Emotions, Feelings, and Love

Kinds of emotions

Emotions and feelings are of many kinds. Some could be called low and some high, some ego-based and some spiritual-based. For example, there is an emotion of hatred, but also an emotion of love. Both are emotions, but one is negative and the other is positive.

Emotions can be generally classed into ego-based or spiritual-based. An ego-emotion is based on a self-centered and self-interest consciousness, as well as reaction to any opposition to one's self-interest. While a spiritual emotion (a 'higher emotion') derives from an expanded and transpersonal consciousness. Ego-emotions are centered in the lower three energy centres, while the spiritual emotions come from the heart or the higher centres.

Emotions can also be classed into three kinds: Immediate emotions are energetically felt states of the moment, such as how one feels in this moment. One could ask, 'How am I feeling right now? or 'What is my present emotion? And we can notice that each emotion has an energy in it, which might also be physically felt. For example, an emotion of irritation, upsetness, happiness or joy, if present in the person's experience, will also affect one's body and behavior during its duration.

Sometimes our immediate emotions are reactions, and sometimes they are desires. Both of these are kinds of emotion, and both can range in intensity from loud to quiet. In other words, a reaction of irritation could be quite strong, and so can a desire, or less strong and intense.

A second kind of emotion could be called mood. Moods are not all too different than what has been previously described, except that moods linger on for a longer duration and often become unnoticed by the experiencer. They often pervade one's speech and behavior, yet the person is unconscious of the mood, which tends to be like a background music in their personality activity. But again, moods can be spiritual (such as a happy or peaceful mood) or lower level (as in a depressed or angry mood).

A third kind of emotion are emotional qualities. Qualities are not just temporal emotional feelings; they are qualities of character. Examples are caring, generosity, loyalty. These are qualities of a person and are part of one's personality character. Positive-spiritual qualities come from one's soul and ultimately come from our Universal Being. Negative qualities are reactions and behaviors that are based on distortions and delusions of truth.

If we consider the examples of caring, generosity, loyalty, and many other potential qualities of being, it can be noticed that each of these qualities are ways of being, or ways of expressing oneself. But each of these qualities also contain its own kind of emotional energy, and each has its own unique feeling in how we experience it.

So, in summary, we can distinguish emotions as:

Though of course, there are many more useful ways to classify or group emotions: such as –


Emotion sometimes has a derogatory connotation in spiritual teachings. But emotion is part of who we are. Though it is true that our emotions can take us away from spiritual attunement. Desires and reactions can cause great troubles. But we cannot simply dismiss emotions as debase, just because they can often cause problems. Rather, we need to learn how to transform negative and dysfunctional emotions, and then to integrate positive emotions into our whole life. Fundamentally, we need to understand our emotions, then be able to transform them if need be.

First of all, we are emotional beings, as well as mental beings and physical beings. But rather than choose one of these as more important, let us come into a balance with them all. Second, we need to develop acceptance of our emotions; though this may not always include mental agreement. Acceptance is like an offering to listen and consider. This is how the mind should treat the emotions – with love, listening and consideration. But each emotion does not have to accepted. It might be good to let go of some kinds of emotions. Thirdly, realize that some emotions are of very high spiritual quality, which is another reason to always listen to and consider the value of emotions.

Emotions are about who we are. They are our truth, but only if these emotions emerge from deep within. Our deepest emotions are our highest emotions. What is needed is to be fully aware of our deepest emerging emotions, without trying to filter them according to some predetermined ideal (conditioned). Our deepest emotions will be our most spiritual emotions. Yet we need to know the difference between a deep self-emotion and a surface reactive emotion. Respect all emotions, but reach to the core, to the depth. Find what is most dear, most important. Find what you care about mostly deeply, or what you are most passionate about. Then live from your deepest passion and from your deepest emotional love.

Opposing views about emotions

There are two opposing views about emotions that need resolution. One view is that feelings are for the unevolved, un-spiritual being. This view sees feelings, desires and emotions as irrational and non spiritual. They say that we are to go beyond emotions, beyond desires. This view sees the goal of the human being to be a sort of perfect machine or intelligent servant of life without any human emotion. Yet, feelings and emotions are the spice of life. Sex is not only spicy, but is sweet too. We are here to be human and experience all the many joys of life given to us, including pleasure and desire. It is the pleasure and desire of God. Feelings make life real, pleasure makes life interesting and desire makes life happen.

