What Does Love Got to Do with It

I watched a panel discussion on YouTube with Eckhart Tolle and Ram Das that was recorded in October 2011 on Maui. The discussion by was great, but a funny thing happened at the beginning – the first question posed to these NOW gurus was about love.
The response was awkward. You can’t answer a question about love until you define the term, and that’s not easy. Tolle and Ram Das managed to get through the question, but it was not an easy navigation.
Love is such a troublesome word in spirituality – it comes with so much baggage. The notion, “all you need is love,” is fraught with misunderstandings about what love actually is.
So many times I’ve heard this statement by spiritual teachers: “When you strip away everything and get to the core of our true being, what you have is love.” What the heck does that mean?
Spirituality discussions work best with words like acceptance, presence, peace, well-being, or contentment. We have a general notion of what these words mean. Not so with “love.” Part of the problem is that love is commonly used as an action, such as “I love you” or “I feel loved.” Probably the closest synonym for love in spirituality is acceptance.
When you experience oneness, it is often described a feeling of acceptance. There are aspects of “love” that include acceptance, but a mother’s love or a father’s love is not necessarily acceptance. Romantic love with all its varieties, its passion, its insecurities, is rarely experienced as unconditional acceptance. Romantic love nearly always comes with a list of conditions.
When spiritual teachers use the word, love, they usually mean acceptance, for acceptance is a large part of our experience of the presence within.


5 thoughts on “What Does Love Got to Do with It

  1. For me, I see Love as purity and it being unconditional. It is deeper and more profound than acceptance. It is the nature (so to speak) of the Divine. It is our deepest potential that we will never fully arrive at while we are on Earth but it is what we need to journey toward. It is also (from a religious perspective) our highest calling. I am not diminishing acceptance by any means as acceptance is such a huge concept for us all. I think however that acceptance is the first step we begin toward love. On the other hand, acceptance is easier to achieve when we allow love to be our guide. Personally, I didn’t fully see this until I began meditating. During meditation, I found an inner connection to love. This probably sounds a bit cheesy. Some things are hard to explain in words as what we experience is our personal truth and goes beyond words. My spiritual journey thus far leads me to believe that love is at the centre of it. Love is God (both masculine and feminine) and love is also our true selves.

  2. You know what love is when you have experienced so much emotional pain in your life that you make peace with your pain. That you feel gratitude for your pain. That is not acceptance. That is love. The unconditional type…

    Love and acceptance are two very distinctive dimensions. I reach this conclusion by personal experience.

    Great post.


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