The Lesson of Love
“The mind will take you into the courtyard of the Beloved, but only the heart
will get you into the bedroom.”
Nisargadatta Maharaj said: ‘Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, love is knowing I
am everything, and between the two, my life moves.’ Kalu Rinpoche, a renowned
Tibetan master and a teacher to the Dalai Lama, said something similar: ‘You
live in illusion and the appearance of things… When you understand this, you
will see that you are nothing. And being nothing, you are everything.’
As you work with the practice of being supremely present, and master the
teaching that you are not your thoughts, not your story, you will discover that,
indeed, you are “nothing” and “nobody.” Yet in that discovery, you will feel
the power of the universe itself moving through you, and you will realize that
you are connected to everything and everyone. It is in the knowing—wisdom—and
the feeling—love—that true freedom arises.
Let’s be realistic though. Let’s look at love from a very practical
perspective. Love is not about necessarily liking every human being on earth, or even
your neighbor for that matter, especially if he or she is mean-spirited,
malicious, or ill-willed. It is not about condoning harmful or destructive
behavior. But it is about respecting the fundamental humanity of all people, and
looking for the spark of truth, goodness, and light that resides somewhere deep
within their heart and soul, even though they may be partially or almost totally
disconnected from it.
The ongoing work of awakening is to bring love from inside your heart out
into the world, where it can make a difference. Learning to do this is a lifelong
process. It requires you to be very conscious and aware each moment of the
day—and, when you notice you are not being aware, when you are caught up in
distraction, in conflict, in judgment, taking that as your cue to come back to
awareness. Taking it as your reminder to come back to being very present in the
You have to be vigilant. Sometimes you might have to remind yourself to
listen more carefully, to be more compassionate, to reach out and put your arm
around someone. Your mind may now be clear, you may truly have seen through the
illusion of the “person,” of your own story, but the opening of the heart is an
endless process. It is a journey of growing into love, of learning to express
your true, compassionate nature ever more fully. It’s about being very aware,
very present, very open, and very grounded in your body in each moment.
From that centeredness and groundedness, which happens naturally and
effortlessly as freedom becomes more real for you, you can reach out to others, and
share who you are with them. You can open your heart to them. You can introduce
the enlightenment conversation, if there’s an invitation to speak or someone
asks you a question. Above all, you will share your silence. Above all, you
will share your peace, the presence, the beauty, the sometimes quiet, sometimes
effusive joy that is your true spiritual nature.
In sharing the silence, the stillness, you discover that it is silence itself
which gives birth to all authentic conversation, or communication. When you
speak out of silence, from a place that is truly empty, yet rich in energy and
awareness, your communication with others goes deep. The stronger your
silence, the more powerful your words.
Words that come out of silence lead to real understanding, and ultimately,
bring us back to silence itself. They bring us back to the beauty and fullness
of now, to pure, radiant awareness. They bring us back to the place where all
creation, all love, is birthed.
Know yourself as consciousness, the source of everything, and you will carry
that inner silence with you, even as you go out into the noisy market-place,
even as you engage this wonderful, crazy, ever-fascinating drama called life.
Let yourself be guided by awareness, presence, and love as much and as often
as possible, and one day, true freedom will be yours.
©Jim Dreaver, 2004