To the extent you know love, you become love. Love is more than an emotion. It is a force of nature and therefore must contain truth. When you say the word love, you may catch the feeling, but the essence cannot be spoken. The purest love lies where it is least expected --in unattachment."
"The purest knight to serve Arthur was Galahad, yet he had in common with the king that he was born out of wedlock. There was no stigma attached to the fact that Galahad was Lancelot's natural son, yet when the day came for him to become the champion of a lady at court, Arthur shook his head and frowned.
"I would not have you be the champion on any noble lady," Arthur declared. Galahad turned scarlet and stammered, "But my lord, every knight must serve some lady out of the purity of his love."
"What do you know of love?" asked Arthur, his tone so direct that Galahad flushed twice as deeply. "If you are so eager to champion a lady, I will give you three to choose from." The king forthwith sent for Margaret, an old scrubwoman with gray hair and warts on her nose. "Would you serve her out of love, fair knight?" Arthur demanded.
Galahad was bewildered. "I don't understand, my lord," he murmured. Arthur gave him a keen look and sent the old woman away. "Bring in another," he commanded. This time a newborn baby girl was ushered in. "If you found Margaret too old and ugly to serve, what about this lady, she is noble born, and you must admit her beauty. It was certainly true that the baby was quite beautiful, but Galahad was even more confused. He shook his head.
"This love you speak of is a hard master," Arthur said. he sent a third time for a lady, and Arabelle, a lovely 12-year-old girl, entered. Galahad looked at her and tried to control his anger. "My lord, she is just a young maiden and my half sister," he said.
"You asked for a lady to serve," Arthur said, "and I have been generous enough to present you with three. Now you must decide."
Galahad looked stunned. "Why do you mock me this way?" he asked.
Arthur raised a hand, and in a moment the great hall was cleared, leaving the two alone. "I am not mocking you," he said. "I am trying to show you something taught me by my master Merlin."
Galahad looked up to see a softened expression on teh king's face. "My knights serve ladies out of love, they say," Arthur went on, "and, despite their vows to love chastely, more often than not they feel a passion for the ones they serve, do they not?" Galahad nodded.
"And the more passionately attached they are to the ladies, the more their zeal to serve them?" Arthur asked. The young knight nodded again. "Merlin taught me another way to love," Arthur said. "Consider the old woman, the baby, and the young girl who is your sister. These are all manifestations of the feminine, and as those forms change, what you call love changes with them. When you say you are in love, what you're really saying is that an image you carry around inside has been satisfied.
"This is how attachment begins, with attachment to an image. You may claim to love a woman, but let her betray you with another man and your love will turn to hatred. Why? Because your inner image has been defiled, and since it was that image you loved all along, its betrayal makes you enraged."
What can be done about this?" asked Galahad.
"Look beyond your emotions, which will always change, and ask what lies behind the image. Images are fantasies; fantasies exist to protect us from something we don't want to face. In this case it is emptiness. Lacking love for yourself, you form an image to cover over the void. That is why being shunned or betrayed in love causes such pain, because the gaping wound of your own need gets exposed."
"Love is considered so beautiful and exalted," Galahad mourned, "but you make it sound horrible."
Arthur smiled. "What usually passes for love can have horrible consequences, but that is not the end of the story. There is a secret to love. Merlin told me the secret many years ago, as I impart it to you: when you can love an old woman, a baby, and a young girl in the same way, you will be free to love beyond mere form. Then the essence of love,which is a universal force, will be unlocked inside you. You will be unattached, which is the silent summons that love must obey."
When a wizard speaks of love, what he refers to is almost the opposite of what we call love. To us, love is a highly personal feeling; to the wizard it is a universal force. Falling in love for us is a condition that eventually fades; a wizard does not fall in love because he is permanently in the flow of love itself. But the greatest difference has to do with attachment. Attachment arises whenever you say, "I love you because you're mine." This form of love is really an extension of the ego, which always thinks in terms of 'I,' 'me,' mine.'
"You mortals call it love when you feel completely attached to another person," Merlin said. "Your fantasy is either to possess someone completely or to be completely possessed. But wizards call it love when they feel no attachment, no possession."
"Isn't that simply indifference?" asked Arthur.
Merlin shook his head. "Indifference had no energy or life to it. A wizard's love is incredibly alive and flows with the energy of the cosmos. For that to happen you must be like an empty vessel. Mortals are so full of ego that there's room for nothing else. A wizard is completely empty; therefore the universe can fill him with love."
