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The Seven Dimensions of Love
Love is the most beautiful reality in this world. He pervades the world as God. The hardest thing is to “define” love, but the easiest to “know”. We all know what love is. Even an animal knows what love is. So love is a matter of realization and knowledge of love is knowledge of the universe. Saint Kabir, the famous Sufi poet, said:
Many people have died reading the scriptures,
Yet they failed to wise up,
One who understood the meaning of “love”
He is the only man who is supposed to be wise.
Therefore, love is not only an emotion, but also the deepest knowledge that a person can expect. Once we know love, nothing else remains unknown. Yet there is nothing mysterious or complicated about love, as even the most innocent person “knows” it without reading a single book.
Knowing love requires not only the use of the mind, but also the heart, soul, and intuition.
The complexity of love is due to the fact that love has multiple dimensions. It is like a living being consisting of many body parts. These limbs are interconnected in such a way that they complement each other. All of them are an important and integral part of the being, because a person is lame even if one part of the body disappears.
Love comes in seven different forms. It is like a white ray of light that hides a spectrum of seven colors. If even one color is missing, love is incomplete. These seven dimensions are described as follows.
1. Love is sensual
The most primary dimension of love is the body, which leads to the gratification of the senses. You cannot love someone who cannot be seen or imagined. Sensual love is so important in love that people often use the word “love” interchangeably with “lust,” which seeks sexual satisfaction. Although many believed that lust was the lowest expression of love, sensuality was a necessary part of love. For example, Sufis developed their love for God through sensuality. They imagined God as male (or female) and themselves as their loved ones. The root of idolatry also lies in man’s need to develop an emotional and sensory bond with God. Religions that ignored the physical dimensions of love often made their followers callous and uncaring. People who have ignored the physical dimension of love often do not find love at all in their lives.
2. Love is compassion
Aristotle said, “Love consists of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” It is perhaps the simplest definition of love. When a person loves another person, they share their pains and happiness as if they share the same soul. This is called compassion, which is defined as “deep awareness and compassion for the suffering of another.” A mother who loves her child cannot bear the pain of her child and even give her own life if it helps to ease the pain of her child. People often feel possessive about their love because they want to avoid any pain for their loved one.
3. Love is care
Love is not just an emotion that brings people together. When you love someone, you do everything to make your beloved happy, because in her happiness lies your happiness. The distinction of bodies for people in love disappears. Love without action means nothing, as illustrated in this beautiful poem, “Which Loved Best?” by Joy Allison.
“I love you. Mother,” said little John;
Then he forgot his work, and his cap went on,
And went to the garden swing,
And he left water and wood for her to fetch.
“I love you, mother,” said Rosy Nell-
“I love you more than tongues can say”;
Then she teased and pouted for half the day,
Even her mother was happy when she went to play.
“I love you, mother,” said little Fan;
“Today I will help you as much as I can;
I’m so glad school isn’t in session!”
So she rocked the baby until he fell asleep.
Then she stepped quietly and brought a broom,
And he swept the floor and cleaned the room;
All day she was busy and happy,
Helpful and happy as a child can be.
“I love you, mother,” they said again,
Three little children go to bed;
How do you think the mother guessed?
Which one of them really loved her the most?
If love does not lead to a positive effect of care, it cannot be love. This is the reason why all religions have asked their followers to do charity work for the benefit of the poor, because only through positive actions one can please God and show love to God.
4. Love is sharing
Love is not only the sharing of the soul, but also the sharing of worldly things. A family is a typical unit of love where everyone shares everything with the others. They share the house, their belongings, furniture and everything in the house. Everything belongs to everyone in the family. The difference between me and them disappears for people in love. If you are not willing to share your most precious thing with your loved one, you definitely do not love that person. A person who loves God always considers everything that belongs to God. Therefore he would have no attachment to any of the material possessions. Therefore, he gives his goods to others without hesitation. One who accumulates wealth or remains attached to wealth cannot love. Similarly, one who does not want to share his wealth with the people he loves is not really loving.
5. Love is trust
Trust is the most important thing in love. How can you not trust a person who shares your own soul? When there is no trust, love does not last. When you love, you fully trust what you believe. Without trust, love is not possible, because trust is the test of love. It is easy to say that you love someone or to say that you are like two bodies and one soul. Still, it’s not easy to trust your loved one completely. When a person loves God, he has full trust in God, which is called faith. When you love your child, you fully trust him. The importance of trust in love is beautifully expressed in the poem “Trust” by Malcolm Coleman
Fragile as a lily
Without it there can be no meaning
to the words: “I love you”
without it all will fail
and happiness is eroded.
Like trees in autumn
so I lose my life
if I’m not trustworthy.
they have to trust me
for trust builds hope and love.
Trust brings all things
wholeness that is sublime
and which cannot be explained.
My entire soul screams in fear
if he doesn’t believe me
If they don’t believe me
what can I do?
6. Love is respect
The material world has created hierarchies because every material thing has a beginning and an end and everything is measurable. Thus, everything is greater or smaller than others in some measurable criterion. However, the soul is eternal and has no beginning or end. We often respect people who are older or more knowledgeable than us in the world. Yet all people are spiritually the same because everyone has the same soul. Yet each soul manifests as a different being in this world. Because each was designed for a different purpose, each is superior to the others in some respect. A small child is better than an adult in many ways. Jesus taught
“Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
So when you love someone, you also respect them for who they are. When two people meet in India, they greet each other by folding their hands and calling out the word “Namaste”. The word Namaste is composed of two Sanskrit words – namah + te – meaning “I bow to that (divinity or soul) that is inherent in you.”
If you love your child, you respect him as the person he is because you see many good qualities in him that need to be respected. If you don’t respect another person, it simply means that you don’t consider them better than you in any way. How can you love such a person who is inferior to you in every way?
Respect in its highest form takes the form of worship. People who love God therefore worship God because they consider God to be the highest form of the Soul which is Supreme in all respects.
7. Love is friendship
If the souls of lovers are one, how can their minds be different? Sharing a mind or an idea is called friendship. Aristotle said
“No one would choose to live without friends, even if they had everything else.”
Friendship is another important dimension of love. Just as one can rely on friends in times of need, the same is true with love. Love is not sustainable without a meeting of the minds. Even a religious person who loves God actually develops a kind of friendship with God. He can communicate with God and understand His thoughts. A man in love with his beloved knows her thoughts effortlessly. If you love your child, you are also his best friend. When you talk to a child, you automatically use their language, style and language to communicate. You play with him like a child. Friendship transforms you from an adult to a child. Children who love their parents are never overwhelmed by their greatness or meanness because they find them on the same level as themselves. So friendship is always present between people who love.
What is love without all dimensions
Most people make a mistake in their understanding of love. A man and a woman may think that love is nothing more than physical attraction. Yet such love cannot last if it is not complete in its full dimension. Therefore, love based on mere physical attraction does not last long unless it is filled with compassion, respect, trust, care, sharing and friendship. Love of God is no exception. God cannot be found just by praying or following rituals. One must also have compassion for God and develop friendship with Him by knowing His mind. A lover of God must care for and share His creations by doing charitable actions and good for other people in the world who are all God’s children. Love is therefore rightly described as the world’s greatest knowledge, because it is the means and the goal of everything a person wants to learn, feel and know.
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