Love and Fear
What is love?”
“The total absence of fear,” said the Master.
“What is it we fear?”
“Love,” said the Master. (Anthony de Mello)
“…how few understand what love really is, and how it arises in the human heart. It is so frequently equated with good feelings toward others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service. But these things in themselves are not love. Love springs from awareness. It is only inasmuch as you see someone as he or she really is here and now, and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection, that you can truly love them. Otherwise, it is not the person that you love but the idea that you have formed of this person, or this person as the object of your desire, not as he or she is in themselves.”
Father Anthony de Mello
“The first act of love is to see this person or this object, this reality, as it truly is. And this involves the enormous discipline of dropping your desires, your prejudices, your memories, your projections, your selective way of looking… a discipline so great that most people would rather plunge headlong into good actions and service than submit to the burning fire of this asceticism. When you set out to serve someone whom you have not taken the trouble to see, are you meeting that person’s need or your own?”
Father Anthony de Mello
The Sun Never Says
Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.
Love is our most natural state, where all that is false in us has fallen away. It is simply awareness, without the attachment to beliefs or ideas or concepts or thoughts or memories. It is innocent and fresh.
Love is when the false is released, and this is why releasing is such an important part of my core practice.
There are times when I feel stuck, as I have in the last few weeks. This is a time of angst and doubt and frustration, and I want to effect change.
Often in life when we want to effect change, we turn to discipline or some sort of self-improvement. This isn’t a bad thing—it works. Set a goal, create a habit, eliminate a bad habit, achieve something. Set your mind to it, punch the gas, and it always works. The trouble is it works even if we’re going in the wrong direction.
We can allow, accept, and just let things be. There is wisdom in this. But if we’re honest about this, this isn’t always easy. “Just letting things be” feels wrong—we are trained and conditioned to do something. Allowing is not an easy practice to integrate, and that’s okay. We can start by acknowledging that.
What I do is renew my commitment to awakening. I go back to the basics. I go back to my core practice of awareness (meditating), releasing, self-honesty, allowing. I release whatever angst I am feeling—sometimes it’s the angst of changes I want to make, sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s regret or remorse.
With this renewal, sometimes there is clarity. Sometimes there is the realization that the change I have been wanting is not important. Sometimes the change becomes easy to effect. Sometimes nothing happens, but the angst is gone.
The secret ingredient is love.