Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Kahlil Gibran
I must admit that at 75, after many encounters and adventures with love, I still can’t comprehend the enormity of this elusive and ineffable phenomenon. Perhaps it cannot be expressed in words, although millions of words have been spent on its behalf. Still, love remains a mystery. The purpose of this month’s newsletter is not to define love, but to feel into the edges of her beauty and the vastness of her infinite healing power.
Webster's dictionary would confine love to either a strong affection or attraction towards someone or something. But, that seems so shallow in the face of the immense healing power of love and the infinite potentiality and possibility that this enigma holds for the future of life on this planet. In this frozen, fractured and fragmented world what can love teach us about being, living, healing, connecting, longing, creating and revealing our deep interconnection with all of life?
Most of us want the security of loving and being loved, but is there love when each one of us is seeking his own security, his own particular path? We are not loved because we don’t know how to love. J. Krishnamurti
We tend to think of love as a noun, a thing, a quality, an idea or fixed state. Perhaps love is a verb, an action, occurrence, or a state of being and becoming. For most of us, love is conditional, “I’ll love you as long as you don’t ever…!” Or we withdraw our love when we feel it isn’t being reciprocated. But, as a verb we become love in action, it develops into a moment to moment choice. What if we were the source of love and being loved, and my loving was not based on what I received in return? It seems that the greatest love is that which is given without expectation, need or condition. I think we have lost our capacity to love in our belief in separation, our two-ness. This sense of separateness is at the heart of all suffering. It appears that this other, the object of our love, is “out there”, while I’m “in here”. But, appearances can be deceiving. While there is physical separation, we can only know another by how they show up in our nervous system. So in a quantum reality I may show up here as a form, but while your form is out there, the only way I can really know you is how you show up as a wave in my nervous system. And the perception you have of me is happening in you, in your nervous system. This is true mutuality or love, where lover and beloved become one.
Love is the quality of attention we pay to things. J.D. McClatchy
It seems that the quality of our attention, or the presence that we bring to another is at the heart of finding this kind of deeper love that the saints and mystics have been speaking of for milenia. But, be wary of putting all your attention on the sacred other, and losing yourself. Personally, I often find that when I focus my attention on another, I can lose touch with myself, I become unaware of my body sensations, my emotions, my breath and my inner state. When this happens the other occurs as an object out there, and I am no longer feeling the other in my nervous system. Or I try to focus on my inner experience and lose touch with the other and how they are showing up in me. Can I learn to be with myself, and the sacred other at the same time? Presencing is the art of focusing our attention and perception on what’s happening in this moment. It means we drop our strategies, desires, opinions and memories from the past and attend to the occurring moment! We let go of how we think things should be and we attune to what is. Meditation is an important resource to cultivating this skill. It takes stillness to enter into this state of merging with another. It is a practice and the more difficult it is, the greater the opportunity for experiencing wholeness. It will take us up to the edges of our personal story or narrative, where we can discover and integrate the wounding that keeps us stuck in the illusion of separation.
Huge differences may separate us, yet they are exactly what draw us to each other. It is as though forged together we form one presence, for each of us has half of a language that the other seeks. John O’Donohue
We live in a sea of collective trauma, wounding and unintegrated past. Much of this is ancestral, handed down by our ancestors who have seen war, famine, genocide, slavery, and climate change. And yet, we are here because they survived. We have inherited their pain and suffering, but we have also been bequeathed with their resilience, ingenuity and capacity to think and feel. We are the evidence that life wants to live! But, we have normalized the pathologies of the past and deadened ourselves to the beauty, magic, mystery and magnificence of this gift called life. If this human experiment is to continue we must learn to love, to transcend our story of separation, isolation and not belonging. Of course we belong, we are here!
Love calls us to meet that which separates us, to embrace our differences, and to meet them with compassion, curiosity and fascination. Every action is either love or a calling for love. If we trace the unwanted behavior of anyone back to its source we find a wound to our/their essence, our original goodness. This doesn't mean we condone destructive energy and actions, nor do we allow ourselves to be abused. When we practice non duality, no separation, we see that the world’s suffering is our suffering and the world’s pain is our pain.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself. Kahlil Gibran
Through love we restore right relations, mutuality and the capacity to see beyond form. When we heal our own inner wounding by integrating the frozen dissociated parts of our soul we awaken to the Divine within us. Learning to love ourselves, not in a narcissistic way, but through genuine compassion, we discover why we are here. We find purpose and meaning in our lives. We restore our relatedness and our capacity for wholeness…
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends... St. Paul Corinthians 13: 1 - 8
Thank you for being a part of the Well of Light community and the beauty and love you are bringing into the world. With love and gratitude, Michael