Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of May 28, 2018

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Love

(Climbing Jacob's Ladder: 14)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart… Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)

Love begins in stillness, inner stillness. A busy mind and a restless heart are too full of themselves to allow the reality of love to enter. In the quiet, there is no me and no you, no separateness. There is just oneness, just us. In oneness, love flourishes naturally.

Evolution, with its survival-of-the-fittest mandate, has left a deep mark on our psyche: the need to compete, driven by the imperative to move our genes into the future. Yet that mandate loses its grip on us as our separateness wanes. Then we are all in this together. Then altruism and cooperation coexist with competition. We serve a future of us and ours, not merely of me and mine.

What might experience be like in the state of love? Within the inner stillness, we are open, not so focused on ourselves, not taken by the thought "I." Yet inner stillness does not preclude thoughts. We can be fully within the stillness, while on the surface level of our mind the thought-trains run on as usual. But from the wider perspective of the stillness, we know our thoughts as just thoughts. From that place, the thought "I" is just another thought. All thoughts show up as mere words, narrow and insignificant before the infinite cognizant stillness that enfolds us. Our reality transcends separateness.

From that place, we see other people as people like ourselves. We just see them. On the surface, we know they are separate from us. Our bodies are separate. They have a name and a history and we have a different name and history. Yet the stillness transcends all that. The cognizant stillness in me is the very same cognizant stillness in you, prior to name, history, and body. But it is not just that the stillness is in both of us: rather we are both in it, in the one, boundless field of consciousness. It embraces us both. This leads toward love.

We see our neighbor. We see us both within the stillness, and beyond that within the oneness. Our neighbor is our self. Love thus becomes the condition we live and move in. In a deeper oneness than that of stillness, even the separateness of name, history, and body evaporates. Our common humanity has a common source: the Divine from Whom our very core, our will, our individual I emanates. If we can trace ourselves back far enough, we discover our shared identity in the Sacred. Because the Divine has the quality of uniqueness, each of us is a unique emanation. Yet our individual uniqueness comes from our deeper shared identity. It is a matter of levels. In our core, you and I and all of us are the same. Here is the source of love.

Look, however, at our everyday reality. When we see other people, or even just think about them, it is often with biting criticism, judgment, denigration, jealousy, envy, indifference, and similar attitudes of separateness. That is where we live much of the time. Yet we can learn to rise above that. Love is a matter of levels, a matter of which world we live in. In the automatic world, our mind and feelings generate all those negative attitudes toward our fellow humans.

But we can learn to see the automatic patterns as the inherently empty and powerless things that they are. In so doing, we rise into the next world of being in contact with people as people. Here, we notice people. We listen to what they say. We see their body language. We get who they are. Our inner automatic patterns of separateness may be ongoing, but we are now paying more attention to the actual sensory experience of being with other people. We treat everyone with respect, at first outwardly, but increasingly also inwardly, in our mind and emotions. Still, we are separate.

If we can enter more deeply into ourselves, into the cognizant stillness, we enter a world in which we all share in the one consciousness. Beneath our automatic thoughts and emotions, we directly experience living in this boundless field of consciousness and understand that everyone else, beneath their own automatic thoughts and emotions, lives in that field with us. The walls of separation grow transparent.

If we can open our hearts even deeper, we come into higher worlds still, the Sacred Radiance and the Ocean of Oneness. There, we are surrounded by love. We see directly that the universe loves us, all of us, immediately, right here where we are. It embraces us with love.

To be able to love is perhaps THE crowning glory for human beings. The more we transcend our small self, the more our greater Self, this emanation of the Sacred, can shine forth. We start where we are. We see where we are in how we treat other people in our mind, in our emotions, and in our actions. And we work to climb the ladder of love.

See also Stages of Love


        

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