The opposite extreme view on feelings and emotions says a healthy human being gives free expression of all emotions. This view is mainly a reaction to our culture which has thought us to suppress our emotions and feelings and to continually judge ourselves from a conditioned moral ideal. Our culture teaches us to not make waves, not get too exited or emotional over things, to behave as a decent machine in life. Yet emotions are real forces and if they are repressed, denied or locked away, then they will continually be seeking escape routes through our psyche and into our lives in sneaky, subconscious ways. It is true that we ought to recognize our emotions and give them some outlet for expression, but we do not have to give them the impulsive expression that they might seek. Emotions can be like immature children who do not know how to express themselves in a beneficial way.

So we do not need to give free reign to every emotion that comes up. Some emotions that come up, or arise in us, come up as opportunities to transform them. So in many cases, we should take this opportunity of having a negative or an old-pattern emotion come up, so that we can then transform it or dissolve it into essential-emotional energy that can be used in better ways.

Emotions are powerful energies which have some hidden source or reason behind them, so if we can objectively observe the quality of the emotion, we can discover the true intent behind them and transform the mechanical impulse into a some expression that really fulfills the actual intent. The act of continually expressing each impulsive emotion, or giving it too much obsessive attention, will only further its strength and our attachment to it.

Emotions and desires are often automatic, conditioned reactions to circumstances and can be beneficially transformed into a conscious response, using reasonable discrimination and with feeling. We do not need to be ruled by our feelings and emotions, but can still experience them as a reality to be acknowledged and expressed in some manner. Let us love ourselves fully and unconditionally, enjoy life and the many ups and downs that come with it, the many pleasures and emotions that come up as we experience the world, and express our deepest feelings with those around us in a way that best communicates our intent and serves the good of those we love.

This is not suggesting that one become shut off or dead to feelings. To have joy and good feelings is a wonderful Spiritual gift. To be in awe at the beauty of a dancer, an athletic, a painting or a garden is an experience of divine expression. The Divine Qualities expressed in this world do evoke deep feelings in us. Likewise there is nothing wrong about thought or of thinking about issues in our lives. It is through thought that we use our intellect, and we can intelligently discover important truths in issues confronting us by thinking them through or giving them enough thought. Go ahead and allow feelings and thoughts to serve their own purpose, but not with attachment and not without consciousness. When we are really conscious of our thoughts and feelings, we are on top of them, and in this way we actually think more clearly and feel more fully. Thoughts and feelings are brought to a higher level through consciousness. Then joy and clarity is enhanced.

Emotions and feelings

The word emotion has in it a root word, 'motion', so emotion can be understood as an energy-in-motion or an e-motion. It also has a root, moti-, in common with motivation. So emotion is an energy that moves in us and can even move us (or motivate us).

Also, an emotion has a physiological component, in that it can be actually felt in the body and affect the body. So we can physically feel an emotion; though this physical feeling will be subtle if the the emotion is subtle. For example, rage has more raging energy and motion in it, than does peace. Both have effects in the body, but peace has a positive effect, whereas rage creates a negative effect of physical disharmony. Even if we don't actually notice these effects, each emotion nonetheless has a subconscious effect in our body and in our personality behavior.

Love can often be felt in our body and also have a physical effect. As well, love can be felt as an energy moving in us and also motivating us. Though sometimes love is more subtle, with less noticeable effects. So, love is also an emotion, or a feeling.

Some spiritual teachings would say that love is a higher energy than the energies of emotion, while regular psychology defines love as an emotion. The pragmatic compromise here would be to regard love as a higher-emotion, with high spiritual and positive value. Also, in many examples, love certainly has an emotional feeling in our experience of it.

Emotions and feelings can be distinguished in their meaning. But in the way we normally use the words, these terms are certainly interrelated and very often interchangeable. The best simple distinction is that a 'feeling' is how one experiences an emotion; that is, a feeling is our subjective experience of an emotion, as in 'I feel...' or 'this feels like...' Whereas an 'emotion' is the objective energy of this subjective feeling, as in 'here is an emotion' or 'the emotional quality of this feeling is...'

