Thursday, February 14, 2013

All You Need is Love

Happy Valentine's Day!

I remember my father telling me years ago that there are many Sanskrit words that mean "love." In a personal quest, I searched the internet for Sanskrit databases and was amazed to find over 600 entries for words whose definitions included love. After grouping words by root to narrow down the list, 278 seemingly unique words remain. Every aspect of love is defined... attachment (anuraga), love for one's children (apatyasneha), devotion (bhakti), passion (madana), love of worldly existence (bhavabhava), desire/longing (pranaya), abundance (premakara), self-knowledge (sammati)... 

Today, we can take extra time to celebrate that love is more than we can define and far more than romance, chocolates, flowers, or balloons. Love has many names, shapes, and emotions. In celebration, here are some of my recent findings related to love: 

-The electrical activity of monks' brains were recorded by EEG's. A remarkable finding: 

                          "The EEG recorded record-high gamma wave activity because the 
                           practitioners entered a state of unconditional kindness.
                          In other words, their neural activity changed when they 
                          experienced love."

-Romantic love as explained by neuroscience, whose author eloquently says:

                         " No matter what we learn about love, it will continue to be 
                         one of the most meaningful and powerful forces on the 
                         planet, as it should be."

-Scientific American published an article about oxytocin. Oxytocin, which has recently been dubbed the "cuddle hormone," is not only involved in affection but could determine the longevity of relationships. Additionally, new genetic understanding shows that certain people have less or different oxytocin transporters that affect the ways they engage in romantic relationships.  

-A New York Times article from 1908 made me laugh. It's always good when you can incorporate bacon into a poem:

- Beautiful photos of older couples on ABC News made my heart feel happy, especially this quote:

                          Every day my wife expresses her love for me. She says, “Did I tell you how          
                           much I love you today?” Every day — every day she says that.”
                          –Moe Rubenstein, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York.

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