I am not much of a sport’s watcher any more, perhaps because I’m not much of a TV watcher any more. However, this year, I found myself tuning into the Super Bowl because – actually, I’m not quite sure why, but it just happened. More than the game itself, I was actually paying a bit of attention to the ads. I have to admit, I was totally taken by the story told by the ad that talked about the four types of love…
While thinking about the topic for this week’s #SpiritChat conversation, I knew that I would end up talking about something heart-related. February is heart-health month, and this year has that extra-special day at the end, for which I have a special affinity (more about that in two weeks). And then, this morning, reflecting on the heart, I was reminded of the four quadrants of the heart. This made me wonder – is there a connection between the four types of love and the four quadrants of the heart?
What about love? The four types of love are deemed to be philia (love that grows out of friendships), storge (love that is founded on family relationships), eros (the romantic love) and agape (love that comes from acts of service and selfless actions). And what about the heart? The heart’s upper quadrants are the two atriums or atria – the right, which collects the impure blood through the venous system, and the left, which collects the purified blood from the lungs. The lower quadrants are the two ventricles or the pumps. The right ventricle receives the impure blood from the right atrium, and then pumps it to the lungs for purification. The left receives the purified blood from the left atrium, and pumps it to the organs through the arterial system.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there is any correlation between the four types of love and the heart’s quadrants, is there? Delving a bit deeper, I thought of people whose love resembles the quadrants of the hearts. There are the “receivers” or the atriums – always available and open to us, helping us to lighten our load in any way they can. They do not judge whether our output is “pure” or “impure” – their role is to simply be receivers. “Atrium people” are perhaps primarily engaged in the practice of philia or agape love by their actions of presence and active listening, aren’t they?
Then, there are the “givers” or the ventricles – the ones who “feed” us continuously, whether we are asleep or awake, regardless of our mental and emotional state. The “givers” help us absorb the goodness that every breath brings into our hearts, and remind us to share that goodness with every cell in our bodies. Our heart’s two ventricles are essential to life and living. The same is true of those who are the ‘givers of love’ in our lives, isn’t it?
What would our lives be without the magic of friendships, the special bonds of family, the incorrigible romantics, or those who are ever-eager to give? Who are our heart’s atriums and ventricles, the ones who teach us about philia, storge, eros and agape? Do we not live our best life when all of the heart’s quadrants work as a unified whole for a single purpose – which is to flow higher love?
P.S. Join us for our weekly chat, Sunday February 16 at 9am ET / 2pm GMT / 7:30pm India. We will talk about the heart and its giving and receiving of love through all its quadrants. Join us to tea and cookies. Namaste – @AjmaniK