Defining the indefinable
A definition is used to make sense of something unintelligible. It clarifies any jargon found in many systems of thinking. Unclear and difficult words must be defined so they can be clearer and easier to understand. A definition gives a simplified picture of particular word, perhaps fixing its meaning and rendering it unchangeable. So defining a word is to end its ambiguity. Definition in Latin is definire – to put an end. The word fin means end, as in the word finish and final. A definition puts limit to a particular idea, to contain it in a box, to demystify it, and to keep it there. If this is how definition works, how can we define an indefinable?
How about Love? How do we define it? If we follow the rules of definition, it would fail us to define Love. The common saying “Love is a many splendored thing” is not just a cliché but resonates an undeniable characteristic of Love. Love has many meanings depending on who makes it. It has no limitations in producing meanings which makes it more complex and vast. We all define Love differently through our individual perspectives. These definitions have different angles and manners that demonstrate a great deal of variance. We define Love more as we change our perspectives and the ways of perceiving those definitions.
I have learned since then that I can only define Love when I stop defining it.
What is Love like?
It is hard to have a good definition of Love. Love is among the most ambiguous human concepts. To make something straightforward out of it is bound to fail, because Love has a potential to ruin any fixations in our minds. Love takes the mood of its thinker – becomes morality in the words of the religious, notions in the thoughts of ordinary folks, romance in the hearts of lovers, theories in the experiments of psychologists, phenomena in the mind of philosophers – ad infinitum. But what does a definition do? As I conceptually and experientially delve into Love, I become more and more convince that no exact definition may suffice. Our chase for the right words on Love remains elusive.
To find a single definition for Love is just a futile task, because any attempt to define Love is a new expression, a definition like no other. Similarly, we can see this characteristic in any natural pattern, be it derived from human, animal or plant. They have one thing in common: all patterns are unique. There are no two patterns that can be exactly the same. Even the patterns of veins of a leaf are different from that of another leaf that comes from the same tree. How is this possible? This is the miracle and mystery, both of which are embodied quality of Love. Love is as infinite as the universe itself, and thus it demonstrates its nature through infinite ways. Yet however leaves are different from each other, we call them a leaf. This is the common ground. Anything different has only one face. This is the same for Love.
Love is Love. Defining Love could be a redundant rhetoric, because everything collapses into one word: Love. Love is both too simple and too complex for just a single definition. I keep on telling people how fluid Love is, and this is why I have always felt that it is not the issue of defining Love. To go beneath the roots of definitions, we will find basic principles to examine why and how Love is infinitely defined. There is a core that lies underneath our myriad of definitions. The catch here is that this core is never a word, but a consciousness that includes all words, concepts and experiences.
When you feel this core – this feeling of connectedness with all people and with the whole world and the Universe – you will feel that you are awaken to your capacity to witness, create and grow. As you become compelled to do the same for others, you are beginning to grasp the indefinability of Love. You cannot explain, but you know. It is hard to put Love into words, but it is so easy to experience it. It envelopes all aspects of your soul: your thoughts, dreams, imaginations, emotions, feelings, body sensations. As they course your consciousness, you begin to recognize the same process with the people around you. You and the other are simply at one, because you are sharing Love. At this moment, Love arises from your heart bringing a new definition you have never read or heard before.
Once, a young student asked me if know everything about Love. I told her that the moment I knew Love, I realized that there is so much to know. I have tried exploring Love and its infinity has kept me both honored and humbled. I have learned since then that I can only define Love when I stop defining it. The only thing I can do is to LIVE this Love’s indefinable definition. And we can all do that, because the core of our definition is very simple: we are Love.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!