Merlin spoke gently, almost tenderly. "Falling in love is a wonderful opportunity for you," he said. "Normally you live safely behind the walls of your own ego. You like your safety there, your lack of vulnerability. Falling in love tears down the walls, at least temporarily. You are exposed and vulneralbe, just as you feared, but the over- whelming emotion of love makes this an ecstatic condition rather than a painful one you expected. At its best, falling in love means sharing the unknown with another soul, being willing to step together into the wisdom of uncertainty."
Wizards do not see forms of love as higher or lower--that is the language of judgment, and wizards don't judge. "If your enemy walks past you and insults you," Merlin said, "that is an act of love. The impulse of love started in your enemy's heart, only to be turned to hatred when it passed through the screen of memory. Your past experiences cause the impulse of love to become warped or twisted as it rises tothe surface, but make no mistake, any expression would be loving if you could meet it at its source."
"Is it possible to build a bridge from teh kind of love mortals feel to the kind you feel?" Arthur asked.
"You don't have to build a bridge, for there is only one kind of love," replied Merlin. "Personal love that you feel for another is a concentrated form of universal love; universal love is an expanded form of personal love. You can experience both to the fullest if you allow yourself to be open."
To some extent we all fall in love with images. We carry these images around inside ourselves, waiting until we find a match for them in the external world. Usually we are searching for someone either to reflect our own self-images or to repair them. One kind of love seeks a mirror, the other wants to add a missing piece. In both cases there is an underlying sense of need. Feeling incomplete in yourself, you try to boister your lack through someone else.
"If you want to feel love as God feels it, you must fill all your voids, for God can love only from the state of fullness," Merlin advised. To be a perfect lover would mean to have no secret weakness or wound you want someone else to fix for you. Searching out your own voids is the first step, filling them with Being or essence is the second. This process is usually called learning to love yourself, but we must be careful with that term. Too often it is synonymous with learning to love your self-image. In the wizard's eyes self-image is simply ego; it is denial papering over the void of lack.
The real process of learning to love yourself would be better termed learning to love your SELF, meaning your spirit. If you honestly look at your past, which is now stored as thousands of memories inside, you will always find a mixed bag--some experiences may have aroused love of self or others, many did not. Memories of shame, guilt, rejection, hatred, resentment, and other unloving feelings cannot be converted to love. These images are what they are. Accept them and move to a higher sense of SELF, which is unconnected with memory.
Memory can only lock you into a suffocating sense of your personal past. Beyond memory is the quiet experience of Being, simple awareness without content. This is the region of love, the region of yourself entered through meditation. Many kinds of meditation exist; their tradition in both East and West is guided by the principle that you have a core of Being or esssence that can be entered. Access comes not by thinking or feeling. Rather, to meditate is to go directly to the silent region within.
You can get a sense of what it is like ot go beyond images through the following exercise: imagine a beautiful woman or a handsome man in your mind's eye, someone who represents your ideal object of love. See the person as vividly as you can, then change his or her face, making it older and older, until the beauty is gone and what you behold is wizened and wrinkled. Is your feeling of love still as strong as when you started? Most of us find it extremely hard to have the same feelings for a wrinkled, old face as for a young, beautiful one. Can you call it love when a mere change of image causes such alteration?
"Why does love change?" asked Arthur.
"Because the emotion of love always contains its opposite. The strongest love you feel masks a harted equally strong." Merlin said. "The only difference is that the love is in blossom while the hatred is still a seed."
Or try this related exercise: think back to a time when someone you deeply loved hurt you. It might have been a moment of indifference or betrayal, or it might have been an act that revealed your beloved wasn't perfect but only human. IF you are honest with yourself, you will remember how violently and suddenly love can turn into other feelings. The hatred, jealousy, hurt, or indifference that sprang up was always there in seed form, hidden from sight by the love you preferred to feel. Why did you prefer it? Besides sheer pleasure there is another reason: ego. The kind of love that is attached to another person is really about yourself, because what keeps it going isn't what is real in the beloved but something far more binding--your own need to possess.
When you think you possess someone else, what you're actually doing is finding a way to escape yourself, avoiding your denied fears and weaknesses. Instead of confronting yourself, you look in the mirror of love and see perfect fulfillment in the emotions that you feel for your beloved. This is not criticism. As a wizard sees it, love really is a way to experience perfect fulfillment, but it can't happen through fantasy. The mirror of love is a divine way to go beyond ego, but only after you have gotten to the pure flow of Being that lies like a secret jewel inside every feeling of love.
