To Love or Not to Love

Out of Emptiness emerged something extraordinary, a sense of awareness of being.  Wise men, fools, dreamers, the religiously arrogant, philosophers, liars, poets, mystics and sages have written much between that (imaginary) first moment way outside time when the awareness said, “something is doing something.”  We shall let all beings have their story, leave them be and attempt to come into our present state of awareness.
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An Uncluttered Present
This present, the supposed NOW that some people speak of is colored by the past. The experiencer has a history, deep in the subconscious and expressing on the screen of life as we know it is a story of who we are, concepts about the way the world works, the possibles and impossibles.  If we are clear that generally the NOW that many people talk about has baggage, there will be a slight shift in awareness, a deepening, we will be more inclined to stop for a brief moment and not just scroll past it like we do with social media posts.  If we robotically say Be Here Now and make assumptions and think that we have it sorted, it is possible that the flippant attitude that we apply to many of the other things in our lives will once again prevent us from digging in.  Constantly abandoning the past is something that can be done, it may be gradual, for some it may come as a quantum leap, there may be a light-bulb moment, it’s then that the work begins.
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That Elixir
By nature or better I say by habit, we are continuously calling up what we know, all those things that have impacted on us emotionally and also our understandings / conjectures about the reality / the world space we move in.   As humans, due to the cultures we are born into we have subtle prejudices. These ‘knowns’ are what stand in the way of LOVE.
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Love, that old word that has more definitions than a caterpillar has legs; love, that thing that people seek changing partners like an evening at a square dance in a country hall; love, that elixir that brings fierce looking grown men to their knees to weep buckets of tears; love, that wondrous misinterpreted something that is elusive as the quest for what God may or may not be.
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About ten years ago in brief a moment of ecstatic-ness I wrote on a blog post:

