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February 2, 2018

What Having a Chronic Illness taught me about Love.

Maybe love is not such an obvious thing.

There are many misconceptions about love. People say love is the answer. They say love is all. They say that we must love. I get the strange feeling that “they” have dropped the ball on this one.

Love is not something we do. A relationship is something we do. Love is something we are.

Love is the stuff that binds this universe together. Even when we do horrible things in life, we do them because there was an absence of love in our hearts. When we do things right, we are doing them out of love. There’s just no escaping it, know what I mean?

A relationship is an expression of love—an agreement used to foster love—but it is not love. This is why so many relationships fail; because people confuse the relationship with love itself. If we understand that this love has always existed within ourselves, then maybe we wouldn’t act so crazy when our partners bail on us.

This is something that is lacking in our culture. We believe love is some kind of decision, something we choose, but it’s not. We can choose to serve love, but we do not choose love. It’s always there—and when we realize this, then the responsibility to honor love becomes all the more powerful.

Living with a chronic illness for the past five years has taught me that I can’t “get” love. I cannot acquire love, and I most certainly can’t understand it with words. When we take everything else away—all of the good things in our lives—we see that there is still love.

I feel like this illness has robbed me of my humanity in many ways. I can’t do what I want. I am always uncomfortable. Though, even when I am in my darkest moments, I still feel something beautiful underneath it all. Beneath pain, beneath mind, beneath flesh…there is something there, and I call it love. You can call it whatever you want, I don’t care.

Maybe I am naive or delusional or misguided, but it doesn’t feel that way. I feel love in the depths of my being for everything that has ever existed. I see all of the horrible things human beings have done to each other as part of the collective journey toward seeing our true nature as love itself.

So, love is not what we think. Love is what we are, what we’ve always had, and what will define our destiny both as individuals and as the human race.

Breathe it in. Feel it. Know it.

Don’t convince yourself that it’s not there. Don’t pretend you are above it. It is the essence of everything, the very fabric of our souls—and if the human adventure comes crashing down, then it will be love that brings us back from the depths.

~

Relephant:

The Meaning of True Love (from a Buddhist’s Perspective).

What is Love Anyway?

~

Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Unsplash/Allef Vinicius
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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