I have loved many people, just as I am quite certain those reading this have loved many as well. I love my family, I love my friends and lover, those who are no longer in my life and those who are merely tangentially connected to it. I love the song I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz and how when the subject of the song is shifted from a singular person in front of you to humanity as a whole there is only an expansion of meaning rather than confusion, a quickening desire to not give up even as the skies get rough, to make a difference and not to break or burn, learning to bend and acknowledge who each of us is and what each of us isn’t and who I am even in the midst of it all.
When we love we are not simply noting the feeling but acknowledging recognition of a union. It is a counter to disillusionment, the opposite of dissociation, the cure to ennui and it knows only expansion. When we see a union as the fundamental ground of our being-ness, love then provides a space for all the behavior that stems from it, life-giving and respectful, tolerant of differences even as we cherish that which helps life expand and progress. Differences become variations of unity rather than pieces to be held up as showing separation. When loving another it is within this unity, within this holistic universe. It is the conscious recognition of an interconnected existence. We celebrate in all their nuances the person in front of us just as we celebrate those around us and she or he who stares back in a mirror.
We use labels as an explanation of an experience of feelings. Although the slowest part of the thinking system, explanations seem to dominate perceptions of meaning in the way that feelings seem to dominate emotions.
“A sense of meaning results from the way we experience the brain’s hierarchical processing system. It includes comparisons, rankings, and judgments about value: what is desirable, helpful, beautiful, or moral. Emotion, personal history, culture, religion, ideology, and historical moment heavily influence the brain’s construction of meaning, and these, of course, are often in conflict.”Psychology Today
Explanations, and Emotions
Explanations aid survival in two important ways. They enhance interest, which motivates behaviors suitable to finding food, shelter, protection, and opportunities for sex. They also protect us from the harmful effects of our own fight-flight alarm system by creating an illusion of order, predictability, and safety.
The enormous influence of emotions on explanations can be seen most clearly in minor emotional experience. Slight arousal of anxiety often leads to the arbitrary selection of one of an enormous number of possible causes, as the brain looks for something to worry about. When feelings are hurt, the brain looks for something to resent. A tremor of guilt leads us to seize one of many misdemeanors as the cause. Explanations of a dull feeling of shame can derive from a myriad of presumed failures or defects. Explanations do not have to be right; they just have to navigate emotional experience, for better or worse.
Emotion is a process used by the brain to link explanation and experience into a coherent whole. Love is the label given to a variety of emotional experiences, be it child to parent, person to their tribe, or you to your pet. Yet, despite being a single term used to describe many experiences, it does not imply how the feeling of love is to be felt. There is instead an allowance for variations to the warp and weft of the pattern. Love is the joyful exuberance of celebration, bound with the threads of our interconnected reality.
We hold that space for ourselves and others and by doing so find that love can bring peace, understanding, and an expansion of life experiences.