Valentine’s Day, Love and the Art of Loving
- Kamran Mofid
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‘Love is in the Air’, it's Amore! Today is Valentine’s Day, celebrated annually on February 14, the celebration of love, affection and romance.
1909 Valentine's card. Photo:wikipedia.org
What does the Sun have to say about LOVE?
The life-giving Sun, the ever-lasting love and the true meaning of Valentine’s Day
Thinking about what this day really means, what its true significance may be, I was touched and moved by a recent sharing of Genesis Farm from the revised edition of Brian Swimme’s Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, which, I believe, beautifully, highlights what I was thinking about. Here is an excerpt:
“The Sun, each second, transforms four million tons of itself into light. Each second, a huge chunk of the Sun vanishes into radiant energy that soars away in all directions…In the case of the Sun, we have a new understanding of the cosmological meaning of sacrifice. The Sun is, with each second, giving itself over to become energy that we, with every meal, partake of. We so rarely reflect on this basic truth from biology, and yet its spiritual significance is supreme.
In the cosmology of the twenty-first century, the Sun’s lavish bestowal of energy can be regarded as the spectacular manifestation of an underlying impulse pervading the universe. In the star, this impulse reveals itself in the ongoing giving away of energy. In the human heart, it is felt as the urge to devote one’s life to the well-being of the larger community…The task of transformation must be the way we start each day as we remind ourselves of the revelation that is the Sun.”
The life-giving Sun with its ever-giving love, whilst expecting nothing in return, and our beautiful, delicate atmosphere are precious gifts we receive with every breath, every day. How we transform and ‘give away’ this energy is a fundamental question for each and every one of us, and many are now realizing that its highest form of expression is what love in its true sense is all about.
We set aside a day we call Valentine’s Day to celebrate love. Yet, we all know that one day a year for remembering love is not enough. Swimme urges us to devote one’s life to the well-being of the larger community. To my mind, the larger community is all living beings –not just people and other animals, but rivers and trees, trees and plants, soil, ecosystems, the entire living Earth. If we truly cherish the Earth we will learn to transform the radiance of creation within the crucible of our hearts into the healing energy of love.
In short, to me, this day should be the day for us all, to come together, in loving and saving the entire Web of Life: The Time is now to Tune into Peace, Love and Wisdom with a Spiritual Revolution, Realising the True Meaning of Love and what Love is all about.
Three Must-Read Books on LOVE
RUMI: THE ART OF LOVING (2012)
Cambridge University professor Reynold Nicholson once remarked that the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi is the “greatest mystical poet of any age.” In Rumi’s vision, love is the very matrix of existence; love is what moves life. His poetry expresses the deepest and the most inclusive layers of love, and thus connects us to an immense source of joy, compassion, creativity, and mystery.
This book is a new anthology and an original translation of Rumi’s poetry. It is divided into three parts. Part I contains two essays, one on Rumi’s life (“A Messenger from the Sun: A Sketch of Rumi’s Life”) and the other on his thought (“The Path of Love in the Ocean of Life: The Poet’s Voice & Vision”), which help the reader better situate Rumi’s poetry.
Part II presents 144+1 quatrains (Rubaiyat) of Rumi categorized into 12 thematic chapters:
On the Pain and Joy of Longing;
Who Am I?;
The Beloved’s Face;
Die to Yourself;
The Art of Living;
Water of Life;
Fire of Love;
Unity and Union;
Peaceful Mind; and
Rumi on His Life, Poetry and Death.
These poems have been selected and translated from the authentic Persian editions of Rumi’s Divan-e Shams (some quatrains found in many Rumi anthologies are based on an unreliable edition; such poems have been avoided in this volume). For readers interested in the cadence and rhythm of the poems in the original language the Persian reading (in English script) is also given under each translated poem.
Part III is a selection of twelve wisdom stories from Rumi’s own life (taken from a 14th-century biographical work on Rumi).
A glossary of symbolic terms in Rumi’s poetry, and references to the original sources of the translated poems are also given at the end of the book.
This anthology brings fresh insight into the work and mind of a master poet who mapped the path of spiritual quest and union, and painted in words the art of loving.
Buy the book: Rumi: The Art of Loving
Philosopher Erich Fromm on the Art of Loving (First published: 1956)
‘This book … wants to show that love is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged in by anyone, regardless of the level of maturity reached by him. It wants to convince the reader that all his attempts for love are bound to fail, unless he tries most actively to develop his total personality, so as to achieve a productive orientation; that satisfaction in individual love cannot be attained without the capacity to love one’s neighbor, without true humility, courage, faith and discipline. In a culture in which these qualities are rare, the attainment of the capacity to love must remain a rare achievement…’ Read more
Persian Love Poetry (2005)
Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, Sheila R. Canby
‘Love is everywhere in Persian poetry and can be interpreted in various ways: as mystic love, the basis of the relationship between humans and God; as passionate or affectionate love between lovers, husbands and wives, parents and children, family and friends; even as patriotic love for Iran. The literary style and indeed the Persian language itself are floral and elaborate, but the themes differ little from our preoccupations with love and romance today.
With a brief introduction to the Persian poetic tradition and a short biographical note about each of the major poets, this anthology is an ideal introduction to Persian literature and art. The book is illustrated throughout with images from the British Museum collection.’
Buy the book: Persian Love Poetry