Below we offer the 8 categories of love as understood through a Greek lens: eros (erotic love), philia (friendship), agape (universal love), ludus (playful love), storge (family-kinship love), philautia (healthy self-love), mania (obsessive love), pragma (mature, enduring love). From which forms of love do you draw your strength and connection?
All You Need Is Love — Beatles lyrics
All You Need Is Love
Love, love, love … Love, love, love … Love, love, love
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
All you need is love … All you need is love
All you need is love, love … Love is all you need
Love, love, love … Love, love, love … Love, love, love
… Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
All you need is love … All you need is love
All you need is love, love … Love is all you need …
Friendship … considered a love between equals. — Mateo Sol
You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not. ― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness. —Euripides
We sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story. ― Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet
… friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when. — Simon Sinek
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood. — Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus
There’s a kinship among men who have sat by a dying fire and measured the worth of their life by it. ― William Golding, The Spire
There is on the earth no institution which Friendship has established; it is not taught by any religion; no scripture contains its maxims. It has no temple nor even a solitary column … However, out fates at least are social. ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings
To be with old friends is very warming and comforting. — Ian Ziering
In the outworks of our lives, we were almost strangers, but we shared a certain outlook on human life and human destiny, which, from the very first, made a bond of extreme strength . . . At our very first meeting, we talked with continually increasing intimacy. We seemed to sink through layer after layer of what was superficial, till gradually both reached the central fire … ― Bertrand Russell, Portraits From Memory and Other Essays
Eros is sexual or passionate love, and is the type most akin to our modern construct of romantic love. — Neel Burton, Psychology Today
The Greeks, it will be recalled, regarded Eros, the god of love, as the eldest of the gods; but also as the youngest, born fresh and dewy-eyed in every living heart. — Joseph Campbell
Eros will have naked bodies; friendship naked personalities. — C.S. Lewis
Eros is an issue of boundaries. He exists because certain boundaries do. In the interval between reach and grasp, between glance and counterglance, between ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too,’ the absent presence of desire comes alive. But the boundaries of time and glance and I love you are only aftershocks of the main, inevitable boundary that creates Eros: the boundary of flesh and self between you and me. And it is only, suddenly, at the moment when I would dissolve that boundary, I realize I never can. — Anne Carson
Eros seizes and shakes my very soul like the wind on the mountain shaking ancient oaks. — Sappho
You can’t deny Eros. Eros will strike, like lightning. Our human defenses are frail, ludicrous. Like plasterboard houses in a hurricane. Your triumph is in perfect submission. And the god of Eros will flow through you, as Lawrence says, in the ‘perfect obliteration of blood consciousness. — Joyce Carol Oates
Ludus is playful or uncommitted love. — Neel Burton, Psychology Today
To be running breathlessly, but not yet arrived, is itself delightful, a suspended moment of living hope. — Anne Carson
Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it. ― Toni Morrison, Jazz
on my mind
for my waist
or my lips
he didn’t call me
he called me
– how he touches me
― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey
Pragma is a love that has aged, matured and developed over time. It is beyond the physical, it has transcended the casual, and it is a unique harmony that has formed over time. — Mateo Sol
To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough. But it is a hard quest worth making to find a comrade through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be. — Anna Strong
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. — Ann Landers
She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. — Lao-Tzu
A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world. — Leo Buscaglia
The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That’s what I hope to give you forever. — Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
Love is not a mold that makes two people the same person. Love is the dream that enables both of us to be our own best person—together. Love knows no one can fill up in us what we lack in ourselves. But coming to live what we know about love for the sake of others, as well as for our self, is the one thing that can possibly stop the restless sleep that comes with loneliness. — Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight
Storge is primarily to do with kinship and familiarity. Storge is a natural form of affection that often flows between parents and … children … can even be found among childhood friends … — Mateo Sol
It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful. — Roald Dahl
Without warning he had become witness to something that stretched back through the eons, ties both elastic and enduring, surpassing death, surpassing life. She was his child. It was as simple as that and that complex. ― Kim Harrison,
You don’t have to have anything in common with people you’ve known since you were five. With old friends, you’ve got your whole life in common. — Lyle Lovett
So it was in Botswana, almost everywhere; ties of kinship, no matter how attenuated by distance or time, linked one person to another, weaving across the country a human blanket of love and community. And in the fibres of that blanket there were threads of obligation that meant that one could not ignore the claims of others. Nobody should starve; nobody should feel that they were outsiders; nobody should be alone in their sadness. ― Alexander McCall Smith
Cousins by chance, friends by choice. — Proverb
I must get my soul back from you; I am killing my flesh without it. ― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. ― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
I love you. I hate you. I like you. I hate you. I love you. I think you’re stupid. I think you’re a loser. I think you’re wonderful. I want to be with you. I don’t want to be with you. I would never date you. I hate you. I love you…..I think the madness started the moment we met and you shook my hand. Did you have a disease or something? ― Shannon L. Alder
Do love. Don’t just think love, say love, have faith in love, or believe that God is love. Give up the idea that your ideas alone can save you. If you know the right words, then bring those words to life by giving them your own flesh. Put them into practice. Do love, and you will live. — Barbara Brown Taylor
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Martin Luther King Jr.
Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all. ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.― Jimi Hendrix
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves. — Victor Hugo
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” AND “I believe God loves the world through us—through you and me.” — St Mother Teresa
There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. — William Butler Yeats
Many can give money to those in need, but to personally serve the needy readily, out of love, and in a fraternal spirit, requires a truly great soul. — Saint John Chrysostom
Love is not really an action that you do. Love is what and who you are, in your deepest essence. Love is a place that already exists inside of you, but is also greater than you. That’s the paradox. It’s within you and yet beyond you. This creates a sense of abundance and more-than-enoughness, which is precisely the satisfaction and deep peace of the True Self. You know you’ve found a well that will never go dry, as Jesus says (see John 4:13-14). Your True Self, God’s Love in you, cannot be exhausted. — Richard Rohr
All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself. — Aristotle
How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you. ― Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey
It’s all about falling in love with yourself and sharing that love with someone who appreciates you, rather than looking for love to compensate for a self love deficit. ― Eartha Kitt
The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. ― Carl Jung
The first step is to come home to ourselves. You don’t need to become a Buddha. You need to become yourself. — Thich Nhat Hanh
— Joan Chittister
There is a magnet in a seeker’s heart whose true north is God. It bends toward the Voice of God with the ear of the heart and, like sunflowers in the sun, turns all of life toward the living of the Word.
This listening heart is pure of pride and free of arrogance. It seeks wisdom—
everywhere, at all times— and knows wisdom by the way it echoes the call of the scriptures.
The compass for God implanted in the seeker’s heart stretches toward truth and signals the way to justice.
It is attuned to the cries of the poor and oppressed with a timbre that allows no interruption, no smothering of the Voice of God on their behalf.
These seekers hear the voice of God in the cry of the poor and oppressed, and they “immediately put aside their own concerns” and follow God’s call in their actions.
Monastics cling to the community in order to know a wisdom not their own, to discover the tradition on which they stand, to heed the Word of God together with one heart and one mind—embedded in many shapes and forms, and brought to the fullness of God’s will for them in mind, heart, and soul.
They give themselves to mutual obedience in order to create a common voice— a communal voice— that can be heard above the clamors of self centeredness. And they do the hard work of community-living and decision-making together, “not cringing or sluggish or half-hearted, but free from any grumbling or any reaction of unwillingness”— so that none of the actions taken together are done in vain, so that the Reign of God can come sooner because we have been here.
In a Monastery of the Heart, Benedictine listening honors the function of leadership to point us in the direction of truth, but knows that neither dependence nor license nor authoritarianism are a valid substitute for communal discernment, for seeking truth in the light of one another’s wisdom.
Communal discernment is a holy hearing of prophetic voices among us. It comes out of listening to others and responding to them in the name of God, so that as a community we can move forward together, one heart at a time.
Benedictine spirituality requires careful listening and responding to the Word of God, to the call of the Jesus who leads us, and to the call of the community that is the foundation of our spiritual life.
