Love and Lust
Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD
For a number of years I have been suggesting to those who care to listen that each one of us has a choice viz: We can choose to be either channels of love or channels of hate. Everyone agrees that far too many people are being channels of hate and that it is a good idea that we should ourselves become channels of love and encourage others to be likewise.
To encourage folks who have not thought of becoming channels of love and others who do not know how to become channels of love, I created a website using the domain name www.lovechannel.info and posted thought provoking articles sourced in love and books which will help folks gain control of their mind and emotions and become active channels of love.
A strange thing happened when I revealed the URL of the website. As soon as I told my friends, family members and others about the website almost all of them snickered and said words to the effect, "That sounds like a pornographic website. Are you sure it is not a pornographic website?" Thanks to the influence of American pop culture even people in India, Hong Kong and Africa snickered about the name of the website.
Our culture has a way of making destructive acts and habits look good. When the CIA and other agencies kill people and/or destroy property, it is described as neutralizing targets. When unintended destruction occurs due to our covert and/or military operations, it is described as collateral damage. Killing people is not good, but neutralizing targets is acceptable. Similarly destroying unintended targets is an atrocious act/event but collateral damage is acceptable.
Likewise by substituting the word credit for the word debt, the banking industry succeeded in convincing us that it is okay to spend beyond our means. It is bad to be in debt but it is great to have good credit. Those who are up over their heads in debt are offered credit counseling not debt counseling. And we have life insurance which kicks in only after we die.
By substituting the word love for lust in the way we express ourselves, people who indulge in lust are lulled into thinking that it is okay to pursue their lustful desires. This thinking has been helped along by the popularity of Hollywood and the fact that well known political and sports figures promote like Viagra, Levitra and Cialis as a way of combating male sexual impotency which is euphemistically called Erectile Deficiency Disorder or EDD for short. Profanity is widely used in and by our entertainment industry.
This kind of popular behavior and acceptance of lust shows the extent to which the popular mind and media is swayed by the substitution of words.
All Scriptures describe God as Love. So are we to conclude that all these people who are making love are making God? That is absurd. All Scriptures recommend controlling our mind and senses and do not approve of fornication for the sake of satisfying lust.
Meher Baba, a great Sufi Master, said words to the effect, "When lust disappears Love appears". Lust is motivated by self satisfaction and is one of the 7 mortal sins. Love seeks to serve through self sacrifice.
When describing romance an anonymous author wrote:
Love gives joy and is the Source of everything that is. When we try to use love to satisfy our individual selves, love gets polluted. The pain we experience in a romantic and/or lustful relationship is due to the dissatisfaction that follows unfulfilled expectations.
It is time we recognized the difference between lust, romance and love. Let us not confuse them. Lust is not love. Romance though a reflection of Love is also not Love and can lead to a lustful relationship which it often does. Let us identify lust for what it is. Doing so is a good beginning that may along with other programs help our young to avoid indulging in self destructive behavior and unwanted pregnancies.
Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD