The definitions of Love - What is Love?

This is one of the most intriguing questions posed to humanity..

While everyone talks about love.. Yet there are so many definitions of the same.
Lets look at the different definitions of love -

Will start with how OSHO explained love. His definition helps understand the subsequent definitions with ease. He said - "Love is a hierarchy, from the lowest rung to the highest, from sex to superconsciousness.
There are many many layers, many planes of love. It all depends on you. If you are existing on the lowest rung, you will have a totally different idea of love than the person who is existing on the highest rung.
Adolf Hitler will have one idea of love, Gautam Buddha another and they will be diametrically opposite, because they are at two extremes.
At the lowest, love is a kind of politics, power politics. Love is about domination.
At the highest peak, love is not a relationship any more, it becomes a state of your being."

Moving forward, coming to the Psychiatry and Neuro-Science of Love .. Science would define it as -

Love is a powerful neurological condition just like hunger or thirst.
Love is basically a chemical reaction resulting of the mind-brain interaction.
Lust is a temporary passionate sexual desire which stimulates the brain to an increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and oestrogen,

Love or attachment and bonding is the reaction of the brain to emotions and actions which positive neuro-chemicals like - pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin.
The viability or long-term strength of a relationship depends on the ability to keep producing these positive neuro-chemicals.
Every individual has a different mental framework, hence every individual has different emotional demands to satisfy the production of these chemicals.
Till the brain is responding to actions of others through production of these positive chemicals, love will remain.

A philosopher would break love into different stages and then define it.
Love is the combination of one or more of the following stages -

1. Deep non-sexual intimacy - like those between close friends and family members.
2. Playful affection thats a manifestation of subconscious sexual thoughts - Flirting or fooling around.
3. Mature love that develops over a long period of time between long-term couples and involves active practising of adjustment, goodwill, commitment, compromise and understanding.
4. Generalized love - Love for everything.
5. Self love - Care, kindness and goodwill towards self.
6. Sexual passion - most extreme expression of love. It can mean complete surrender to partner or on the other extreme very high need of "possessiveness", control and "authority" over partner.

Philosophy says that no one can have all 6 stages in one personality. Though there can be presence of one or more. There will always be domination of one stage.

Religious Scholars from all religions, if they left there differences aside, would define True love as -
Love is a virtue, by which we love God above all things.
When immersed in pure love, we see God in all places and automatically indulge in acts for his praise. These include the acts of kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice. Love for God is the only thing that can never hurt anyone and will always lead you towards higher consciousness.
The love for God is the only pure love. The more we indulge in it, the more we will leave the world away. Its bonds are stronger than that of live-death. It cannot be bought or sold, it can just be felt from the heart.

At last, but not the least.. The Common Man would define love in the following way -
Love depends on the state of bonding one shares with others.
In a secure bond - parents, children, siblings, friends and spouse - expectations are met and when they are not, adjustments are done.
When expectations are met, they give rise to a lot of happiness.. when they aren't then adjustments are done to battle the sadness.

In case of love deprivation - loss of a loved one, in a non-reciprocating relationship or longing to be loved by someone - it can feel like an obsession and would give rise to severe physical pain.

The greatest experience of love is the courtship period, which involves a lot of playfulness and freedom of expression.

MIND MANTRA - Love has millions of names and definitions.. There is a big mixing and matching thats unique of you and your personality.
The most important is to accept that your love is unique to you.
The most important is to appreciate and rejoice the love in your mind, brain and heart.
The most important is to take decisions based on your love. - your decisions might pain some, might make some happy.. but it has to be a decision taken being true to your need of love.

written by -

Dr.Hemant Mittal
(Psychiatrist, Motivational Writer and Counselor)

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