The True Meaning of Universal Love

How to understand and live agape love

What is universal love? What does “agape” mean? Is it unconditional love; love without expectations; impersonal love; doing good works? These are spiritual words, spiritual values we all know, but what do they mean? A world full of ideas is not the same as a world full of love! To help the world, we need a definition of agape love that gives us true understanding and helps us live it truly.

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Universal Love (Agape)

False Universal Love

There are many misconceptions about Universal Love. Some think love is agape if it embraces a large group—like all old people, all refugees, all whales, etc. But what about the rest of life? True love responds to all of life. So if the brain has decided to restrict loving to a particular category, that is not the real spirit of agape.

Some think agape love is social activism. But passionate humanity service doesn’t always reflect mature agape love. Imagine the head of a large save-the-orphans project. He’s dedicated to the orphans, but when his wife walks into his office he ignores her. A true agape lover wouldn’t fail to love those close to him as well.

Some think love is agape if it is impersonal (as in: “I love everyone, but no one in particular”). But is it possible to love everyone if you won’t love anyone? No, it’s just a concept—and a cop out. Real love sees, feels, and cares for the beloved. And that takes courage. It requires that we open our hearts, transcend our egos, trust, serve, be vulnerable. The preference for impersonal love comes from fear and resistance to deeper loving and giving, seeing and being seen. A real agape lover would love each one with real feeling, care, and consideration.

Love without personal passion and feeling is a bird with clipped wings. Feeling gives love clout and makes it effective; universal love is no exception. Universal love is not mediocre or impersonal. All real love is passionate, invested, committed. Anyone who gives and lives real love is on fire with that love, and thoroughly implicated by it. Their agape love will be real, intense, nurturing — by no means boring or unemotional. That’s agape!

A real agape lover would watch people walk
by and be in love with every one of them.

True Universal Love

Agape—universal love—is the natural response of the heart to the feelings and existence of all of life. In agape, you walk down the street and you are
moved by people, by their sweetness, their suffering, their joy. You love the thoughtfulness of one, the humor of another. You love all the flowers, every single one. That’s the nature of the Divine heart within us. We feel agape when we let our heart respond naturally.

Human beings were born to love many. Often, people want their mate to love them only, and forsake all others — especially friends of the opposite sex. But that’s asking them to betray their heart-nature, which loves and responds to all. A deal with the devil!

Loving many doesn’t mean you love your mate any less. A mother of four doesn’t divide up her love, and give each child 25%. Of course not! She loves each one wholeheartedly, passionately, fully. Love doesn’t get smaller when we spread it around—only bigger.

And loving many doesn’t mean you’ll be unfaithful, either. True love is moral, with high sensitivity to the good of one and all, and ample self-discipline. It’s not—decidely not—driven by whimsy or selfish desire.

When love is allowed to respond to life fully, freely, without preference or selective withholding, that’s true agape.


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