Asking ‘what is love, how am I to cultivate it?’ is not the correct question. ‘What is not love?’ is the correct question.
Love is not attachment; it is not mutual usage, convenience, desire, lust, sensation, romanticism, emotionalism or sentimentality. Love is not the brotherhood of man; it does not exist in the ideal, the imported virtue, the fairytale, the shining knight, a Mills and Boon novel or Anais Nin kink.
Love is not necessarily being on the same page, two politicians can easily identify with each other. The art of learning and sharing on the other hand (which are aspects of love) require two or more people meeting each other at the same level with the same intensity at the same time, ready to find out free from their own backyards.
Love is not escape; it is not avoidance of our childhood wounds. Love faces that which disturbs, it makes the unconscious conscious; it is the ending of our flight from ‘what is’ – the very basis of fear. Love is not being caught in a self-projected dream or a co-dependent nightmare. It doesn’t rely on any system invented by man; there are no leaders or gurus, there is no spiritual ambition.
Love is more real than anything that thought can devise or describe. It is forever fresh, anew, vital and alive. It starts without end; is universal, non-selective and unconditional. It never asks for anything in return.
In desire (which we call ‘love’) we seek to posses, manipulate and dominate. We are aggressive when pleasure is denied and so then comes the jealousy, the resentment, the reactions, the cravings to fill our inner emptiness, depression and boredom.
For love to be loneliness must cease. A wholeness must be, a deep abiding aloneness which is undivided, non-fragmented, not broken up; the state of being all one. This is not oneness but wholeness; a holon inside a fractal universe without centre and where the whole exists in every part. Then between fellow man there is humility, trust, sharing, empathy, honesty, sensitivity – the basis of friendship, of relationship. Man can then be without adjustment of himself, never caught in comparison or measurement. Never caught in the urge to power.
Self-affirmation is not love, though many thinkers today spout that idea of self-love as the basis for communal love. Self-love, when properly understood, happens when the individual is truly complete; when he is indivisible, undivided, not caught in duality – the thinker and the thought. It is not a process of integration around a centre, for then the ‘me’ is still operating. Love only IS when the self is not, when the mechanics of the mind ceases, when it has learnt to be free of itself – its conditioning – when it has learnt to be free from the known. Only then is there no centre and the flowering of something exquisite, expansive, tantric. The mind ceases of its own accord without the discipline to cease.
One cannot cultivate love, there is only the understanding of what is not love. It is this meekness that is most powerful. Then the beauty, depth and immensity of something immeasurable, unutterable and blissful comes into being. Man is no longer just for himself, his reverence exists in his conduct with another. He is passionate for all, compassionate; he is deeply passionate to change that which is unjust, immoral, deceptive, acquisitive, violent, brutal, callous, wicked.
Love is a power the ego cannot provide. It is a totality, an exactness and an immensity beyond our petty little pleasures and stimulations. It is a freedom that has its own beauty, strength and living virtue (not the pious virtue of our archaic dogmas). A truly religious man is a maverick, a rebel without uniform; he is a skeptic. He doesn’t believe in the soul, reincarnation, the afterlife, heaven or any of that superstitious nonsense. Love engages the whole of life with an intensity that cannot be described. It is the ultimate intensity but for it to be there must be humility. There must be freedom from the craving for experience for genuine experiencing to be. There must be freedom from the search for gratification; there must be in essence freedom, choiceless freedom.
< Keeb - October 2013 >