1 What is love?

 

Wisdom

Love

 

Love, one of our most oft used words, remains an enigma.

 

There may have been more written about love than about any other subject, yet it remains intangible.

 

Wisdom

 

Love is the single most necessary ingredient in human life.

 

Wisdom

 

It is both giving and receiving, it allows us to experience another person and lets that person experience us.

 

Wisdom

 

Love is the origin and foundation of all human interaction.

 

Wisdom

 

To live a meaningful life, we must learn more about love and how to bring it into our lives.

 

Wisdom

 

Possible reasons for Love

 

At first glance, we might think that we need love in the same way that we need to eat and drink, to breath and sleep.

 

We know that love fills our need to be cared for, our need for intimacy.

 

So often we pursue love in a manner that is narcissistic and indulgent – we look for someone who will love us because we crave it.

 

Wisdom

 

We may want to love someone so we can feel good about ourselves.

 

Wisdom

 

Why is love elusive?

 

If love is just another need like food and water, why is it so elusive?

 

Why is attaining love difficult for so many people?

 

And when we do find it, it doesn’t come easily, it always comes with some pain and frustration.

 

Wisdom

 

We may succeed at love for a time but when we fail the pain is intense.

 

Wisdom

 

The true reason for love

 

These are the obstacles we face when we look at love as just another of our bodily needs.

 

Yes we do need love just as we need food and water, but there is a difference.

 

Food and water are elements of the earth that sustain our physical bodies, whereas love is the language of G-d, which sustains our souls.

 

Wisdom

 

True Love

 

True love bears little resemblance to the love we read about in novels and hear about in songs.

 

True love is transcendental, linking our physical selves to G-d and, therefore, to everyone else around us.

 

Wisdom

 

Usually we look at love from a selfish standpoint namely it is something that “I want and need” but true love linked to G-d is actually selfless.

 

Wisdom

 

One of our most fundamental principles is “Love your friend as yourself.”

 

Wisdom

 

How can this be possible – don’t we love ourselves more than we can love anything else?

 

The answer lies in the fact that true, selfless love stems not from the body, but from the soul.

 

Wisdom

 

Love is the dominance of spirit over matter, the soul over the body.

 

Wisdom

Soul-Love

 

By the definition of materialism, two objects cannot occupy the same space simultaneously.

 

But the soul transcends time and space, and it also transcends narcissism, making it possible to truly share yourself with another person.

 

Wisdom

 

The essence of Judaism

 

The sage Hillel says, “Do not do onto others that which you do not want them to do to you. This is the entire Torah and the rest is commentary.”

 

Wisdom

 

True love is knowing that you are in essence your soul, which is a part of G-d, and as all souls all come from the one G-d, hence we are literally all one.

 

Wisdom

 

The wisdom of G-d is intended to do one thing: to teach us how to love, to transcend our material boundaries and reach a more spiritual place.

 

Wisdom

 

Love connects you to G-d

 

Love is a way of talking to G-d. When you look into someone’s eyes and love that person, you are transcending the physical world and connecting to G-d.

 

Wisdom

 

Love is a G-dly act, the purest way to feed another person’s soul as well as your own.

 

Wisdom

 

The deepest love is not merely human.

 

It is a love infused with G-dliness. Whereby a mortal kiss is transformed into an immortal one.

 

Wisdom

 

True love is one soul greeting another.

 

Chapter 2 Why Do We Need Love?

 

Wisdom

 

We Are Looking For Our Source

 

In a sense we have all wandered away from our true selves.

 

Birth is the beginning of our soul’s journey, sent off from its Divine source to live in an unnatural state, a land of materialism.

 

Throughout our lives, therefore, we crave to be reunited with our real selves.

 

We search for our soul. For the G-dly spark within ourselves.

 

We long to reconnect to our source.

 

Wisdom

 

Many of us don’t realize that what we call love is actually a search for G-d.

 

The urgent need we are expressing when we say “I need to be cared for” or “I need intimacy” is really the need to transcend our physical selves and to connect to our souls.

