It’s heartbreaking to spend long periods of time with - many people, from many walks, referred for many things - to consistently find that at the heart of all stories is the pain of unlove. Unlove rejects, abuses, abandons and separates me from the vital power of intimacy and connection. Unlove drives me further from myself and further from the presence of others. Parts of me start to believe I’m worthless, shameful, useless and alone. I run, I go into hiding and I lose my fight and my hope. Often this operates hidden deep within me and is largely unseen.
I’m so grateful for medicines that heal, stabilise and reduce our pain. There is absolutely a need for the use of medical intervention within inner healing and you absolutely should stay on all prescribed medication. But, I wonder, can any pill ever contain the vital ingredient of love? Are we in fact medicating, sometimes for entire lifetimes, millions of people for the pain of unlove. Doesn’t it follow that if I’m broken by unlove then I can only heal through love? And, doesn’t this say much about our ’advanced’ western society that has so much material wealth yet so little love?
So what is love?
Bruce Perry - renowned psychiatrist - in his book ‘Born for love’ speaks of the absolute necessity of empathy, intimacy and connection - without these things we literally die inside. This is a really helpful insight into love and we can also turn to faiths, literature and poetry where hearts have attempted to define love. Perhaps putting something so deep and so powerful into words isn't even possible, but if I had to chose something that seems to capture the DNA of love, then maybe this is it...
The Way of Love - "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (Bible, 1 Corinthians 13)
The above seems to indicate that love isn’t something we do. It’s something we are. We are to open ourselves once more to breathe in love and then, with great compassion for ourselves and others, exhale love. Love, when alive in us, becomes a healing force in us and in those around us.
Just imagine a society that existed to breathe and exhale love. A society that had no need to medicate the pain of unlove.
Love never fails.