So both emotion and feeling are intrinsically related, describing the same quality – the objective description is an emotion, in which we speak about our emotions from an objective distance, whereas the subjective experience is called a feeling, because this is how the emotion is subjectively experienced (as in 'I'm feeling...' or 'I have this feeling...').

However, we also should understand that some kinds of feelings are quite subtle and do not have a loud emotional energy. For example, the feeling of peace is much quieter than the loudness of irritation or anger. This is of course obvious. The point is that some emotional energies are more subtle and less loud than others, but the less loud ones are still emotions. By analogy, if our emotional energies and feelings are similar to water, then our current emotional river could be calm and peaceful, or it could be turbulent or even violent. So there can be a difference in intensity and energy turbulence, in regards to emotions. Yet still, we could describe our emotional energy as being peaceful or being in harmony; even though we are not being evidently 'emotional' – as when we are upset, angry, or reactionary.

Thus, peace and harmony and love each have their own kind of emotional energy, and their unique feeling as well, but these kinds of emotional energy are more subtle than the reactionary emotions (with their louder energy).

Love is not always experienced with emotional intensity or body intensity. The emotion of love can be intense in its feeling and experience, but love is not always dramatically emotional. It could be subtle yet still profound. So, love is not necessarily so emotional. It is sometimes more like a subtle radiance from the heart, without any tangible physical sensation to it.

Sensitivity is a kind of feeling

Our feelings are the sensitivity of our emotional body. Feelings are like the strings of a guitar or piano. Or perhaps our feelings are more like a harp on a mountain top open to the effects of wind and energies, because so often outside energies and what others do will too easily play upon our sensitive strings of feeling. We are sensitive beings, and so our feelings are affected by the people and world around us. And our feelings can get hurt; we get hurt feelings.

So our feelings are very sensitive, which is useful for picking up on [or sensing] the emotional qualities of what is around us; though our sensitive feelings are also open to possible hurt. But our sensitive feelings are also open to positive impressions and positive effects. Thus, we might feel uplifted by those around us who are emanating positive uplifting emotions. So, our feelings are the sensitive strings of our emotional body, and feelings are the music of our emotions.

Our feelings can sense-feel the energies coming to us from the outer world or from others around us. We feel what is emanating from others, which could be a spiritual quality, such as goodwill or caring, or it could be an emotional reaction or upsetness, or a sudden emotional excitement, or it could be an emotional mood. So we can feel the emotional energies and qualities of others, whether they be higher or lower, or even when they are distant in space, and these energies are felt in our emotional body.

Feelings can also be transpersonal and cosmic; as for example, feelings of universal love, beauty, and oneness. Feelings can come from the heart, and also from the Cosmic Heart. We can feel the universal-cosmic Oneness – a feeling of oneness with all life, with nature, with God or Universal Being. In this kind of experience, our feelings merge into a much greater energy and feeling. We feel the Greater Presence, and our own feelings merge with the Greater Being.

Feelings are sensitive. We can feel what others are feeling, if one is sensitive and empathetic. This can be good or not so good. It is good to have empathy with others and be sensitive to their feelings, which can even be regarded as part of what love is. However, it is not so good to be passively sensitive to the negative feelings of others or to negative emotions in the world.

We all live in a shared field of emotional energies, just as we live in a common environment, and thus we can feel with others and share our feelings, but we should also maintain our own emotional integrity – maintaining an ability to dismiss and remain free of negative emotions coming from others, including being independent and uninvolved from their emotional reactions.

Our feelings also radiate out to others and even into the whole world. This naturally happens; just as much as our smell goes out from our body. The nice thing about emotions, though, is that these could be always positive and lovely. Yet unfortunately, people can give off bad smelly emotions, just like any other odor.

So, very often we radiate emotions without any conscious intention to do so, and even without any recognition that this is happening. However it is possible to be conscious of our emotional emanation, and also to consciously radiate out our best emotions, or our highest spiritual feelings and qualities.

Consider for example, the sending out of love, or joy, or peace, or appreciation. There is an actual feeling (or emotional) energy involved here, that is emanating out and having a real effect on others and in the world. And we could do this consciously and intentionally – emanating and sending our best (most spiritual) emotions and feelings.

