Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The Universe is an Expression of Love
Many believe that this is an impersonal material universe, a universe that is more darkness than light, more cold than warmth, more vacuum than substance. Furthermore, many people feel that the random, isolated consciousness at the heart of each human life is endangered by vast forces that do not recognize its fragile existence.
For those with spiritual vision, however, we are living within an infinite heart. This whole universe is a manifestation of cosmic love. This whole universe was created from just a spark of love. In the Sufi tradition these words are attributed to the Creator, the Source of our being:
"I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known,
so I created both worlds, the visible and the invisible,
in order that My hidden treasure
of generosity and lovingkindness would be known."
~ Hadith Qudsi ~
This universe is an expression of love. We live in an ocean of Love, but because it is so near to us, we sometimes need to be shocked or hurt, or experience some loss, in order to be aware of the nearness and importance of love. A little fish was told that without water it could not live, and it became very afraid. It swam to its mother and, trembling, told her about the need for water. The mother said, "Water, my darling, is what we're swimming in."
I have known people to go through exactly this experience through their contact with the Way of Love. One person expressed it to me this way: "I used to believe that compassion was something within myself and other human beings, but I was not convinced that this compassion existed outside of ourselves. Our work together has made it clear that compassion is outside of ourselves and that is why we also find it within. We are living in it!"
Every being and thing is set in motion by Love
The Planets revolve around the sun, and the sun radiates its energy to the planets. Atoms are held in a delicate but immensely powerful balance by love. Every species has its own form of love or desire that motivates it. Every human being has its own unique form of love through which it approaches life. Everything is seeking union with the object of its desire. And all of these desires are the derivatives of one Love.
Perhaps this morning you wanted some Ceylon tea and fresh bread. Later you had a hunger for some soup and salad. In the evening you had stir-fried vegetables over rice, with blueberries and cream for desert. The motivation behind all of these was the hunger of the body. In the same way, Love is the motivation behind every yearning.
We believe that we love this or that, but the fundamental Love is the pure experience of Being. This Being, this isness, is the fundamental energy and substance of the universe. When we are in a state of presence, fully awake and alive, we are open to this isness, to Being, and since the essence of this Being is the Love that created existence, our experience of Being is Love.
In all of life Love is seeking to discover itself. We come into this world, and we experience a profound forgetfulness; we are asleep. Everything that happens from then on is the process of waking up to the fact that Love brought us here, that we are loved by a Beneficent Unseen Reality, and that the core of our being is Love. The whole purpose and meaning of creation is to discover the secret of Love.
The experience of love is the most fulfilling and important experience we can have, the highest of all values. We can't compare love to anything. It is its own meaning and criteria. Since everything is explained by something subtler than what is being explained, nothing can explain love because love itself is the subtlest of all things we can experience.
Love is seeking us. Love brought us here, whether we know it or not. Love nudges us to make plans, to seek relationship, to create the possibility of a meeting of hearts. It puts the pen to paper; it puts a word on the tongue. Love is not the goal of anything; it is the cause of everything.
"See how the hand is invisible while the pen is writing;
the horse careening, yet the rider is unseen;
the arrow flying, but the bow out of sight;
individual souls existing,
while the Soul of souls is hidden."
~ Rumi, M, 1303-1304 ~
The Sufis know that Love is the most active, the most powerful force in the universe. Love is always acting on us. We think we are the creators and directors of our lives, but our actions may be just the slightest visible signs of a process that is vast and invisible. We know only a fragment of what can be seen; of the unseen we know very little. Like children we are unconscious of all the forces and factors that sustain us, care for us, and guide our life and our world.
The spiritual life requires a reversal of our usual egoistic thinking and wanting. We believe that we are seeking, but what if it is Love itself that is the seeker? Rumi says:
"Abundance is seeking the beggars and the poor,
just as beauty seeks a mirror.....
Beggars, then, are the mirrors of God's abundance,
and they who are with God
are united with absolute abundance."
