the meaning of love

The Meaning of Love: The Great Misunderstanding

When we contemplate the meaning of love, if we do this genuinely, we will find ourselves in uncommon and indescribable realms. We will find a sense of peace and fulfillment not otherwise available. The meaning of love is the meaning of life and every moment invites us to know it deeper. Yet, to accept this continuous invitation into love takes the most courage most humans could ever muster. To truly love is to be truly exposed, unguarded, and vulnerable – and we have been conditioned to avoid that at all costs.  

If we want to know what life truly has to offer, if we want to know not just happiness, but true joy, if we want to feel deeply connected, if we want to feel true peace, then we must come to understand the meaning of love. Then, and only then, may we choose moment to moment to orient ourselves and our lives toward love, or toward the apparent absence of love. 


What is the meaning of love?

What is the true meaning of love? Although many have come to believe that love is something we do, something we give and receive, or something we choose, love is actually something we experience. We create the spaces in our lives, in our beings, where we can feel this powerful force that always surrounds us. Even when we “love” someone, in the verb form of love, we simply allow another to witness our experience of love. We don’t give it away. And, neither can they give it to us. They can demonstrate their experience of love, but for us to share their experience, we must find the resonant vibration of love within ourself. 

Too often, we make the mistake of putting so much effort into trying to find love. We work so hard to make sure others will love us, or won’t stop loving us. Ironically, our efforts to seek the fulfillment of love, can’t possibly sustain a fullness of love within us. We may get a “hit” of love, like a drug, but we can’t hold on to love. Nor can we lose it. Love surrounds us every moment of every day. Always. Forever. Eternally. 

“Love surrounds us every moment of every day. Always. Forever. Eternally.”

If we have been to a wedding most of us have heard the Bible verse, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” If we watch popular TV right now we’re invited to consider if “Love is blind”. Genuine love is all of those things, including blind. 

Yet, also contrary to popular belief, love does not mean we have to accept and allow everything. Absolutely not. Love means we can say no. And, here is where it gets interesting.

The question, what is the meaning of love, has a very simple answer. In one word, love means unity. The meaning of love is to be united, to experience the oneness of being where we realize we are never ever separate. Real love means embracing one another, accepting each other, and allowing the inherent imperfection of being human. Genuine love is unconditional. It requires nothing, demands nothing, expects nothing. 

Returning to the “no” of love, embracing the unconditional acceptance at the heart of love, we also need to, at times, say no and create distance. This expression of healthy boundaries does not preclude us from the experience of love. We may experience love from a distance. 


We need the experience of love 

Since the meaning of love is unity, then by definition, love connects us to everything. Without love we find ourselves lonely. We may feel as if we don’t belong or fit in. Without knowing and feeling love, we may “hover” through life disconnected from the very things that truly matter to us. Alternatively, when we don’t know the meaning of love, and don’t live it, we may also feel heavy, depressed, and burdened.  

In the perceived absence of love, we may say we don’t need it. We may pretend we don’t want it. Yet, this can never be true. Love is the heart of human existence and human relating. Our experience of love makes life light and beautiful. Our resistance to love makes us miserable. It brings us pain. Yes, our disconnection, and perceived separation, from love causes physical pain.  

So without a doubt, we need love. Hence we need to make ourselves available to the experience of love. Fortunately, love is always on offer, always available – every moment of every day. Our problems arise because we deeply misunderstand it and how to experience it. For us today, the greatest reminder of the omnipresence of love comes from the ancient mystic and poet Rumi who says… 

“It is not for us to seek for love, but for all of our barriers against it.” ~ Rumi


Seeking the barriers

If we want to know and experience the true meaning of love, we must commit ourselves to searching out the barriers we have unconsciously built against it. This commitment to living in the experience of love becomes our gateway to peace, passion, beauty, and joy – all precious experiences we need to live as fulfilled and happy humans. 

Here’s the real beauty of it. Love is one of the most powerful activators of our tear ducts – both when we experience its presence and when we imagine its absence. We cry when love touches our heart in ways we can barely express. We cry when love seems to break our heart. When we let ourselves experience the emotions that arise when we feel disconnected from love, those very feelings will lead us right back to love. 

What if seeking our barriers to love in order to dissolve them was guided by the moments when we feel disconnected from love? What if our willingness to feel an absence of love reveals the absolute presence of love? What if “brokenheartedness” was simply a direct reflection of, and correlation to, the very existence and power of love itself? 

You are invited to feel – to feel love and to feel disconnection from love. We must allow the natural expansions and contractions that innately expand our capacity to experience real love. In other words, if you protect yourself against the powers of love, you will never know its full might, its immense generosity, its profound healing, nor its miraculousness.   

Love is such a powerful force. Let it fill you. Let it break you open. Let love love you. 

In our clarity that unity, divine union, defines the real meaning of love we have the opportunity to create a very different experience. In love, whether in a relationship or not, we have the chance for the most extraordinary and ecstatic life. If you’ll open yourself and your heart to love, you will find it a boundless and infinite experience that can continuously take your breath away. 


In closing, we must say that our journey of love expresses 360 degrees. Everywhere. Everyone. All the time. Remember that you’ll want to know how to love yourself as much as you want to know how to share love with another. Then, how we love ourselves and how we love one another, has the opportunity to change the entire experience of humanity. Your capacity to love directly influences the availability of peace on earth. 

If we all understood and felt the true meaning of love, there would be no wars. Peace arises from love and we need peace more than ever. So, if you’re willing, if you’re courageous, please come to know love in its fullest form. For you, for your heart, for your beloved, for all.


*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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