Love has been called a lot of things from the ultimate high to a dangerous psychosis. But to understand love, let’s look at the opposite of love.
What do all the following emotions have in common?
Anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, loneliness,
jealousy, envy, regret, unfriendliness,
feeling insulted, feeling abandoned,
needing to control, needing to be right,
feeling judgmental, feeling worried,
resentment, embarrassment, panic.
It’s quite a collection of negative emotions! They all share three related things:
They all function to defend your ego; that is to say, they are all ego-based emotions.
1. The second characteristic shared by all the negative emotions is that they are all rooted in fear. Fear is the negative emotion which underlies all the others. And the ultimate ego fear is the fear of annihilation.
2. Finally all of the negative emotions in one way or another involve distancing yourself from others, emphasizing separateness and isolation. Separateness and isolation are, of course, characteristics of ego.
If you don’t like the word ego, just notice how personal all the negative, fear-based emotions are; they are about you alone, not about your relation to others. Ego emotions are personal and exclusive. You might at first view an emotion like jealousy as interpersonal, but just think about how isolated and alone jealous people tend to be.
Love is the opposite of fear. Love is about connection, not isolation. And the stronger the feeling of connection, the more powerful the love. The feelings of love and connection are transpersonal. They reach across the boundaries among people. Love is inclusive, not exclusive like fear.
Love is not based in ego, but comes from your ’centre.’ Your centre goes by a variety of names: centre, true self, God centre, Christ centre. The name isn’t important; what is important is recognizing it as a place of authenticity and truth, a place without pretense or conditions, a sacred place at the core of your being. Your centre is the essence of who you are.
In its purest form, love is a deep sense of connection with another, with yourself, with all people, with God and with the universe.
Love is the universal glue that binds us all together.
All psychotherapy, religion, meditation, self-help books, counselling and life coaching have one thing in common: they all are aimed at helping you move from the separateness and fear which underlie all ego-based emotions, into the love and connection which emanate from your centre or true self.
Moving from fear to love is the essence of what you gain as you grow personally and spiritually.
As you grow, no matter what your path, you are getting to know yourself at deeper and deeper levels; your ability to love others deepens and broadens. You become increasingly aware of your connection to all others, to life and to the universe.
If being in prayer is to be connected to God or the universe, then a continuous awareness of connection would be to be in prayer 24-7. You would be a living prayer. This would be the ultimate in love and personal/spiritual growth.
Is it possible to reach a state of love where you are a living prayer? I don’t know. What I do know is that as I love and grow, I’m further along that path than I was five years ago, or even one year ago.
I invite you to look inside and be aware of your level of love and connection. Then use that to gauge your progress in personal and spiritual growth.
Get two free ebooks by Dr. Neill, "The Personal Change Manifesto" and "Addiction and Codependency Simplified" go to and register for his monthly letter, "Practical Psychology for Capable People." Dr. Neill, Registered Psychologist, serves clients from Ladysmith to Comox in their psychological and spiritual healing and growth. He can be reached at 250-752-8684.