If any person asked me what the single most powerful force on earth is, I would respond by simply saying “Love”. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” Love spans across time, culture, religion, and even species. When everything else falls away, there will be love. When all else fails, love never will.
Although love is incredibly powerful, it is also easily misunderstood. Despite love’s innate ability to transform, if misunderstood, it can lead to destruction. In an age where the definition of love is being defined by the latest Hollywood film or teen fiction novel, the true essence of love is being lost.
So what is love? See, love is not an emotion or something reserved for your significant other. Love is in fact the act of self-giving. Love is really not about you at all. Rather, it is about everything and everyone else. Rumi, the Muslim scholar and Sufi mystic said, “Love is the whole thing. We are only pieces.” To love is to look outside of yourself and your feelings into the world around you. The reason love outlasts all else is that it is the very foundation of all that exists.
When we dilute the meaning of love to only something that we feel for one another, we miss out on the beauty of love. When love becomes just a feeling, we create the possibility that we can fall in and out of love with something, which really is not possible. Love is an action. St. Augustine once said that “Love is the alignment of the will and the desire to be united with someone or something.” Love is a choice, a decision, an action. It is entirely about the other, the someone or something. Love is incredibly selfless, giving mind, body and soul to the proverbial other.
When we operate out of selfish desires, and are not loving, we destroy our relationships and everything else. Marriages collapse, fathers abandon their children, and suffering expands exponentially. When we begin to truly love, lives are healed and the world is made a more peaceful, joyful and compassionate place. Just imagine a world where all people were more concerned for the needs of the other rather than their own greedy and selfish desires.
Is that not a world, an ideal, worth striving for? For love to become the reality instead of a wishful ideal, it must begin with you. Your choices define your reality. Our choices define our reality. We must choose to live a life in love.