By Edward Fagan

Please also see the following post in this blog: Looking At Love . 

Various ways of expressing love are used where ever there is a need to express love. Where ever love exists it is practised, and where ever it is practised it is expressed. When we express love, we must do so using one or more of the ways of expressing such love.

Humans are called to possess and express love toward each other and toward our beautiful world. Expressing love in the various and creative ways in which it can be expressed is therefore a part of that call. Expressing love is as important as love itself, and is universal and perennial.

Love deserves to be expressed in the most beautiful, artistic and moral way. The esthetic quality of the way we express love in any given situation can never be too high.

Expressing love in a manner that reflects emotional and other forms of affection, warmth and sensitivity can determine the nature and extent of our response to that expression of love. Expressing love in such an appropriate tone and manner can convey a sense of peace, fraternity, joy and happiness.

Expressing love as mentioned above can bring delight to the hearts of recipients of that expression of love who might be suffering through depression, sadness and despair. These recipients of that expression of love can be inspired to: cultivate a positive view of themselves and a more optimistic view of their circumstances and change, correspondingly, their behaviour toward themselves and their circumstances.

Expressing love in the manner mentioned above and our appropriate response to it can have a beneficial effect on the mental and emotional condition of both the person to whom love is expressed and the person expressing love.

The importance of expressing love is reflected in the cultures of the world, all of which have oral, physical and other customs and traditions that evolved from the love for and the importance of, expressing love. These customs and traditions and our own inclinations allow us more scope to express love in a practical way and with all of the joy, beauty and art that expressing love deserves.

The arts offer ample opportunity to identify or create, store, retrieve and teach values and practices relating to love and its expression. The literary arts, the performing arts and the visual arts continue to be used by their practitioners to teach or remind us how we may express love beautifully in all of its facets.

This cultural and artistic contribution to our understanding, practice and expression of love is a commonly shared legacy of all humans; and it provides an easily accessible resource which we can exploit in our effort at expressing love. We, obviously, also have our best natural  and acquired verbal, physical and other abilities which we can use in expressing love. The extent to which and the way we use this commonly-shared cultural and artistic legacy, and our natural and acquired abilities relevant to expressing love can help us greatly  in our effort at expressing love as effectively, richly and artistically as we wish to express it.

by Edward Fagan

Briefly

Briefly is a regular column of this blog; its posts are published on Sundays. In this column an original essay or original short story is written by Edward Fagan.

The word “Love”is one of the most cherished and regularly used words in the world, in all languages. It also seems to be one of the least understood and most actively misused words.

We can get a clearer understanding of the meaning and nature of this word so that we might practise love more correctly.

We’ll start with the correct, though different, definition of the word. Love is outgoing care and concern for the other person.  It is necessary to know that love exists through action. We give and receive love through the actions we perform toward each other.

Whenever outgoing care and concern for the other person are practised, this active practical love (the outward expression of the inner quality) will always indicate the presence in us, of love the inner quality.

In terms of language, love is both a verb and an abstract noun. Both love in action, expressed and practical, and love, the inner quality, are spiritually good. Love is a good spiritual quality which can be a permanent trait of our character during every moment of our existence.

When love, the inner quality, is present in us we practise love, the expressed action toward others. When this happens, our outgoing care and concern toward others will aim at helping their person, or their circumstances, or both.

Whenever love is practised, it builds where building is necessary or repairs that which is broken. Love helps, gives to, cherishes, protects, maintains and preserves the other person and their circumstances.

Love never leads to harm or destruction of the other person. It is therefore impossible for someone to truthfully claim that they killed or even harmed their spouse in the name of love.

We experience the presence of love, the good spiritual quality, when we practise it toward others, and when others practise it toward us.

Our response to our experience of the presence of love as givers or recipients may be accompanied by our experiencing a certain emotional state. This may result in the expression of one or another type of emotional behaviour. This happens, for example, in romance and marital situations.

Love is always permanent; emotional experience and expression are temporary, they come and go, they are not love.

They are, in a way, similar to sexual foreplay and sexual intercourse which, even though they are not love, are activities through which a husband and wife can express their love to each other.

There is a course of behaviour that can get in the way and prevent us from practising love. This course of behaviour can be avoided if we uphold certain practices that are opposite to it, in our daily living.

The practices we can uphold in our daily living to prevent behaviour that obstructs the practice of love include:

Honouring our parents, as well as others in authority over us, and our elderly

Avoiding to commit murder, and avoiding to harm the other person physically or otherwise

Practising faithfulness to the other person with whom we have a romantic or marital relationship

Refusing to steal from the other person

Speaking the truth or remaining silent about the other person, instead of telling lies against him or her

Refusing to covet that which belongs to the other person, and refusing to practise envy or jealousy toward him or her.

Love, or outgoing care and concern for the other person, whenever it is practised, always faithfully serves its intended purpose and bears fruit. The practice of love can be the backbone of all human relationships if we would allow this to happen; and it can be of great spiritual and other benefit to individuals and groups alike, wherever and whenever it is practised.

By Edward Fagan