So many people in the world. So many ways of understanding. If we were to take a single word such as love and translate it into several different languages, pull together all of those definitions and extrapolate the meaning of it, we would find our understanding of Love becomes much deeper.
The examples in Greek are well known. In Greek, Love is broken down into three different types; Filial, Eros, and Agape. Even in that one translation, from English to Greek and back again, our understanding of the full concept of what love is grows. Filial love is brotherly or sisterly love. Love between good friends. Love within a family. Eros, as the name implies, is the type of love between a husband and wife. Agape the third type of love means a wide open love for mankind.
In Hebrew, the word for Love is “Ahava”. “Ahava” means literally “I give” . So Love becomes something given. It is the greatest gift. Start by combining the 3rd type of Greek Love and the Hebrew for Love and you come to understand a meaning along the lines of, I give wide open to the world.
If we go a bit further into China or Tibet or India we may find something slightly different. There are also at least three words for love in Buddhist and Hindi ; There is Kama which is sexual love. Karuna ,meaning compassion mercy and reducing the suffering of others, and Advesa and/or Metta which is unconditional love, well meaning and kind.
So lets keep going and add those definitions of love. I give wide open to the world compassion and mercy well meaning and kind. Our understanding of love has now grown. It has begun to mean more, encompass more. The English word Love has many many denotations and connotations. Love can be a feeling about food, or a friend , the day, a tree. Love can be a state of being as in God is Love.
“I give wide open to the world compassion and mercy, unconditionally, well meaning and kind, in my being.”
Even taking only those three languages we have now found a love bigger and deeper in scope than our limited language implies. Not in a religion but in words. However if you look at those words it is the highest level of love we can experience. I wonder sometimes if that point in time when languages became different was meant eventually to bring us a greater understanding.
We do not all speak the same language. But we all can understand compassion and mercy that is given wide open to the world, that is well meaning and kind in being. That is a spiritual love. That is the day to day work of being spiritual no matter whether we are Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or any other.
So when you’re meditating on the meaning of Love remember to look to ALL the definitions of love. In our heart, our mindfulness, we find a greater joy and greater understanding and a greater capacity for Love.
©Adrienne McLeod 2011