by Jonathan Dickau
©'99 - all rights reserved
Love is not an emotion, per se, but emotions come into play in every expression of Love. We all have feelings, and the ability to feel is part of what makes us human. Not all feelings are pleasant, however, nor is every emotion we can feel situationally appropriate and culturally acceptable. We can feel attracted to one person, and find someone else repulsive. We can be turned on by one mode of behavior, and find other behaviors disgusting. We can feel happy or sad, excited or mellow, anxious or relaxed, and almost anything between the extremes. Emotions can be quite complex, and often confusing, because they shift and mutate, and they don't come in neat little bundles. We can be attracted and repulsed by the same person, depending on their behavior, and we can find the same behavior attractive in one person, and disgusting when it comes from someone else. We can also be turned off if we receive the right action for the wrong reasons, or even if we only suspect that may be the case.
Emotional love is a little different from physical love, even if it comes in the same package. Sometimes, it's easy to confuse the two, because we don't really know where one begins and the other leaves off. Often, there is no clear boundary, and sometimes there can't be, since all emotions are filtered through the senses and sensibilities of our physical bodies. Perhaps emotion can exist as an abstract form, but the way we feel it is with the nervous system, as something quite immanent and almost concrete, not as some nebulous and indefinite feeling "out there" somewhere. Emotions are every bit as real as anything physical, since they are a definite part of our daily experiences. We can mask them, or subdue them, through logic or necessity, but we can't really make them go away, even if we can fool ourselves into believing that is so.
When you are frightened, it's not as if you can easily convince yourself that it is happening to someone else. The same is true of happiness, or Love. Feelings are very personal, and nobody else can have your feelings for you, and nobody else's reasoning can make your feelings unreal for you. Feelings flow like a liquid, or like energy whose potential seeks the path to close the circuit to find expression. They can be bottled up, but not turned off, as they will eventually find a way to express. In order for emotion to serve the purposes of true Love, however, we must take care to cultivate serenity. Emotional Love can come gushing forth, but sometimes this is dangerous. When a serene sense of calm prevails, emotion can become like a great Ocean of Love, full of life and vitality.
©'99 Jonathan J. Dickau - all rights reserved
This was used as part of a worship service, when Jonathan shared the pulpit with the Rev. Kay Greenleaf, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie, on February 14, 1999, Valentine's Day Sunday.
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Love, Kindness, Love
Service, and Compassion
Thanks - jd