Layers of Love

Layers of Love

I’ve written before about the many apparent hearts we have. Each of these can be said to be the heart expressing on a different level of being.

We have our physical heart that sustains the flow of nutrients and protection throughout the body. It has a grounded love of life most are unfamiliar with. This relates to Hrit, an energy center above the physical heart and below the left shoulder. This center is said to be where the spark of life turns on and is the energy center of the physical heart.

Then we have emotional love, the kind often sung about on the radio. This is attached, needy, or conditional love, given if someone meets some needs. It’s a step up from sexual attraction but is commonly driven by expectation and sometimes delusion. Too often, we’re unconscious of our needs and what we expect of others. When things change, as they always do, the relationship fails us and we blame the other.

This may seem a little bleak but seen from the other side, it is. That’s why the radio is dominated by songs of love lost.

Dr. Chapman proposed Five Love Languages to explain how we try to express love to others and meet our needs. For example, though gifts or touch. Yet our partner may expect love differently, perhaps through reassuring words. If this mismatch is unconscious, we fail to act in ways they recognize as expressions of love and they fail to tell us. Becoming more conscious of this can make a huge difference.

Emotional love can also get confused with passion and an instinctive need to mate and reproduce. These can certainly be interrelated but are distinct.

Many people experience love as pain. Dysfunctional, unconscious relationships lead to disappointment and heartbreak. Love can then trigger fear and aversion, often driven by unresolved past loss. We experience love being lost even though it came from us in the first place.

This is the height of irony. We experience gaining and losing love even though it has always come from (through) us. The potential partner was just the catalyst to wake it up within. Love is never lost. We just connect and disconnect from it.

It takes time to see this. We are filled with love when we give it away as Nirmala put it. But for sustained love, we have to go to a higher love that’s not co-dependent.

The heart chakra, anahata, can open to bring us a more universal and unattached love. A “brotherly” or redemptive love. But it can be a fierce and unconditional love too, such as a mother’s love for her child.

Then we can experience real love, big “L” Love. Love that is not dependent on circumstances or others. And yet, Love often desires a focus, a place to be directed, a partner – even if they are not the cause.

After awakening, we can open hridaya, a higher octave heart that allows the expression of Divine love through us. Our heart can become giant, filling the cosmic chest with an outpouring into the world. When this occurs, we often seek a focus for giving, such as our teacher, a devotional form, or mate. But the object can take any form we resonate with.

“If you know real love, you can’t withhold it from anything or anybody. When you behold the One in the other, the one Self in the other — and not just one other, but all others — then you start to know what love is.”
— Adyashanti

This higher love is eternal and unending. It’s not experienced as coming from us but rather through us from source.

And yet even this massive outpouring isn’t the highest form. When the physiology fills with pure Divinity, we connect with pure power – the source of love itself. Love can become super-charged.

In relationship with an object of devotion, multiple forms of love can express and flow at the same time. It’s like the layers of currents in an ocean.

There are also secondary centers that express other forms of love. I mentioned Hrit and love of life in the opening. There is also the high heart behind the clavicle between the heart and throat chakras. This expresses what we might call the soul’s loves. What brings the soul fulfillment in the world.

When Hrit on the left, the high heart, and the manas center below the right shoulder are awake, it forms a fleur-de-lis pattern across the chest. The flower of life has a much deeper meaning than is usually recognized. When that is awake, love can flow into all aspects of life.

Love flows though us in a myriad of ways and on many levels if we’re open to it. It brings a richness to life that is deeply nourishing.


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  1. Tim Owens

    I think Steve Winwood wrote another version of this essay in 1986. Allow me to quote him:
    “Think about it, there must be higher love
    Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
    Without it, life is a wasted time
    Look inside your heart, I’ll look inside mine
    Things look so bad everywhere
    In this whole world, what is fair?
    We walk blind and we try to see
    Falling behind in what could be
    Bring me a higher love
    Bring me a higher love
    Bring me a higher love
    Where’s that higher love I keep thinking of?”

    1. Hi TO
      Ironic words, as he suggests where it is, then asks where. We often have a sense of what I describe or perhaps even tastes but lack the means to move past what Tolle called the pain body, that mass of unresolved emotional history.

      It’s also one of those places we desire, yet fear the actuality. It means dropping our defenses.

  2. scott

    Hi David, I’m wondering what the experience of the layers of love ( particularly the higher forms) would be like on an emotional level; and what seems like, a tremendous accompanying emotional fluidity, neccessary to integrate those layers.

    1. Hi Scott
      The experience will vary widely by person. Its helpful to have a certain amount of healing so there is enough clarity, although we bring some of that forward from prior lives. Many of us have defensive crusts on the heart that make experiencing big Love difficult.
      Big heart openings often come with emotional purification. Why Adya called it redemptive. But we’re experiencing it from a somewhat different level. So it’s also about clearing and waking those levels up.
      Some of it also unfolds with stage of development, like the higher octave of the heart chakra is a feature of the God Consciousness stage.
      And yes, it leads to a tremendous fluidity. Also much richer and fuller emotions of all kinds as they’re liberated also.

  3. Susan Lawrence

    Thanks for explaining the heart throat thing.
    I’ve tried to describe this as a sort of combined chakra, and experience deep nourishment here. Like the very best meal with energy that I can’t describe.
    No right shoulder thing though.
    Thanks David. Wonderful clarifying post.
    (Just read it after the redemptive love one)

    1. Hi Susan
      The higher octave heart chakra, the mahamarma is much larger than the heart chakra.
      What I came to experience was rising love to the throat was experienced as compassion. And descending love was experienced as passion. It all became one system rather than as distinct.
      See you next week!

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