Monday, April 25, 2005

What's love got to do with it?

When we talk about a parent willing to do anything to help their child, or a teacher taking on a difficult role/life in order to facilitate a student's growth, or when a healer takes up the illness of another and resolves it in themeselves, we are describing forms of service, indeed, but we are also talking about acts of love. Love, after all, is that which binds us together, as it is the nature of the source of all. Love can be considered at many levels, as it bears different meanings depending upon the level of the person we relate it too. At a physical level, love is attraction. The universal law of attraction is a law of love built into the physical universe. Literally, the physical universe is held together by the love of the source of all. The cloud of electronic energy swirling about the nucleus of the atom, the planets about the sun, the raw physical magnetism of the sexes, all have this principle of love/attraction at their operative root.

At the emotional level, love is the attraction of psychical likenesses, where hearts meet as one, and the movements of one psyche and the forms it generates attract like movements and forms of another. Here, when love is experienced by a person, it is a psychical condition of attraction accompanyied by a feeling state of open-heartedness and longing to be joined to the beloved, to fulfill the attraction through union: in this type of love, you want to be with another and keep their company.

At the noetical level, love is the power of intention to manifest: it is the attractive power of an idea taking form. It is the alignment of causes assembling around a deliberate intent. It is the stuff of creation.

At the spiritual level, love is the source of all. Love is the one, being one. Love is the identity of us all.

I'll leave the last words and the first word on love to another. For now, I'd like to identify a common misperception about love, particularly what I called "psychical" or "emotional" love above. Often times, when a person experiences their love awakening, they desire to fulfill that attraction with some kind of union. This can actually be a tricky thing! You see, there are social structures and commitments which represent the "container" of our particular life, and they do not always permit the ready fulfillment of that longing for union which might arise out of the awakening of emotional love in a person. This emotion of love can be very powerful, even seemingly overwhelming. A key to mastering the emotion, for it must be mastered at some level, is to recognize it to be a movement within oneself. However much you may want to identify your feelings of love as a entirely dependent upon another person (who may or may not share your feelings), your feelings are in fact entirely yours.

Mastering the emotion of love is to be understood here not as a matter of suppressing your feelings: not at all! Rather mastering the emotion of love is about recognizing your power to love, and allowing the feelings of your love to move about your form and awaken in you your attractive life force, your devotion to all that is good, your intent to create a life in keeping with the divine "will-pleasure," and your longing to experience the oneness of the source of all. When the raw attractive force of physical and emotional love are given reign over one's intent to "make" or create love in a manner coherent with the will of the source of all, trouble is a brewing! It is through our intent and commitment to love that we create a context and a container for the expression and outpouring of physical and emotional love, rather than the other way around. When intent follows emotion rather than leads it, it is like the rider waiting for the horse to decide where they should go. Such is rarely the stuff of successful human interactions!

Certainly, in certain cultures, this one of ours in particular, we have a tendency to follow up emotional and physical love with a commitment. In India and many other cultures, the commitment comes first, and physical and emotional love are invited to grow in that context. In the US, the emotional and physical love more or less are allowed to sprout up where they may, and when it looks worthy, a commitment may follow. The problem there is that when it sprouts up again somewhere outside of the commitment, there is a tendency to pursue it again in the same manner as in the first instance. In either case, where the emotion of love manages to take hold in a person and move them, it is essential to identify the feeling of love as a disposition arising in the person who feels it, and that person must own it as their own. When I feel my love for you, it is my experience, ultimately. And while it can be very satisfying when two are both feeling their love for one another, even in that case of mutual love, what is mutual is the common experience of feeling your love moving within, and that feeling is your own, although it is a commonplace mistake to believe that feeling and that movement is dependent upon another.

The love which plays out as service is an expression at the noetical level, as it begins with an intention which is coherent with the will of the source of all, and it is aligned with the creative movement inhering there. Loving service is powered by the charge of raw physical attraction and the juice of emotional love rightly ordered. When you recognize your love to be the creative "battery" that it is, and overcome the tendency to mistake your experience of love for a dependency upon another person's feelings, you can direct it intentionally, as you please, with deference to the source of all, and in service to those within your sphere of influence. This is the love that is kind and patient, and forebears all ills, not out of a masochist desire to endure slights for negative pleasure, but out of a maturity where you can continue to feel your love under the most complex or challenging circumstances and vibrations.

That, I believe, is what Jesus meant when he said "my cross is easy, and my burden light." Coming from a place of love, from an intent to serve, what might be endured on such a path is borne lightly as the internal experience of love lifts you above the inherent challanges. Where service is drudgery, chances are you are playing the doormat rather than accomplishing true service. That you might as well skip. When love is at the heart of service, then the slave becomes the master.


Post a Comment

<< Home