There are many shades of love evident in our private and public lives. All the world's religious and spiritual traditions point to the importance of love of God, of self, of neighbors, and of the Creation. But what exactly this means, and how it plays out in our day-to-day life, is still for many of us a bit of a mystery. Perhaps the best place to start unraveling the meaning of love is in our relationships. They constantly give us opportunities to deepen and broader our love connections. The spiritual teacher Jack Kornfield reminds us:

"The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are moments when we touch one another, when we are there in the most attentive and caring way. This simple and profound intimacy is the love that we all long for."

Many of these kinds of moments of attention and caring are depicted or recalled in The Mystery of Love, a two-hour documentary airing on PBS December from 9 - 11 pm ET. (Check local listings for the station and time in your area.) Anna Deavere Smith, a playwright, actor and reporter, serves as host and narrator of this multilayered examination of love, written by Joan Konner and Christopher Lukas. Joan Konner was also the Executive Producer and Alvin H. Perlmutter is Executive Director.

Love has many more faces than the familiar one depicted in movies and praised in pop songs. Science is now able to tell us some things about love, and other clues are present in literature and the arts. But it's experience that defines love for most people. The Mystery of Love presents up-close-and-personal portraits of this vital connection in a wide variety of settings and situations.

• Love in marriage is assessed in the story of an opera singer and a pig farmer who live in Minnesota and have been married for eleven years.

• Romantic love is the focus of a segment following a couple who met via the Internet and had to adjust some of their preconceptions about what a long-term commitment means.

• Love in friendship is covered in an account of the platonic relationship between an African-American singer and her longtime accompanist, a immigrant from Romania, now in his 90s.

• Love in animals is examined in a segment on Franz de Waal's research of chimpanzee behavior.

• Brotherly love is evident in a portrait of an African-American mother whose three sons who all decided to serve as soldiers in the war in Iraq.

• Love in action is revealed in the story of a national organization of bikers, BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse), who work with law enforcement officials to safeguard and "adopt" victims of child abuse.

• Love and forgiveness are seen as working together in a segment about two men who meet because of a tragedy — the son of one was murdered by the grandson of the other — who now work together trying to educate youth on better ways to deal with anger, resentment, and violence.

• Divine love probes the experiences of a female Dante scholar and her use of the Divine Comedy as a spiritual resource in dealing with the death of a man she was about to marry.

• Community love is evident in a segment about choral group made up of soloist singers from around the country who learn to blend together for a common purpose.

• Love in war is the focus of a segment featuring depth psychologist Dr. James Hillman. He discusses the feelings of community and brotherhood soldiers find on the battlefield.

Other authors, scholars, and spiritual teachers share their expert views during breaks throughout the program. They are:

• The Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Senior Minister of The Riverside Church, New York
• Rabbi Alan Lew, Founder and Director of Makor Or Center for Jewish Meditation;
• Betty Sue Flowers, poet and longtime professor of poetry at the University of Texas, now Director of the Lyndon Johnson Library;
• Dr. James Hillman, author of The Soul's Code and A Terrible Love of War;
• Frances Vaughan, psychologist and author of Shadows of the Sacred;
• Dr. Ethel Person, psychoanalyst, former director of the Psychoanalytical Institute at Columbia University and author of books, including Dreams of Love and Passionate Attachments.

The Mystery of Love convinces us that there are a lot of love stories around us all the time. All we need to do to see them is to broaden our understanding of this essential spiritual practice. We encourage you to tune in to this special on PBS and also to buy the DVD. Let this television event be the start of your exploration of love's many faces.

The Campaign for Love & Forgiveness

The Mystery of Love is the first in a series of three films being funded by the Fetzer Institute as part of its Campaign for Love & Forgiveness, an inclusive, non-partisan initiative that explores how love and forgiveness can effect meaningful change in individuals and communities alike. is pleased to be contributing some resources to the Campaign's website, and we encourage you to explore the many resources and project ideas available there. Here are just a few of the things you'll find at

• an overview of the Campaign
• more information on The Mystery of Love plus two films on forgiveness airing on PBS next year
• ways to participate in an online community
• tips for joining the Campaign's letter-writing initiative
• A Facilitator's Guide and a Participant's Guide for four conversations about love, to be used in conjunction with The Mystery of Love
• information on community-based initiatives
• recommended books, films, and spiritual practices

More information is available at the film's website,
• a full transcript of the program
• a trailer and clips from the various segments
• love stories submitted by viewers