In one of my recent online meditation sessions, I decided to choose the topic of love and its spiritual significance. Love is an ages-old feeling and phenomenon that is perhaps most widely and loosely used in our lives. To confirm this, I started looking up the dictionary meaning of the word and was hardly surprised at how the world understands it.

In fact, the meanings got more and more ridiculous and plainly wrong as I went down the list of various definitions of love.

A profoundly tender and passionate affection for another person? That’s way too shallow.

A feeling of warm personal attachment as for a parent, child or friend? I’d argue that it’s quite the opposite – those who love do so without any attachments.

Sexual passion and desire? Now, it clearly was time to toss the dictionary as useless for understanding what love really is.

So, let’s try and understand what love really means at a very evolved level of existence – in a spiritual person’s life.

Love is a pure and real energy.

Before we get to explaining love as a feeling or emotion, there’s an even more important definition to be understood. What we often refer to as the “all-pervading” energy or power, is, in fact, a real and pure energy in the spiritual realm that embodies love. This energy that exists everywhere in the universe and transcends space and time, is filled with compassion and benevolence. As a force of nature, it’s always working towards making good things happen in this world and human beings. It can never hurt anyone and tries very hard to protect nature’s creation from harm.

More specifically, when we talk of a spiritual connection to the universe, we refer to the connection of our inner spiritual being with this all-pervading power of love. Our spiritual beings become one with it and as a result, our being also gets nourished with love, compassion, benevolence and in general, with positive emotions and feelings. This directly results in our spiritual self-improvement.

Cognitive strategies for self-improvement and changing our personality traits is extremely hard and scientific studies show that it is rare to measure and achieve a quantifiable improvement in one’s personality. The only real solution then is a viable, spiritual method. And that only happens with the sheer force of love percolating our beings, not just as a spiritual phenomenon, but making a practical and real impact in our day to day behavior.

We can feel this energy.

Yes, the sensation of this power of love is what we call as vibrations, a tingling, cool sensation on our fingers and a real sensory perception on our central nervous system. It also has varying levels of intensity depending on the state of our chakras and energy channels. For the first time, human beings can feel the power of love as a real sensation and experience, in addition to experiencing this emotion.

Love is an emotion originating and driven by our spiritual system.

We speak about our chakras all the time, but somewhat lesser about the energy channels or nadis. These channels represent our tendencies and disposition towards life, the divine and people, including ourselves. They govern attitudes we exhibit and shape our personalities. In perfect balance, we make the optimal use of our energy channels. We’re neither overly emotional, nor devoid of them. We aren’t too lethargic nor over-active. We aren’t unduly attached to anything or anyone but aren’t uncaring either.

Our left energy channel (the Ida Nadi as it is called in Sanskrit) gives us the feeling of love and in general, governs our emotional functioning and energies. The stronger and more balanced this channel, the more we’re loving and lovable personalities.

In terms of chakras, the heart chakra is the source of pure love and compassion. Stronger this chakra, the more we experience and enjoy true love in our lives.

True love is without attachments or expectations.

When we truly love someone, we don’t worry about expect anything in return, it is unconditional. And we’re not needy or dependent on them. We care for them and they are in our attention, but we’re not so attached that our lives and emotions become hard to manage if they do not behave in a certain way towards us. We exude and feel the positive energy in their presence, but our disappointments are also limited in such relationships. The adage of setting those who we love free actually happens in true love.

True love is not romantic.

The biggest confusion and distorted definition of love is the one associated with romance. Having provided so many alternate definitions of true love as a form of spiritual energy, as a vehicle of compassion and pure relationships, equating it to romance definitely makes it look very mundane.

Romance is a real feeling, but it is the product of our minds. It may give us some excitement. True love, on the other hand, is universal, powerful, a lot deeper and long-lasting than romance. One could also say that romance is typically based on shallower considerations such as physical attraction, the need to mate and find company, that is, our more baser instincts. With true love, we become more powerful, independent and a source of strength to the people we love. Romance can also be harmful to our emotional well-being at times, but love is always healing and energizing.

Love is not the same as lust or even sexual feelings.

Yet another misconception that sexual feelings constitute love. Once again, this cheapens the power and concept of love even more. That’s not to say that sexual feelings are bad or unnecessary in any way, it’s just that they don’t constitute love. They may arise out of love for someone, but they still do not represent love itself. A lot of people think they are driven by love, when in fact, it is mere lust.

True love means we can easily forgive.

When true love fills our being, we have no difficulty forgiving others. Forgiving becomes universal and nearly instantaneous.

True love means we’re innocent and without any malice.

Once you get started with the practice of Sahaja, you’ll immediately realize that a child-like innocence pervades your being. You’ll find yourself becoming less complicated in your thinking and attitude towards life. Think of how you felt when you were a 5-year-old – carefree, playful, joyous and eager to learn many things. Relationships were simple and straightforward and you could not think of complicated things. There were no conditions for you to love anyone, no hatred.

And this child-like behavior was a powerful attraction for every grown-up around you. It’s that simple, pure power of love that makes children the center of everyone’s attention.

Yes, it is possible for grown-ups to be like that when we discover the pure love within us and re-establish it through our spiritual awakening.

True love means we have pure relationships.

Unfortunately, flirtatious behavior and having roving eyes do not align with true love either. It’s rare for someone to say that they’re flirting with someone out of love for them unless they’re doing this in jest with their partner. Those who genuinely love others have nothing to be uncertain, nebulous, insecure or secretive about their relationship.

Recognizing true love means becoming and being spiritual.

The famous notions that “God is love” and “Love is God” are indeed real. This all-pervading power of love that we access in the spiritual realm is indeed the realm of the divine. In turn, divinity means that we have pure and abundant love for others.

Through your practice of meditation, it is much easier to find, understand and experience true love. Not only that, but you can also emanate this energy of love to the world around you, leaving everyone wondering what that special glow is all about whenever they’re with you.