The love feeling

Every quality of experience, quality of being, or quality of expression has a pervading feeling in it – sort of like the taste of a quality, such that we can recognize a quality by its pervading feeling. And yet this feeling might not be emotional in the sense of being loud or felt in one's body.

Love might not always be so emotional, yet it does always have a pervading feeling-essence in it – the feeling of love, which is the foundational essence of all experiences and expressions of love. Thus, love is imbued with the feeling-energy of love, the love-feeling, which is the essential energy of love. This feeling-energy of love is foundational to all experiences and expressions of love, to all kinds of love and even to our cognitions of love. Feelings of interconnectiveness, relatedness, inclusiveness, empathy, and compassion are all feelings essential to love. And these feelings could also be regarded as various aspects of love.

This feeling could be experienced in various ways, which are the various aspects of love. For example, love could be a feeling of connection, relatedness and even unity with others. It could be a feeling of compassion for others, or an empathy with them. Love could be a feeling of caring about others. It could be a feeling of wanting to help and heal others. It could be an inclusiveness – an acceptance and including others into one's heart.

Cognitive love

Emotions of love are what we usually refer to as 'love', but love can also be cognitive, rather than experienced emotionally. Love can be a cognition, a knowing or realization. For example, one might know that one is loved, as well as feel loved. Or one might realize the love inside oneself, or that one's deepest beingness is love. Or, we might realize our connection and unity with others, as an experience of love. These are love cognitions.

Cognitive love is having thoughts of love, or a realization of love, or an understanding of love in oneself and in one's experience. The emotional and expressive aspects of love are wonderful and do not need to be suppressed. Yet we also need to value cognitive love. Cognitive love is just as important as emotional love.

One might be with someone or a group, and think 'I love them', or realize one's love for them. This is cognitive love. It is a thought, a realization, or an understanding, which is not evidently emotional. We might realize our unity with others, or with the world, or with God. This realization of unity, or of being connected with and related with, would be an example of cognitive love, which is to realize one's love for others or with others. So, cognitive love could just be a thought of love, a loving thought or loving thoughts. Or it could be a profound realization of love itself, or a realization of love in its essence.

So, sometimes we experience an emotional love, while at other times we might experience a cognitive love, and sometimes we experience both. The experience of love can be anywhere along a continuum between emotional love and cognitional love. Though all experiences of love actually have some emotional energy and some cognitive energy; it's just that one tends to more dominant in particular instances.

Cognitive love can be a realization of unity, inter-connection, and profound relationship. It might also be a loving understanding of the feelings of others or the beauty of others or the love goodness of others. One could also realize that other people are similar to our own self, in that they too all want to live in good health, explore life, and have loving relationships. So, cognitive love is often based on empathy realizations. It is also about caring. Caring is an emotion, but it is also a realization. I realize that I care or know that I care, or I have caring thoughts. Caring and empathy are both aspects of love.

Another component of love is the love attitude. A cognition is a thought, or a realization, or a perception. But an attitude is a way that we perceive and think about things. An attitude is like the stance we take, which then influences how we perceive and what we perceive. Our mental attitude is what we bring to a situation – like a way of looking at things or people. The difference between an attitude and a perception is that an attitude opens up a possibility for certain kinds of perceptions. It is having a supportive perceptual orientation; like standing in a good place in order to perceive a beautiful scene.

For example, an open and inquisitive attitude about people will support and prepare our perceptual-cognitive capacity for having a clearer and less biased perception of them, rather than having a 'closed-minded', 'already-decided' attitude about them. In other words, our perceptual or cognitive attitude is what we bring to this moment of perception – which then determines how we perceive and what we are ready to perceive. If someone has a fixed or already-decided kind of attitude about life or about others, then they will usually perceive those other people in this limited way according to that attitude.

A loving attitude would be a most open attitude, that is, open to who this person really is; rather than entering into the perception with an already fixed idea about the person or, worse, having a hateful or dis-likable attitude about them. Attitudes of love are inclusiveness, openness, acceptance, compassion and caring. For example, with an attitude of compassion one is ready to feel what others need, and with an attitude of caring one is ready to help fill those needs. These attitudes of love might not involve a strong emotion, but often some degree of emotion is experienced. So in summary, love can also be an attitude.

