Sunday, July 15, 2012
Notes on the Nature of Love
This doesn't mean that we are able to understand love with our intellect, because to grasp it is more than an activity within any of the lower centers. Feeling has to enter, and the presence of the higher centers in connection with the lower ones must emerge. But under the right conditions, we are able to feel Love, that is, the imminent presence of God can be sensed. This is actually the aim of work of all religion; everything begins and ends here.
Because our vessels are limited, each one is only able to contain and comprehend a fraction of the totality of love. While Love is universal, absolute, and complete, it becomes idiosyncratic, local, temporary, and partial upon expression in individual organisms and material things. Thus, we don't say that Love is incomplete or unrealized in material reality; rather, we say, it is partial. Each one of us is a partial expression of love; because Love is infinite, it requires infinite means of expression, no one of which can contain anything more than a fragment of its whole being. This is what Al Arabi infers when he says,
Concerning the knowledge of the Reality, we say that it is eternal, whereas of man's knowledge we say that it is contingent.
—The Bezels of Wisdom, Chapter 1
This partiality, or contingency, is a cause of great sorrow for the Lord, because it is the Lord's fervent wish that His Love be understood absolutely, yet even He is unable to effect this. Hence the presence of the saints on the holy planet Purgatory, the last station between creation and God, where all efforts towards return to the Lord are frustrated by this ultimate inability.
Every object, event, circumstance, and condition—every activity—arises directly from the manifestation of Love, which is ever active, and ever present, intimately blended into the fabric of reality. So every action is an action of Love. Within Love, no action can be separated from another action, because all actions are necessary, all actions are simultaneous, and all actions take place together, dependent entirely upon one another.
This means that what we perceive as good or bad is all necessary; nothing can be other than what it is. Even the worst events, the most terrible things we can imagine or perceive or experience, are all a direct expression and manifestation of Love.
Love is impartial. We firmly believe, in our limitation, that one can have one thing or the other thing, when in fact it is necessary to have all things. Because we don't perceive Love as an organic experience of God anymore, we don't understand this, and we do not submit. We don't trust.
This is a terribly difficult thing to understand with the intellect, even though the construction and cosmology can, as you see, be accurately expressed in words. The formulation is, in fact, a precise and objective one, but on this level, statements of this nature immediately devolve into argument, because they can't be understood without the organic experience. And they don't correlate to our ordinary experience, because the resistance of our lower parts to such an understanding is enormous. To put it in simple terms, from within our partiality, it is much easier to blame the Lord than it is to Love Him.
Hence the organic experience of Love, which issues the call to prayer without delay, or doubt, or hesitation, continually escapes us. We speak of a taste of this or being touched by that, not realizing that even our inability itself is part of the absolute manifestation of Love. Just as the action of returning to the Lord, returning to the Self, is a loving one, so is the action of leaving the Lord and leaving the Self, because every action is equally manifest with Love, and cannot be separated from it.
The understanding of this can gradually change over a lifetime. If there is one thing that may not be a given, it is how a man understands—that has the possibility of changing. Another way of saying this is that a man's attitude can change. Man was created different than the angels because of this exact capacity. It was the hope of the Lord that man could come closer than the rest of His creation to sensing the unconditional totality of His Love.
There, in a nutshell, is the responsibility incumbent on us.
I respectfully hope you will take good care.