Monday, August 21, 2006

True Love

Late have I loved thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new; late have I loved thee! For behold, thou wert within me and I outside; and I sought thee outside and in my unloveliness fell upon these lovely things that thou hast made. Thou wert with me and I was not with thee. I was kept from thee by those things, yet had they not been in thee, they would not have been at all. Thou didst call and cry to me and break open my deafness. . . . I tasted thee, and now hunger and thirst for thee; thou didst touch me, and now I burn for thy peace.
– Saint Augustine

When we use the word love, let us use it very carefully, in the deeply spiritual sense, where to love is to know; to love is to act.

If you really love, from the depths of your consciousness, that love gives you a native wisdom. You perceive the needs of others intuitively and clearly, with detachment from any personal desires; and you know how to act creatively to meet those needs, dexterously surmounting any obstacle that comes in the way. Such is the immense, driving power of love.
--Eknath Easwaran

Something tells me that Easwaran has hit upon the true meaning of love, and that the love of which he writes so concisely and beautifully is what I long to fill my mind and heart with and to radiate from every word I speak and deed I do. Perhaps I'm being wildly unrealistic to entertain such an ideal. But I am a man of faith. Not in the Judeo-Christian God or Muslim Allah. My faith is in what Easwaran called "the Lord of Love" that constitutes my own deepest essence and yours.

How do I fulfill this ideal in an age of so much conflict and terroristic violence, where fear, contempt, and hatred seem like a growing and potentially catastrophic plague upon the world and even people who purport to be religious or spiritual preach hatred of others? The only way I know to do it is to let my light shine as brightly as it will on everyone. Does this require me to look benignly on the darkness and evil that reside within myself and within all of us? I don't believe so. One can see, acknowledge, and even oppose the ugliness, darkness, and evil while still loving those whom these qualities or tendencies inhabit.

Some might accuse me of childish naivete or New Age "magical thinking" for saying this, but I believe that others are unlikely to be and do their best unless we are and do our best, and others are unlikely to shine with love unless we shine with love. I don't just believe, I KNOW that during those unspeakably precious moments when I shine with love, I feel extraordinary joy, and I know that people around me are picking up on my love and joy and are drawn to it. What would happen if we could all do this more and more often and draw those around us into the palpable presence of loving joy?

Others can call me a nut and go on fearing, denouncing, and hating the "illegal aliens," "Islamofascists," and whomever else they fear, hate, and wish to devalue, deport, or destroy and see where that gets them and the world. Or they can try the radically different approach of Easwaran and Augustine. "Love and do what you will." Love others so fully that you understand completely what they truly need to be happy and find a way to help them acquire it so that they won't think they have to hate, condemn, and kill you to get it, and you won't have to do the same to them to try to be safe and happy.

The history of the world is one of hatred leading to practically never-ending bloodshed and suffering. Isn't it time to see what love can do?


Counter Mag said...

Go over and give a big group hug to the Islamists looking to kill you. If you can pull that one off I'll start listening. Until that point I'll just look at you as a man consumed in fantasy and relative safety while others do the heavy lifting.

Nagarjuna said...

What "heavy lifting" are you doing, my friend?

Counter Mag said...

The least part of the "heavy lifting" I have over you is working and actually paying taxes.
Are you capable of feeling ashamed for being a total fraud and hypocrite?

Nagarjuna said...

I pay taxes too, my friend, and soon I expect to be working full-time and paying even more taxes, some of which may even help you or someone you care about someday.

All the best to you and yours.

Counter Mag said...

Okay, lets see if I have this straight. The taxes you pay from the freebie government disability check that you receive constitutes your share of the heavy lifting burden, correct?

Nagarjuna said...

I don't collect a disability check, my friend. I was referring to the property, utility, and sales taxes I pay, in addition to the income taxes I expect to be paying soon. I don't claim that any of this constitutes the "heavy lifting" to which you refer. I'm not sure what you mean by "heavy lifting." You originally mentioned it in the context of giving "group hugs" to those who commit terrorism, which, of course, I never advocated.

Again, I look forward to paying as much tax as I need to on as much income as I can earn so that I can help people who need it and contribute to the strengthening and preservation of the nation's infrastructure. I wonder why everyone doesn't feel the same way.

Counter Mag said...

"help people who need it and contribute to the strengthening and preservation of the nation's infrastructure."
That point was passed decades ago and now we are feeding leeches and decadence in the form of "entitlements".

Nagarjuna said...

I'm afraid I don't understand your previous comment at all, my friend. Almost all of us still need help of various kinds that only tax dollars can consistently provide, and the same goes for our nation's infrastructure.