“Love seeks no cause beyond itself and no fruit; it is its own fruit, its own enjoyment. I love because I love; I love in order that I may love.”
- Bernard of Clairvaux
LOVE. The source and end of life. The purpose and the glory in itself. In every moment of our life, we search for love and to be loved, and as Carl Gustav Jung says, love is the most important problem in our life, and we should understand it as “something about which nobody can know anything with certainty. It is the destiny, whose final roots we can never discover”.
In this post, we will explore love and its different types of manifestation, beginning with the human love, the sexual one and going towards the divine or sacred love. I will use Dante’s Divine Comedy as a reference, since there we can read that Love can be “the source of every virtue as well as of every vice”. But how can it be?
How can Love give birth to Hell and Paradise?
Well, Virgil tells us that love is of two kinds: natural or of the mind. While the natural love “is always without error”, that of the mind “may err in its chosen goal, or through excessive or deficient vigour”. The problem is not love, but how we use it, towards which goal do we direct it, and that is only our responsibility.
The study of Love begins many times with Eros - the greek god of love and sex. Eros is known as “a demon whose effects extend from the infinite realms of the sky to the darkest depths of hell”. We start looking at the egoic love which springs from the sexual desire. This type of love, if it can be called love, has its roots in the ego of desire and lust, giving birth to jealousy, attachment, obsession, the fear of losing the loved one, the desire to consume it, to possess it and so on. In this regard, love can take us to the worst agony of the soul, when we define ourselves through our partner, we are paralysed by the fear of losing him/her, consumed by the thoughts that they might not love us, or they might fall in love with somebody else, obsessed with his/her image, and the need to be completely immersed in them or the fear of losing our individuality if we let them come to close.
The pain which can be caused by the misdirected love, gives birth to Hell. Dante shows us how evil is perverted love, and, for example, pride, envy and wrath take us to an egocentric love and the desire to hurt others; laziness is the consequence of a weak love; while lust, avarice and gluttony are the expression of an obsessive and possessive love.
The beauty of the inner work, the consciousness that we bring inside us and in our loving relationships, can help us to replace the egoic love with the sacred, divine Love. For Dante, the whole journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, represents a process which helped him become one with One, to dissolve himself in the divine mystery, until his “will and desire, [...] were turning with the Love that moves the Sun and all the other stars”. These supreme Love that moves the Universe, moves us as well. It is the energy of the Universe, the source of existence.
How do we bring this type of love in our couple/marriage/family?
Falling in love with life, feeling the Love in the wind when it touches your face, in the silence of your steps, in the song of the sea, in the smile of a stranger, in the eyes that watch you from the mirror. Fall in Love with life, and express this love in every encounter, become a manifestation of the Love that gave you life, and through your body, your actions, your words, your emotions, your thoughts, you will express Love. You are Love, and your heart unceasingly searches for the Divine Love.
“Like a flower potential in its seed, the blossom of the realisation of love is potential in every heart and requires only proper cultivation to be fostered to maturity.”