 

Wisdom

 

In a sense loving another person should be the same as loving G-d, and vice versa.

 

Wisdom

 

A person who can love G-d but cannot love a human being is not really loving G-d. And a person who loves another person but has no love for G-d will ultimately discover that what he calls love is conditional and selfish, which means that it is not truly love at all.

 

Wisdom

 

Selfish Conditional Love VS. Selfless Unconditional Love

 

The two types of love – selfish love and selfless love – are diametrically opposed.

 

Selfish love is condition love; you love on the condition that your needs will be met, and if the person you have chosen to love doesn’t serve your needs, you reject that person and search elsewhere.

 

Although it may seem beautiful for a time, selfish love is bound to be mercurial. When the person you love wants help. You may give it. But once the price becomes too high, if you feel you are giving more than you are receiving, you may simply stop loving. After all there is only so much discomfort that you may be willing to tolerate for another person.

 

Wisdom

 

Selfless love means rising above your own needs.

 

Wisdom

When love is transcendental you are reaching a higher place; you are reaching for G-d.

 

Wisdom

 

There are no conditions for such selfless love; when transcendence is the focus of our love, we do not constantly redefine our wants and needs.

 

Conditional, selfish love dissipates when its conditions are not met, but unconditional, selfless love is constant and eternal.

 

Wisdom

 

Conditional love all too often means the obliteration or subjugation of one individual; instead of two becoming one, the love of the more dominant person consumes the other.

 

Unconditional love, though, the love of transcendence, enables you to put aside your selfish desires and love that person accordingly.

 

Wisdom

 

Conditional love does not encourage growth, for it is simply a temporary need being fulfilled.

 

Just as you need to eat again a few hours after a meal, someone who loves conditionally will constantly need more helpings of assurance, caring and acceptance.

 

But unconditional love is the foundation of human growth.

 

Wisdom

 

Conditional love is compartmentalized in your life; unconditional love is an integral part of your entire existence.

 

And finally, it is the tool by which we learn to experience the highest reality: G-d.

 

Theory and Practice

 

Love, therefore, is the foundation on which our entire world is built.

 

All of our laws, all of our attitudes, all of our interactions stem from the same principle.

 

Love, is the root of all civility and morality.

 

Without love, it would be impossible to live in peace with one another, to respect one another’s needs, and to treat everyone with the same compassion that we would like to be given ourselves.

 

Chapter 3 How Do We Achieve Such Selfless Love?

 

Wisdom

The Vulnerability of True Love

 

Initially it may seem terrifying to embrace selfless love.

 

It is easier and safer to love on your own terms.

 

Selfless love, on the other hand, creates risk and vulnerability.

 

But we must learn to celebrate this newfound vulnerability, for that is precisely what makes true love so gratifying – the prospect of sharing your soul with another person.

 

Wisdom

 

Most of us are ready to love but we have learned not to trust other people, sometimes with good reason.

 

Wisdom

 

The only way to let go, to become vulnerable again, to open yourself to the possibilities of true love, is to trust G-d and the G-dliness within the person that you love.

 

Practice

Learning to love yourself

 

To achieve selfless love, you must first learn to love yourself, to create harmony between your own body and soul.

 

Practice

 

This means understanding who you really are and what you have been put on this earth to accomplish.

 

It means being comfortable with your calling and not looking for distractions.

 

If you are in conflict with yourself, how can you expect to reach a comfortable love with another person?

 

Wisdom

 

Learning to love yourself can be difficult.

 

Practice

 

Initially the ego cannot coexist with G-d.

 

You are either pursuing your own agenda or G-d’s; you see yourself as either a self-made, self-contained being, or as a being created in the image of G-d.

 

In order to grow, you must learn to suspend your ego, to empty yourself and make room for something greater than yourself.

 

Wisdom

 

If you don’t find a way to love G-d, to love the G-d that resides within your soul, you will find yourself in a constant search for love.