It is not an obedience that rests on blessed ignorance, or infantile dependence, or reckless irresponsibility, or military authoritarianism, or blind submission in the name of holiness.
A truly listening heart knows that we lose the chance for truth
if we give another—any other— either too much, or too little, control over the conscience that is meant to be ours alone.
And yet, at the same time, mutual obedience, real obedience, holy listening forever seeks the spiritual dialogue holy wisdom demands.
In a Monastery of the Heart, it is the acceptance of wisdom not our own that asks of us the spiritual maturity that listens first and always to the Word of God— and allows the Word to be the testing ground of every other demand made on our lives.
It is obedience to the greater law of love.
An authentic claim to obedience does not deny another person’s independence and autonomy of thought. On the contrary, it hones the seeker for the sake of the growth of the community and the spreading of the Word.
This listening with the heart to the insights of another is not the obedience of children, or soldiers, or servants, or minions. It is the obedience given to a lover, because of love alone.
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”
Contemplating Thanksgiving— receiving and giving support — as themes from Matthew 25 about separating goats from sheep and “doing unto others.” When do you need to hold out your hands and open your arms and accept the grace available to you, and when may you be a tangible source of grace for others?
What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. — St Augustine
Pie with Spirits — Mary Wellemeyer
This is the very pumpkin pie
my grandmother made—almost.
She was a modern woman
who knew how to follow recipes.
Receipts, she called them, because they had been received.
She had a rule for pie crust that was constant
until, from time to time, it changed.
I have that rule, in turn, and it has moved on,
just a bit, from where she left it.
This is my special shared moment
with her, departed a quarter century.
As I work, I am all ages of myself,
and the thought of my tall son comes to join us,
though he hardly knew her.
He makes pies with wild abandon,
sculpting them from material and artistry.
He has received pie somehow at the level of soul.
The three of us make pie together,
preheating the oven,
cutting butter into flour, adding water,
flouring a board, rolling the crust.
To honor her, I follow the recipe.
To honor him, I change just one thing.
To honor myself, I take my time and smile.
Receiving Help: Accepting Grace
None of us got where we are alone. Whether the assistance we received was obvious or subtle, acknowledging someone’s help is a big part of understanding the importance of saying thank you. — Harvey Mackay
Somebody help me, tell me where to go from here, because even Thugs cry, but do the Lord care? — Tupac Shakur
You can’t change the world alone — you will need someone’s help — and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them. — William McRaven
“You should ask for help,” he said. “I don’t know how to do that, either.”
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. — C.S. Lewis, character Aslan speaking in The Last Battle
Being first to ask for help in a friendship takes courage and humility. ― Afton Rorvik, Storm Sisters: Friends Though All Seasons
… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. — Matthew 25
Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving … ― Alexander McCall Smith
A lot of the time we don’t know when we’re surrendering that we’re actually, at the same time, maybe establishing connection … to a power greater than ourselves — or something in the next concentric circle out whose name is not me. So, that to me is where help begins. You know, we’re often ashamed of asking for so much help because it seems selfish or petty or narcissistic, but I think, if there’s a God — and I believe there is — that God is there to help. That’s what God’s job is. — Anne Lamott
No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. — John Donne
Inter-being: Tiếp Hiện (接現) is a Sino-Vietnamese term. Tiếp means “being in touch with” and “continuing.” Hiện means “realizing” and “making it here and now.” The translation “Interbeing” (French: Interêtre) is a word coined by Thich Nhat Hanh to represent … Buddhist principles … to describe the essential interconnectedness of the universe … If we look deeply into the nature of our universe we can see all things as profoundly interdependent.
… Without a cloud, we cannot have paper, so we can say that the cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are. If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist. — Society of Interbeing, Thich Nhat Hanh
Small Acts of Grace
Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.) ― Marcus Tullius Cicero
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. — Charles Dickens
The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served. ― Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something
No one has ever become poor by giving. ― Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank: the play
Frankly I’m not religious, but I believe in the cause of humanity — doing good work. — Sukhwinder Singh
It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely. ― Leo F. Buscaglia
Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. — Dalai Lama XIV
While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary. — Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer. — Mahatma Gandhi
We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We must forgive God God’s story.