All You Need Is Love.
Love is all you need but not everyone knows how to receive or give it. Well actually we do, it is instinctive. It’s just that so much gets in the way, including our hardened senses which holds our vision of what love is and can be in a prison of limitation.
We call things that bring us intense feeling love, but perhaps this is misnaming; confusion because feelings have been desensitized, dulled and we “fall in love” with what has the power to wake us up, to move us. Even if it causes harm. Then we think love hurts. Love on the surface of life, as wonderful and beautiful, profound and deeply moving as it may be, is contingent upon other. And all things in life fluctuate, they ebb and flow, they change and if we are fortunate, we grow and move together in love. But even then, love leaves because the form that holds the object of our love expires even if its memory never does. Perhaps it is truer to say that object, in its many forms, ignites the light of love within.
This is not an indictment of love, far from it. As Rumi said, gamble everything on love if you are human. Love of every sort is our birthright, the promise made when we enter the world. To know it, immerse in it and share it is what life is about.
There are so many expressions of love, so many names and degrees and it all comes from the same source. Where is that source to be found? Love is a smile, the recognition of connection; it is contentment and enacting purpose with clarity; it is a cup of tea with a friend after disagreement; it is the gift of time given and at the highest, it is devotion. What is it we are devoted to?
When I walk out into the world, I take no thoughts with me. That’s not easy, but you can learn to do it. An empty mind is hungry, so you can look at everything longer, and closer. Don’t hum! When you listen with empty ears, you hear more. And this is the core of the secret: Attention is the beginning of devotion. –Mary Oliver
For me, this simple poem speaks of the gift of knowing deep silence; the natural resting of the ever seeking mind for just a while, and the results of heightened senses. How can I receive what I do not know? How can I give what I do not fully posses? The first requires vulnerability, the second strength; both patience and space, to sense, to know, to act. This space is the natural by-product of deep meditation, of time spent in the profound pulsating silence within. Merging individual consciousness in the vast eternal wellspring of light that is the source of love, consciousness writ large, we recognize love so profound it cannot help but be expressed. More and more the light that is always full, always present but obscured by the debris of life shines through. The darkening, dullness of life is sloughed off in the bath of light that is love.
Love the one you're with. When I first heard those words, (when was it, early 70’s?) I smiled at the implication. It was on the heels of the “summer of love” and it said to me love is all around, don’t worry if the one you love has not appeared, simply ‘hook up’ with who ever is near, available, who strikes your fancy. It was a sort of ‘get out of jail card’ stop torturing yourself with looking for the love of your life and go for it, grab what is near, connect with what and whom you can.
Now today, some 40 years later, those words hit my heart in a much more profound manner, I hear them very differently. Love really is all around and the imperative to ‘love the one you’re with’ takes on a deeper meaning.
Love the one you’re with, the one who animates you, beats your heart; love your Self. Love the one you’re with and all others will bask in the overflow. Naturally we show appreciation, gratitude by returning the gift.
Love the one you’re with speaks of all we would do for those we truly love, whose worth we know, we see, on the deepest levels. Imagine if we could look at ourselves with those same eyes!
Love the one you’re with, build home behind your eyes, make your house a mansion dedicated to love.
Truly love the one you’re with, not in some solipsistic selfish manner or surface animation but truly, madly, deeply, love the one you’re with. This is the love the ecstatic poets speak of. This is the great heart. This is the message of yoga, devotion in the highest most powerful sense. This is a mighty love and we are ignited by its promise.
Perhaps it is what Stephan Stills truly meant- who knows? But as I steep more and more in love, the love found in my own heart, absolute and pure, I find all sorts of words, sounds, tastes that I thought I knew, opening up to me revealing depths uncharted. And it is never ending for we do not know or love just once.
This is the gift of deep meditation. To share love we must first know it. Love powerfully calls to us because it is who we truly are. We are transcended in love, by love and we are made of love. As much as we may try, we cannot convince ourselves of this from the surface of life. We must go in, know the love of self then naturally the light of love moves out. The more we root in this love, the more we stabilize our home in the heart, spontaneously what spills out is love. Potently, like the light you see pouring out of the eyes of one who loves you, anywhere you place your gaze love flows.
It’s easy. All you need is love. Now go get it.