With all this guidance about inquiry, meditation, and non-dual wisdom, a question that often arises is, where does love fit into all this? How about a Path of Love?
Great question! When will you know you have awakened? When all you see, in this world, and the next, and everywhere you turn, is love. Because, ultimately, Spirit or Pure Awareness did not have to manifest anything into existence, whether real or illusory, permanent or impermanent. So if It did, it could only be an act of Pure Love.
How do we awaken? Well, how do we fall in love? It just happens!
We can’t prepare for it. Oh sure, we can do some ‘practices’ or ‘inquiry’ or ‘praying’ or ‘techniques.’ If we’re trying to ‘prepare for awakening,’ we can do some focused meditation or some questioning what is our True Nature, or some chanting to try to open our hearts wide to the Divine. If trying to attract more love into our life, we can focus on available love partners and the places to meet them, or commune with and feel our great love for Nature, or doing some psychological relationships work to remove any ‘blocks’ we might have to being open to new love.
And in the end, when the truest love of our lives appears, it just happens, it’s nothing like you thought it would be, and you just know it had nothing to do with any of the carefully planned steps or actions you took leading up to it. Just like awakening.
That’s because love isn’t a thing. Love is not a thought, although we express many beautiful thoughts & words about love. Love is not the heightening of certain chemicals or hormones in our blood & brain, although we may feel high and mood-elevated from it. Love is not a feeling, an emotion, or a ‘state,’ although we talk about ‘falling in love’ or may feel swept up in the most delicious and strong emotions when we feel its power.
Love does not exist in time or place.
Love is the no-thing ‘thing,’ the pure loving Awareness, that contains all our thoughts, words, emotions, lives, even time & space. And ‘falling’ in love just means our Spirit has, at that moment, hooked back into Itself, has stopped denying that we are Everything, vastly more than just this body, mind and personality, that we are Love Itself. Some think that the path and key to ‘attaining’ that Realization, and constantly dwelling in state of complete Love for everyone & everything, requires a great deal of keen intelligence, deep meditation and unwavering spiritual commitment, seemingly reserved only for special masters or saintly people. But in fact, Love is the path, and Love is the key. No special insight, abilities or ascetic practices are required. Just Love.
What do you think it is that makes any person stop thinking of themselves just as an ordinary body living an ordinary life, and makes them turn their gaze towards Spirit, towards investigating the larger Reality? Is it fear? Is is suffering? No. Seven billion people feel fear & suffering every day, and though it may make them pray to some Deity to please end their suffering or grant them longer life, it causes very few of them to look behind the curtain or ceaselessly inquire about the true nature of life. What makes you finally turn fully toward spiritual life is simply Love – Spirit – calling Itself back into Love. What causes you to look at an ‘other,’ your lover, your friend, a tree or a blade of grass, with such utter adoration that you feel like you melt into them, is the fact that Spirit, Awareness, All That Is, The Underlying Reality, or whatever you like to call it – is Love. It’s Love looking at Love. This Universe, this Spirit-manifesting-to-know-Itself-consciously, was created in Love, out of Love, using Love as it’s only raw material, and it is the greatest act of love that will ever be expressed.
When ‘we’ love all of it, when we include everything, when our eyes reach out to the eyes of the most ‘evil’ gun-toting terrorist, when our senses reach into the cancer in our bodies that’s killing us, when we watch our cherished lover leave us, and all we can see is love, and two seemingly separate ‘entities’ merge as One in love, and we know that it’s real, and it’s perfect…then we are dwelling in Spirit. We are in love, the greatest Love we will ever be in, and we are as Awake as we will ever be.
When we assign love to only certain things and people and events in our life, but not to others, or love that occurs in a certain place & time, but not this place & time, we are out of Love, even if we are currently feeling deeply in love with our friend or lover. That is the love of the mind, the body and the emotions, and there’s nothing wrong with it – it can feel so rich & sweet. But then we notice how those loves always change. Because the mind & body changes, and eventually disappears, and romantic love must end with it. Ever notice how when you fall in romantic love, you gaze around and seem to have fallen in love with everything? That’s ’cause you have! You’ve temporarily re-connected with, re-become the One who loves it All.
But more importantly, it’s because we didn’t love the changes, love change itself. Because we didn’t include it all. Because we loved selectively, and Spirit doesn’t love selectively. It Loves all of It, because it Is all of It. It created all of it for Its Experience, not our mind’s. Our minds cannot possibly understand this – cannot possibly understand or love a terrorist of a cancer or a broken relationship – so don’t even try.
But if we actually were that Spirit, that Everything and Creator of Everything, we would love it all unequivocally, judge none of it, delight in all of it, and hold all of it as Our Story of The One.
Good news – we are That One.
Allow yourself to feel that level of Love for It All. Love your joy, love your pain; love your kindly, sensible Sister, love your misguided, hating brother; love the fullness of life, love the dissolution of death. The next time you feel that wonderful feeling of Love for anything, dive deep into it, and allow it to expand out and encompass Everything. It’s irresistible; it’s undeniable. Unless of course you are committed to staying asleep. Now love your desire to stay separate, judgmental and asleep. And love your desire to wake up. And choose!