Yet in all of these components of love (emotional, cognitive and attitude) is a heart basis. This is because all love essentially comes from the heart. All love comes from the soul in our heart, and all of this love comes from the Heart of God, the original Source of love. Deep spiritual intuitions and Self-knowing comes from the heart, as well as love feelings and other spiritual qualities. From our heart comes real spiritual wisdom. From our heart we can truly know what love is and feel the experience of it.

In essence, the very quality of love (whether it be in one's experience or expression) has a pervading feeling of love in it – which is the foundational essence of all real kinds of love. Thus, the foundation of all kinds of love is the love-feeling from our heart, even though these love feelings are not as noticeable in cognitive love as they are in our more emotional experiences of love. So even cognitive love and attitudes of love involve feelings of love, which come from our heart.

The quality of love

The full meaning of love is large and encompassing with multiple facets and co-related qualities. Related to love are the qualities of affection, adoration, caring, compassion, empathy, goodwill, and many other love qualities. Love can also refer to special experiences, such as being deeply close or interrelated with someone or with nature. Love can also involve experiences of inclusiveness, oneness, union or unity – either with someone else, a group, nature, or with God. So all of these could be considered as facets of love, or qualities of love.

In its highest spiritual meaning, love is a great spiritual energy and power, which originally comes from God, Universal Being – which radiates Love, just as the sun radiates light. Love can also be understood as the magnetism in the Unity-of-Being, which connects and brings all together in One Love. Also, love is a Quality of God, or of Universal Being. We can gradually understand this Quality of Love and become it, by knowing it in our self and expressing it. We understand love by being it and expressing it.

We can also understand that love is a quality of our soul, which can also become an integral part of our personality, or personal character. So, love is a potential that we have, which can be felt, known and expressed, more or less. Part of the spiritual path, which is from soul potential to living actualization, is for love to become realized and actualized. But this doesn't just happen by itself; rather, we each need to consciously bring love into life and expression, from its spiritual potential within us.

Our first step is to feel and realize love, then second is to express and manifest love. This is how we actualize the love potential, the love quality. We do this with more or less success; but each time we make a conscious effort to realize and express love, this love quality grows stronger and develops into our personal living self.

Real love

Real love is not just a feeling about someone or something, but is being love itself. Mostly we understand love as a feeling which occurs between us and another; yet the higher stage of real love is being it, and this necessitates knowing it. One comes to know love by being love, and comes into being love by knowing it. The soul is in essence love and it is also a knowing substance, so what does it know? It knows of love, it knows of its being. Finally, the knowing of love completes itself in the experience of being love.

The purpose of love is to be love and be love’s expression. But before we can come into this knowledge, this knowing the being of love, we need to know that we are loved, we need the knowledge of being loved. As we reach for the Beloved Lord in our hearts, we are reaching for that love, that knowledge of being loved. The meaning of the Beloved is to be-loved. The Beloved comes to us to be known, to reflect its knowing love through our knowing love, and we first know real love through the Beloved, through the knowledge of being loved, whether it comes through another human being or from a revelation of the heart.

We need to be open to love, to receiving love and knowing that we are indeed loved. This allows love to be fulfilled in us, as we allow love to fully fill us. Love loves to be known, to be recognized, and this recognition brings love into the light of knowingness and consciousness. Expression of love comes out of the recognition of it. We first need to know that love is already here. We are already loved, and love is already who we are. Love is at the essential core of every human being, and it now needs to be recognized, to be known. As we recognize our love, our being love, we are now in love with our self and can express this into the world. The love we have for our self is the Beloved loving us. It is love expressing love, until finally there is only love. Allowing our self to be loved is expressing love to our self.

Allowing ourself to be loved by another is recognition of their love, and so is an expression of love to them. It is acknowledging their love, which gives knowingness to their love, so is giving them knowledge of their love. We awaken the love of others through our recognition of their love and allowing them to love us or allowing ourself to be loved. It is recognizing the Beloved in another by allowing ourself to be-loved. We receive their love through our love and in our love. We receive their love in our home of love, which is the Home of Divine Love, the Kingdom of God.

