Valentines Day is just a day away, so what better time than now to talk about the power of love? Research on people who have recently “fallen in love” show that the chemicals produced in their brains are similar to those nasty chemicals that drug users snort up their noses! Apparently, the same centers of the brain fire and produce dopamine levels that are in many ways similar to the high a cocaine user experiences. (They also discovered it’s similar to the thrill we get when eating chocolate.) Neurologists have also discovered that the portions of the brain associated with love are not the same portions of the brain that work on sexual feelings, or lust. However, they say, the two can become entangled, as increased dopamine levels produces more testosterone in both males and females. Romantic love is also more involved in the right hemisphere of the brain, while looking for visual attractiveness in a partner is geared more towards the left.
So is love strictly a mental thing coming from the recesses of the mind? Not at all. Love oftentimes affects other areas of the body, from stimulating the heart to producing butterflies in the gut. Additional studies indicate that falling in love is both a top-down and down-top process – that is, everything you are thinking and feeling while in love may be a combination of multiple processes going on at once, not just strictly located in the brain. A literal orchestra of thoughts, chemicals, and feelings are created throughout the body.
What an incredible spiritual event! From this scientific perspective, you might think it’s just a cavalcade of chemicals rushing out from the mind and body, but yet we must consider the impetus for such a reaction. In other words – why? Why would your body produce these chemicals while in the presence of one person – your true love – and not another?
Here’s where your soul comes in and reveals a bit of magic about our beings.
It is because you, the observer, connect with your partner in a way that is special and unique somewhere within the design and workings of your spirit. The recognition of this union defies time and space, and may even defy standard logic or reason, and is much broader than the normal “everyday” interactions with other “regular” people. It is this great well of romance that appears in the right brain, which doesn’t acknowledge linear time or space, isn’t concerned with logic or reason, and is much more aligned with abstract thinking, intuition, creativity, and inspiration. The right brain “feels” whereas the left “labels” and attempts to reduce reality into finite well-understood puzzle pieces.
Since we are spiritual first and physical second, when our souls encounter the source for our love, our energy fields vibrate, twinge, what-have-you. This energy then informs the physical body the types of chemicals to produce in order to have that feeling … the dopamine high. It is a wonderful, creative event!
Science would love to have us believe it is something so “simple” as chemicals, yet science doesn’t address the original impulse for their creation – you and your relationship with that special someone from a source outside the material mind and its blasting neurons.
Now, love studies have typically been done with people who are still in that “honeymoon phase” of the relationship. That is, they’ve only been together as a couple for about 5 to 7 months. Interestingly, after this time has passed is when a relationship moves into the next stage: attachment. And there’s been some scientific research in this area as well, having studied couples that have been together 20 to 30 years. Here’s that period when spiritual marriage occurs. Using the late Joseph Campbell’s view, marriage is the union of two spirits coming together to create a single unit. In other words, two whole people come together in spirit to create an identity that includes both of them, but is yet also a singular entity that has a force and power of its own as a result of the combination. What a beautiful thought! And believe it or not, we have some proof of this in the field of parapsychology.
For years, the PEAR group (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) did studies to see if people could affect the outcome of random number generators by mere intention alone. They discovered that the success of a bonded pair was four times greater in achieving positive results than a single individual. Four times! Does this mean love can move mountains? I don’t know about physically moving them, but certainly finding a way to traverse them!
Earlier, I mentioned that romantic love has its origins in the right hemisphere of the brain, that spot which isn’t concerned about time or space. This also helps to unlock some of love’s greatest mystical powers. My wife and I were born in different parts of the U.S., me here in Washington, and her in California. My family moved around quite a bit during my younger years; she went from California to Colorado. What are the odds the two of us in the course of our lives would move to the same geographical area, enter the bookstore where we met on that fateful night in October 2003 and then fall in love? We have so many things in common and were instantly at ease with each other that it is quite likely we also had many relationships in prior lives (if you believe in reincarnation). Some philosophers believe true love, or love at first sight, is a recognition of two departed souls reuniting once again. When you factor that possibility into the mix, you have expressed the right-brain’s reality in the reunion of the relationship: defying physical time and physical space.
Two souls from previous incarnations coming together is the realization of love defying the boundaries of time. Two souls coming together despite being born hundreds of miles apart (and in some cases thousands) and moving throughout the country and yet still finding each other defies space.
This kind of action and union cannot be defined by chemicals in the brain. It transcends that by degrees we can’t begin to calculate. It even suggests that those relationships which do not always last and end in tragedy may also have a hidden meaning behind them that is backed by some form of love; a love that is meant to teach a lesson through the nature of the experience, to help grow and learn through the trials of existence. Though the relationship may have ended in a bad way or with negative results, that two people were still able to overcome insurmountable odds to get together in the first place suggests a loving design behind the tragic end. Perhaps the tragedy is just a façade for something greater with love as the ultimate impetus for the heartbreak?
I know I couldn’t have found the love of my life without going through some intense pain from a previous relationship. Yet my previous relationship had its purpose in the relevance of my present joy. I needed that darkness in order to perceive the light when Heidi walked into my existence. It’s always darkest before the dawn, they say. However, when factoring in the odds against chance, the coincidences, the radical events that bring two people together, it does reveal that Love is the greatest force in the universe.