Sowing Seeds of Love

Writers, scientists, artists, theologians and healers from every culture, religion and corner of the world have contemplated the mystery of love. The website offers a lengthy, thought-provoking definition, including such descriptions as: 

a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection
affectionate concern for the well-being of others

And there are more.

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.  

Soul's beloved, Source of Compassion,

draw your servant to your desire.

Your servant will run like a gazelle;
he will bow before your splendor. 
Your love is sweeter to her
than the dripping of the honeycomb, or all tastes…

Splendid, Beautiful Radiant Light of the Universe.
My soul aches for your love…
Please reveal Yourself.
Beloved, spread over me the shelter of your peace. 

–Rabbi Elazar Azikri, 16th century Kabbalist

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?

It must be love that whispers in my ear
It must be love that we keep trying to hear

–Rickie Lee Jones

What love is being whispered into your ear these days? How can you listen to it more closely? And what are some of your favorite expressions of love? Here are a few examples:
  • 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