Love as a misconception

Love is such a beautiful and powerful word – yet, one of the most abused ones in the whole human language.

It is defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”. Another definition it provides is “attraction that includes sexual desire: the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship” and “a person you love in a romantic love”. In short, the grammatical definition of love suggests it is a feeling, a sense of attraction to someone or something.

pigeons-413073_1280However, I will beg to differ with the definition offered by the dictionary. Love is not a feeling, nor a sexual desire. Not even an attraction. If it were so, wouldn’t it be very superficial? If a person claimed to love another person, it would suffice to feel attraction to them in order to love. Whether the love is reciprocal or not, love would still be valid as there is attraction and a sense of affection to some degree. The same would hold true for a leader who claims to love their people, or a parent who says to love their children. Based on the very fact that there is a likeness and affection, love would be possible.

It is to an extent unfortunate that love cannot be defined in just a few words or sentences, and this is one of the main reasons why the word is abused recklessly. A person can claim to love a certain sport or hobby, which -as it turns obvious- speaks about the love of a person to a non-human concept. The same applies when a person says to love their pet, and also for someone who admits to love nature. Is it real love, then, what these people can feel for animals, arts or other non-human recipients?

Love can be, then, understood in very different lights. The love that a person has for their spouse or children is not any more legitimate  than the love someone can have for their dog or cat, or the love they could potentially have for arts and culture. Each of them can be authentic love, or just a liking and affection felt for something or someone as defined in the dictionary. In all instances, it becomes important to understand the true concept of love – and all that it implies.

It usually takes years of reflection, experiences and revelations to understand the true meaning of love. Like other abstract concepts such as justice or freedom, love does not have an exact definition and therefore the term can be easily misused. However, upon some meditation and proper emotional guidance (whether scientific or spiritual), the concept of love is revealed to us and understood, and it is then that we are able to tell real love from other forms of affection inaccurately labelled as love.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation about love is understanding that it is not about “me”, but it is about the recipient of our love. Love is not a simple feeling and does not only depend on whether we like something or someone, but it also has to do with the relationship as a whole that the individual holds with that something or someone. If a person claims to love their spouse by virtue of the fact that they like each other, would that suffice to constitute real love? What are the other spouse’s thoughts on this individual? What kind of commitments of sacrifices has this person done for the sake of love to their partner?

Love, in its true meaning, is intrinsically linked to the commitment and dedication that a person has to the subject of their love. Love encompasses time, dedication, and willingness to give the best of ourselves to the well-being and development of the recipient of our love. In that regard, a person who says to love their dog can in fact hold a truer love to their pet which they take care of every day, nurture, look after their well being, and makes their best to ensure the pet has a happy life, than an individual who claims to love their spouse, yet puts all their personal desires in a greater rank of importance than those of their significant other. Likewise, if a person claims to love food and cooks meals for other people, enhances recipes or teaches others their culinary ability so the wealth of knowledge can be shared to broader audiences, that love holds more true than the love that a person can claim to have for pizza based solely on the fact that this particular dish provides personal pleasure to them.

A person who truly loves something or someone intertwines their mind and soul with that of their love recipient, and therefore both become as one. A man who marries a woman and truly feels her soul, faces her issues as his own, listens to her mind and soul and gives the very best of himself to ensure her well being loves her. If she does the same for him, it is a consummated love. The same applies for a person for their art, a sport, a pet, a parent, a child, or whatever not. Love is a two way avenue that requires effort, dedication, and commitment. It may not always pay immediate dividends in the shape of emotional pleasure or enjoyment, and as a matter of fact it is almost guaranteed to bring sour times to our lives. Nevertheless, love is a long term commitment: If we plant the right seeds in a fertile soil from the get go, we will reap its benefits throughout our lifetime – and who knows? Maybe even beyond.

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Miracles

When we think of miracles, most of us would normally think of supernatural phenomena that affect positively our lives – or that of others. We may even think of the forces of the Universe acting together in the benefit of a certain individual, or a group of people – in ways that are beyond the human power.