We welcome and receive each guest into our heavenly home of Love, the home of God. This is a welcoming back home for the guest to recognize that this home is his home. The guest is part of the lost family which we can awaken to the realization that this home of love is our Home together.

The receiving and giving of love finds complete Unity and reconciliation in the mutual sharing of recognition and expression of love. Recognition becomes expression, and expression becomes recognition. It is all love, and it is all within love. And we can together explore the various manifestations of love in our moments of sharing, recognizing deeper realities of love and expressing these with greater clarity, beauty and enjoyment.

The Power of Love

Love is a transforming power. Love is more powerful than mind or thinking. One can intelligently argue all day with someone but never get anywhere. But in one moment, a real feeling of love can transform any conflict into love. Thus, Love has a great power to transform the world.

Intelligence can also be transforming, but the thinking mind can sometimes lead us astray from the actual truth, unless our thinking is holistic and open-minded. Reasoning can be deceptive as well, if it's based on wrong premises or narrow-minded values. Fixated and fanatical beliefs can become obstacles and also create unnecessary conflict in the world. Real intelligence is Integral Intelligence, holistic and ecological, able to see the bigger picture and the interrelatedness of things. It is a larger understanding of life and the world. Real intelligence can understand multiple perspectives, rather than just one. Stupidity is a narrow view of life and its purpose, lacking in open-mindedness, and a narrow fixated view of truth. Moreover, intelligence without love, is knowledge without real purpose. Love has to guide intelligence; otherwise, intelligence might find a way to justify whatever, whether it be helpful to the world or harmful.

Will power can also be transforming, make things happen and get things done. But will-power without love, is using power without any caring and without any greater purpose. So, love has to guide our will; otherwise, we can often be harmful rather than helpful. And will without any intelligence, is a power that is simply stupid.

We can give love to the world through our heart. We can radiate love from our inner-being presence, which is our soul. Our inner-being is the same as our soul; just different words. Love is a transforming energy, which can transform the world and those around us, and even transform negative situations. The energy of love can change the world.

Types of Love

Love can be experienced and expressed on five levels

– physically, emotionally, mentally, intentionally, and spiritually.

Physical love is enjoyed pleasure from our physical senses, such as enjoyed touch, food, or beauty. Physical love can be given or received.

Emotional love is experienced through our feelings

– of relatedness, closeness, and bonding, as well as caring, compassion and empathy. This can be a brotherly-sisterly love, a maternal-parental love, or an intimate-relationship love. Emotional love also gives us a sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others. As well, love softens and dissolves shells of separation.

Mental love is understanding, recognition, and appreciation.

– Understanding love is knowing what love is and how to love.

– Recognition of love is recognizing the presence of love, or when someone is giving their love.

– Appreciation and gratitude is both a recognition and an expression of love.

– An attitude of love is being awake to love and ready to love.

Intentional love, or the will-to-love, requires our intention, mental focus, desire and effort to realize love and to express love. Intentional love is our will-to-love, to-care-for, to nurture, to help, to enhance, to serve, and to do good. This might also involve some degree of sacrifice — giving up self-centeredness or selfishness.

Spiritual love is both a feeling and a realization of Oneness – with another person, with Nature, with God or the Universe. This can also be a soul-to-soul love – a realization and feeling of being from the same Source or of the same Being.

Aspects of love

The deep spiritual energy of Love brings about other related spiritual qualities, such as compassion, caring, forgiveness, peace, cooperation and unity. Love in expression creates beauty. {Beauty is the expression of love}. Love deeply experienced is joy. {Joy is love experienced}. Thus, love is the basis of our greatest qualities, experiences, and values.

Love is an energy which brings people together in a united feeling. The energy of love embraces others and can even embrace the world – just as God embraces the world with love. As well, love nurtures us with caring and healing. Most essentially, love is an inclusive kind of caring. One cares – in a most inclusive way.

Mothers have a deep caring about their children, caring for their children's best health, happiness, and success. But anyone can have caring for another person, or for many others, or for a whole group, or for the whole world. This is caring about the well-being of others, which also includes caring about the spiritual evolution and greater good of others.

