Ultimately, no matter the circumstance, no matter the action, no matter the form that the outer manifestation takes, no matter the consequence, no matter the subject or object, everything arises out of love and is an expression of love.
In modern society, love is more often than not confused with desire and attachment. This confusion is easy to get into and can lead to much suffering.
Desire is normally accompanied by a feeling of emptiness, as if something is missing. The nature of desire is to make the one experiencing it feel that some kind of action is needed to restore order. The feeling of desire is very distinct from the feeling one experiences when one is, say, hungry or thirsty. The basic functions of life do not produce this feeling of emptiness in the heart.
Attachment is normally accompanied by a feeling of pleasure and fear. Attachment leads one to the desire to assume ownership of whatever one is attached to. A close examination of one’s attachment easily reveals that attachment is not to any external object, but to one’s own feeling of pleasure. People are attached to objects easily and when they are taken away, a feeling of dejection sets in but is quickly eliminated when attachment to another object begins. This is sadly how many people approach relationships.
The feeling of Love, on the other hand, is very distinct. It is accompanied by a deep feeling of contentment and completeness. While desire wants to fill emptiness and attachment wants to hold onto what has been filled, love knows that nothing is lacking in the first place and seeks to neither acquire, nor hold onto what’s already here. Love knows that what is, always has been and cannot be destroyed.
Neither desire nor attachment is evil. They all come from the same source, that source is constantly working towards the liberation of all beings. Repeated encounters with desire, attachment and dejection eventually leads to detachment and questioning and a journey on the path to enlightenment is quickened. In this way, we can say the desire and attachment are the means by which the Lord leads us towards the Truth.
The fundamental impetus in every being is to love. Love seeks union and the ideas of acquisition, hiding and guarding, or the ideas of separation, discrimination and rejection are incompatible with love. As conscious beings, we know this in our core, because we are fundamentally infused with love. This incompatibility between love and desire or attachment compels us, at every moment, to come back and reunite with the Truth of what we are. In order to do that, we must give up the false, give up desire or attachment and come back to a state of love.
The easiest way to give up attachment is to simply drop it and then stop paying attention to the mind’s bickering. However, that is quite impossible, because the whole premise behind ‘dropping’ a desire is the assumption that it is ours to begin with.
Why desire at all? Desiring a state of freedom from desire will not set you free. Nothing can set you free, because you are free.
See yourself with desireless clarity, that is all.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That
The very fact that we refer to desire as something external to us shows that we are not it. Desire happens to us and we take it to be our own. The mind asks for something, and we assume it is us that needs what the mind asks. The next time the mind attempts to interrupt peace, stop and ask it, “Who are you? You cannot be me, because I am hearing you. So I am not what you are. Go bother someone else.” Then be quiet. Do not argue with the mind. Simply ignore it like you ignore the noise of traffic. Over time, with practice the mind will go quiet.
However, the inability to see this with clarity can lead to a situation where our intrinsic drive to be united with all that is, can manifest itself as an impulse to destroy the very thing that we are desiring so that we may go back to the state of non-desiring, unattached peace. Instead of engaging in such a destructive act, clarity and understanding will eliminate the source of the desire and attachment and establish us firmly in love.
At the same time, everything that happens, even an act of destruction is fundamentally an act that arises out of love. Given all the violence being perpetrated on Earth today, this is hard to accept. It is hard to accept that the worst criminals are as motivated by love as are the most benevolent leaders of humanity. But they are, and we all know it in our hearts to be true. This universal love, this fundamental knowledge we all carry, is the source of our compassion, even towards those that trespass against us.
…and forgive us our trespasses,as we forgive those who trespass against us…
– The Lord’s Prayer
The sooner this is accepted, the easier it is to understand that revenge, war and other kinds of violence engaged in with an aim to serve justice or extract a price for injustice, simply will not work. You cannot still the waters of a lake by creating more waves.
What you can do, is live your life in silence, humility and acceptance. To many living in these times, the idea that they must give up their ideas of individual self-importance, individual freedom, individual desire, individual satisfaction, individual pleasure and so on is anathema. So be it. They are not my concern.
In a forest only some of the trees are in full bloom at a given moment, yet every one will have its turn. Sooner or later your physical and mental resources will come to an end. What will you do then? Despair? All right, despair.
You will get tired of despairing and begin to question.
At that moment you will be fit for conscious Yoga.
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That
No matter how much water there is available, a vessel will hold only as much as it has space for. It will shape that water to it’s shape. The only way to understand water, is to stop being a vessel, to stop identifying with existence, with outer manifestation. When you no longer think of yourself as a vessel, then you can become water and be infinite.
No matter how many words are used, no matter how much teaching is engaged in, only those in the right frame of mind will grasp their meaning. Only some will have their lives transformed and open their eyes. This is not a matter of pride or achievement, it is a matter of fact and when the time is right, the courage, honesty and all necessary qualities will come by themselves.
So there is no point attempting to manipulate, persuade, torture or kill any being simply because they do not understand the Truth as you see it. You must let them find their way. This is the real meaning of tolerance based on love – to accept everything as it is, including the violence perpetuated by others. We cannot attempt to judge them, for our judgement is based on falsehood. All we can do is accept life as it comes, good or bad and stay centered.
This is the path to peace. This is the path to love.
Thy will be done.
– The Lord’s Prayer