One of my favourite definitions of (romantic) love is from His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, he once translated it very simply as “closeness-feeling”. Now neuropsychologist Barbara Fredrickson has researched love and seems, to my reading, to have come up with very similar conclusions. My favourite quote from the article is also a definition of love, which she has discovered occur in micro-moments not lifetimes or even hours, between people but not necessarily in ongoing relationship.
“a micro-moment of love, which “is a single act, performed by two brains,”
“To understand why, it’s important to see how love works biologically. Like all emotions, love has a biochemical and physiological component. But unlike some of the other positive emotions, like joy or happiness, love cannot be kindled individually—it only exists in the physical connection between two people. Specifically, there are three players in the biological love system—mirror neurons, oxytocin, and vagal tone. Each involves connection and each contributes to those micro-moment of positivity resonance that Fredrickson calls love.”
Oh and surprise surprise, part of her research use loving-kindness meditation to increase vagal tone which in turn increases “love potential”.
“Since vagal tone mediates social connections and bonds, people whose vagal tones increased were suddenly capable of experiencing more micro-moments of love in their days”
Here is the beginning of the article in The Atlantic and the whole article link at the bottom:
In her new book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become, the psychologist Barbara Fredrickson offers a radically new conception of love.
Fredrickson, a leading researcher of positive emotions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, presents scientific evidence to argue that love is not what we think it is. It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship.
Rather, it is what she calls a “micro-moment of po