Let us begin with my favorite Greek mythology: That of Baucis and Philemon. Oddly enough, I first encountered this myth within Mary Pope Osborne's retelling in the book Favorite Greek Myths. How often does a fifth grader encounter a story that continues to impact him into his mid-twenties? To simplify the story: Baucis and Philemon were a married couple whose love, compassion, honesty, devotion, and service allowed them to live forever as a "great oak and linden that grew from only one trunk."
How does this integrate into my idea of love within the modern framework? And let us not make the mistake of narratives: generations prior to ours hooked up too. Those Hollywood virgin, first and only love stories are fabrications. Life does not turn out like a Nicholas Spark book. Life is more of a paradoxical encounter than anything else. It is abstract art. It's Jazz: Miles Davis improvised session. It's freestyle Hip-Hop/Rap. Life is complex in the operations, but so smooth that once you understand the matrix you see how simple Life is. And love informs Life as powerfully and equally as any other force in this plane of existence.
There is the scientific definition of love:
"Love is influenced by hormones (such as oxytocin), neurotrophins (such as NGF), and pheromones ...the conventional view in biology is that there are two major drives in love: sexual attraction and attachment" — Wikipedia, Love.
Now, we can define love, and by that measure any emotion, on a purely scientific level. We can also define love using the Western conceptions of attachment, lust, physical beauty, and status. However, for the purposes of my understanding of love, I will focus on my own understandings and conceptions of love.
Love is a habit. It is neither finite nor infinite. Too often what is depicted in the media and society is not love but, as mentioned in the Wikipedia page, sexual attraction and attachment.
Love is freedom. Love is liberty. My mother would repeat the quote: "if you love something, let it go. If it returns, it's yours; if it doesn't, it wasn't." That is freedom, folks. But even then this quote is problematic because it makes love a concept of having, as in ownership. Love is not ownership. Love is independence within an active, interactive contract. Whether that be between two beings or more.
Love is not what we hear in the R&B of today. At least that which is played on mass radio. The days of Bloodstone, Jimi Hendrix, Maxwell, Funkadelics, and many more are not gone, but hidden. Hidden underneath heaps of sexual tension and objectification masquerading as "love."
Love, to me, is a habit. Much like prayer, cleanliness, empathy, and kindness. Love is ritualistic and opening. It's safe. It's admiring the flower garden and not picking the rose. It's meditation. It's mindfulness. Love is open, honest, genuine, from the heart, mind, and soul. Energy that creates and fosters growth.
Baucis and Philemon are those symbols. And they will forever remain the same for the rest of Eternity.
Loving is an act of sacrifice and discipline. As God so loved humanity he gave his only begotten son. As Prometheus loved humanity he stole fire from Mount Olympus. Love comes with patience and practice. Do not mistake the low vibrational action of attraction for the morphology of Love. For Love is revolutionary. It will cause a person to stand up to oppression. It is Will and Determination.
I would like to leave you with the last few lines from the myth:
"Those who care for the gods
someday become gods
Let actual Love guide you in everything you do.