Thread: Love
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Old 10-26-2017, 05:41 PM
eripiomundus (Offline)
The Next Bard
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Years ago I tried to make a definition of love that encompassed all aspects of it, and I think I got close:

Love is the expansion of the sense of self to encompass another.

All those things we would want for ourselves we want for our loved one: happiness, success, avoidance of pain, hardship, suffering... When our loved one is upset we become upset. When they're smiling we feel more like smiling. When we're in love we feel expansive, as if we're having twice the emotions, twice the depth of experience, and this is because we've included the experiences of another within the conceptual framework of our own. We share our resources, our feelings, the entirety of our experience.

Sometimes we might consider the person we love to be our "better half", so we've not only come to recognize them as part of ourself, but a better part.

Now extend this concept to someone like the Buddha, who professed to love everything - his sense of self would have been all-inclusive which, somewhat paradoxically, would be very nearly the same thing as having no sense of self at all. If you have no sense of self you do not distinguish yourself from anything else, and if your sense of self includes everything you do not distinguish yourself from anything else. The only difference is that the encompassing self is maybe conscious (I'm not sure about this point yet), whereas someone with no sense of self would not be.

If things like Buddhist Nirvana and spiritual enlightenment are real phenomena I tend to think one's progress toward them is gained by expansion of the sense of self to include others. Once you include all things in your sense of self you will do no worse to anything else than you would to yourself, and you will do no worse to yourself than you would do to another.

For me there's something satisfying about this whole process. It's reflective of the circle of life in that we begin as babies devoid of a sense of self, and if we can attain to enlightenment we return to that state. Almost poetic.
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