“To heal is to touch with love that which was previously touched by fear.”Stephen Levine
With all of the physical and mental illness that is rampant in our society today, we need something that will ease the pain and give relief. I am talking about love and affection. I wrote on the subject of love once before in the post All You Need. However, the subject of love is important, and there are more things we can do with love and affection, then we can do with hate.
There has been a lot of hate in the world – especially in the past few years: Hate is on the rise. Hate is fed by fear and ignorance – and it grows like a cancer, until it has overtaken us and darkened our day. However, the radiating effect of love can kill that cancer – and eradicate it from our existence.
Hate and fear are spread by the media like a little child spreads seeds of the dandelion when they blow on it to make a wish. Those seeds from the media land in our minds and our thought processes and incite us to take action against our neighbor. We grasp on to our weapons of war, we gird ourselves with ignorance, hatred, distrust and racism. We take to the streets with a lynch mob mentality – only to come back home beaten bruised and sick.
The Power of Love
Love has a special power and it can grow inside of each person, but we have to want to love, and if we love then we have to put away our fear and hatred. Sometimes that is more than just one person can handle – why? We feel comfortable in our ignorance. We don’t like someone that is different then we are.
But love can conquer fear, and our ignorance is based in fear. The fear of someone being different is what fuels the fire of racism. This fear causes anxiety which releases cortisol into the bloodstream. “But Thom, isn’t cortisol a stress hormone?” Yes it is, but cortisol is released by fear. Fear causes stress, stress releases cortisol – ergo fear causes the release of cortisol.
Love can decrease fear and anxiety, it also can inhibit the release of cortisol. Think about it, if you loved the person next door, no matter their ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and political affiliation. It would be hard to hate them – right? You see love releases serotonin, which makes you feel happy and can act as a calming agent
“But I don’t know my neighbor, I just can’t walk up to someone and say ‘I love you.’ what’s wrong with you Thom.” I am not saying that you have to walk up to your neighbor and say I love you; in fact, I am not saying you have to say that at all. Remember, actions speak louder words. The way you can show your neighbor that you love them is through acts of kindness – once again, if you are kind to your neighbor, then you cannot hate them; plus an added benefit, they will show kindness to you.
Now if everyone took that attitude, we would have peace.
Let’s get some sciencey stuff out of the way. Cytokineˈ(sīdəˌkīn) is a large group of substances and proteins that regulate immunity, inflammation and hematopoiesis (hēmədōpoiˈēsis) (the manufacture of blood cells). Now just to make sure I have all the information to you, it can also play a negative role with inflammatory diseases such as tumor necrosis factor a in rheumatoid arthritis or asthma and Crohn’s disease.
We are not talking about “bad” Cytokine, and I don’t want anyone saying that I said love can cause Crohn’s disease, because that just ain’t so!
Now both love and affection in conjunction with each other have the ability to heal physical wounds. Now this has been studied by psychologists: It seems that when people are in a relationship and they love each other, Cytokine levels are high, so if there is an injury, that injury heals faster. However, when people are in a toxic or contentious relationship, the Cytokine levels drop – which means that injuries don’t heal as fast.
Affection between two people – whether it is between a parent to child, child to parent, adult to adult or even human to animal. Cytokine levels increase to fight infections and oxytocin is released to combat mental issues like depression. That is why therapy animals are widely used, because that relationship releases oxytocin which can lower our stress levels and offer companionship.
You see, love can heal all wounds, if you are in the right relationship. You can love your neighbor and show them kindness and heal our world. It might sound really mushy, but in reality – love is a strength. Don’t you just love our brains!