“LOVE, has no boundaries or judgements. It embraces the totally of all things born and still unborn. It waits patiently for us to take her hand and follow her to our greatest potential, it forgives our shortcomings and speaks quietly to us when we need her most. Love creeps through our life often unnoticed but catches us as we fall. Love is our only true friend, our faithful companion that walks with us from age to age, beyond the graves.” 
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Also the great sage Shams teacher of the Mystic poet Rumi tells us:
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The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advises “Be careful, protect yourself” Whereas love says “Let yourself, go!” The mind is strong, never falls down, while love hurts itself, falls into ruins. But isn’t it in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.
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In those words there is plenty to ponder.  Indulgent romantics will focus on the ‘broken heart’ always licking their wounds as if the world owes them something.  A Buddhist will remind us that attachment is our enemy.  Alan Watts, a great carrier of Zen to the West will echo the words ‘let yourself go’.  Shams wakes us up to the fact that the world of the mind and that of love are in contradiction.  Great men and woman know that we can only be a slave to one.  Take your pick, the mind or love.
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The Unknowing Mind
The mind likes to think it knows everything, it prides itself on information.  Love knows nothing.  Love dives in boots and all, it takes chances, it always stands on the threshold, right on the edge of the precipice.  Some people say love and hate are opposites, it is not hate that is the opposite of love, it is fear.  Fear is the gateway to love.  Fear must fall, it has no place in the world of love apart from being that which dissolves itself when love ultimately flowers.
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Love is Grand
When love becomes ‘personal’ it has a wondrous place but let’s move away from here, not because it has no value, self-indulgence only holds a small spot in the universe, we need to think big in the same way that the beings on this planet are only a dot compared to the other intelligent civilizations in the cosmos.   As confusing and as misconstrued as the word ‘God’, love has its interpreters and impostors.  The holier-than-thou religious babble nonsense about love, meantime looking down on their brothers and sisters, out-casting them with their hideous doom and gloom prophecies, and there are those New Agers who delight in ‘one day karma will get them back’, fully forgetting their own minds are filled with hatred and spiritual elitism.  Their version of love is poisonous, it has conditions, “be like me” and we can add to it “if you don’t, my God will get you you evil wretch”.  They fully forget the journey that got them to their present.
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The Alchemy called Life
On the journey into and through love there is accountability but it is not revengeful, it is self-perpetuating.  The great Gods, the word God here translates as those Beings who have journeyed out of original consciousness ions ago and learnt through experience, climbed out of the states of slumber and forgetfulness and become wondrous creative Beings with understandings that are incomprehensible to human intelligence, these great Gods do not have judgement.  They have patience, the virtue of acceptance of the diversity, they know that to get to be the extraordinary Gods that they are is not instantaneous, it is a trial by fire, it is alchemy, removing the gross metal to reveal the gold.
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Returning to Ourself
If we come back to ourselves and ask the right questions.  Who do I hate? What makes me feel better than others? What behaviors of others do I despise? Who do I look down upon? Why is my tribe, caste or social class better than others?  Why is my spirituality more pure and enlightened than others?  Do we see others as a lost cause and trailer trash? We will start to see how much love we have, when we hold the mirror up we will see our shadow and start to see that our love is selective. We can quote scriptures, speak in a manner that sounds pleasing to others, eat the ‘right’ foods, be part of animal liberation movements and do a lot of things that put us into the nice guy category but it’s an incomplete model of love.  Love is much deeper than this.
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Love is there in tenderness with our beloved, sure; it is in our empathy when something wells up inside us and we go past our normal limitations to help others; yes we have it for our families and pets.  But it is more.  Love is in acceptance of what we don’t like, learning not to despise the wickedness of human nature, and that doesn’t mean to delight in it, it is in understanding that the consciousness that underlies the totality manifests in ways that are incomprehensible to us.  We are quick to judge, often forgetting the path that leads us to now, not remembering that we have a story, that we were at some point whether in this life or way back in time in some other place we expressed in ways that were not kind, we betrayed, we hurt, we put ourselves first, we have added to suffering of others.  Love allows other things to be and that does not mean we have no boundaries in our lives and have a form of idiot-compassion that makes us say yes when the best solution is no.  It’s not just in our actions, it’s about our thoughts, do we vilify others just because they are different, because their wisdom is a dormant seed in their consciousness, that due to the experiences in their lives closed themselves down which lead them to actions that reflect a lack of self care or anger and animosity to others.  Is our ‘I am better-ness’ arrogant?  Are we at times the thing that we hate?
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Love arrives in a very strange way; it is common to hear the words “we cannot truly love until we love ourselves fully’; maybe not fully, that type of thinking leads to a feeling of worthlessness, never good enough, it creates an inverted ego.  Neither the ego or its upside down I-hate-me inverted twin have substance.  There is an open secret that we know but forget, every moment is new and this is an opportunity for new growth, the past season is over and although the winter may have been bitter, the autumn of our lives had a mix of joy and misfortune, the spring of new potential constantly remerges and there are new beginnings.  We can abandon our past and extract the wisdom of experience and wander with dignity into foreverness, touching everything on the way with kindness, creating a trail that brings joy to others where possible, being gentle on the world around us.
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I awake to a new day
Although the unborn is unseen out of view
I trust in the benevolence of the Universe
I am gentle, in this is my strength
I can bend and adapt to the changing fortunes that emerge
I am an embodiment of everything I have ever dreamed to be
I walk with dignity into foreverness

Tilopa 2.0

 

