"Love is a specific kind of connection; it is a caring connection. The word caring is from the Latin for 'dear.' We care about someone who is dear to us. Dear also means costly; love requires a selflessness that is challenging and taxing at times.

"When we care about someone, he or she really matters to us. Caring includes noticing, taking an interest in, and responding to the specific needs of others. It includes a genuine concern for what happens to someone and a hope for positive outcomes.

"Love happens between us and others when we welcome connection from them and make connections to them. To decide if an act is loving, we can ask, 'Does it serve to connect us in a caring way?' We learned in grammar school to convert fractions by finding the lowest common denominator. Caring connection is our lowest — and finest — common denominator of love in this world of so many unconverted fractions. . . .

"Giving and receiving love can become our primary life focus. Focusing on this combination is a way to become fully human, to fulfill ourselves psychologically. If love comes our way, it is welcome and enriching. But in spiritual practice, our focus is on giving love rather than finding someone from whom to receive it. We feel fulfilled spiritually when we show all the love we have, no matter how others respond or act toward us. This is a radical alternative to showing love in order to receive it in return or showing it only to those who love us.

"We will probably fail at this spiritual style of love almost every day. But as long as we maintain a pure intention to be as loving as we can be and keep putting honest effort into it, we are already on the path to spiritual awakening. Truly enlightened living is knowing that love is all we ever want and making it all we ever give.

"Loving becomes easier when we open to it as our inner psychological and spiritual code, the equivalent of a genetic code. A code dictates how we fulfill ourselves as individuals and how we make our contribution to the world of others. It provides us with a blueprint. The code of love tells the whole story of what it means to be human and what the world we inhabit means by its very existence. Love is the point of it all. What we can be is the same as what love can be: endless in duration, infinite in extent. Yes, we humans have that much time in our story (as much as eternity), that much space in our hearts (as limitless as outer space)."