“I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” It is a common phrase that highlights the complexity of love as a concept. The love enigma is even more troublesome when subject to the scrutiny of the scientific community. As love is neither quantifiable nor measureable, it cannot be evaluated in controlled experiments and thus we cannot scientifically prove its existence. This leaves room for rational skepticism surrounding the notion of love as a real concept. Nonetheless, while some of us wonder if love is even real, others spend their entire lifetime learning how to love themselves. Despite science’s limitations, we know deep down that love is real because we can feel it. Love is an experience.
We experience love when our mother serves us a plate of home-cooked food, checking in several times to make sure our bellies are full. Love is felt when our best friends stay on the phone with us for hours while we mull over our relationship woes. Love is shown when a husband massages the swollen feet of his pregnant wife until she nods off to sleep. Whether or not we are “in love”, all forms of Love have something in common: a connection that enriches life.
Marriages thrive when both parties commit to enriching each other’s lives. My mom’s lasagna undoubtedly enriches my life and in turn, her life is enriched when she nourishes my stomach. When life gets hard and we need someone to talk to, our best friends provide us with a listening ear and relevant guidance making the tough times a bit easier.
However, once we stop enriching life, everything changes. Marriages end once the enrichment stops because someone ends up falling out of love. When mothers don’t nurture their children, we see the suffering child as unloved and we try to find the child a more loving home. When our friends do not listen or choose not to support us, the connection fades and we stop viewing them as “real” friends.
We have all seen the product of not being loved; homeless vets, mass incarceration, increased suicides and mass killings. The record-breaking mass killing that recently took place in Orlando reminded us all of how fear, anger and evil can prevail when we choose not to love. The troubled killer, Omar Mateen, struggled with accepting himself and his own homosexual curiosity. Instead of loving himself unconditionally, he hated his curiosities and feared his deep personal truth. Self-hatred and homophobia prevented him from enriching his own life. This in turn affected his ability to love or enrich the lives of others. The destruction Mateen displayed is a microcosm of the self-destruction we experience as a collective, when we allow fear to prevent us from participating in the power of love. Fear blocks our progress while love courageously moves us forward.
So how do we choose love?
First by keeping it simple. Specify your intent by committing to a basic definition of love. Try thinking of love as life-enriching connection; then choose the power of love by choosing to enrich life. Enriching life builds strong long-lasting bonds which ultimately lead to the growth and preservation of all life. Choosing not to enrich life, corrupts connections and breaks bonds accelerating us towards the destruction of life as we know it. As our strength lies within our capacity to unify and find harmony amongst ourselves, the fate of humanity rests on our propensity to choose love over hate. Unification over division. Peace over war. Enrichment over destruction.
If you want to connect with the true power of love, simply choose to enrich life. Nature is an excellent resource for finding ways to enrich life. There are countless scientific studies that highlight the mental health benefits of spending time with nature. By paying attention to the enriching relationship between the elements, plants and animals, you will find breathtaking examples of love in nature. These enlightening experiences with nature will rationally connect you to the abundance and accessibility of life-enriching love energy. Your belief in love will become practical and the more you enrich life, the more love you’ll experience. Please take this message and do what Omar Mateen and many others have lacked the courage to do. Give love to yourself and others. To the animals and plants. To the oceans and skies. To the source from which you came. Give unconditional love by choosing to enrich life, unconditionally. We all need your help. Namaste.