December 2023 Love is…



Years ago a daily newspaper ran a cartoon on this topic.  It always had a grain of truth in its observations.  These days I think I understand why love is so difficult to define.  Definitions elude us precisely because love is not a function of the reasoning mind.

The nature of love even eludes the French mind.  Blaise Pascal sensed this centuries ago when he wrote The heart has its reasons whereof reason knows nothing.  He could not know it at the time but nowadays we do now know that the neural systems responsible for emotion and intellect are separate.

I think therefore we cannot be blamed for whom we fall in love with.  Emotional life defeats reason. And yet we are beginning to understand the intricate and dynamic systems within which love lives.

We are beginning to find those emotional principles which are irresistible to us…..but we cannot change them.   And this is because they are contained in the beautifully complex totality of the emotional mind.  But, help is at hand as we learn to rein in some of the familiar but dangerous routes taken by the juggernaut of the emotional mind, along a precipice road of repeated heartache.  With a little help we can listen more carefully to our emotions and take a different route to arrive at the heart’s desire.

I have had colleagues, who precariously underestimate the importance of the emotional mind.  It is a mind which locates in our limbic system largely separated from our system for thinking.  Emotions reach back 100 million years while cognition is a few hundred thousand years old at best.

Please stay with this monthly blog while we explore this road which whilst challenging is a route to the good life.

This has extracts from several chapters of: A General Theory of Love: Thomas Lewis, M.D., Fari Amini, MD., Richard Lannon, M.D.   Vintage Books, 2001.

©James Grant Counselling Services

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