Even in the sun I see LOVE. It provides us with heat and light energy that helps SUSTAIN OUR PLANET – and OUR LIVES. Unconditionally, unyieldingly, uncontrollably. For all this, it requests nor expects ANYTHING in return; ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Now THAT, IS LOVE. 

~ Excerpt from Chapter 5: “Your Emotions” 

I remember one day I was particularly peeved at some petty situation I was dealing with (I honestly do not remember what it was), so I went for a walk outside to “cool off”. Well, ironically, the sun had other plans. It was sweltering outside and all I could think was “WHY WOULD THE SUN DO THIS TO ME?” I mean, I was sweating, blinded by its immense rays – I was GENUINELY angry at the sun. Sounds funny doesn’t it? Well, I was not actually angry at OUR sun, I was angry at the circumstances I was dealing with, and victimized of all things, our sun.

Then it happened. In a moment of profound enlightenment, I realized my mistake and acknowledged what our sun was providing me personally and our planet as a whole. It was quite a surreal moment in my life.

Have you ever pondered, “What is love?”

Some question it because they are genuinely uncertain if a “loved one” really loved them. For others, their inquisition may be based on the fact that a “loved one” may have accused him/her of not really loving them.

When you are keenly immersed in the act of giving and receiving love, you usually will not ponder such philosophical inquisitions. Most assuredly, it is only when something is in deficit that we begin to study and/or break down what that thing actually is.

So, if we’re even asking, “What is love?” it probably means that we don’t feel completely loved, or that someone doesn’t feel completely loved by us.

I know you are itching for the answer, so I will try to help you answer the question, “What is love?”

Individuals that find themselves contemplating “What is love?”, are usually facing one of two scenarios that they are hoping will give meaning to the question. Either they are pondering, “Am I loved by…?” or they are asking, “Do I love…”

Some find it easier to tackle the “What is love?” question first, in terms of the love they are receiving. Once you can understand how to recognize when you are being loved, you can also learn to recognize our love for another. When we are loved, we tend to feel it via our intuition usually in our gut. Are we embedded with some extrasensory perception in the heart that is able to read the feelings in another person’s heart? How does that work, Gunny?

Slow down warrior, it’s really not that heavenly, spiritual or even supernatural. It is actually quite the contrary. It is built into our nervous system through our senses, right here on earth. Your actual physical, beating heart takes cues from your senses. Everything you see, hear, taste, touch or smell informs you about your universe. There is no need for us to even think about it or ponder. Your sensory organs report to your brain, and your brain interprets the data and sends the report to your heart. So, when you see a loving smile, hear loving words, or feel a loving touch, your brain processes the information and surmises, “Awesome! I am being loved right now!”

In short, when you are loved, there is tangible proof. It’s not an abstract thought or feeling, it’s concrete and bears clear evidence. As King Solomon wrote in his book of Proverbs (27:19), “As water reflects a man’s face back to him, so is the heart of one man to another.” This means, when you are treated with love, your heart feels that love.

OK, now that we have tackled the “What is love?” question, let’s move on.

Before you proceed, it is very important that you understand that love is an action.

Now let us address the second part of the “What is love” dilemma — how do I know if I love someone else?

It is actually quite simple and forthright. When you genuinely behave lovingly towards someone, it means you love that person.

I know, I know – it is hard to fathom, but whether you choose to believe and accept it or not, love is not a concept – it is an action. Most people get wrapped up around this seemingly abstract concept because they are trying to associate it with questions such as “What is freedom?” or “What is patriotism?”. So, remember love is not a concept. It is an action. An action that you can willingly and deliberately execute, and you should – often. Be it [especially] towards your fellow Marines, our planet, a hobby or your favorite food; willingly and deliberately execute love as an action.

So now you may have learned that to ask, “What is love?” is the equivalent of asking, “What is walking?” or “What is breathing?” If you’ve ever seen someone walking or breathing, you know precisely what those actions involve.

The Hebrew word for love, ahavah, reveals this true definition of love. The very word ahavah is built upon the root consonants h‑v, which means “to give.” In order for love to be real love, it has to be expressed as an action. If you love your significant other, then show it. Likewise, when you are loved, that will show, too. You will recognize it by the way you are treated.

In the Bible, God commands in Deuteronomy 6:5, “And you shall love the Lord your God.” This very axiom leads us to voice the age-old question, “How can I be commanded to feel a feeling?” Either I should feel it or I don’t feel it, right Gunny? Remember, love is an action – interpret it as such. An answer offered by many traditions explains that we are not being ordered to “feel a feeling” in the abstract sense. Instead, the “command” is for us to BEHAVE LOVINGLY. Interpret it as “You shall perform acts of love.” vice “And you shall love,” if you will.

Feelings can be deceptive at times. Often, what you perceive as love may in fact be an entirely different emotion. But your actions cannot – and usually will not – be mistaken; nor forgotten.

So, rather than ask, “What is love?” you must sincerely ask, “Do I perform acts of love for my ‘loved one[s]’?” and “Do they perform acts of love for me?

Our sun does it 24/7/365 without effort and unconditionally. That is love.