The Yoga of Being Kind

We are born into societies where we are educated to ‘fit in’ and also stand out, to be seen a little bit above the rest; ambition is supposedly a virtue to some and something to drive us onward to a wondrous destination and do the clan proud.
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The Stupidity of Being Better Than Others
In our quest to rise up, we often find ourselves accidentally casting our shadows over others; life sometimes resembles two ‘suits’ fighting it out to win points in a legal case. Earth man has a tendency to adapt the ‘survival of the fittest’ attitude. When we go to school, once all basics are sorted, we find ourselves in the situation where we are taught how to do things, to retain information and then deliver something back to the teacher, our work is graded and compared to the other children.  All smiles for those who ‘got it right’ and a feeling of lack gradually develops in those who just can’t make sense of it.  In the middle a lot of others make up the numbers.
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When we move out onto the sporting field, ‘faster’ is better, ‘slower’ means you need to try harder, be a better version of your current fastest,  meanwhile the Road Runner flies by while you pant for breath, your legs that are possibly 1/6 shorter than you’d like them to be, the appendages resemble helicopter blades going in any way but the direction you want them to. The ‘sporty person’ finds a senior position in the pecking order and scores points on the subconscious ‘way we evaluate people’ table.
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The King of Nothing Syndrome
It may start at a young age but we begin to see ‘the survival’ techniques kicking in, thugs bumble and push their way through the micro-community they are part of, some day the victims of their thugi-ness may find their way to senior positions of government and live out their revenge on an unsuspecting community.
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Others have the knack of acquisition, they take the hunter-gather thing to new heights, drones do the gathering and hunting for them, the accumulation of ‘too many things’ becomes a yardstick on how THEY value themselves in the society they are part of, and other poor innocent bods believe that because someones empire is bigger than their own, it must be a better way to exist, so then they chase an empire of objects and in their failings, develop a feeling of worthlessness with an attitude of ‘life is not fair’ and suffer emotionally…… let’s go another way.
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Getting Off the Wheel of Life
The clouds overhead look ominous to some; the gardener within was hoping for rain today, the sun had scorched the garden bed, the wind had blasted and bashed the budding plants around, I was thinking ‘sprinkles from the heavens would be a bit of a blessing’.  We can learn a lot of nature, that’s a very old common adage; Alan Watts gave us a reminder ‘there are no straight lines in nature’, I will add ‘apart from the horizon, if we look from the sky we would see it’s curved’.  Many of us would remember school assemblies,  kids standing in line, every so often one would faint, or a fart may break the silence and great chaos cuts loose.  I am thinking that the tighter the school environment, the more a person becomes a slave to the system, some push ahead with tenacity to be the leaders in our social structure, but they are still insiders, it takes a lot of work to undo our programming. Communities don’t usually like outsiders, they are a threat.
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Getting Outta Here
Lao Tsu, Buddha, Jesus, Chang Zhu all rewrote the destiny of man, although people build religious cults around their words, they changed humanity from the inside.   They did not compete, they walked in the opposite direction to the rest of humanity, this in itself is a great teaching.  They broke through into new areas of thought, or more specifically ‘thought-less-ness’.  There is a tendency for the followers to focus on their words instead of the way they lived, Emptiness is at the core of these great men, it is easily missed. When we look at humanity, people prefer ‘fullness’, even if it’s a big bucket of crap, they are more comfortable with the pain and familiarity of the known than the potential of an unborn future, the unknown does not seem safe, it requires courage and trust.
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Win at All Costs

By inherited nature, humans compete all the time, being aware of what is healthy competition and what is debstabilising for others and what ‘weakens’ us is critical, i didn’t say damaging I said ‘critical’. When we are unnaturally competitive our values can go out the window and we make excuses for our actions, any excuse will do.  To have some kind of peace we justify things and point the finger away from ourselves and target others. When we take the time to think about how we treat others we can gradually over a period of time bring about some type of transformation in ourselves that will help us relax a little; relaxing doesn’t mean being ‘sloppy’.  All the mantras, wisdom, teachings are meaningless if we lack empathy and kindness, a softened heart is the fruit of all Spiritual practice and explorations into Emotional Intelligence.
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Every Moment Zen
Every day, every interaction we have with others puts us in a situation where we have choices.  Often the smarter we are, the greater the expert, the bigger the empire and the higher we are in a hierarchy, the more chance there is to be disrespectful to others, flippant, dismissive and lacking in understanding, our value systems can get skewed, and of course there are wonderful people at all places in the community but the quest for success can cloud our thoughts and we close down a little.
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As a musician I am constantly in the situation of having to leave my opinions out of things relating to music.  After many decades of honing my craft I am inclined to be critical to the point of annoying and wanting to ‘fix’ the music around me. We all have parts of ourselves that require work if we want to live happy lives, I am aware of where much of my work lies. Where this article was always going was to point out one simple thing, and it’s an ongoing process that constantly arises, ‘it’s better to be kind than right’, we know if we are well informed about things, and whether we have a great skill, we don’t need to prove anything, it is our actions and the way we treat others that counts. I think the process of softening takes our whole life, till the moment we pass into another part of foreverness.