Thus, caring is an essential aspect of love. If there is no real caring, there is no real love. Caring is first a feeling, but the next extension of caring is in actual doing – in a way that enhances a person's well-being and spiritual growth. This could be an enhancement of their intelligence, their courage, their self-confidence, their abilities, or some other positive quality of being.

Another essential feeling of love is the feeling of unity and oneness. When we are in unity together, or in unity with someone, we feel a shared love together. The feeling of oneness is an even deeper experience. When we experience or feel oneness with someone, we loose our ordinary sense of boundary and separation. For now, in this experience, we are one together – in a shared feeling of the same beingness. We share in the same oneness of being.

Another aspect of love is respect. This too is essential in love. If there is no real respect, then there is no real love. Respect is a seeing in another (or others) their rights as a person, to be as they are, to have freedom to be as they are or in how they wish to be. Respect is a seeing, an acknowledgment, and an allowing of freedom. The most difficult aspect of respect is to give respect even when one is not fully agreeing with that person.

Respect is a recognition of others as being as essentially divine as oneself, as essentially important as oneself, and as worthy of being free as oneself. So in the attitude of respect, we recognize their divine dignity and allow them the dignity of freedom, as long as this freedom does not harm others or the earth. Even if we think we are right and they are wrong in their free choices, we still allow them the freedom to discover the truth or the best way from their perspective. We can still be in an attitude of respect, even if we express our own beliefs and opinions, or even if we try to teach or persuade people of what we believe is right; as long as we respect their freedom to disagree with us and to not follow our beliefs and suggestions.

Another essential aspect of love is harmlessness – to not harm and not hurt others. Harmlessness is related to care. When we truly care about others and the world, we do not harm others or the world. This seems pretty obvious. If we really care about others, then we do not harm them and we protect them from harm. Therefore, to cause suffering, harm or death can never be a spiritual act. There is no God's Will in any harmful actions. Harmlessness would seem to be a no-brainer in regards to love, or to any spiritual belief, but for some reason there are people who do harm in the very name of their religion. God is never intending to harm, so neither should we.

Yet, harmlessness does not have to imply that one should be passive, weak or unassertive. One could be strong in will and in action, and also stand up for what one believes is right, and yet still be harmless. We should stand up for our beliefs and we should work toward true justice in the world, which could involve stopping the bad actions of others. So even in harmlessness, we might get tough with people or with plans that are not right. Harmlessness has to also protect people and the planet from being harmed. So, we are committed to doing no harm and not hurting others; yet if we have to hurt someone's little ego, or if we have to hurt someone's selfish plans, then so be it. We cannot let little egos and selfishness run all over us; truth, love, justice and beauty are more important than egos getting hurt.

Forgiveness is another essential aspect of love. Forgiveness is often difficult to enter into, yet it is so essential in the larger picture of love. Forgiveness is important because other people will sometimes run into us in the wrong way. They'll step on our toes; they'll step on our cherished beliefs and plans. People or groups will sometimes have different views from what we believe is right, and their desires will sometimes run into our own desires. And finally, people make mistakes.

So with all these possibilities of other people offending us in some way, there are bound to be ill feelings and negative reactions at times, between us and them. And in some cases, a person or a group may have done something quite awful. But whether our grievance is over something largely bad or just somewhat irritating, there is a need for forgiveness, because this is the only way to let it go and move on. And if we do not let it go, then the energy of love is blocked and the relationship remains in conflict and with bad feelings.

Resentment, distrust and hatred are like ice. They freeze up all possibility for love and healing, but forgiveness melts the ice. Forgiveness is like a reboot of relationship, whereby the forgiving person simply puts all this resentment into a compost and buries it for good. All that resentment is now let go of and released, and surrendered into love. This is the power of love and forgiveness; it's a power of healing and bringing harmony back into life – from disharmony to harmony.

And what were we holding onto anyways?

Learning about love

We can learn more about love by reflecting on the question – “What is love?”

We need knowledge of what is love, in order to know how to express love. We acquire this knowledge through the exploration of love, of being loved and being loving. As we allow the spontaneity of love to come forth through us and through others, we learn of its creative attributes. As we allow love to be known inwardly, especially in quiet, contemplative reflection, we learn of the qualities or attributes of love.

