Acting as if / Authenticity / Desires / Detaching / Dreams / Ego / Energy / Expectations / Life / Love / Men / Relationships / Self-Love / Uncategorized

From The Art of Loving

As a student of Love, an important part of my study is learning in what ways I need to improve upon being a more loving being. I’ve said this before, but I feel that it bears repeating. My study and practice of love is not solely for romantic purposes. First and foremost, it is spiritual.  So I constantly look for and read resources that further my study of love.  My latest study has been this wonderfully enlightening book by Erich Fromm, a 1950’s psychoanalyst, titled The Art of Loving. Today I decided to share some of his moving, powerful, thought-provoking ruminations on love.  I pray this increases your love store. 🙂 Enjoy. The first thing we have to learn is that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art. Maybe here lies the answer to the question of why people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures: in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power – almost all our energy is used for learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving….

….In the Book of Jonah, God explains to Jonah that the essence of love is to labour for something and to make something grow, that love and labour are inseparable. One loves that for which one labours, and one labours for that which one loves….

….If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to the rest of his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. Yet most people believe that love is constituted by the object, not by the faculty. In fact, they even believe that it is proof of the intensity of their love when they do not love anybody except the “loved” person. This is the same fallacy which I have already mentioned above. Because one does not see that love is an activity, a power of the soul, one believes that all that is necessary to find is the right object – and that everything goes by itself afterward. This attitude can be compared to that of the man who wants to paint but who, instead of learning  the art, claims that he just has to wait for the right object – and that he will paint beautifully when he finds it. If I truly love one person I love all persons, I love the world, I love life. If I can say to somebody else, “I love you,” I must be able to say, “I love in you everybody, I love through you the world, I love in you also myself.”

….The most fundamental kind of love, which underlies all types of love, is brotherly love. By this I mean the sense of responsibility, care, respect, knowledge of any other human being, the wish to further his life. This is the kind of love the Bible speaks about when it says: Love your neighbour as yourself. Brotherly love is love for all human beings; it is characterized by its very lack of exlusiveness. If I have developed the capacity for love, then I cannot help loving my brothers. In brotherly love there is the experience of union with the whole of mankind, of human solidarity. Brotherly love is based on the experience that we’re all one.

….The differences in talents, intelligence, knowledge are negligible in comparison with the identity of the human core common to all men. In order to experience this identity it is necessary to penetrate from the periphery to the core. If I perceive in another person mainly the surface, I perceive mainly differences, that which separates us. If I penetrate to the core, I perceive our identity, the fact of out brotherhood.

….Love of the helpless, the poor and the stranger, are the beginning of brotherly love. To love ones flesh and blood is no achievement. The animal loves its young and cares for them. Only in the love of those who do not serve a purpose, does love begin to unfold. Compassion implies the element of knowledge and identification. “You know the heart of the stranger,” says the Bible, “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt;… therefore love the stranger!”….

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