We even have a somewhat sarcastic phrase "loven you" to indicate our concern without being too mushy. With all these types of love floating around, how does love contribute to creating peace? Does the manner in which we love matter or does it matter more how we express our love?
In English we are limited as we have one word for love. The ancient Greeks had four separate words for love:
- storge - kinship or familiarity
- philia - friendship
- eros - romantic and or sexual feelings
- agape - self-emptying or divine love
Spanish has many words for love:
- encantar - indicating strong like
- gustar mucho - indicating strong like
- querer - to love romantically, to want
- afición - enthusiasm
- amado - sweetheart
- amor - pure love, romantic love
- caridad - charity
For the romantics among us, love is what creates beautiful art, amazing music, and sleepless nights.
For the biologists among us, love is a biological function like hunger or thirst that creates attachments between people, thereby insuring their survival in a dangerous and hostile world.
For the psychologists among us, love is not only a feeling, but a series of actions.
Unconditional love is a common theme of most of the major belief systems and is one of the often unspoken foundations of participating in the phenomenon commonly called the Rainbow Gathering.
So what does all this have to do with creating a culture of peace?
Well besides being a slogan from the 1960s, using love as a way to create connections strengthens our interpersonal relationships. If we love someone with whom we disagree, we are highly motivated to find a solution that meets the needs of everyone. If we have no personal attachment to other living beings, then we can more easily ignore their perspective and we often do not care about their happiness.
Yet loving each of our siblings all the time is challenging. Some of our siblings act out, behave poorly, don't clean up after themselves, steal, fight, or are just downright mean. What then?
Then we muster our agape and our caridad and try to make that connection. We try to befriend our siblings. By finding a connection, we are creating a relationship. It may be storage it may be afición, but if we can love another person in the worst situation, then maybe we can use that relationship to work towards peace.
But to be clear, loving someone does not mean you accept all their actions.
True love is being able to love your siblings person while calling them on their bullshit (in a loving manner).
True love is being able to communicate in a loving way why specific actions are hurting you, the planet, or other living creature.
True love is a meditative practice we undertake as we deal with the frustrations, interruptions, disappointments and annoyances that fill our lives.
Let your mantra for this year's gathering be I love all my siblings and this beautiful planet we call home.
Love is the path towards peace.