The strange light comes on slowly
A stranger's heart is out of home
You put your hands into your head
And your smiles cover your heart
Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you
to float equally between everyone.
*Mitch Albom. Tuesdays with Morrie
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I don't try to love persons as I once did, nor do I feel the need to be loved by others as I once did - thankfully. Why? Simply ~ to share some reasons, maybe better 'wisdom pointers' from life experience. Now, that I am in the last half of my 6th decade and have failed much and succeeded much in this matter, I may, therefore, have something of worth and truth to say on this subject.
First, most persons will not receive the Love they yearn for. Sure, they may cover the heart with smiles, meaning, disguise themselves in some way as open and receptive, but really, no. Love beyond ego, meaning transpersonal, or postpersonal, is a Love beyond loving one self to one self; this Love does not arise from self and, so, is a threat to the ego, or personal self, which defines itself by - like looking into a mirror to sustain its illusion - itself. This means as separate from others, so, needing to be defended against the grace and power of non-personal, for beyond-personal, intimacy, or withinness. To sing, "I wanna hold the hand inside you," means so much more than, "I wanna hold your hand," one an internalization of Grace, the other, an externalization of Grace, and both valid, one personal, the other more than personal. Recall, the opposite of Love is not hate, but fear of Love.
Another pointer is the intensity that Love, not merely personal love, can generate can hinder persons feeling safe to get near. A person drawn beyond ego through life crisis or spiritual practice may not discern how transpersonal intensity of Love and effort to Love can feel aggressive or subtly threatening - for it is threatening. This Love is not merely a warming fire, this Love can feel to the sense of ego as a burning fire. So, persons may pull away. Toning down the intensity of Love or effort to Love, however, does not annul the reality of how powerful even the quiet subtleness of Love may be to a person clinging to the false security of his or her sense of small self. Words of Jesus in the Gospels apply here: "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!" (Gospel of Luke 12.49, ESV). To be more loving is more powerful than less loving, so how much more a Love not dictated by the identity of person, but arising from before and after person. Not surprising persons choose lesser devotions, safe affections, and hide in the most amazing disguises, even religion or spirituality, from this Love that intends to transform the very identity by which we identify ourselves and project even into an eternity beyond death - such that, heaven as an after-life become a depository of egos worshiping an egoic 'deity' who just can't get enough of being gloried in and hearing how wonderful 'he' is. Is such Love? No. That is simply the eternalization or everlasting-prolongation of personal egoic love, in regard to both 'deity' and 'self': 'god pleases me, I please god." Love is more, not less than that.
Last, it was shown to me that Love is essentially receptive, spontaneous, and invitational Presence. That is, as one evolves, by Grace, into transpersonal manifestations of Grace, effort to Love decreases, spontaneity of Love loving increases, even as the posture becomes more of welcoming connection with others, apart from trying to manipulate into such connection. Truly, transpersonal Love is beyond the need to be loved and, so, such Love maximizes the potential of sharing, or connection, limited by the egoic need and agenda of loving and being loved - this egoic affection always entailing a measure of passive or active aggression, like to a smile on the face while smiles hide his or her heart, the Heart. The ego has any number of tricks to protect itself from Love and disguise that it is present and available, when it has only manufactured an array of acceptable, even attractive, means to hide. Indeed, I have said often that a church on Sundays is one of the best places to hide from Grace, but any place can work as well, really, even the bar where persons watch sports and drink and have a fun time.
My recommendation, engage a spiritual path that opens to Life Itself, without any attachment to it making you more loving or more anything. Love arises of Itself, and the self cannot itself transcend the self. Simply intend to be drawn, or initiated, more into Love that does not reside in the head, or reason, or the heart as commonly understood, or emotion, or feeling. See what happens. You may be very surprised how Love loves, and how being-with others allows a relaxed acceptance of being loved or not being loved. You may be taught how you do not have to do anything to be Love and, so, to love. After all, this is not about assuring you will be loved more. You may be loved by fewer and receive less love from others, and that will be okay, wonderfully okay.
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©Brian Kenneth Wilcox. Brian is a Hospice Chaplain, living out his vow to serve all living beings by serving those preparing to die and their friends and family. Brian lives a vowed life, alone in a quasi-hermitic life, and integrates varied religions, but most especially the contemplative paths of Buddhism and his native faith, Christianity. Brian received a 'mystical' Christ-experience at age 9, and was introduced to a peace untouched by pain and suffering. Later, in his mid-30s, after surviving a dark night of despair, Brian was vowed to a contemplative Christian way of life on St. Matthew's Feast day, 1995, by Greenbough House of Prayer, in Georgia, USA. This began many years of ardent reading, spiritual practice, and exploration of many spiritual paths, including publication of his book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love. The Journey has led Brian to the joy beyond the ache, a contentment in experiential union with Grace. Brian lives with the affirmation that Love, not as emotion but Divine Presence, transcends all paths of religion and is our Source and Destination. As St. Paul writes in the Christian Bible, "Now remain always, faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love." Peace to All!