Selfless Love

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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Heidi » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:35 pm

The way I see it, Selfless Love does not mean that self is not involved. I just perceive it as the exact opposite of selfish love. Of course self is involved, and taking pleasure out of offering love is a heart-opening experience.

Let me give you a very simple example.

Selfish love.
A lady I know bought a kitten some months ago. Toulis is a beautiful, grey tabby, with big green eyes, very playful and cuddly. A month after she bought him, the vet asked her to sterilize the kitten and she followed his advice. The cat is not allowed to go out of the flat they live, everybody in the family loves him, and the children play with the cat all day long, I could say in a cruel way, sometimes.
This is selfish love. They all treat the cat in such a way as to please themselves not the cat, which is treated like a toy.

Selfless love:
There is a lady in the neighbourhood where I live, and every evening she comes out with food for stray cats and dogs in the area - we have plenty! She calls the cats, which wait for her every evening, and then she goes a block away and leaves food for the dogs.
What she does is out of her love for animals, and she does not expect anything in return from them. Of course she gets pleasure out of what she does, and I think this is absolutely normal.

In the above example of “selfless love” I wouldn't use the term “unconditional love.” It would seem very pompous in connection with animals, sometimes in connection with people, too.

However, I would use the term “unconditional love” when I go to church and light a candle. If I do it and say, “please, God, help me win the lottery tonight,” it will sound like a kind of transaction. If I do it just out of love and to say “thank you, for what I have been given” without asking for “favours,” then it is love without conditions. And since the Bible has been referrer to several times in this site, a wonderful example of unconditional love is Job's love for the God he believed in.
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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Sabina » Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:47 pm

Heidi,

Concrete examples are always an excellent idea to clarify an abstract thought. Below are my thoughts on the particular examples and the associated emotions.

Heidi wrote:Selfish love.
... They all treat the cat in such a way as to please themselves not the cat, which is treated like a toy.

If they treat the cat in a way as to please themselves and they don't please the cat, and rather treat it like a toy, so it is one-sided (they only love themselves and not the cat?), then for me this isn't love. This can probably be argued... but when I speak of love I mean the love we feel and give.


Heidi wrote:Selfless love:
... What she does is out of her love for animals, and she does not expect anything in return from them. Of course she gets pleasure out of what she does, and I think this is absolutely normal.

This story could be interpreted as kindness as well. One could argue that love is a too strong word for an act of kindness, unless we define love as a consequent and continuous sequence of acts of kindness.
I believe that kindness is certainly an important aspect or a part of love, but that love is far more than kindness.


Heidi wrote:However, I would use the term “unconditional love” when I go to church and light a candle... and to say “thank you, for what I have been given” without asking for “favours,” then it is love without conditions.

Or it is gratitude.
Gratitude is again an aspect and a part of love, but it doesn't equal love. I do think that we are able to feel gratitude, even strong and powerful gratitude, without feeling love.

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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Tim » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:56 am

Again, are we talking about the concept of love or are we debating over words? Surely selflessness is about motivation or intent rather than cause and effect. Whatever we put out is returned to us. Surely to be selfless is to give without any thought or motivation to benefit the self. Love is all that we are. It is our true essence. It is like the natural environment. Left to it's own devices nature grows and is pure and beautiful in it's natural state. We tear it up and build on top of it, yet to keep what we have made from disentergrating and being over run by nature we have to keep building and cutting nature back. In our lives our essence is love. If we were just to stop creating the ego, stop trying to be something, stop denying love it would grow up all around us and within us and the ego may fall away. Once more, love is much greater than the self. It exists even without the self. Surely it is possible for such a great force to flow through us and even over overcome he self?
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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Sabina » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:47 am

Tim,

We are talking about the concept of love and not debating over words. However, we do use words in order to explain the concept, so the one goes hand in hand with the other.
You can find out a little more about my inspiration and motivation to post this topic in the Definitions thread.

For clarification, can you tell me what exactly you mean by this text?
If we were just to stop creating the ego, stop trying to be something, stop denying love...


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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Tim » Tue Feb 16, 2010 10:54 am

I read the definitions post.
"The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao." (Tao Te Ching)
Words are but symbols with different representation to different beings.
"If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." (Bible)
If definitions and theologies are important, than so be it. It is all a part of the journey.
A definition of love will never capture its essence.
I'm going to stop trying to define and just focus on the practise.
Thanks for the conversation. =0)
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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Sabina » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:20 am

"The Way that can be experienced is not true;
The world that can be constructed is not real."


or

"The Tao that can be spoken is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named is not the eternal name"


or are you referring to...

"The Tao Te Ching is the Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao.
The speech that can be spoken is not the true speech.
So, I have no recourse but to lie to you."


The point of any spiritual conversation would be what then?
To occasionally quote this?
The point of the quote above is to live the Way and not just talk about it. The truth is in the action, not that what is talked about.

Someone I recently met wrote:
"It's wonderful to have a place to discuss spirituality with like-minded (spirited?) people!"
Does this sound familiar? :)

You said "A definition of love will never capture its essence."...
Tim, I really don't think anyone here is so aloof to think that a definition of love can capture its essence. We are getting to know each other, getting a better understanding of each other, and sharing our experiences with each other. All of this can be inspiring, empowering, helpful or sometimes simply beautiful.

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Kahlil Gibran on Love

Postby mirjana » Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:44 am

As we are talking about concept of Love, I think that these verses about Love have also their place here:


When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to
sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.


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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Randall » Wed Feb 17, 2010 3:35 pm

I haven't read that in many years Mirjana, thank you, It still reaches the deep places within.
מלכות השמים היא עם ב לך
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Re: Selfless Love

Postby Aphrodite » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:39 am

I disagree, selfless love means doing something without the expectation of something in return, just because you get something no matter how big or small in return, It doesn't mean that you were selfless in expectation for that thing in return you did it out of pure godly love. you could get spit on in the face and It wouldn't effect you because you didn't do it for anything in return. THAT is real selfless love, something I am still working on... and getting better at.
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Re: Selfless Love

Postby blackfellawhitefella » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:30 am

.my song sings the knowing ... as we give , we receive.
.always and in all ways.
.it is the underlying principle of our Geometry Of Divinity.

.my experience here (this dimension) batters me with the premise that my knowing is illogical and invalid.

.you earth people 'think' way to much.
relax, connect, allow.
repeat process.
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