DEPTH of LOVE
There is a single scale of love with worldly love at one end and spiritual love at the other. Worldly love is characterized by self-centered concerns. At the far end of the scale, towards worldliness, the love found here can scarcely be called love. Worldly love is thinking largely about what one can get out of it. Maybe emotional needs or needs for security are in play.
Our children become extensions of our egos and they have the role of enhancing our stature among our friends and acquaintances. If one child excels in sports, we raise the banner high to alert others. It is the same if they excel in academics. If they are physically attractive we see that as an extension of our own self. Angry, maladjusted children often act out and get into trouble to trample our egoistic gardens. This is usually quite below the surface of the awareness of the child.
Worldly love is shallow.
At the other far end of the scale towards spiritual love, we have individuals who love with no self or ego invested. They are not thinking of any payback or return on their investment of love. To them it is not an investment at all but rather like a flowing river. They just flow and love comes out of them from the wellspring of existence itself.
They expect nothing in return nor do they need anything at all because they are love and nothing else. What can love ever need? Devotion for the Divine is also towards this end. A practitioner of spiritual devotion or love for the Beloved will have some aspects of ego up until the time of their complete merging or final surrender. However, the closer they get to the spiritual side of the scale, the fewer are their dualistic or selfish interests.
Spiritual love is deep.
Most of us fall somewhere on the scale between the two extremes.
Today in response to a question put forth by a devotee about the difference between spiritual love and worldly love, Mother gave the following answer:
"Son, love is love, but the intensity is different and the depth is different. Spiritual love is as deep as a bottomless pit. How deep and how expansive it is cannot be measured. Spiritual love is without limits or boundaries while worldly love is superficial and not very deep.
“The spirit of worldly love is not constant. Its rhythm fluctuates; it comes and goes. The beginning is always beautiful and enthusiastic, but slowly it gets less beautiful and less exciting until it ends up being shallow. In most cases, it ends up finally in upset, hatred and deep sorrow.
"Spiritual love is different. The beginning is beautiful and peaceful. Shortly after this peaceful beginning comes the agony of longing. Through the middle period, the agony will continue to grow stronger and stronger, more and more unbearable.
Excruciating pain will ensue, and this pain of love will prevail until just before it leads up to unity with the beloved. This unity is beautiful, even more inexpressibly beautiful than the beginning of love. The beauty and peace of this unity in love remains forever and ever.
Love of this kind never dries up or diminishes. Always alive, both within and without, it is constant, and each moment you live in love. Love will swallow you, eat you up completely until there is no 'you,' only Love. Your whole being will be transformed into Love. Spiritual love culminates in unity, in oneness. Sometimes a relationship between two people, if it is pure, can reach that union.” - Amma, Awaken Children, vol. 4