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Erich Fromm and the art of love

erichfromm

He has a lovely face… a promising start!

Erich Fromm on the Art of Loving

–by Maria Popova, syndicated from brainpickings.org, Jan 12, 2016

“To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love,” the great Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hahn admonished in his terrific treatise on how to love — a sentiment profoundly discomfiting in the context of our cultural mythology, which continually casts love as something that happens to us passively and by chance, something we fall into, something that strikes us arrow-like, rather than a skill attained through the same deliberate practice as any other pursuit of human excellence. Our failure to recognize this skillfulness aspect is perhaps the primary reason why love is so intertwined with frustration.

That’s what the great German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, and philosopher Erich Fromm examines in his 1956 masterwork The Art of Loving (public library) — a case for love as a skill to be honed the way artists apprentice themselves to the work on the way to mastery, demanding of its practitioner both knowledge and effort.”

Wow.. I must read that book too! Raewyn my wife forwarded the post to me. Full post here: http://www.dailygood.org/story/1200/erich-fromm-on-the-art-of-loving-maria-popova/ 

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However you define it, there’s a logic to love

Is love a feeling, or a relationship, or an action, or an energy, or even (as Christians claim) a Person?

If love is a feeling, then it is a feeling about someone, for some reason. Otherwise we could solve all the problems of the lack of it with some kind of feel-good drug. And no one (I hope!) would seriously suggest that that would do it. So, there’s a logic behind it – a reason.

If love is a relationship with someone, then there is a logic to it – relationships with real people have real reasons, limits, histories, conditions. So there’s a logic to be sought there, too.

If Love is an action, then again, logic is there – you act for reasons. Even ‘for no reason at all’ is a reason, pushed back to some general rule or attitude of love which says ‘Do good to all men boundlessly and for no particular reason or virtue possessed by said men.’ There would have to be some convincing logic produced to back up that little demand, surely!

If love is an energy, it must be a very special kind to demand our allegiance over other kinds of energy, such as hate, anger, lust, avarice and greed – and surely these could all be described (on one level) as energies. So, again, we look for REASONS, a logic, to persuade us to love.

If love is a person, i.e. God, well then we would still need reasons to value that quality – still need to see that love is better than to give in to anger or selfish greed. Also, if God is defined as Love, then there is a power of logic there implied – since God (love) made the whole complex universe, and minds, and everything. So, most of all if you equate God with Love, you must look for a deep and complex logic of Love, worthy of an infinite Creator God… And it must be deep enough to account for evil, too, preferably!

So, I propose to develop in this blog as much of the general and practical logic of love that I can without resorting to quick fixes and appeals to an undefined ‘energy’ or ‘person’ or ‘feeling’. True love may be all those things, but just saying we should try and get that Feeling, or be like that Person, or plug into that energy, does not give us access to it like an understanding of what we do when we love. There IS a logic to that, and I mean to articulate it.

 

 

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The Logic of Love and a new ebook

Greetings, my intrepid followers on the website formerly known as Loveqor! For simplicity and plainness I’ve changed the name to The Logic of Love. And now living in Gisborne, I am hoping to do more on the subject! Starting with some writing. This ebook was uploaded on the first of the first, 2016:

How to Love Everyone and Everything – Starting With a Stone

We assume we know what love is, and that we just ‘need more of it in the world’, but we have huge emotional and mental obstacles to actually attempting to be ‘more loving’ ourselves. Here are 7 things love ISN’T, and the one thing it IS – and it’s probably not what you think. Once we’re clear on what love is, we can be much more relaxed about practicing it in real life – starting with a stone… More

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Loving What Is – starting with Myself. A Blue Zone Meditation.

Love is the beginning of all good things; I think that logically the unique essence of love is NOT actions first, outputs; but it is receptivity to the other; openings, listenings, appreciating, input. After all, how can we meaningfully love something or someone we haven’t even really (really!) looked at?

This is the foundational time for LoveQor, and I am developing the best methods I can find to enable us to fulfill the huge positive potential we all have when we truly connect.

This is my first exposition of the process of going from tangled and stuck, unable to love ourselves our lives, or others around us, let alone the whole world, to flowing in power and joy, able to love everything, create with it, and therefore transform everything.

(I know the starting point could be our love for someone else, but this is fraught, not always stable as a starting point, although it may be our greatest inspiration at present. So, I think the safest path is to begin within, with ourself.)

I see it going like this, ideally:

Phase One: completely loving ourself in all our levels and aspects

qorstoneBLUE copy1.Pure ‘Blue Zone’ finding our present ‘Qor’ – asking, ‘Where am I at right now?’ We start exactly where we are by going into love mode, ie, listening, noticing, observing. Not acting, fixing, judging, defending, explaining, or brainstorming. Just getting with where we are really at in our own self, our consciousness – as in when we shut our eyes and stop what we were doing. Not trying to untangle the tangles we find.

