There is a big difference between like and love, and perhaps also not such a difference.
With love, I can (a) develop or find love for anyone/thing, and (b) notice it’s already loved, it’s already love. The first may happen through prayer, tonglen, ho’o and other practices. The second may happen through any of the previous ones, and also inquiry. And I don’t really “develop” love, of course. I may invite in a feeling or state of love, which comes and goes as a guest as any other feelings and states, and that may be very helpful. It may even be helpful in noticing that I am and everyone/thing already is love. In my experience, beliefs is what stops me from noticing my love for everyone/thing, and noticing I and it all is already love. So inquiry is a good tool to invite beliefs to unravel, revealing all as already love. This is a love that’s not a feeling, not a state, although recognizing it can – in a sense – be called a state, a state of recognition.
In terms of liking, I may (a) initially like someone or not, (b) then like the person because I find love, and (c) still want or not want to spend time with that person, and like or not in that sense. Initially, I like someone, something or a situation, or not, and that may come (partly, mostly?) from personality and/or beliefs. Then, as I develop or find love for him/her/it, I like because of that love. And if it’s a person, I notice I still am free to be with that person or not, and like or not in that sense.
When I write someone/thing or he/she/it here, it’s because the “object” is just about anything in the world. It can be a person. An emotion, pain, memory, wound. A thought, including my images of the world, others, and myself. A situation. Taking a thought as true. Or anything else.
So I can be oblivious to my love for someone. I can develop love for that person, including through different practices. I can notice my love that’s already here, and that the person and I already are love.
I may initially like that person or not. I may then like the person because of finding my love for him or her. And I will still chose to spend time with that person, or not, and in that sense like him or her, or not.
– love – (a) “develop”, find love for anyone/thing, (b) notice it is already loved, it’s already love
– like – (a) initial like or not, depending on personality/beliefs etc. (b) like b/c love, understand (recognition, empathy), (c) more clarity, may want/not want to spend time with the person etc.
In terms of liking, I may (a) initially like someone, something or a situation, or not, and that may come from personality and/or beliefs.