We all want Love in our life. We all have strong desire to experiencing loving relationships. We all want to reassure ourselves that we are being loved by someone special. But what is Love? How can it be possible? Can it be constructed?
Loving ourselves, loving each other, our neighbors, and our enemy are essential part of philosophical political and psychological debates in human history. It is said, most fights/ conflicts are linked to the absent of Love in human relationships.
Thick Nhat Hanh shares his views and wisdom on ways of bringing Love more present in our daily life. In his book, True Love (1997), he says: according to Buddhism, there are four elements of true Love. I am going to share with you what he consider as essence elements of Love. They are the following:
a) The first element of true love is Maitri, which can be translated as Loving- kindness or Benevolence. Loving- Kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, it is the ability to bring joy to the person you love. To have this ability, you must practice ‘deep looking’ directed towards the person you love. If you don’t understand this person, you can’t love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. How to understand the person? We must have time; we must practice looking deeply into this person. We must be attentive. We must observe and look deeply.
b) The second element of true love is Karuna, Compassion, this is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person but the ability to do so.
c) The third element of true love is Mudita, Joy. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love. It is even the opposite.
d) The forth element is Upeksha, Equanimity or Freedom. In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free; not only outside but also inside.
I would like to invite you to reflect on your love according to these elements and see if your love has these elements and if not, what could you do differently. Please share your thoughts and ideas!
Tahereh Barati, M.A, RMFT