The Sufi poet Hafiz wrote of being "drunk on the wine of the Beloved," and there are many others who have written on the topic, such as Rumi, bell hooks, even some contemporary psychiatrists who addressed the humanistic scientific perspective on love in A General Theory of Love. One of my favorite love poems was written by a 16th century Kabbalist. Entitled "Yedid Nefesh," which translates as "knower of the soul," it is usually considered a devotional love poem to the Divine. Yedid Nefesh echoes the sensual language of the Song of Songs and other biblical poetry.
What does it feel like to taste and know the soul of another? And what is it about love that renders us intoxicated and euphoric, or conversely, bereft and crestfallen?
Our capacity to express and receive love is probably far beyond what we can imagine with our conscious minds, but we know the feeling even if we can't see or hear any concrete scientific evidence for it.
What about the thorny notion of being unworthy of love? As if someone would have to earn the right to be loved! Or the destructive cultural messages about "love-ability" based on skin color, or gender, or body size, or age, or any number of other criteria against which love might be measured. Many of these culturally enforced expectations of self loathing have been internalized so powerfully that we believe them to be true about ourselves. What resources are available to help us dislodge these barriers, not only for our own well being, but for the healing of our communities and the larger world?
- The effusively ecstatic way your dog greets you when you come home
- A brief love note tucked into your lunchbag
- The feeling of being fully listened to by another person
- A nickname or pet name someone uses just for you
- Affirmations you practice in the service of sowing seeds of love