The Difference Is Love

Roy Masters

Many of us confuse the meaning of the words “love,” “like” and “need.” When we marry for security, or to get away from home, or to escape loneliness—this is not love.

This is need. Some marry for pure excitement, sex. This is like, You can like ice cream, but you cannot love it. You can’t forgive or do kindness to an ice cream.

In a more natural analogy, you need food, and you may like it too, but you still cannot love it.

You may need someone’s affection to boost your ego, and you may like what you need, but you will also come to hate what you are dependent upon because when you need, you are not free.

Likewise, an angry man needs a drink to make him feel better, but when he drinks it he isn’t better at all. He is worse off than he was prior to his compensation.

Now he needs a larger drink, which he may believe that he likes because he needs it; yet he can also hate it for his unnatural dependency

upon the need that enslaves him.

His hate is the cause of his growing likes and needs. Because he hates what he needs, he is caused to need it more, to relieve the tension produced by his hate of it—and he likes it enough to come to hate it again.

Note carefully the following: you can like and hate at the same time. This frequently-observed phenomenon is called ambivalence. But you cannot love and hate at the same time.

If you think that you do, it is because you think you love what you actually like, because you need it. We may “love” (like) members of the opposite sex, because they are more wrong than we are or because they are blind to our weakness.

"Quiet and unchanging as a rock, love cannot be altered,

nor its tranquility disturbed,

by pressure."

Often we like those behind whom we can hide our weakness and thus appear right—we even marry them.

We are strong in another’s weakness, and we like this. Love and patience keep you disenchanted from worldly madness, clear from the treadmill of pleasure and pain and “remedies” that lead to problems.

Love preserves your inner unfoldment and prevents you from becoming as degenerate and bitter as your enemies.

Love earns also the respect of your fellow seeker and disables the error in him, so that he may come to find within himself the virtue to be of genuine service to you too.

Like is the emotional response to the pleasant. Hate is the emotional response to the unpleasant. All of the pleasant sensations keep us from true love and sensitize us for a bigger negative response that we know as the letdown.

Notice that both are emotional responses to things. Love, on the other hand, is original, and comes into being in spite of these two temptations.

The evidence of love is the patient non-response of these two alien stimulations. Quiet and unchanging as a rock, love cannot be altered,

nor its tranquility disturbed, by pressure.

It changes life by remaining unaffected by it. In love, we no longer live in the vicious cycle of moving to pleasure to offset pain, begetting in

that pleasure more guilty pains as the result of our indiscretion.