Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Word About Love

I would like to say a word about love.

To this point in this blog I have not written a great deal about love. Indeed, in my post on religion and spirituality, I carefully avoided the mention of it, since it seemed to me a convenient way of avoiding a discussion of that meaning which gives to life its purpose. I did not understand love – it was a distant, alien concept to me, rather like the syntax of Swahili or the tenets of the Tantra.

Yet now I think that love was simply too close to my eyes for me to see it, as if a fish were asked to describe the sea. It was not a phenomenon apart from me, but rather the element in which I exist, and for that very reason, I failed to recognize it. I had always considered that Truth (with a capital T) was the breadth and depth and meaning of life, and so the purpose of life was to arrive at an understanding of the Truth. Bur recently, that assumption has been shaken, like dice are shaken before being cast upon a felt.

I think that now I see that love is Truth; that love is at the core of that which I had always prized and sought as Truth. But since I did not feel that I was capable of love, it followed that I could not grasp the Truth. And so both Truth and love eluded me, no matter how diligently I searched for them, because I conceived of them as separate entities, distinct and unrelated. I thought that it was possible to reach an understanding or experience of Truth without the presence of love; but that was, I now see, rather like thinking that you can learn to swim on land. You can achieve a theoretical knowledge of it, can master and mime the movements of it, but until you immerse yourself in it, feel the force and freedom of it and risk the drowning in it, it remains a distant puzzle, like a map of stars in Braille.

There is a further realization I have grasped in these past days. I had thought that the attainment of Truth was the key to happiness. But now I understand that, since love is Truth, then love is happiness. Love is happiness. It is a simple enough equation, which, for all my introspection and my erudition, accumulated as carefully as some people accumulate full runs of magazines, I had somehow missed. Love is the key to happiness, and happiness is Truth and Truth is love. It is a circular argument, perfect in its symmetry, and beautiful in its form and implications.

It is not esoteric; indeed, it is within the grasp of every human being who will open his or her heart and make it vulnerable to rebirth or to breaking, daring to run the risk of trusting one’s soul and destiny to another. Whether that being has arms and hands and eyes, or is an idea of God does not matter. I think now it is the gesture of surrender – the willingness to believe and to have confidence that that belief will be productive of Truth – that makes the difference; indeed, all the difference in the world.

I had reached the conclusion that Truth could only be attained in solitude, within the context of a solitary search of mind and heart and soul. I had resigned myself to such a search in preparation for my death. But now I think that that was wrong. Now I believe that, as we are selves, as we are beings in the world, Truth can only be attained in concert with another; that it was for this we were imbued with mind and will and emotion. Emotion is the pathway to love, the first frail steps on the way to love, which is the key to Truth. Emotion is the bait that lures us to love, and mind is the choice to embrace love. In loving we transform ourselves into that eternal substance which is the essence of Truth. We know Truth even as we love and are loved. And in that way, we receive Truth through the opening of ourselves to the bright, deep, terrifying and vivifying possibility of love.