Life is not possible without the dynamics of opposites. There will always be up and down, left and right, hard and soft, hot and cold. This truth is true in all levels, whether in nature or in humans. What is troubling is that we see opposites mostly as opposing. We have created absolute concepts, like good and bad or right and wrong, and they have become bases for confusions and conflicts. The realities of polarities and dichotomies are the usual principles of why we compete against others or create rules and moral boundaries. Or why we tell stories of heroes against villains or angels against demons. We badly crave what we want and strongly reject what we don’t, and thus we create ironic results.
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That makes Love an important topic. Like everything else, we think that Love has an opposite, similar to many things. We have accepted that fact and keep on quoting ideas from many teachers and experts that Love is a positive victor against a negative enemy. It is no surprise that we have easily polarized Love. We see things in opposites. However, we have been missing an important truth that Love is something beyond such poles. Love has no opposite. How could it be possible? We can take a closer look at Love facing its most common opposites.
Love versus Fear. Among the most common opposite of Love is fear. Many of spiritual teachers and religious leaders today refer to fear as opposite of Love. With fear in our hearts, Love cannot reside. Even Christ said the same: True Love casts out fear. What they hold between Love and Fear is true, yet there is more. Fear is, in a more obvious sense, is an opposite of courage. What we actually fear is a call to be more courageous. To recognize and face our fear is in fact our greatest courage. Between fear and courage lies the force of Love and our power to choose to let our fears go.
Love versus Hate. I keep on hearing a phrase that goes like this: “The more you hate, the more you Love”. I presume that such idea spawned from the polarized Love and Hate. It tells mostly the stories of lovers who hate their partners at first but since became a key for their romance. Hate is a poisonous attitude between many relationships, and Love is the only known antidote. The Buddha himself said that hatred is overcome only by Love. This is true, but it never stays there. Overpowering hatred is always whelmed by forgiveness. To forgive is to transform the poison of hatred into nourishment of Love. As we hate, we are always called to forgive. Between hatred and forgiveness is Love’s unyielding presence.
Love versus Apathy. Apathy is lack of passion. It is an utter disregard to something or someone. There is no more concern. Some says that when Love is gone, indifference sets in and apathy creates an impenetrable clear wall between people. You see others in their presence, but they do not even bother yours. For married couples, apathy is a usual symptom. No wonder that most counselors and therapists focus on certain steps to break and minimize apathy. Apathy against Love is often true. But to balance, apathy is best understood as the opposite of care. Our apathy is our ultimate call to care. Care is a direct response to others’ presence, in helping them in their needs, in nourshing their overall growth. Between apathy and care is Love’s unseen strength.
In truth, there are no opposites- there is only Love.
Love vs Evil. Perhaps the most notorious opposite of Love is Evil. Inspired by both ancient and modern teachings, we refer to evil as an opposite of Love. Using the background of contemporary spirituality, evil is often described as a dirty detail. We abhor evil for its unnatural impact against life and dignity of human being. Love’s presence is evil’s absence, and because of that, evil only becomes present if Love is absent. Reflecting over the nature of evil is mind-blowing, especially if it is to be understood in the context of Love. This is often true. But evil is more noticeably taken as the wicked side of the good. Good represents the wholeness of what Love is, where evil is nowhere to be seen. It is the spirit of good that eclipses the power of evil. Between good and evil lies an ultimate balance, where Love is always found.
(c) Markus Hofmann/Photoxpress.com
Fear, hate, apathy and evil are commonly seen as normal realities of the world, and such negative forces have made us forget what their true opposites are. Now, it makes us realize more the need for their positive counterparts. Thus, we seek for Love as their opposite, the unseen side of the coin. But Love is never an opposing force. It serves as a reminder of the presence that brings the energy of courage, forgiveness, care and good. It restores the balance of our awareness, because Love allows us to remember what we have forgotten. Our impulse to see Love as an opposite of negativity is understandably our attempt to make things simple as we resolve the sufferings that we experience. That in the grand scheme of things, Love transcends all notions of opposites. In truth, there are no opposites- there is only Love.