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The many stages of love

True love is a love that vies, a love that expects no reward. But love itself develops through several stages, a process that few people think about.

books Updated: Jun 05, 2010 21:57 IST

True love is a love that vies, a love that expects no reward. But love itself develops through several stages, a process that few people think about.

The first step in the development of love is fundamental love: Love at the personal, family and ordinary social level. This is perhaps the most easily understood type of love. It is the love of a parent for a child, of the child for its parents, of a man for woman, of a woman for a man, the love between friends, or even the love between neighbors. In a wider meaning, love for society or the community as a while could also be included in this “fundamental love.”

Of course, this love is a love that gives. The basis of fundamental love is that a person has an interest in the object of his or her love. The goodwill that a person shows toward the object of his or her interest is a manifestation of fundamental love. This love is the most basic and most common form, but in practice it often proves to be a love that represents a source of difficulty...

The second stage in the development of love is spiritually nurturing love. Anyone and everyone is capable of experiencing and giving fundamental love, although they may or may not wish to do so. But spiritually nurturing love is a love that not everyone is capable of. After all, only mature people are able to foster potential in others: only people whose talent and efforts have enabled them to teach are in a position to nurture others...

Spiritually nurturing love is an intellectual love, a reasoning love. Only a person with a high intellect can understand the true state of humanity and society; only a person with superior reasoning can understand all the problems, take the necessary steps to resolve them, and truly guide others. People who embody this nurturing love must sometimes use it with the burning passion of the true teacher to save the spiritually degenerate and lead them back to the right path. If they are incapable of this, they cannot truly practice spiritually nurturing love...

So far, we have looked at fundamental love, and spiritually nurturing love... There is a love that surpasses ability, intelligence, or hard world, and that is the third stage of love. This is forgiving love.

Those who practice forgiving love should have experienced a sudden uplift to a state holiness. This is because forgiving love transcends good and evil and is restricted to those who have devoted themselves totally to their mission...

Only people who have discovered the light through their own suffering are able to see through the masks of others and to love their divine nature. It is a state that occurs solely in those who are both magnanimous and generous, whose virtue surpasses intelligence...

Excerpts from the book, The Laws of The Sun: Discover the Origin of Your Soul, by Ryuho Okawa, Jaico Publishing Books, 2009