"The heart decides, and that it decides is all that really matters ... Those who are truly enlightened, those whose souls are illuminated by love, have been able to overcome all the inhibitions and preconceptions of their era. ... They have been joyful - because those who love conquer the world and have no fear of loss. True love is an act of total surrender ... One doesn't love in order to do what is good to help or to protect someone. If we act that way, we are perceiving the other as a simple object, and we are seeing ourselves as wise and generous persons. This has nothing to do with love. To love is to be in communion with the other and to discover in that other the spark of God"
These quotes are from one of my favourite writers' books - By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. I am in awe of Paulo Coelho, and am quite certain that sometimes God breathes gently down upon him when he's writing.
I must confess when I first read this - more than ten years ago, I think - I thought it was purely about romantic love: the mushy stuff. And/or the sweaty stuff. Back then, that's what I thought love was. I suspect that I must have looked to these words for relationship tips, and then proceeded to be a perfect doormat for the most imperfect lovers.
As I read through these words today, they mean so much more. I look at these lines now and feel that he is talking about compassion and respect and acceptance. They are about that thing which will ultimately save the world. Without necessarily having to be mushy and/or sweaty.
So that's what love is! Good to know. At last.
It's time for me to take that book down off my bookshelf and read it once again, to find out if he meant what I felt. Because as far as I remember, it was a love story (the mushy kind, don't recall any sweaty stuff in there). But I doubt Mr Coelho could disappoint me. I'm sure it was all there and I just didn't have the awareness to notice it. When I read it this time, I'll see the other stuff. The stuff I missed first time around.