Most of us have known many different kinds of love. There’s the love of sweethearts. The love of children and family. The love of the things we do, and of our homeland. These are personal and changeable loves.
And then there’s a love not so easy to define. It’s a love without an object — in which we do not find confirmation of an image of ourselves, but in which we “lose” ourselves to something greater than ourselves. It includes gratitude and a feeling of oneness with life and everything it encompasses.
This Higher Love has been spoken of by the great sages throughout time as the truest form of love. It is a love that never fails us. The human being who experiences this higher love is filled with the qualities of understanding, compassion, forgiveness — and a sense of belonging and being at home in any circumstances.
Here is what we’ve been told about this greater form of love by those who have experienced it…
By the accident of good fortune a man may rule the world for a time. But by virtue of love he may rule the world for ever.
— Lao Tse (604 B.C.E.)
God is love and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
— John, New Testament (90 A.D.)
As you express unconditional love, you become more than you previously perceived yourself to be. You become illumined, the full manifestation of your divinity.
— Mayan (325)
Only love overcomes the fragmentation of human nature.
— Maximus The Confessor (580)
Be certain in the religion of Love there are no believers or unbelievers. Love embraces all.
— Jalal Al Din Rumi (1207)
Love is not an art like poetry, possible only to the few endowed for it… it is open and accessible to all.
— Soren Kierkegaard (1813)
Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.
— Mary Baker Eddy (1821)
The day will come when, after harnessing space the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.
— Pierre Teilhard De Chardin (1881)
And here’s one final quotation that reveals the power of Love to transform and bring forgiveness…
He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me, in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never leave… For hatred ceases not by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love.
— Dhammapada (200)
All forms of love are beautiful. Even the lower forms reflect the higher — which is their source. For this reason they can be a doorway to the Higher. But really, Love is all around us. It is the very fabric of the universe in which we live, and it beckons us to consciously know it.
How different the world would be if people opened themselves to higher Love. How differently people would see, and behave toward one another.
We don’t do it because we would rather have the kind of love that builds us as individuals. But such a love separates people. And it can even lead us to hate others. Higher Love shows as that at our core we are all the same. It unites people.
Let us learn how to use our personal loves to see the greater Love beyond. And then let us see how that Love encompasses all of us. Such understanding would change the world.
Here is a quote about love from OneJourney Founder Guy Finley…
The Higher Love that originates from God’s love feels no need to possess what it loves because this love is whole and complete in itself.
— Guy Finley (1949)
Do you have a quote from your own tradition about the nature of love? If so, click here to submit it to the OneJourney Living Book.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project