~ Rumi, M, I, 2745, 2750 ~
The idea that we live in Love's Universe may seem a sentimental and naive proposition to some people. Why then do we live in a world of such injustices and horrors?
Life brings us very real suffering, and this suffering can be the cause of some doubt about the beneficence of life. Often, when we are in the midst of our suffering, we cannot see a purpose in it. We may lose our trust in the meaning of life. The soul faces a critical choice at this point: whether to be embittered by reality or allow the pain of life to reorient us to a deeper truth, to help us form a connection to a reality beyond space, time, and even beyond our individual selves.
The idea that we live in a universe created by love is anything but sentimental and naive, because it does not deny the pain of life but embraces this complex reality with all its contradictions. We see that we are turned from one feeling to another and taught by means of opposites and contrasts.
"He alone has the right to break,
for he alone has the power to mend.
He that knows how to sew together
knows how to tear apart:
whatever He sells,
He buys something better in exchange.
He lays the house in ruins;
then in a moment He makes it more livable than before."
~ Rumi, M, I, 3882 ~
Sometimes we need to be shocked out of our complacency and indifference in order to know the reality of love. We need to find a way to restore the proper perspective. We need to be reminded of the centrality of love.
Without becoming passive, we can stop resisting and submit to Love. We begin to see the infinite power of love as the greatest cause in the universe, and little by little we begin to serve it. Eventually, we begin to see that even a bitter drink is sweet when it is from the Beloved.
Knowing that Love is the master of the universe helps us to accept and learn from every experience. Knowing that there is an eternal dimension residing here in intimate association with material existence will begin to free us from fears. When we are less governed by negative thoughts about God's creation, we will be freed from many fears.
The human being is God's beloved
The human being is the macrocosm, not just the microcosm, of the universe. While in outward form a human being is the microcosm, a miniature universe, in truth, according to the masters and prophets, humanity is the macrocosm, the cause of the existing universe.
This subject is being debated today in cosmological physics. It appears to those who have done the necessary calculations on the formation of the universe that if you were to change any one of the physical laws one iota, there would not be a universe that could support the human being -- nor would there be a universe at all. It appears to those who have looked carefully that the universe was virtually designed to create the human being.
Maybe this is what Mevlana Rumi means when he says the fruit is the cause of the tree, not the other way around. In the simplest terms, the gardener planted the tree in order for it to bear fruit. How many fruits are on a tree? How many trees are within the fruit?
God says: "I created the whole universe for you and you for Myself" (Hadith Qudsi).
Every human being is the creation of love and a beloved child of the universe. And every human is free to turn his or her back on love.
"Water says to the dirty, "Come here."
The dirty one says, "But I am so ashamed."
Water says, "How will you be made clean without me?"
~ Rumi, M, I, 1366-67 ~
The more we live in our individual sense of isolation, loneliness, alienation, in our envy, resentment, pride, and shame, the more we allow this love to be obscured.
If we attempt to go this way alone, we will find only our own ego. God loves us to be together. God is us-with-us and doesn't like loneliness. Trying to attain truth through books alone is like trying to fall in love with a picture. We cannot at first fall in love with something we don't see. But if we meet the divine love in others who have melted in that love, if we stay close to those who have understood this love, then we begin to sense the Love behind all the forms of love. We enter spiritual work and spiritual community so that love might be more revealed and known, less obscure.
Something has brought us together, established the relationships of our lives, and there is a reason for this and a reason behind the reason. Among other things it is our purpose to discover the reason and explore what connects us. An infinite Intelligence has arranged our situation, and that infinite Intelligence is certainly not you or I, although it operates through you and me. We are here to be in communication with one another and to explore the mystery of Love. It is Love that has arranged all this. It is Love that brought us here. We are here to open a space that Love can enter and be more known, more apparent, more understood. if we can keep this intention in mind -- opening a space for Love -- it will help us stay aligned with its power.
From ~ The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation, pgs.40-45
By ~ Kabir Helminski
To read the whole chapter, go here: http://sufism.org/articles/loves-universe-by-kabir-helminski-2