We also understand more about love as we recognize the Divine Presence enfolding us with its Qualities, such as Compassion, Goodness, Guidance, Protection, Forgiveness, Healing and Patience. Contemplation upon the various Divine Qualities gives our being a greater fullness of wisdom, and gives us greater knowledge of how to express these in our life. It is also helpful to reflect upon and visualize how we can bring love into our life and into the world through personal expression.

Basics of love

Qualities of Love

Qualities of the Heart

The heart is –

Qualities of our Heart

These could also be called virtues of the heart. The essence of our heart is Love. The best way to discover, experience, understand, bring forth and actualize these qualities is through meditation in the heart, with an attitude of openness and self-discovery.

Our heart is
Loving & Caring

In our heart we are loving and caring of our self, others, and all of life. Love unifies and brings people together. Love dissolves separation. Love is compassionate and caring, understanding and empathetic. We feel with people, and we care about their happiness and well-being. With love we are caring and protective of life.

Our heart is
Giving & Generous

In our heart we seek to give, and from our heart we give. Our heart is generous and unselfish. We are generously giving of our kindness, our friendship, our affection, our time, and what we have. We also give of our self. We give to others for their well-being and joy.

Our heart is
Inclusive & Unifying

Our heart includes all people and all lives. Our heart brings together and unifies. Our inclusive and unifying heart is also forgiving and able to accept others even if we disagree with them. Our heart is universal, unconditional, and without boundaries. In our heart we find transcendence, oneness, and resonance with all Life.

Our heart is
Healing & Purifying

In our heart we find healing, and from our heart we can be healing to others. Our heart energy of love is healing and purifying. The heart can purify and transmute all kinds of energies, in our self, in others, and in the world. The heart can dissolve and cleanse all negative emotions, with the power of love.

Our heart is
Truthful & Honest

In our heart we are truthful and honest about who we are, and from our heart we express the truth of our self. Self-honesty and self-integrity are known in our heart, and from our heart we express sincerity. If we are completely sincere and self-honest in our heart, we will discover the truths of who we are.

Our heart is
Knowing & Guiding

In our heart we realize spiritual truths, values and purposes. In our heart we find intuition, guidance and direction, if we listen. Our heart is knowing and understanding, and in our heart we can know our spiritual beingness. Heart is the centre of our being and the real knower, and our life becomes real when mind follows heart.

Our heart is
Inspirational & Striving

In our heart we find inspiration and a striving to be creative and to improve in whatever we do. Our heart can inspire great acts of love and motivate great efforts. Enthusiasm, devotion, & commitment also come from our heart, as well as courage and perseverance, to achieve goals, solve difficulties, and overcome challenges.

Our heart is
Communicative & Sharing

Our heart has a capacity to communicate and share with other hearts. We are related and connected with everyone in our heart. In our heart we can hear and know what is in other hearts, and we can share what’s in our heart with anyone. Our heart naturally relates with other hearts and loves to share in heart together.

Our heart is
Peaceful & Harmonious

In our heart we find peace and harmony, and from our heart we create peace and harmony. Peace in our heart is from our indwelling Spirit. In this peace we also find serenity, contentment, and patience in life. We can feel the rhythm of Life and come into harmony with Life, and we can also harmonize with other hearts.

Our heart is
Trusting & Receptive

In our heart we are trusting in the goodness of life, and we trust in our indwelling Spirit. We are hopeful, positive and optimistic about the present moment and the future. In our heart we are receptive to others, to nature, and to what comes from Spirit and Life. Our heart is receptive to all that is Good, Truthful, Loving, and Beautiful.

Our heart is
Joyful & Grateful

In our heart we find joy and gratitude. We can experience joy with others, with nature, with activities, and also an inner joy of just being. Joy is an upliftment and expansion of our heart. Gratefulness and appreciation opens our heart to joy. When we are grateful, we are naturally joyful. When we are joyful, we are naturally grateful. Through gratefulness we experience beauty, love, and joy.

Our heart is
Beautiful & Radiant

In our heart is beauty and radiance. All qualities of our heart are beautiful. We are beautifully radiant, when we express and share our heart, when we are loving and caring, giving and generous, truthful and sincere, and striving for what is good and excellent.