By Stew Bittman, D.C.
To the editor: (February, 1996)
Another Valentine's Day has come and gone. A celebration of love. So we lavished our sweethearts with hearts and flowers and candy (to clog up those hearts, I suppose.) It's all very nice and sweet, but what exactly are we celebrating? Is love something we pronounce once a year? Is love something we offer to someone else only when he or she conforms to whatever our idea is of what is "lovable"? Is it then OK to retract that "love" when the other person stops conforming to that idea? Is love something we offer or withhold as reward or punishment based on our own needs, expectations and desires?
Maybe love is something else. Maybe it's what you have when you synthesize all the dualities: like/dislike, pain/pleasure, good/bad, etc... Maybe it's what's left when you've removed all the judgment, the analysis, the perceptions. Maybe it's akin to understanding. Indeed, the Scottish say, "I ken you" to mean "I love you" (ken=understand.) If we only UNDERSTOOD that love is the glue that unites the infinite oneness. That we are all ONE. That our SOURCE is the same. That our differences are simply our unique expressions of spirit, just as two flowers are never exactly the same. That our purpose is to manifest our perfection, our gifts, without regard for what's in it for us. That our purpose is to express Spirit from above down inside out; to be, as the Native Americans say, clean, hollow bones. If we understood this, we would understand love.
Consider a great example - any cell in your body. A cell is love in manifested physical form. It exists to serve. To help. To feed and protect its neighbors. To work for the good of the whole. It doesn't judge. It doesn't complain. It doesn't have any hidden agendas. It just loves. We can be like that. Are we not as intelligent, as loving as a cell? We can be like cells in the planetary body. Existing for the good of the whole. Yet we're not. We're like cancer cells. Out of harmony with the rest of the body. Out for our own survival at the expense of everyone and everything else (and though we don't realize it, at our own expense as well.) Maybe earthquakes, floods, AIDS, etc... are just part of the planetary immune system!
Let's consider that love us simply what we are. Let's attempt to understand that. Let's try to love ourselves. Not because of our "lovable" features, but simply because we are spirit in physical expression. Because we are the only expression of spirit exactly like us in the entire universe. And as you eat that last piece of candy, let it be a reminder that that candy will be broken down and it will become a part of you, part of your cells. It will become love.
Stewart M. Bittman, D.C.