Friday, May 17, 2013

Real Love

(published in the June-July 2013 edition of Sibyl Magazine)

"Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes.
Because for those who love with heart and soul,
there is no such thing as separation."
— Rumi

by Lilamayi

Love is the bridge that connects us to our true nature. Is this a scientifically proven fact? No. But those who have known true love know that the truth of who they are is beyond time and space. They know that the essence of who they are is that love. This is why love is the essence of life and art. But this is also why love can bring up so much fear.

A few years ago I saw the Broadway musical, Wicked, and something happened toward the end of the story that struck a deep chord in my soul. The main character, Elphaba, is in love with the young revolutionary student, Fiyero. When he is about to be killed by the police, Elphaba casts a protective spell on Fiyero that turns him into a scarecrow. They happily run off, in love, the lady and the scarecrow. This struck a chord in me because I realized that this was true love that went beyond the form of the beloved. One of my dearest teachers, the mother of Ananda Ashram, once told me that, as humans, we are at first attracted to the form, but when we find true love, it is a connection that is beyond form. It brings us deep joy  and inner strength because, in that experience of love, we know who we are. True love is a bridge to our true self. When we know that we are love, we know that love is real and that love permeates all things. The true love becomes a bridge to absolute love that extends to all of  creation. We become wise then because we see the unifying essence of the universe and are then able to understand the nature of fear.

Fear is what happens when love comes to shine light on something we are afraid to reveal. Maybe its shame about something we believe is unforgiveable, or a fear that we are unworthy of real love. It may be a fear that real love doesn’t stand a chance in the world of power struggles and competition and manipulation. Or a fear that all we have worked to gain might be ruined in the moment that someone pulls back the curtain to reveal nothing but a fake and powerless “Wizard of Oz” from Omaha, Nebraska.

Sometimes love drops in on us unexpectedly and we are immersed in its grace. Sometimes our river seems to run dry and we might question its very existence and turn instead to quick fix desires that leave us empty. What do we do then? That is when faith and practice come in. What people and activities bring us back to love? What can we do to remember who we are?

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