Thursday, April 10, 2014

Robert Wolfe - The Meaning of Love

Question: I viewed the 46 minute interview on YouTube, and found your words and presence deeply resonant with my understandings. I did come away with one question or topic that I did not hear you speak on: the presence of Love Abiding. Is there a place in your writings that I can read your thoughts on love as permeating Nondual Presence? Or do you speak of Nonduality without any framing of that presence in terms of love? - Rev. Roy R.


Because it is so much at the very root of spirituality, an entire book could be written on how love is perceived by an enlightened being. As a pastor, you are asking how love is expressed in the context of nonduality.
By the way you framed the question, I think we can agree that we are not considering love in its common conception as mere affection and attachment toward another person or object; benevolent concern for other animate beings; romantic or sexual attraction; or worship and devotion toward an idol or supernatural image. All of these are relationships which reflect a dualistic perception. As Ramana Maharshi has said of this, "When you talk of 'love' there is duality, is there not: the person who loves and the entity…which is loved."

In the transcendence of the dualistic perception is the profound love which the nondual sages refer to. The Sanskrit term ananda is often translated into English as "bliss," but the bliss is the consequence of experiencing unconditional love: the word unconditional is defined as "absolute." This is love for all that exists: that means the "good," the "bad," and whatever is in between. It means a love that inclusively makes no distinction between what is manifested from moment to moment, and the omnipresent Totality which manifests it.

Ramana uses various words to indicate the ever-present actuality, such as God or Self, that ti which all things owe their be-ing. So he says, " Expansion of love and affection would be a [proper] term for a true devotee of God," or the sublime Presence. But he emphasizes that thjis infinite Presence "is not 'somewhere else', but is inside [as well as outside] of each of us; so, in loving all, one loves only the Self…The individual is not separate from God."

He is telling us that this love and affection expands to embrace the good, the bad and the indifferent—in ourselves, equally as in others. This is the "unconditional" aspect, which, relates to our being nonjudgmental and non-interfering, and thus eliminates conflict, inward and outward.

This "love" is not an alternative to "hate"; it's the transcendence of divisive polarities: such as that some people, or developments, are "good" or "bad"; or that they should be this way, and should not be that way. This is what Ramana means by "the absence of love or hatred."

The infinite Being is above hatred, and above love as well, in the discriminatory sense. But that within each of us which has the capacity for the expression of unconditional love, or compassion, is a manifestation of the Presence which loves itself through the medium of being all things which can be the subject of love.

Thus Ramana says: "Love is not different from the Self…[in this sense] God is love…Love itself is the actual form of God…Call it pure bliss, God, or what you will."

"It is only through jnana [Self-realization] that the bliss that derives from true love will arise…Die yourself [into the eternal Self] and lose yourself, becoming one with love…To be the [nondual] Self that you really are, is the only means to realize the bliss that is ever yours."

So, in summary: God is love (as well as all else), and this God manifests as all that is.

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