In that regard, for example, we could think that if a person gets unexpectedly cured from a specific rare ailment – that constitutes a miracle. If an individual drives their car recklessly on the highway, crashes but escapes the incident unharmed – that is a miracle. If an athlete gets badly injured, but then they participate in a competition where their performance is better than what was expected of them and come out as a winner – that, also, is a miracle.

Are the situations in the examples miracles? Indeed they are. The individuals in the situations explained obtained unexpected good outcomes of their own particular circumstances, against all odds. With the help of nature, and under poorly understood (rather unknown) conditions, their seemingly bleak situation worked out in their favour.

miracle

Now, if we think of our day to day lives, and the circumstances that we face on our everyday – from the moment that we wake up, experience the world outside our house, do our daily activities, interact with people, come back home to share time with those we love most, until the moment we tuck ourselves in bed and sleep -, do we get to realize the circumstances that allow us to make it through our routines? Do we appreciate the marvels of the world that surround us?

When we realize that every day we wake up to another day where forces beyond our human power interact in our benefit, our perception of what miracles are changes. If we consider that every day we wake up to another day enlightened and warmed up by the Sun, that we get to breath fresh air cleaned by photosynthesis performed by plants, that we get to eat fresh and nutritious food grown from rich grounds of the Earth, that we are able to utilize resources provided by nature in order to accomplish our goals… do we realize that all of those are here not because our human will made them happen, but because the Universe has made the circumstances turn in our favour?

If we consider that the very fact that we were born to experience the Universe, do we get to realize that our birth is a fortunate situation that worked in our favour? When we get to experience feelings like love, happiness, pleasure, even sadness… do we realize that experiencing such emotions, at the very root, is a process that we did not plan, but which the Universe has made possible for our full experiencing of life? Indeed, we experience miracles all the time. We, ourselves, as well as all the creatures of the world, are also miracles.

Whether we are aware of it every moment or not, we are continuously experiencing miracles. Every day and every night, every hour and every minute, there are phenomena happening within us and around us, over which we don’t have any control but they still yield positive outcomes for us. Our very existence in this life itself is a big miracle that we should have present day by day, and admire as we would do when witnessing any other miracle.

The Power of “Hello”

Little acts of kindness can make a world of a difference to people.

Throughout our lives, every day, people experience a range of emotions. Some days we are happy, some days we are excited, some others we are just content or peaceful. At times, we may experience a wave of emotions at a given time – which are usually a result of either external factors (people, work, school, etc) or a reflection of our physical-mental balance.

Likewise, we may sometimes experience emotions that are more difficult or negative in nature. We may feel anger, frustration, boredom, or simply indifference towards our daily routines. It is perfectly normal to experience a wave of emotions because, at the end of the day, those emotions are part of what make us human.

When we start our day, as we start interacting with people, it is sometimes difficult to determine what kind of mood they are experiencing – and sometimes, it is very easy to tell.

What can we do when we know that a person is experiencing difficult emotions? Is having, for example, a difficult day full with anxiousness?

I believe in what I call “the power of hello”, which means the power and significance that a greeting can convey onto a person, especially when they are experiencing negative or tough times. By saying hello to someone, we acknowledge their presence in our surroundings and break the ice. It is also a way to demonstrate our respect and goodwill towards them.

The effects that a simple greeting can have in a person, particularly one experiencing a difficult day, is almost magical. It can indeed make someone’s day better, and it can open our doors to bonding better relationships with our fellow humans And all it takes, is only to say the magical word to someone “hello”.

We all have the power to convey positivity onto people’s lives, and it starts by doing very little and often overlooked acts of kindness – like a simple greeting.

 

Planning your life, heartbeat by heartbeat

How many heartbeats do you have available to spend in your lifetime?

This question came to my mind when I came across an interesting mathematical model that helps a person estimate their lifespan based in their heartbeat rate (check it out here). According to this model, an average person’s life spans over 2 billion heartbeats! The estimations vary between 2.6 and 2.9 billion.

