Q: I've learned that Love is inherent and always exists, but I have not learned that I can love all situations. It seems to be a seed that is within me that certain situations evoke... like music, or trees, a particular person, etc. I even feel the flow of love for words and philosophic conversations; but they, too, are objects.
So my question is: Do you think we need an object to experience the flow or mobilization of our love going outwards?
A: This is a great question. My sense is that love is an inherent quality of our Being that is always present. In its essence, it is simply awareness and acceptance. I would suggest that even in the situations that you say you can't love, you are still loving--being aware of and accepting--your judgment or resistance to the situation. The flow is still happening, but it is not flowing to the underlying situation. Instead it is flowing to your resistance or thoughts about the situation. And yet, it is still love!
The difference with the things like music and nature and a new lover is that we allow that flow to be full and complete. There is no hesitation or any divided attention in those moments and so we experience a fullness of love and attention and acceptance. What a gift when the circumstances match our conditioning and we can love fully!
It is also possible to love this fully when the circumstances do not match our preferences. The trick is give that fullness of attention and acceptance to whatever is present, and if judgment and resistance are present, then you can start by loving those. What happens if you get intensely curious about your fear, anger, pain or confusion? And if you really do not like what is happening, what happens if you get very curious about the experience of not liking what is happening? What are the specific sensations, thoughts, contractions, impulses, and desires arising in the moment? If you give these a fullness of attention and acceptance, is the experience any less satisfying than when you give that quality of attention to a beautiful piece of music or your favorite pet?
As for your more philosophical question as to whether we need an object for the flow of love to happen, my sense is that we do need an object. That is probably why consciousness went to all of the trouble to create an entire universe of objects including thoughts and subtle inner experiences to serve as objects of its limitless capacity for love.
However, it also seems possible to drop into the source of love and simply sense the limitless capacity for love itself, before it moves out into awareness of objects. In the deepest stillness and silence of pure potential for love, there is no longer any awareness or even experience. There is just limitless potential for awareness that in that moment is completely at rest. You "experience" this not by seeing or feeling the source, but instead you experience it by being it. "Being it" is not better than feeling it or experiencing it in its movement as love, but it does shift your sense of self....you realize that you are the source of both the love and the universe of form that serves as objects for love. That can be a huge relief to discover that you are the source of love as it then no longer matters whether you are experiencing it or not. It is similar to how it would feel if you had a printer that printed legal money....you would no longer worry if there wasn't any in your pocket or bank account as you could always just print some more!!
It seems that consciousness itself wants to experience the entire spectrum from purely being the source of love, to feeling the fullest flow of love to the objects of manifestation, and even to experiencing how contracted and narrow love can become when it is narrowly focused on a fearful thought. Perhaps the purpose of the different dimensions of love is to create contrast so that we can more consciously and completely discriminate and know the many dimensions of love. If we were endlessly dissolved into the source of love, we would not even know what love is or what it is capable of. When we move in and out of the depths of love and beyond, then we come to know love and even embody love, as well as always ultimately being love.
I hope this is helpful :)