To take everything in is hard if we are in near-shutdown mode (which most of us are by the time we get serious about having a transformation in our life). So I propose that a ‘tour’ of our inner makeup is a good thing, rising up through the levels that we can observe which make up our complex human being. I have been impressed with the explanatory power of the seven chakras theory. So until a better one comes along, I am going to use that. So, a seven chakras meditation:

title BLUE ZONE Chakra Meditation copy

I non-judgmentally contemplate my First Chakra: My Tribe. Parents, family, tribe, nation, race/races, cultural heritage, inherited religion, morality. My other chosen group/s which I feel a belonging to (clubs, online communities, causes, schools of thought, types of people). How healthy are all these connections? How strongly do I feel for them? Is there hurt there, alienation, rejection?

I non-judgmentally contemplate my Second Chakra: my partnerships. Contracts, covenants, alliances, business partners, life partners, co-creators of any kind. How is this level of my being? Blocked or flowing and energised? Money flow should be good if all is well here! And we should feel personally connected loving and being loved.

I non-judgmentally contemplate my Third Chakra: my Self. My Qor being as an individual. My self-esteem. How is it? If it was a tree, would it be wilted, lopsided, lopped off, rootbound, parched? Or strong, upright, powerful, branching out and bearing good fruit? Do I feel honoured, and do I honour myself?

I non-judgmentally contemplate my Fourth Chakra: ‘We all’. My connectedness with all around me. My heart, capable of loving and being loved, pumping the lifeblood through all the levels of my being, and energising my muscles to act lovingly in the world. This is the middle chakra, halfway between the first and seventh. Pivotal; the spring of life. Is it as a stone within me, because of fear and isolation? or is it joyfully alive and radiant?

I non-judgmentally contemplate my Fifth Chakra: My will and Voice. Is it constricted, as when I try to have my say in a group of hostile listeners? Or is it free and powerful, able to speak my truth and my intentions freely and with conviction?

I non-judgmentally contemplate my Sixth Chakra: My vision and insight. Do I ‘see’ the world as a whole, and my place in it? Or am I constricted here, too, unable to relax enough to calmly contemplate and open my mental eyes to all that there is out there? ‘Without a vision, the people perish’. Open your eyes and let yourself see!

I non-judgmentally contemplate my Seventh Chakra. The All. The zero point, the pivot of cosmic consciousness, my own and all consciousness. From here we can see forever. Here we have a sense of the unity of everything, a sense of unity with all consciousness, including the infinite consciousness of God/the Absolute/Ultimate Being. Names are legion; the reality is One. If I feel this I can feel my own ‘highest self’ too, within it. This is My Qor, the top-level centre of my being. I dwell always here, even while my normal qor selves are living in the lower levels – each Chakra is or has a qor to it, which I can call ‘me’ too.

We have now risen right up the ‘Jacob’s Ladder‘ of the chakras within us. Try going back down, seeing how each feels now you have ‘been to the top’. Never mind that there’s a tangle of stuff – perhaps at all of these levels. That’s life! From the serene perspective of My Qor at the seventh level, everything can be handled. In the now, of course, not all at once, but in the flow, at ‘the speed of life’. This is the unfolding, and as we unfold we can love a little more with each untangling, as the flow becomes less blocked at each of our levels.

But wait, there’s definitely another dimension to this to get and be empowered by!

The Phases of all Process

The word Chakra means wheel or circle. This fits with the process view of things perfectly!

tree with lbtf

All life is process. All process has phases, which go in a cycle, or wheel, just like the chakras. This is descriptive philosophy, not needing special revelation or anything. It is good to colour-code them, I think. Names can be thought of but no single word quite gets the meaning fully. Consider that at each of the seven levels we have explored above, our actual functioning goes in this cycle:

qorstoneBLUE copy        Blue zone – Love. Its Question:’What Is?’ Input, simply listening, looking connecting…

qorstoneGREEN copy

           Green zone: Beauty. Its Question: ‘What May Be?’ Seeing a pattern, a possibility, the potential in what, or who, we’ve opened to.

qorstoneYELLOW copy

Yellow zone: Truth. Its Question: ‘What is best?’ Evaluating, relating, comparing, discriminating, planning.

qorstone RED copy

 Red zone: Freedom. Its Question: ‘What to do now? Who What Where When How?’ Action, implementation, Output.

qorstonePURPLE copy

Purple zone: The Balance. Its affirmation: All is in Balance, all is a necessary part of the whole.

Now, a final thing to ask yourself in this journey through who you are: Where in each of the levels, the chakras, am I most powerful, most energised? And then, within that level, which of the process zones suits me best? The answers we give locate our qor energy, our ‘home zone’ where we can be most effective and joyfully connected, most loving and loved.

Then, knowing and respecting all the levels and zones that make up the marvel of our human being, we can truly love ourselves. And then, well we can begin to learn how to ‘love our neighbour as ourself’, and have them thank us, because we will know HOW to love them, since we have learnt how to first love our own self.

What an exciting journey! I hope this Blue Zone meditation has helped, and will continue to help as you use it as a checklist in future meditations. So much depends on repetition and practice! The next thing to add is the Green Zone meditation, where we survey our levels and imagine new possibilities; followed by the Yellow Zone meditation, where we evaluate and logically process the new ideas, and make plans; then the Red Zone meditation where we

Let me know any way to improve this tour of the self – this is just the beginning of the practical application of all I’ve been learning.

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