"Remember," Merlin said, "love is not a mere feeling but a universal force, and as such it must contain truthk." If you are able to go this deep, you will find that every emotion turns out to be love in disguise. Jealousy and hatred seem to be opposites of love, but they can also be seen as distorted ways to return love. The jealous person is seeking love but has a distorted way of going about it: the hating person may desperately want love but hates out of despair at ever getting it. Once you stop seeing love as a mere emotion, it makes sense that a universal force is drawing everyone toward it--this is the wizard's love. Thus we should honor every expression of love, however distorted. Though few people may be able to experience universal love at its fullest, all are walking the path toward it."
From the book: "The Way of The Wizard" Twenty Spiritual Lessons For Creating the Life You Want by Deepak Chopra.
My thoughts after reading Lesson 15
So, as they say, "What's love got to do with it?" Well I guess it depends what "it" is in your life. I know myself that I have decided to take some time in my life now to define just what love is and to try to work a broader definition of love into my own existence beginning with the development of love of my SELF, from my deeply rooted spirited soul on out.
As abuse survivors we cannot deny the amount of damage that has been done to us or the level to which it sinks inside. I have all too often searched for love in all of the wrong places. Mainly the places were all outside of myself. I have come to realize that no one is the holder of the love that I so have craved for a lifetime. No one really took that love away. The expression of love in my soul and indeed in my world got inverted and made its way out of me as hate. I have since begun majorally to turn this around. I am turning it around through a process of healing that is so extensive I am not sure I can put it into words. But, it began with me giving back to my abusers all that they were responsible for. In doing this, I then had to own my own choices and responsibility. Choices that I had made to protect myself, to endure and to survive. These choices are not the stuff out of which flows life or love or freedom or safety or any sense of self, or SELF, or worth....NO...so I had to look at those choices and one by one begin to make new choices and in the process of this to forgive myself for all that I lost in time, experience or love through the choices that I exercised from what was albeit a limited awareness.
For me, so far, and particularly at this point in and upon my healing journey, love is such a central thematic issue. Love speaks to the very core of all that I am trying and indeed beginning to succeed at exercising in my life.
I am amazed at this juncture to come to realize that so much that our cultures teach us as to what love is, is not only inaccurate, unhealthy at base, and very limited and limiting, but that it also seems to seek to pull us away from ourselves, who we really are at core, before our worth or producitivity, in human terms is exacted from us. After all the purpose with which we are taught to evolve in human terms takes us far off the path of self-love, self-fulfillment and all that is about the relationship that each of us had the right, opportunity and responsibililty to form with ourselves and our universal source of being.
Life, human life, daily human life, in which we are all seen by someone as cogs in various wheels which are all driven by the human ego, seeks to have us fulfill the needs of our culture, and our society, indeed our family, and our fellow "man" before we even can (without the pressure of guilt) begin to feel free enough to admit and to pursue what our own needs are. If you were abused than you know that this scenario is multiplied by a million by the needs of an out-of-control, dominating abusers who needs you to have no individuated reality in order to continue to dominate you. My point here is I hope that on your healing journey, or your journey through life, that you will heed the call to SELFHOOD, to PERSONHOOD, and search out what matters to you. Educate yourself in the cry of your heart and soul. Realize that your hunger to attach is equal to how empty you may feel. There are many reasons in life that we can end up feeling empty and unworthy but there are even more truths that speak much more loudly to the searching soul that announce our RIGHT to the very essence of what it is to be fully human. Love, first, loving yourself, and then loving others and allowing the essence of a universal love to flow from you, within you, and being open to living your life within that flow, because as water is never tired of flowing, neither does the flow of universal love wax or wane or demand too much. Tap into it today. It is yours to discover within yourself. Living and healing within this univeral flow of love in life is truly what the state of BEING is all about. Stop all that you are DOING that disables you from having substancial experiences related to just BEING.
In order to BE, in order to exist and learn to thrive within the flow of universal love it has been my experience that it is essential to recover, work through, feel and let go of the memories that otherwise can be the ties that will continue to bind us with hate. Hate, afterall being love expressed at a source that is then twisted by past truths that if we are still carrying around we are still imprisoned by. Love, universal love, the love of God can and will set you free....
© Ms. A.J. Mahari August 16/98