An Exploration of Different Kinds of Love

This exploration will help reveal how you experience the opposition or conflict between the selfless giving of love and the passionate wanting of lusty desire. Spend fifteen to twenty minutes considering these questions. If you are doing this exercise alone, you may want to write them down in a journal and respond in writing.

  1. How do you experience the selfless giving of love?
  2. How do you experience passionate wanting?
  3. How do you experience the relationship of the two in your life, in your experience?
  4. How do you experience the opposition, the conflict, or the disharmony between the sweet, giving, "spiritual " love on the one hand, and the wanting, the desire, the passion and intensity on the other?

If you are doing the practice with others, you can take turns asking one another these questions and being present for each other as the responses arise. After everyone has finished responding, have a dis ­cussion to see what you have discovered. What were the commonalities and differences? Exploring what came up for each person and what the common threads were can give you a deeper perception about this issue, adding more insight, more illumination, to your experience.

This is an emotional exploration, a felt exploration, not an intellectual one. You are not offering theories about the opposition of these forces. You are remembering and describing your actual feelings: "I feel this way . . . I feel that way . . . " You can look into any part of your life, but as you explore those feelings, you might move from incidents or feelings from the past into more of how it is in the present moment. As you see the patterns in your life that relate to conflict or opposition between these two forces, you will begin to be aware of things in the moment that you can include in your inquiry.

From  The Power of Divine Eros: The Illuminating Force of Love in Everyday Life by A.H. Almaas & Karen Johnson