3. Love in General

a. Our love is our very life. The nature of our love determines the nature of our life and in fact our entire nature as a human being. Our dominant or leading love, however, is the love that constitutes us.

Our dominant or leading love has many other loves; they are derived from it in a hierarchy beneath it. No matter how these other loves may look or seem, each one of them is part of our leading love. With it they make one government, so to speak. Our dominant love is like the monarch and leader of the rest: it guides our other loves and uses them as intermediate purposes through which it focuses on and aims for its goal. Both directly and indirectly, this goal is the primary and ultimate objective for them all.

b. The focus of our dominant love is what we love above all else. What we love above all else is constantly present in our thinking, because it is in our will and ultimately constitues our life.

For example, if we love wealth above everything else, whether that means money or property, we are constantly contemplating how to get more. When we get more we are profoundly overjoyed. When we lose wealth we are profoundly grief-stricken. Our heart is in it.

If we love ourselves above all else, we keep ourselves in mind at all times. We think about ourselves, talk about ourselves, and act for our own benefits, because our life is a life of irself.

c. Our purpose is what we love above all else. We focus on it in each and every thing we do. It exists in our will like a hidden current in a river that moves and carries things along, even when we are doing something else, because it is what motivates us. It is the factor that people look for and identify in others; then they use it either to influence the others or to cooperate with them.

d. Our nature is completely shaped by the dominant force in our lives. That force is what differentiates us from other people. If we are good, our heaven is created to accord with it. If we are evil, our hell is created to accord with it. It is our will, our self, and our nature. It is the underlying reality of our life. It cannot be changed after we die, because it is our true self.

e. For each of us, all our pleasure, joy, and happiness comes from our dominant love and depends on it. This is because whatever we love we say is enjoyable, since we feel it that way. What we think about but we do not love we are also capable of calling enjoyable, but it is not the central enjoyment of our life. What our love enjoys we experience as good, and what our love does not enjoy we experience as evil.

f. There are two types of love that act as a source for all forms of goodness and truth. There are two types of love that act as a source for all forms of evil and falsity. The two loves that originate all forms of goodness and truth are love for the Lord and love fore our neighbor. The two loves that originate all forms of evil and falsity are love for ourselves and love for the world. When the latter two loves are dominant, they are completely opposite to the former two loves.

g. Love for the Lord and love for our neighbor are the two loves that constitute heaven in us, as I said. They are the dominant types of love in heaven. Since they constitute heaven in us, they also constitute the church in us.

The two loves that originate all forms of evil and falsity, which as I said are love for ourselves and love for this world, constitute hell in us, since they are the dominant types love in hell. Therefore they also destroy the church in us.

h. The two types of love that originate all forms of goodness and truth, which are the types of love in heaven, open and form our inner spiritual self, because that is where these loves reside. The two types of love that originate all forms of evil and falsity, which as I have said are the types of love in hell, close and destroy our inner spiritual self when they are dominant. They make us earthly and sense-oriented, depending on how extensively and powerfully dominant they are.

from True Christianity, Section 399

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