I stopped using the word when I started studying Buddhism. Not because anyone told me to explicitly, but because it seemed to belong to Christianity, my religion of birth (Jesus said it and that meeting is down the hall!). So, I adapted to the language of the Buddha and spoke of compassion, loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. Earlier this year I started picking up the word again, using it and examining my relationship to it. Did it still belong to my ‘boy crazy’ days and to cute animals? Luckily, I am not completely embedded in my early years, and found that I call many experiences with my friends, my family, people that I share a practice with love. I have also expressed love for the mystery of dependent arising, the book Experience and Being by Calvin O. Schrag, the solar eclipse, and when I am in the presence of vulnerability and hurt. In my years of hiatus, Love has become highly nuanced, conditional, and changing. So now, in addition to mentally debating which tradition love belongs to and wondering ‘how in the world’ can I experience love and anger at the same time, I, once again, find myself in the realm of country music, re-listening to Love is Alive, by devas Naomi and Wynonna Judd, loving their two-part harmony.

Leave a comment