Saying For Today: Here is fulfillment, no more seeking to become complete, a better self, awakened, enlightened, anything, no more trying to attain a heaven or a nirvana or a paradise. You and your Beloved, your Lover, in one embrace. Delectable intimacy. Here, you rest, gratefully.
Divine Love can visit us; this epiphany reminding us we are unconditionally loved and nothing we have done or can do will ever diminish that love; such experience is passing, leaving an indelible, lasting imprint as we seek to be a vessel of Love for others along the way.
*Brian Wilcox. 'transparent'. Flickr
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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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"It's the secret of The Cove, Kyle!" Wren murmured, her voice blending with the sibilant leaves about them. "It's what they are living here day by day. Without a formal 'church', are they not the most reverent and loving people we have ever met?"
*Karen Karper Fredette. Legend of Lovada Branch: Book One: The Cove.
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You often speak of love. You seem consumed by it. You sometimes refer to God as Love. I sense you breathe it, live for it, that you've no doubt about the Divine loving you completely, and from that love you seem easily to love all others. Have you had any particular experience that's confirmed that you are so loved by the Divine, since the early experience at age 9 you've shared with us, I mean as an adult?
First, let us be clear, I do not love anyone. What you see as the one you are speaking with cannot love anyone, only Love can love, can give Itself. If one ever truly says, "I love you," that is not a he or she speaking of his or her love for the other, that is one speaking, truly, "One loves you." Odd how we claim to have love to give! Like the air that moves through the inhale and exhale, Love passes through us, in a reciprocal sharing. Love Itself makes this possible. A he or she cannot so love. Love is most present when you acknowledge that you cannot love anyone or anything, for you do not have love, that you can only be the spaciousness that allows Love to love. Love flows through me, there is no I present loving. Love is Presence beyond the personal of "I love...". So, a good prayer is, "Love, for I cannot love."
Once, some 16 years ago, I walked through a wood. I was then pastor of a church in Florida, and new to the contemplative vows I had been vowed to by a contemplative community in a nearby state. I lived with an awareness of being what I came to call a monk-in-the-world. I was ardently reading the mystics and other contemplative treatises, and meditating in solitude long hours, secluding myself from all but minimal contact with the outer world. My home was my monastic cell. I lived in quietness.
My relationship with the Beloved was intense, devotional, and I was desirous to have an awakening experience. I was like a little bird, struggling to break open the shell and emerge into a new life, and I was doing all I could to prepare that little bird for that breakthrough moment. This I yearned for deeply, ached for. Much of this aspiration arose from past pain, as I had had a difficult life relationally and emotionally. In some sense, I had felt alone, somewhat lost, for many years. I felt like what had occurred with the vowed life was a rediscovery of something lost, yet this awakened a deeper awareness of yearning.
I went on my first spiritual retreat, in complete silence beside St. John's River, near Jacksonville, Florida. In 8 days, alone, not a word spoken, meditating, walking daily that path through the wood, and no breakthrough had occurred, nothing out of the ordinary. The little bird still felt captivated in ordinariness. I had arrived, hopeful for such an awakening.
It was my last full day and no such ecstatic opening had occurred. I walked the path, resigned to such not happening. I was at-peace with it. Then, something shifted, metaphorically the heavens opened, that is maybe the best way I can speak of this. I stopped, looking outward and upward. There was awareness, panoramic, of all around the body. Space around felt thinned out. I sensed what I would call then the "Father" I had been taught of as a child, who loved me with all His heart, I his son, as much His son as my beloved friend from childhood, Jesus, was the Son.
There was nothing to do, nothing to say. I was speechless, totally present. I was still there, I had not disappeared. All was clear. And I heard the message given inwardly. No words were heard, rather an inner revelation. This wordless Word was that I was loved by this God, my "Father," unconditionally, that nothing I had ever done added to or subtracted from this love.
Slowly, the sense of this thinness, this openness shifted to normal, everyday consciousness. I grieved its passing. I looked out, it was gone, the doors appeared to have closed. I continued walking the path, somewhat stunned at what had occurred, already missing the bliss of that timeless moment. I was back fully, it seemed, in time.
I walked, unplanned prior, the path a second time. I did this hopeful this illumination would return. It did not. On finishing the path, I returned to my room.
That day reminds me of words from Rumi...
From the beginning of my life I have been looking for your face but today I have seen it
Today I have seen the charm, the beauty, the unfathomable grace of the face that I was looking for
Today I have found you and those who laughed and scorned me yesterday are sorry that they were not looking as I did
I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty and wish to see you with a hundred eyes
And how do you understand this experience now, this love?
I did not, I do not. Such love no one can understand. The experience, shaped in time, is timeless. I am not interested in trying to interpret it, for anyone. Such moments speak themselves for those prepared to listen. What is important is not how I understand it, but that you know intimately this love, are consumed in its embrace.
How can we best know such love?
Bathe in it daily, moment by moment. If you bathed in perfume, you would smell like perfume. The more you bathed in it, the more you would carry its scent. Bathe in love, so become love. Then, without your needing to be aware of such, you bear the scent of love. What you give yourself to above all else, that you become. That simple. This is not complicated, at all. All spiritual practice for the heart longing for Grace, for Love Itself, is Love reaching out for Love. The Beloved is playing love games. So, play along. The very longing for love, this is the grace of Love. God seeks God. So, surrender, again and again and again. Then, by association with Love, you share love simply through your loving Love and Love loving you. This is the spiritual marriage. Here is fulfillment, no more seeking to become complete, a better self, awakened, enlightened, anything, no more trying to attain a heaven or a nirvana or a paradise. You and your Beloved, your Lover, in one embrace. Delectable intimacy. Here, you rest, gratefully.
Does this mean one no longer will have this inner ache for love?
If one trusts in the infinity of Life, can one ever be sure that the ache will not return? Possibly, there are depths to this Life that will awaken a yearning as we are prepared to experience more deeply this Mystery. Surrender to the Beloved, and you will find the answer to your question, and maybe again and again and again. Who knows?
*Brian Wilcox. 'Kuan Yin ~ Bodhisattva of Compassion'. 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.