Variations on a Theme of Love

“The more we give love, the greater our capacity to do so.” ~ Dr. David R Hawkins

Gustav_Klimt_The KissAs Valentine’s Day is approaching, I thought I might as well jump on the love bandwagon!

I probably should have written this post in French; étant le vrai langage de l’amour.

In terms of the arts, nothing captures the many facets of love like music. Just as a single ray of light dances through the prisms of a diamond, casting a beautiful, ethereal spectrum; so can the notes of a captivating romance, passionate rhapsodie, reflective nocturne or a soulful sonata evoke certain emotional states in the listener. States that can place you into a poignant memory or an ardent fantasy, or the many moods in between.

And now for the scientific part:

A musical tone makes physical objects vibrate at its frequency, the phenomenon of sympathetic reverberation. A soprano breaks a wineglass with the right note as she makes unbending glass quiver along with her voice. Emotional tones in the brain establish a living harmony with the past in a similar way. The brain is not composed of string, and there are no oscillating fibers within the cranium. But in the nervous system, information echoes down the filaments that join harmonious neural networks. When an emotional chord is struck, it stirs to life past memories of the same feeling.

(A general Theory of Love)

Over to you Ludwig!

Now, us ladies love to be romanced (generally speaking), and I’m sure it’s true for most women that being desired by your sweetheart is somewhat of a potent aphrodisiac, and makes us every bit as enthusiastic about amatory pursuits as lovers, partners or husbands.

Frank Dicksee - Romeo-and-Juliet-ArtworkBut there’s more than one type of love, although it’s usually the romantic and erotic type of love that society pays the most attention to.  Even more so, at this time of year, thoughts turn to the intimate relationship between a man and a woman. Hall & Oates captured the sentiment in the lyrics of their song, Kiss On My List. 

Come the 14th not everyone will be fortunate enough to be with a loving partner, and Valentine’s Day can be quite depressing if you believe your happiness solely rests on a romantic connection. It’s an endless commercial love-fest of adverts, romcoms, red roses and card sales. I would never berate a man for giving me roses, (quite the opposite), but the expectation it puts on people means the true meaning of love can get distorted and exploited on Valentine’s Day.

It’s as much about friendship, companionship, kindness, sharing, trusting and understanding as it is about pleasures of the flesh; although who wouldn’t enjoy a night of unbridled lovemaking with their sweetheart? Moving on swiftly…

Even without love, the pleasure part can be addictive. I’m sure the sexual exploits of Giacoma Casanova left a trail of devastated hearts in women across 18th century Europe. Perhaps he was the first celebrity womaniser?

Love, or the lack of, affects everyone. In 450 B.C., Hippocrates stated that emotions emanate from the brain.  You and I are mammals, and as such we’re subject to limbic resonance and limbic regulation.

Love is, without doubt, the most powerful force on the planet. It can heal, sooth, excite, placate, reassure, create new life and put one into a state of ecstacy. However, those moments can be relatively short lived. For constant happiness to abide in your heart, you have to be able to extend love and forgiveness to yourself first.

The basis of all love is self-love. If you love and respect yourself, you will be able to pass on that energy to others. There’s nothing selfish or unhealthy about that. Self-loathing, guilt and repressed emotions are all blocks to giving and receiving such love.

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.” ~ Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving).

The Jewish Bride, 1665 by Rembrandt van RijnThe immature love is a dependency. You love that person because of the way they make you feel, and when that feeling has gone you will feel bereft and perhaps then look for someone else who can provide those emotions. But the mature love means you love someone for who they are.

You are tender, kind and passionate, but do not depend on them for your own happiness. Instead, you treasure each moment with them, appreciating and respecting them for who they are, for their unique personality, talents, endearing qualities and flaws, wanting their happiness as much as your own.

That’s where the ‘variations’ come in. The basic ‘theme’ is the person you become by your lovingness towards your kin and the wider world, and with that comes the capacity to truly appreciate love in all its glorious forms: the sensual, the passionate, the platonic, the maternal, the highs, the lows and the middle ground.

vigee_lebrun_self_portrait_c1789Maternal love is so strong that nothing can break it, (perhaps with the exception of mental illness). Whilst your offspring may drive you crazy and push you to the limit on occasion, you know that no matter what, you will always love and protect them. Part of that love is knowing when to nurture, and when to promote independence and foster self-reliance. The love of parents plays a huge role in a child’s self-esteem and development. Never criticize the person, only cite the action.

And just as the unwavering love children are shown promotes harmony in families, so can the loving behaviour we all show to each other, to friends, aquaintances and even to total strangers, promote a healthy global community.

To be able to suspend our judgements of others and love unconditionally is no easy task, but it comes from the standpoint of compassion and understanding. We are all at different points in our spiritual evolution.


I’ve long been a student of the late Dr. David R Hawkins, founder of the Institute for Advanced Spiritual Research, and author of many illuminating books. He also gave many brilliant lectures and interviews during his life. His book Power vs. Force totally changed my perspective on life (see Veritas Publishing).

He often cited instances where the caring and loving attitude of a doctor towards both the patient and their recovery would have a beneficial impact on their healing. An advocate of animals, he believed that the unconditional love shown by dogs to their human companions could add as much as 10 years to their life. Especially if that person was elderly, isolated and lonely.

“Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others.” ~ David R. Hawkins

Here is a wonderful talk he gave on unconditional love:

There is so much mesmerising art and beautiful prose written about love, and that is what I will leave you with.

“I loved you first: but afterwards your love”

Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante

Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,

E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. – Petrarca

I loved you first: but afterwards your love

Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song

As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.

Which owes the other most? my love was long,

And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;

I loved and guessed at you, you construed me

And loved me for what might or might not be –

Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.

For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’

With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,

For one is both and both are one in love:

Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’

Both have the strength and both the length thereof,

Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Christina Rossetti

JW Waterhouse - the-awakening-of-adonis-1899

“Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

Kahlil Gibran, (The Prophet)

Cupid_in_a_Landscape_by Sodoma

As for me, Cupid has pierced my heart, his arrow is well and truly lodged!

Cupid, draw back your bow… The dulcet tones of the ‘king of soul’ Sam Cooke:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare (Sonnet 116)

Percy Bysshe Shelley – Love’s Philosophy:

C’est tous mes chéris, Je t’aime!

Thomas Tallis – If Ye Love Me:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” ~ Jimi Hendrix

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