Saying For Today: We are created for paradise. We long for paradise, then the journey shifts from seeking paradise to exploring paradise.
*Brian Wilcox. 'Love seeks Love'. Flickr
A continuance of dialogues with a sage who did not see himself as a sage, but others did; from Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
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With a gentle heart anything can blossom.
*Anam Thubten. Big Sky.
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I've struggled all my life, it seems, trying to feel loved, trying to find love, I guess.
As said the great mystic of love, Ibn Arabi, "Your personal nature seeks its paradise." We each, as individual manifestations of God, seek our home. We are created for paradise. We long for paradise, then the journey shifts from seeking paradise to exploring paradise.
So, love is our paradise?
God, or love, is, yes. But not the God of any religion or any theism, not even atheism. As Jesus said, "You're in the world, not of the world." This means the world as a system, a world-system. You are here, but not of all this. And much of it is a mess now: poverty, war, abuse of the planet, racial discord, lying politics, greedy corporations, wealth for the few, bigoted religion, ... Paradise cannot be found in any here or there, now or then. Paradise is purity itself, not moral, but before moral. Love is not moral, love is love. Love is totally unsystematic. Love is the transformation and the destroyer of systems. This is represented in Hinduism by Shiva, who dances on what he destroys. Even transformation is a death, what was must always die. Love is always now, we say "yes" or we live the life that is really death. Love is life.
Well, I often feel I'm living death, for sure. Have you ever felt this way, I mean this ache for love?
Thankfully, yes. The ache is the guide home, is a face of love, love manifests as an absence, the absence is the messenger of love. For decades I did. Yet, notice the struggle is not really there all the time. After we share today, go alone, inquire, "What is present when the feeling of not being loved is absent?" Do not seek an answer, be the space in which an answer is given to you.
You speak much about love, and sometimes you use a capital L, what is this Love?
Unspeakable. Both the word "love" and "God" point to the Unspeakable Itself.
Is there a difference in your mind between "love" with a small l and "Love" with a capital L?
Yes and no, depending on context. Relatively, we can divide love in its particular expressions from Love in Itself prior to manifestations; so, with the word "God." Yet, absolutely one cannot find any separation in love, unmanifest or manifest. Then, sometimes, I use "Love" with a capital L to equate that with Absolute Reality, or God.
I seem to recall that a Christian Scripture says God is love.
Yes, the writer of I John says, "God is Love." If that is so, logically, "Love is God." But, again, we are speaking of the Unspeakable. The mistake many make is equating love with a feeling, with affection, which is an emotion. To feel a loving feeling is not love, yet it can be an expression of love, as the rays of the Sun express the Sun. Still, usually, affection is based on personal tastes, such as, who pleases us, who is like us, who is in my family, who is on my side, and so forth. Persons riddled with prejudice, even hate, can be affectionate to those like them. I became amazed, when in the churches as a pastor, how loving the people under my care could be toward those like them, but toward others unlike them, well, another matter. I simply cannot live in such an atmosphere anymore. Once love takes over your life, you will kindly be more selective about what and whom you associate closely with. Affection is always, even when expressing love, limited by the personal and by preference. Love is in itself unlimited.
How can this struggle for love within me end?
You are not seeing the love present, as yesterday, you are trying to pull to you, in this you are pushing it away. Trying to grasp love is aggressive. Passive gentleness is required in this. This reminds me of something spoken by a sage, Hideo Kobayashi, who lived in the last century. He said a leaf from a tree can hide the Moon. Possibly, you have gone out into the sunshine before and due to its brightness put a hand over your eyes. I have done that. We can say one hand can hide the Sun. Yet, the Moon and Sun do not disappear, even when hidden. More truly, the Moon and Sun cannot be hidden, the eyes are hidden. Love cannot be hidden, you can be hidden from love.
You're saying I'm hiding love from myself?
No. I'm saying that the obstructions in your mind hide what you most seek. Then, in desperation, you futility end up trying to see what is right in front of your eyes. You are like one complaining that you never see the Moon, but you keep a leaf over your eyes. This is what Buddhist call "ignorance," which is not a lack of conceptual knowledge, but a lack of insight, or wisdom. Of interest with this is the word "sin," which simply means "to miss the mark." You keep missing the love you aim for, and with the missing, you become more desperate to find the apparently hidden treasure, which is in plain sight. A trick of the ego is to avoid love by seeking love. Some persons really do not want to meet love, for they are afraid of what love will demand of them. So, they play hide-n'-seek, which is a form of avoidance. Yet, unlike the game, just when they seem to have found love, they themselves, playing the seeker, hide. It is all a game, a subtle one, and few will escape this game once they get very good at playing it. Again, an ego trick. The seeking becomes the trap that traps one, and he or she is so used to the game, it is unseen. So, the game becomes unconscious.
Then, I need to stop seeking love?
Yes. Become intimate with the sense of lacking love. The whole path is a path of love. The path is moving, simply the way love prepares you to receive love. Yet, love is in the ache for love, that close.
Are there ways I can cultivate love?
Yes, outside of meditation, love others in simple ways, expecting nothing in return, not even the feeling love. Be content with the act of loving. And do not complain if you feel others do not love you as you would like. Just one kind word is loving. Just one smile. An email wishing a friend a blessed day. There are a potentially infinite number of expressions of simple loving. Anyone can sit on the ass and complain about feeling unloved, better to get off the ass and do some loving.
How about in meditation?
Buddhism has teachings on cultivating compassion, or love, in meditation. Christianity is essentially a path of love, as Jesus made clear before there was a Christianity. Even before, Hinduism developed what came to be call Bhakti Yoga, meaning, "Union with the Divine through love." There are other examples, Hasidism in Judaism a prime one. Sufism, both that affiliated with Islam and not, is principally a way of union with the Beloved through love. So, engaging devotion to the Supreme Being, both apart and in a group, is a means to cultivate receptivity to give and receive love.
But is this not duality?
Nonduality, or oneness, is not the absence of duality ~ a mistake it seems many who advocate duality make (we could call them nonduality addicts, intoxicated with the idea of oneness), but oneness is the context that makes possible and within which duality expresses the one Supreme Self. Yet, in itself, two is as real as one. If you want to make love with someone, there has to be someone else. Right? One may self-pleasure, but is that really making love with someone? You could even buy a love doll, and some do, but is that someone? So, why not make love with God? That is Bhakti, or devotional spirituality. Associating with love, you invite love. Love responds to love, even as love inspires the love that love responds to. This is Grace.
So, this is what some mean by saying even the search for God is initiated by God?
Yes. So, your struggle to feel loved is itself only possible in the presence of love. How could you even know the ache of not feeling loved, if love were not there? So, as I have said, when you awaken to the already-present love, you release the search that is pushing love away. Love, in its own time, will manifest clearly. Then, after relaxing the search for love, all you do is like a lover preparing herself for the appearing of her beloved. Love will blossom, you will see the paradise that has always been there.
*Brian Wilcox. 'becoming intimate with you'. Flickr
(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019
The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.