What is Love?

In 1884 the father of modern psychology, William James, asked a question that has yet to find its answer:

What is an emotion?

The number of scientific definitions has grown to the point where even counting them is hopeless. Paul Ekman, Professor Emeritus at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, is a pioneer in the study of human emotions and one of the most cited scientists of the 20th century. His mother committed suicide when he was a teenager, and this trauma drove him his entire life to find solutions to reduce human suffering.

More than 40 years of scientific research showed Ekman that we have seven basic emotions, that are innate and universal for all of us: anger, disgust, contempt, fear, sadness, surprise, and happiness. People in all cultures experience and show these emotions in the same way. Emotions come and go. They are not continuous experiences, but discrete spikes that last for seconds or minutes.

Love is not among the innate emotions because love is not an emotion , Ekman revealed. While emotions are momentary, love endures for a life time. Love is the substance of who we are . All other emotions rise and fall on the foundation of love.

For example, as a parent you love your child for life, and “you’re most susceptible to experiencing a variety of emotions” wrote Ekman. You can be angry with your children for something they’ve done, you can be annoyed when they don’t listen, sad when they suffer, and happy when they are happy. You love them for life, regardless of how you feel in the moment. “Emotions don’t endure, they come and go, lasting only seconds or at most minutes” continued Ekman. Our emotions are continuously changing.

Love is the only constant in the universe, the substance and the truth of what we really are.

(from my upcoming book, Hay House 2018)


Your friend,
Dr. Dragos

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