18 Quotes that will make you rethink what love means


What does the word “love” mean to you? I find it fascinating that these quotes on love that I have collected from different thinkers appear to be analogous in describing the meaning of love. The sense of true love is one and the same for all people regardless of their differences in race, culture, and belief because love is the nature of our unconditioned Self that transcends all limitations of body and mind.

1. “Your love of the world is the reflection of your love of yourself, for your world is of your own creation. Light and love are impersonal, but they are reflected in your mind as knowing and wishing oneself well. We are always friendly toward ourselves, but not always wise. A yogi is a man whose goodwill is allied to wisdom.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

2. “Love is not selective, desire is selective. In love there are no strangers. When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer interested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure intensity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source.” – Nisargadatta Maharaj

3. “Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.” – Rabindranath Tagore

4. “Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.” – Wayne Dyer

5. “You must love in such way that the person you love feels free.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

6. “The more you understand, the more you love; the more you love, the more you understand. They are two sides of one reality. The mind of love and the mind of understanding are the same.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

7. “Anyone who loves in the expectation of being loved in return is wasting their time.” – Paulo Coelho

8. “Love is the absence of judgment.” – Dalai Lama

9. “Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.” – Dalai Lama

10. “Do you know what it means to love somebody? Do you know what it means to love a tree, or a bird, or a pet animal, so that you take care of it, feed it, cherish it, though it may give you nothing in return though it may not offer you shade, or follow you, or depend on you? Most of us don’t love in that way, we don’t know what that means at all because our love is always hedged about with anxiety, jealousy, fear – which implies that we depend inwardly on another, we want to be loved. We don’t just love and leave it there, but we ask something in return; and in that very asking we become dependent.” – Jiddu Krishnamurthi

11. “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together. For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.” – Kahlil Gibran

12. “This is one of the most significant things about all human beings; their love is always for somebody, it is addressed – and the moment you address your love, you destroy it. It is as if you are saying, “I will breathe only for you – and when you are not there, then how can I breathe?” Love should be like breathing. It should be just a quality in you – wherever you are, with whomsoever you are, or even if you are alone, love goes on overflowing from you. It is not a question of being in love with someone – it is a question of being love.” – Osho

13. “Love gives without expecting anything in return. I never think of anyone in terms of what he can do for me. And I never profess love to someone because he has done something for me. If I didn’t actually feel love, I wouldn’t pretend to give it; and since I feel it, I give it. Love cannot be had for the asking; it comes only as a gift from the heart of another. Be certain of your feeling before you say to anyone, ‘I love you’. Once you give your love, it must be forever. Not because you want to be near that person, but because you want perfection for that soul. To wish for perfection for the loved one, and to feel pure joy in thinking of that soul, is divine love; and that is the love of true friendship.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

14. “Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the “love” of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.” – Eckhart Tolle

15. “To the ego, loving and wanting are the same, whereas true love has no wanting in it, no desire to possess or for your partner to change. The ego singles someone out and makes them special. It uses that person to cover up the constant underlying feeling of discontent, of “not enough,” of anger and hate, which are closely related.” – Eckhart Tolle

16. “If you love another for his or her gross and external qualities alone, that love is of the lowest type. But if you love the other knowing that it is the life principle alone in the other that you love, then that love becomes sublime. And lastly, if you love the other knowing that it is that which transcends the attributes – body, senses and mind – that you love, there the otherness vanishes at once. That love is the most sublime, and is the Absolute itself. The ordinary man believes the object he desires to be real, and to be the source of the pleasure he enjoys. But the Sage sees objects as mere pointers to the Self.” – Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon

17. “All worldly love is mere bargaining and has always its opposite attached to it, ready to express itself when the consideration anticipated is in any way obstructed. But a Vedantin’s love alone knows no bargain, and naturally knows no opposite. It is perfect and unconditional; and always in the form of giving and not taking. Therefore, even to love one’s own wife or child in the best manner, one has to become a Vedantin first. All talk of love in this world is nothing but unadulterated fraud. So know yourself first. Then alone can you love anybody or anything truly and unreservedly.” – Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon

18. “In this absence of what we are not our relationship changes completely. There is no more relationship from object to object, personality to personality, man and woman. It is important. So there in this state when there is a non-relation, a relation in non-relation, that is love. There is no more demanding, asking. Otherwise relationship is more or less a kind of business asking for security, being loved, and so on, considered. It is important there is the right relation with our surroundings. Of course first one must have a right relation with oneself. One must first love oneself. One must love love. Then you can also love the surroundings.” – Jean Klein


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