The Four Elements of True Love, (as written by: Thich Nhat Hanh)

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Is true love simply a feeling? Can oxytocin (and hopefully good intimacy) keep love alive?

A globally revered monk I seem to be paying tribute to argues for certain codes of conduct to nurture true love:

"True love is made up of four elements: loving kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. In Sanskrit, these are, maitri, karuna, mudita, and upeksha. If your love contains these elements, it will be healing and transforming, and it will have the elements of holiness in it. True love has the power to heal and transform any situation and bring deep meaning to our lives."


As I am posting these for my constant reminding and conditioning the mind as well as for your own reflections and reminders. ( We know learning must be a constant to be maintained and groomed as knowledge and for quality of discipline). We can meditate on this and come back to it later after thinking, meditating, writing, reflecting, et cetera, on this excerpt from Thich Nhat Hanh's writings. Perhaps it deserves a comparison with the small but very popular book of 4 (and 5) Languages of Love.


In the meanwhile, how do we nurture these qualities in at least our loving relations. So often, ego and pride interfere with humility and defenses arise, or unconscious beliefs affect how we perceive and respond, or worse and we react, regretfully. If we stay out of what we are so concerned about and focus on nurturing the elements of equanimity, joy, compassion, and loving kindness with our lovers, friends, colleagues, families, the person on the street corner. What would the world be like if our leaders and media instilled these ideals? What would your life and relationship with yourself look like if you treated yourself like this? Treat yourself equal to others, with kind and loving compassion, and actually making space to nurture joy - a byproduct of doing something that is meaningful and fulfilling (not necessarily easy, unless that is what you need). Honouring the self, honouring the other. If you start with honouring your self, you also help the other. As you honour the other, you help yourself. If these 4 elements are not present, then what is the nature of the dynamic? What is the exchange? Is there a power imbalance? Is that alright with you in the core of your being? Often there is, but as long as it is okay with all parties.

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