Those numbers sound quite astronomical, but they are actually not. To put them in perspective, the average heartbeat rate of an adult is 70 to 75 beats per minute, which equals something between 100,800 to 108,000 beats every day! Our heart beats a lot, doesn’t it?

Now, to put the math into further perspective, let’s acknowledge that during every single beat, we are experiencing different moods and emotions – ranging from happiness, to peacefulness, to anxiety, to anger and frustration, and anything in between. In a way, our mood and state of emotional well being depends a lot on external factors, but it is nevertheless also controlled to a high degree by our own Self-Bias. In fact, since a degree to which we react to most external factors can be attributed to our Self-Bias too, we can comfortably say that we have the power to control most of our emotions. This being true, should you ever feel overwhelmed by negative emotions or out of control of your own moods, make to yourself the following questions: “How many of my 100,000 heart beats this day do I want to give away to negativity?”

The answer is truly upon you, and there are no right or wrong answers. But when reflecting on that, consider that every single heartbeat in our day, and in our lifetime is unique – and allow us to experience feelings and emotions, for the most part at our will. How are you planning to spend your heartbeats?experience goodness and to soak yourself in positive feelings and thoughts, you should also consider that a good portion of those heartbeats that you are willing to surround to negativity can actually be used to experience positivity instead – hence having the potential to dedicate every single heartbeat of yours to positive thoughts and well being.

Fear – And how to tame it!

Fear is but a single, specific feeling – yet different people have different fears: Fear of death, fear of heights, fear of failure, fear of darkness, fear of change… you name it. But what do they all have in common?

The one and only factor that all kinds of fear shown by people (and the very only source of it) is uncertainty. People are afraid of facing things that they don’t know – or things that may be potentially harmful. Fear is a woe to overcome! But what if fear was not a woe, but an ally? How can you make a friend from your fear?

The first thing to consider when coping with fear is to acknowledge its very nature -the uncertainty factor- and analyze the potential outcomes from the perceived fear. Pick the fear of your choice and meditate about it for a minute. Consider: What is the worst case scenario that could happen if you were face-to-face to your source of fear? How would you deal with the anxiety so you can keep a moderate demeanour under such circumstances?

Having an action plan prepared in advance is a great thing to do, as it minimizes anxiety and provides a clearer rationale of why is that fear bugging us –  and what would we do in the event we had an encounter with it. Awareness and preparedness are amazing weapons to mitigate fear!

Another great way to deal with fear is to discuss it with a person who is able to listen and help you analyze the source and nature of the fear – a person who does not share the same fear as you do. Ask them, why are they not afraid of the same things as you are? What is the source of their “courage” (for the lack of a better word) to avoid such fear?

Keep in mind that fear, because of its very own nature, usually keeps us from thinking with a clear mind – hence creating false images and scenarios in our brains, which more often than not are but exaggerated and twisted products of our own rigged imagination. Is it worth to confront them while our minds are completely overwhelmed? Well no. Moreover, reasoning and making decisions under such circumstances is like shooting in the dark.

These exercises in discussion, reflection, and brainstorming will give you a valuable key to manage your fear and understand that such feeling is totally tameable. Understanding this every time, no fear -present or future- will lie between again you and your goals.

The nature of your inner power – and the purpose of this blog!

Each of us is blessed with special powers: The power to love, the power to understand, the power to move our world around in order to achieve our maximum potential every day. We are powerful indeed, whether we are aware of it. Sometimes, it might appear that we are not in control of our power, but we are. And we can improve our grip on such power.

As we will see throughout this journey, there are plenty of ways in which we can manage to get a better grip on our inner power – day by day, hour by hour. By creating this blog, my goal is to provide food for thought that will inspire you to control your inner power and maximize your potential – spiritually, mentally and emotionally.

In Mind, Body, and Soul…

Eddie Tafber