What is love?
The word ‘love’ refers to a lived experience. It is a paradoxical experience because even though we have all experienced the reality of it, it appears to escape every attempt to grasp it, to describe it or to repeat it. The tender delight we had in our childhood when we looked at a beautiful colored illustration, the soft emotion when we think about a loved one, the impulse that moves us to encourage a stranger in deep sorrow and to help when in danger, the repulsion that grips us when cruelty is committed against oppressed innocence. All these circumstances among many others point to a common experience that cannot be described or defined. If we want to go deeper into the discovery of this central experience it seems that our investigation evaporates due to a lack of objective support.
If we do not have the words to express it and there are no images to describe it, it is because there are no perceptions or sensations to experience it objectively. Nevertheless we do have this experience. That is the paradox: it is unmistakably present. It has the same undeniable and ethereal character as conscious presence. We know this experience in the same way we know that we are conscious.
If we try to describe the trajectory up to the very last moment where it crosses over into the inexpressible, it seems as if the ‘I’ feeling dissolves, perhaps only temporarily, into a more spacious reality, infinite, a blessed peace that brings an end to all the emotional or intellectual agitation. We are not strangers to this new dimension. It is not the discovery of a spiritual America. It is immediately recognized as absolute intimacy and tenderness. It is the center of our self and the world, simultaneously. This presence is love.
Is there some particular condition before this quality of authentic love and compassion is revealed?
The condition is the temporary or permanent disappearance of the idea of a separate ‘I’. This disappearance can never be the result of an action done by this ‘I’. Love flies on its own wings and knows no laws. It is the emergence of grace that wrests us from the hypnosis of separation. Liberation arises out of freedom itself.
But you should not conclude from this that every act and practice intended to establish us as love is useless. Such a decision would confine us to intellectual dullness. The longing for love comes from love itself, not from the separate ego. On the contrary, we have to surrender to everything that takes us to love. In this surrender we discover true life, the inner peace that we have always sought.
Can love exist without an object?
Love exists only without an object. Love is the love of the objectless by the objectless. An object puts clothes on love, and dressed veils it. What we love in a person is neither the physical body nor the thoughts. It is the conscious presence that we have in common with him or her, the self, the objectless. The veil can exercise a temporary power of attraction, but only the true self that remains in the background can bring us what we seek. We don’t love the other, we love the love in the other. This does not mean that we have to turn away from the other to turn towards God, the objectless, but rather that we see the other as an expression of love. Relations with our partner, son or daughter, a stranger, a foreigner then take on another dimension. Daily life becomes a field of experience that is forever new. If we approach the other as potential divine consciousness, we force God to remove the mask, which he does with a miracle; and the miracle is the smile of God.
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