Is love and compassion linked

Non-fiction: Love, Christl: Love comes out of nowhere

The most common Google query in the last few years was "What is love?" This shows on the one hand how fundamental our longing for security is, and at the same time how great the uncertainty seems to be when it comes to love, possibly the most complex of all emotions.

As a rule, we associate the basic need to be loved with people who are close to us, such as parents, partners and children. If we feel loved and we are allowed to love, this fills us with "meaning", a modern, human longing for connections.

Christl Lieben: Love comes out of nowhere.
When it touches us, we take shape. In collaboration with Gerald Schmickl. Scorpio Verlag, Munich 2014, 160 pages, 17.50 euros.

This coherence can also be experienced in a dimension that exceeds our horizon of life - and with this deepest form of love, divine or universal love, the psychotherapist Christl Lieben deals in her latest book, "Love comes out of nowhere".

Provocative term

Although the title already suggests that this is hardly a reading for beginners, this relationship science should undoubtedly be exciting and at the same time challenging for advanced learners, among others for those numerous people who help professionally: doctors, therapists, pastors, Educator, teacher.

Anyone who accompanies people as a professional helper is empathetic and empathizes when the other is bad. Compassion is the developed form of compassion, explains Christl Lieben, and as such, of course, is initially necessary in order to then take a decisive step further in an attitude of "love free from compassion".

This provocative term is of course not self-explanatory, and so the therapist never tires of emphasizing that this approach is by no means a spiritual excuse for heartlessness, but rather a more distant form of love in which we give the other "a wide heart." "to meet and" with the certainty that he has everything in him to be able to deal with his fate ".

Inner serenity

If you experience the Viennese, who was once a goldsmith (as you can find out in a detailed biographical section) in dealing with clients, she actually initially seems to unite a mixture of pleasantly sober, surprisingly cool and at the same time liberating cheerful demeanor.

According to Christl Lieben, this inner serenity arises when we break away from culturally shaped thought patterns, as the author can confirm from her own experience. So behind our compassion is "either an aspect of our own history that touches us, or the desire not to be reached by the suffering of others. According to the motto: I want you to be fine so that I feel fine."

What you should throw overboard if you want to practice this ultimately radical approach is, on the one hand, the belief that love and compassion are closely linked. On the other hand, and that should be far more difficult, we would have to learn not to judge. But this need is so deep within us that we usually no longer even notice how many moments in everyday life we ​​reflexively interpret.

Christl Lieben is convinced that anyone who succeeds in practicing the attitude of "love free from compassion" will find access to a form of loving serenity and is thus already quite close to "love out of nowhere". In detailed discussions with the author and journalist Gerald Schmickl, the therapist's experiences and views in this - and many other - areas are deepened.

The small or big adversities in life certainly do not just dissolve into thin air; some remain with us for a lifetime. However, if we do without self-lamentation, our "own life dramas" can be endured more easily and at least with a hint of cheerfulness. Doing it yourself is highly recommended.