As a youngster I was taught the opposite of love, was hate, which made logical sense to my young mind. Later in life I learned the opposite of love, was fear. Now, I realize hate and fear are only pieces of the "opposition" puzzle to love rather than the whole of it. Neither hate nor fear of their own are the true opposite of love, as love is SO much bigger than both of them. For something to actually be the opposite of love it must be as all encompassing as love, i.e., big enough to make us question the power of love itself. I believe that "thing" is ignorance.
So let's look for a moment at the root word ignore, from an intellectual standpoint. From here we learn it is: a refusal to take notice of, or failure to consider something significant. (Take note that ignorance is not stupidity.) Adding the suffix, a-n-c-e, to ignore, ignorance becomes: the state or degree of our refusal or failure to consider. To determine our own state or degree of refusal, we must evaluate our maturity, experience, perceptions and knowledge, for they are the filters for our assumptions and decisions reflecting our personal viewpoint; becoming the truths of our lives. This is summed up perfectly in 1 Corinthians, 13:11, which states, "When I was a child I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child." Of course this changes as we grow older, as we develop the ability to express our truths and grow our capacity for higher level experiences and understanding.
Now let's take a look at ego. Our ego's want. Period. They want to be right and in control, always. Both hate and fear are part and parcel of the ego's collective "ignorance," as each represents a refusal to take notice of or look at something truly significant: love. The more well developed our ego-mind the more we become steeped in our own personal truths, often missing or rejecting the significance of Spiritual truth and the power of dedicating ourselves to devotional practices that help us discover and reveal Spiritual truths for ourselves. If Divine Love is truth with a capital "T" and is indeed indisputable, then as we separate ourselves from it through focusing on egoic thoughts and desires, we are actually embracing ignorance. The more we focus there, the more we "feed" our egos, and the more ignorance (in accordance with the definition above), grows. Yet, if we choose to nourish love by putting our attention on the true significance of it, love will grow. This creates fertile soil to grow love, as an experience.
Looking honestly, we can see how all encompassing love is. When we are one with Love, we become authentic in our lives and relationships, honest, brave, strong, willing, kind, confident, compassionate, peaceful and clear minded. All these qualities live in Love. They are ingredients in the "recipe" called Love. Alternatively, in a state of egoic ignorance, we may experience the qualities of feeling hateful, envious, resentful, regretful, sad, defeated, dishonest, fearful or weak. These qualities are a fuller representation that more accurately defines the "recipe" of ignorance. The takeaway here, is to remember the more we begin to align with who the Divine says we are, i.e., powerful, unlimited, protected and blessed, the more we are able to experience love. However, the more we align with our egos, with the singular self in separation, where we compete, judge, manipulate, and act out of an artificial or put-on sense of self importance, the greater the chances we will experience ignorance. So, holding this belief and choosing to put our awareness on something more important, like love, and all it's encompassing qualities, we find the risk is more calculated and will actually return a higher and more uplifting yield, rather than one that ultimately degrades us.
In my many years of using Spiritual practices, I have learned that Love means union, not separation. It means so many things, and not the least of which include: intention, Presence, acceptance, stillness, dedication, compassion, clarity and peace. But without steeping ourselves in inner quiet, emptying out our minds, and creating inner space to merge with Divine power, we will not grow past our ignorance. This makes it easy to see why love remains such a mystery, but worth the effort necessary to start unraveling it. Think of love as a journey, not a destination, one that gives rich, multifaceted rewards at every level of our willingness to release the ignorance our egos are constantly preaching. Consider giving some of your focus and attention to the exquisite and perfect quiet, waiting within. Agree to take notice of something significant. Move out of ignorance slowly, sweetly and continuously. Could there be a more beautiful way to end a year and give a loving rebirth to the ones on their way?