If you are looking for romance this year, then watch this ….
The power of love
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. Jala ad-Din Rumi 1207 – 1273
One would suspect that readers of this Post title would have many different responses to the word ‘love’. Perhaps in this harsh, economically challenged world, it seems a little quaint to think about love in anything other than a romantic sense.
But, trust me, there’s nothing quaint or ‘away with the fairies’ about reminding us all of both the power of love and the urgent need to bring that power further up the scale of human consciousness. Let’s even try and aim for where dogs are. Dogs intuitively demonstrate unconditional love to those around them that they trust.
Before we look at the effects of love, let’s remind ourselves of some of the outcomes from the stress and trauma generated by present times. A news item from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published in July, 2009, said this:
Researchers at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Oxford University estimated that soaring stress brought on by job losses could prompt a 2.4% rise in suicide rates in people under-64 years of age, a 2.7% rise in heart attack deaths in men between 30 and 44 years, and a 2.4% rise in homicides rates, corresponding to thousands of deaths in European Union countries, such as the UK.
Will Hutton, in his outstanding book, Them and Us, writes on Page 9:
Nor is the impact just economic. The sudden flipping from the wild optimism of the boom to the personal gloom and self-doubt of recession and system-wide financial crisis is bad for health and well-being.
So it appears as if there’s no shortage of reasons why engaging the power of love offers infinite possibilities for us all.
The BBC recently reported on research that shows that people in love can lower their levels of pain.
Love hurts, at least according to many a romantic songwriter, but it may also help ease pain, US scientists suggest.
Brain scans suggest many of the areas normally involved in pain response are also activated by amorous thoughts.
Stanford University researchers gave 15 students mild doses of pain, while checking if they were distracted by gazing at photos of their beloved.
Later on it that BBC item, it reads thus:
Professor Paul Gilbert, a neuropsychologist from the University of Derby, said that the relationship between emotional states and the perception of pain was clear.
He said: “One example is a footballer who has suffered quite a painful injury, but who is able to continue playing because of his emotionally charged state.”
He added that while the effect noticed by the Stanford researchers might only be short-lived in the early stages of a love affair, it may well be replaced by something similar later in a relationship, with a sense of comfort and wellbeing generating the release of endorphins.
“It’s important to recognise that people who feel alone and depressed may have very low pain thresholds, whereas the reverse can be true for people who feel secure and cared for.
Prof Gilbert states on his web page that “After years of exploring the processes underpinning shame and its role in a variety of psychopathologies,
my current research is exploring the neurophysiology and therapeutic effectiveness of compassion focused therapy.” (My italics.)
The old adage that you can’t love another if you don’t love yourself is based on very high levels of awareness. So the starting point to gaining the power of love is self-awareness. Here’s something from MIND:
Good mental health isn’t something you have, but something you do. To be mentally healthy you must value and accept yourself. This means that:
- You care about yourself and you care for yourself. You love yourself, not hate yourself. You look after your physical health – eat well, sleep well, exercise and enjoy yourself.
- You see yourself as being a valuable person in your own right. You don’t have to earn the right to exist. You exist, so you have the right to exist.
- You judge yourself on reasonable standards. You don’t set yourself impossible goals, such as ‘I have to be perfect in everything I do’, and then punish yourself when you don’t reach those goals.
Finally, back to romantic love. The most glorious feeling in the world.
Again expressed so beautifully by Rumi: “The minute I heard my first love story I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”
Some things are timeless.
By Paul Handover
Being in love
Science explains what our hearts feel
Yesterday, I posted an article based on a lecture given by Dr Helen Fisher presented to the TED Conference in 2006. It included some fascinating evidence about the nature of love and why it is such a powerful human emotion.
Then in 2008, Dr Fisher gave a second lecture, again at the TED Conference, that continued to reveal more amazing findings about how the brain functions when in love. As the presentation summary says:
Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love — and people who had just been dumped.
Included in the lecture is something that I had wondered about and was delighted to see confirmed – animals fall in love as well. Here’s the extract from that part of the presentation (min:sec 50:50):
I would also like to tell the world that animals love. There’s not an animal on this planet that will copulate with anything that comes along. Too old, too young, too scruffy, too stupid, and they won’t do it. Unless you’re stuck in a laboratory cage –and you know, if you spend your entire life in a little box,you’re not going to be as picky about who you have sex with –but I’ve looked in a hundred species,and everywhere in the wild, animals have favorites.
As a matter of fact ethologists know this. There’s over eight words for what they call animal favoritism: selective proceptivity, mate choice, female choice, sexual choice. And indeed, there are three academic articlesin which they’ve looked at this attraction, which may only last for a second, but it’s a definite attraction, and either this same brain region, this reward system, or the chemicals of that reward system are involved. In fact, I think animal attraction can be instant — you can see an elephant instantly go for another elephant. And I think that this is really the origins of what you and I call, “love at first sight.”
Do watch it.
And a quote to conclude this post.
True happiness and a fullness of joy can be found only in the tender and intimate relationships of the family. However earnestly we may seek success and happiness outside the home through work, leisure activities, or large bank accounts, we will never be fully satisfied emotionally until we develop deep and loving relationships.
~ by James J. Jones Ph.D. ~
By Paul Handover
Guys, beware of rickshaw drivers!
Watch the video to the end to make sense of the title!
The digitally connected world that is now so much a part of our lives brings lots of new issues, dangers and irritations. But it also brings us a great number of tremendous opportunities. TED is one of them.
For those that haven’t come across the TED website it offers a wonderful range of “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world” as summarised here.
Thus it was via the TED website that I came across a fascinating talk by Dr Helen Fisher who is a Biological Anthropologist who has specialised on romantic love and connected areas.
Anyway, without any more waffle from me, if you want to be surprised by a number of Dr Fisher’s findings then do watch the TED video that may be found here.
And the reference to the rickshaw driver? Watch the video to the end (23 minutes) to find out.
P.S. since writing the above, I found a YouTube copy of the TED video, which is below. I haven’t watched it to the end to see if the reference to the rickshaw is in it, but I suspect it is.
By Paul Handover