Friday, June 24, 2022

Love - Far, Far More than just an Emotion

     To an old friend, who firmly considers himself a physicalist / materialist, I sent the following email:

These quotes reveal some aspects of meaningful spirituality.

Truth, like love and sleep, resents approaches that are too intense.” W.H. Auden

     “At the bottom of my grievance against a world gone mad, I discovered the vulnerable child who still didn’t know that
love was fully available or truly reliable.” John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006.

     “… what we resist makes us frightened, hard, inflexible, and what we embrace becomes transformed.” Jack Kornfield

     "I was born
      when all I once feared
      I could love.”                 Rābiʿah al-Baṣrī

     “I would define
love very simply: as a potent blend of openness & warmth, which allows us to make real contact, to take delight in & appreciate, and to be at one with – ourselves, others, & life itself.
love is the central force that holds our whole life together & allows it to function." John Welwood. "Perfect love, imperfect relationships. Healing the wound of the heart." Trumpeter, 2006.

     “No matter how sharp your intellect is,
      don’t forget to filter it through the heart of compassion
      before you manifest it in the suffering world.”                 Dzogchen Ponlop

     "Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough." George Washington Carver

     "You learn about a thing ... by opening yourself wholeheartedly to it. You learn about a thing by loving it." Barbara McClintock - Nobel prize-winning geneticist

     "The truth is, what one really needs is not Nobel prizes but love. How do you think one gets to be a Nobel laureate? Wanting love, that's how. Wanting it so bad one works all the time and ends up a Nobel laureate. It's a consolation prize.
     What matters is love."           George Wald - Nobel prize-winning biologist from Harvard


     My friend responded to my email saying the quotes were "interesting," however "Love is an emotion to me, and not the secret of the universe." I suggested that he consider holding his present stance lightly - as an open question or koan.

    William James, a leading thinker of the late 19th century, one of the most influential American philosophers, and the 'Father of American psychology' wrote:
I have no doubt whatever that most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness... much like a man who out of his whole bodily organism should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger...
all have reservoirs of life to draw upon, of which we do not dream."

    I've learned that love actually IS the secret of the universe, and much wiser folks than I, like Rabindranath Tagore, seem to agree:

Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment.
It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”

Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it.”

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.”

     And Mahatma Gandhi wrote:
     “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth & love have always won. There have been tyrants & murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.

Living without mystery means knowing nothing of the mystery of our own life, nothing of the mystery of another person, nothing of the mystery of the world; it means passing over our own hidden qualities and those of others & the world. It means remaining on the surface, taking the world seriously only to the extent that it can be calculated & exploited, and not going beyond the world of calculation & exploitation. Living without mystery means not seeing the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"The beautiful thing about compassion is that
when it spontaneously arises in you, an inner door opens
into an experience of love,
which is our part of our fundamental reality....
When the inner door opens, it becomes effortless to reach out and connect with others. This is why the greatest antidote to insecurity and sense of fear is compassion. It brings one back
to the basis of one's inner strength.
A truly compassionate person embodies a carefree spirit
of fearlessness,
born of the freedom
from egoistic self concern."
The Dalai Lama

Helen Hamilton: "The Ocean Of Loving Acceptance"


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