WHAT IS REAL LOVE?
How can we cultivate and integrate that which is called love? How can we talk in tangible terms of that which is intangible?
What people call love is not really love. You will be surprised to hear this. Love, as most people know it is a need. Real love knows no need. Love as most people know it is a dependency. It could be a physical dependence, an emotional dependency, all kinds of dependencies, and that they call love.
Then, what is real love? Love cannot be cultivated. Love is a happening. Love is like the fragrance of the flower. The flower does not transmit the fragrance consciously. It is the nature of the flower to give the fragrance. That fragrance is love. It is the nature of fire to give off heat. That heat is spontaneously given off by the fire; that is love. We do not cultivate love, but we cultivate qualities within us to make it conducive for love to come.
In other words, everything is a preparation for love to come. When we plant the flower, we nurture it, we use fertilisers, and we use water. The sapling is well tendered. We tie it to a stick because it is frail until it becomes strong when we throw the stick away. So, what are the things necessary in preparation for love? Things essential in the preparation for love are summed up in one word – Virtue. Virtue practised with consciousness. Because our conception of love is at such a level, which only touches the mind, and the mind is nothing but a patterned entity, and it functions in a certain pattern. We have to repattern the pattern, consciously exercising certain virtues.
The same principle applies to the child learning to play the piano, or when an old lady is trying to cross the road, you do not have that love in you for that lovely old lady, but you go up and help her cross the street. You have not expressed love. Perhaps you have expressed a kind of pity. You pity the old. It might not even be compassion, for that person might not have heard of the word compassion. The only thing he knows about compassion is the passion. In this way, a conscious effort begins. Likewise, in every sphere of life, “Do Good, Be Good” is a very wise maxim to follow. If you cannot do anyone any good, do not do anyone any harm.
DO GOOD, BE GOOD
Doing good and being good sounds so simple but is so difficult. What do we mean by “doing good?” If we study moral philosophy, we will find so many different concepts in the mind of what constitutes Good. You can study it from the theological aspect and half a dozen other aspects. But that still does not make you good. We use our scriptures and our great religions like Christianity as a guideline to what is good to help us decide, in any circumstance, what should be done. Thou shalt not covet, Thou shalt not this. Those do and do not have great value.
MEDITATION TAKES AWAY MUCH OF THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFORT REQUIRED
We want to learn to love, so we start not talking about love, but we start with the virtues surrounding love because we are not capable of learning love yet, and we are not capable of experiencing it yet.
The mind has some idea – Boy loves girl, as they say. Girl loves boy. They look into each other’s eyes and melt away, and how they wish they were made of wax – then they would melt away. It is not a question of looking into each other’s eyes but the eyes of both looking in the same direction. That brings about an understanding. Here the keyword to learn to love is understanding. Knowledge of the moral principles as set out by the sages, Buddha, Krishna, Christ – developing an understanding and with effort putting that understanding into practice. It requires some effort, and here meditation comes to help again. It would make that understanding easier and take off so much of the weight away from the effort. When all this preparation is done, then you see a slight flicker of love, and it is so encouraging. Need disappears. I do not need to love you. I love you because I love you. What does that mean? It means I do not love you. I love love. I love love, and you are only the object that enables me, that gives me the privilege of loving love. You are the focal point. Need disappears – dependency disappears – for love is always independent.
DEPENDENCY – INTERDEPENDENCY
Dependency disappears, which means that weaknesses go. A dependent love, be it emotional or physical, is not strength. It is weakness. It is because we are so disintegrated, fragmented, that we have this dependency. Need goes, dependencies go and then, when dependency goes, there is a middle step, which is interdependency. Then, between two people, an inter-dependence develops, neither dependent and neither independent. Now they see a wholeness that there is no more you or I, but us – that interdependence. There is still one step further, where you go even beyond interdependence. But, as householders, living a householder’s life – with family and children – that interdependence is necessary. For, when there is that interdependence, then conflicts cease.
Recently I was asked to say a few words at a wedding, so I said that marriage is such a union where you start a three-legged run. No more four legs, but two of the legs tied together. That interdependence.
There are two forms of independence. In the lower form of independence, there is conflict. At first when the independence of the lower level ceases, then conflicts cease, and with the development of the inter part of it, they function as a unified whole. After going through that phase, which is so necessary for daily living, then one comes back to independence, but of a different sort – it is spiralling. One is at a low level and one at a very high level.
It is like sound. Sound at a very high pitch cannot be heard and sound at a very low pitch cannot be heard. They both cannot be heard by the human ear – and yet they are poles apart. So, when the real top-level independence occurs in man, then the interdependence ceases because he does not love any more. He does not need to love; he does not require an object of love. He does not love any more, but he becomes love. That is the higher stage of love and when man becomes love, he and his Father are one. That is the highest form of love, but in this world, living the best we can achieve for now, for the moment, is interdependent love. To live a happy home life, some effort is required.
There is this lovely little story about interdependence. A man says, “I choose my pants, but my wife chooses the colour.” That is good. I think that is nice. For what does the colour matter? She chooses the colour to please her, and I wear my pants to please my wife.
LOVE IS A HAPPENING
To find this love, we do not need mental analysis. It is a happening, and all the virtues we practice consciously bring about this happening. All the watering of the plants and the sun and the fertiliser and the air are the necessary conditions that are prepared for the flower to blossom, and that blossoming is love. It is a happening. It is existence on its own. It is self-effulgent, and therefore we say, “God is Love and Love is God.” That is the highest form of love, and all the mental meanderings we use are of no value whatsoever because all the mechanisms are inbuilt in ourselves AS IT IS. Meditation awakens all that which is lying, sleeping and dormant.
EVERYTHING IS INBUILT IN MAN
I will tell a story before I end off. I said this in one of the courses. It is about how people rely on outside things rather than inbuilt things. The story goes like this: You get soft drinks in a can. This man used to go to this café every day. The shopkeeper served him the can of soft drink, and he used to take out this can opener and open the can and have his drink. People watched him for one day, two days. Then after a few weeks, the shopkeeper started losing patience. He thought, why does this chap use a can opener to open a soft drink can. But you know the customer is always right, so you allow the customer to do what he likes as long as the till tinkles a bit. But he could just not help himself anymore. So, he said, “Sir, do you know what that thingy bob is there for – that ring on the can?” So, the customer replies, “yes, I know, that is for people who have not got can openers.”
The point of the story is this. Everything is inbuilt in man. Meditation practices awaken, opens that can which is closed – and you do not need can openers. You know it is all there within you to open and enjoy life. For life and living is the expression of that which is divine. Life and living itself is divine – only if we realise it by integrating ourselves through our spiritual practices.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1979 – 31