 

We may even turn to unhealthy forms of love to replace this lack of inner love.

 

Wisdom

How People Learn To Love

 

This is why we don’t begin our lives searching for love.

 

As children, we learn first to receive love from our parents, from our siblings, from our environment.

 

Only when we mature can we begin to look for love from a stranger, someone who will become a lifelong partner in marriage.

 

Wisdom

 

The love between a married couple, the love among family members, and the love between friends are all different of course.

 

But what do they have in common?

 

They reflect the love between man and G-d.

 

And how do we learn such love?

 

We learn it as children, by watching our parents, our families, our teachers.

 

For a child to grow into a loving adult, he must receive love and constantly see acts of love.

 

Wisdom

 

A child must also learn to appreciate every other human being and every aspect of our existence on earth.

 

Wisdom

 

Every person and everything that exists is a creation of G-d which, something we all share in common.

 

Wisdom

 

Every single thing on earth is worthy of our awareness and respect.

 

Every person is like a diamond.

 

While a diamond may appear soiled, beneath the surface lies a beauty and grace that are unequaled.

 

It is precious regardless of how it looks on the outside, regardless of its surroundings.

 

We should treat each person that we meet accordingly – as a diamond.

 

Practice and Theory

 

We must respect each person’s innate value and totally dedicate ourselves to helping him by whatever means necessary.

 

If his outer layer appears soiled, we should encourage him to clean himself.

 

If his edges seem rough, we should help educate and empower him to polish himself, by accessing his inner resources.

 

This is the true idea of love – to appreciate each person no matter what or where he is, and to help that person become the best person they can possibly become.

 

As the sages say, “The sins should be erased but not the sinner.”

 

Practice and Theory

It is not important to love every single thing that a person does, but it is important to love the person unconditionally.

 

Practice and Theory

 

You don’t have to accept another person’s choices and you don’t have to teach your children those choices, but you must accept that person. At the same time you don’t have to feel afraid to act specially, uniquely, Jewishly.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Even if you reject the philosophy of a particular group or individual you mustn’t reject the group or the person.

 

Wisdom

 

Love is Sensitivity

 

Love is not smothering someone with what you think is good for him; love is appreciating a person’s individuality.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Love requires the ultimate sensitivity to every person, beginning with your own family and extending into the world at large.

 

That means transcending our narrow vision and learning to love everyone, regardless of his or her background, education, personality or temperament.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Love and Discipline

 

Such a selfless healthy love must include a degree of education and discipline.

 

This is true both on the personal level and on the community level, for both children and adults.

 

Practice

 

It is not enough to love someone and then leave him alone when he is doing something harmful to himself or others.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Love does not mean compromising higher standards.

 

Practice

 

A parent is not truly loving his or her child when out of so called love he does not want to discipline the child for doing something wrong or harmful.

 

Wisdom

 

Above all love is a force for good.

 

Wisdom

Love and Unity

 

Love is the means by which human beings achieve cosmic unity, the unity between one another, G-d and the universe.

 

Wisdom

 

So the next person you see, whether it is a stranger or your spouse, do something gracious in the name of love.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Introduce love in you life not just on your own terms but beyond your present boundaries.

 

Practice and Theory

 

Learn to love your family in a new way.

 

Love your family not only because they are your flesh and blood but because they are G-d’s children.

 

Before putting your children to sleep, give them a new kind of kiss, one filled with the fire of your G-dly soul.

 

Talk to them about love and how to care for one another.

 

You will see how this new awareness of love carries over into everything that you do.

 

Wisdom

 

From a technological standpoint, we are now living in an age of unprecedented unity.

 

And yet our personal connections are more frayed than ever.

 

Let us embrace unconditional love and make it the call of our generation.

 

Let us love one another, to create unity between man and man, between man and G-d.

 

Let us see our technological unity as an opportunity to introduce love to everyone – first within ourselves, then in our families, our communities, our nations, and finally the entire world.

 

Let us usher in the day when there will be neither envy nor strife, when love and unity abound.

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