By: Bob Mangroo
Abstract: This article explores the qualities and differences between liking and loving. When we like someone or something we will treat it (or the person) very differently than when we love. And, by knowing the differences between liking and loving, it helps us to have more meaningful experiences in life.
Someone once asked the Buddha, what is the difference between I like you and I love you. The Buddha beautifully replied; if you like a flower you will pluck it, if you love the flower you will water it daily. One who understands this understands life.
Very often we function from the perspective of liking but not loving. To like is to function from quick pleasure. If you pluck a flower and put it in a vase, the flower has already begun to die. Thus, quick pleasure never lasts. A flower that is plucked begins to fade, its fragrance dulls and soon the flower dries up. Pleasure is temporary; the feeling dies, the object of desire disappears and nothing is left except tiny fragments of memory.
When the pleasure for something is gone we are quick to search for something or someone new. This type of thinking is common where people may abuse food, alcohol, shopping out of boredom or quick relationships that come and go. As much as we may like quick pleasures, they are not long lasting as love.
There is nothing wrong with pleasure, but when we rely heavily on pleasure for fulfillment this inevitably leads to disappointment. The feeling of pleasure vanishes quickly, and yet, we often fool ourselves into thinking that this good feeling will last forever. And, sadly enough it does not. No matter how hard we try, we will not (and cannot) find deep happiness through desperate pleasure. Pleasure is limited and it usually comes in a package and sits on a store shelf. Authentic love cannot be packaged or controlled. Any attempt to do so destroys its purity. It is a sacred experience without boundaries. It is open like the sky and free to grow like flowers in a field. Such a love must come from inside you as a direct experience.
Pleasure is very small when compared to deep love; just as the light of a lamp is very small when compared to the sun. With genuine love your whole self is involved and with pleasure only your five senses are stimulated. Deep love transcends the five senses. To enter the green grounds of love we must leave behind the barren land of the five senses and arrive at our Soul.
To like something is very different than to love. Liking simply tantalizes the senses. We can like ice cream, like a new dress or like a party. But, the ice cream will finish, the dress will go out of style and the party will end when the music stops and the fluorescent lights turn on. Pleasure always has a time limit. Conversely, deep and sincere love has no reference to time. Mother's think of the first time you looked into the eyes of your newborn. That was a pure and profound love. There was no part of you that did not feel love. Did you say to your newborn; "I like you" Absolutely not; you said "I love you" Do you think your newborn gave you a momentary pleasure for that day. No. From that day forward your newborn gave you something that is impossible to describe. Hence, love cannot be described.
Does this mean we need to give up the pleasures of life? Absolutely not. Enjoy pleasure as much as you desire, but understand, that they are just pleasures and that's all. And, don't be shocked when the object of your pleasure is gone leaving you empty and hungry again. To enter the temple of love we must do things that give us a deeper and richer experience of life, so that, even when we look back years later those things still warms our heart. We must nurture our hearts by doing things that feel special, caring and long lasting. There is no "one special thing" to do. We are here to explore and discover the life and lifestyle that is most appropriate for our personal journey. And, as we spend regular time to discern when we are in liking vs. loving mode can go a long way to help us in our genuine happiness.
When we are absorbed in loving thoughts, positive activity and good deeds we are aligned with our Soul. We are, as the Buddha says, watering the flowers daily. And, keep in mind that the more we function from the position of love and joy, then humanity will become the flowers of the field.
About the Author: Bob Mangroo is a personal potential coach and spiritual teacher. His training and coaching work includes hypnosis, meditation and Neuro-Linguistic Programming(NLP). In addition, he has earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada. www.bobmangroo.com