When I was first coming up with my personal philosophies–my own Zen, if you will–I had great trouble with embracing the idea of love. Can’t say I’m much of a Romantic, either literally or philosophically, and I fully understand that love isn’t as wonderful as many besotted people would like to claim it is.
Love can lead to obsession and possessiveness, it can become irrational and destructive at times. In many ways, love is like a fire: good for warmth and comfort, but potentially raging and out-of-control. So, why did I eventually accept it as the core of my “philosophy”?
It dawned on me, slowly, that these unsavory parts of our human nature shouldn’t be denied. They should be brought to light and seen for what they truly are–useful counterparts that could help us survive. Obviously, fixation in romantic love could lead to disaster, but what if it could be harnessed to better ends? Requited or not, the fool will sacrifice for and protect his heart’s desire fervently, and that’s an advantage that shouldn’t be denied.
Here is where the rest of the scaffolding of thought come to bear, to nullify the destructive power of love and harness it to higher ideals. Towards motivation. Someone who learns to love beyond a narrow, self-serving definition can accomplish great things. Someone who shines their love upon greater ideals becomes a champion for good, strengthened by their emotions, shielded by neurochemistry of the heart, and moved to take bold action.
This is the love that I champion. This is love as a blade, a tempered flame.
If your heart is filled with love of life, of the planet and all creatures within it, of the cosmos and the intricate Order of Being, then what could possibly stop you? If you find reflections of this love shining back at you from the eyes of your fellow beings, what wouldn’t you do to nurture and protect them?
Go beyond specific attachments to people and things; they are trees amid the untamed forest. See the beauty that exists, the potential of what could be engraved in our DNA. It carries traces of every living being, going back to the first ones billions of years ago. It is the testament that life goes on, that you and everyone you know belongs to a unified whole.
Every moment, whether we realize it or not, we are offered this blade. In many ways, it is forged out of our unique inheritance as human beings. Thousands of generations, countless cultures and faiths, an endless dance of life weaving together the pathways that could one day see the world as one, without illusions, and learn to love.