“convergence” by sume
Excuse me while I chase a tangent…
Sufis have a saying, “The Beloved is living, the lover is dead.” The first time I read this, I freaked out a little. What does that suppose to mean? It took me a long time to even begin to grasp the meaning of oblivion of the Self, to become an emptiness ready to be filled. While I’m not Sufi and as most people know by now, am spiritually wandering again, the concept in regards to the nature of love itself hasn’t been lost to me.
I’ve put much thought into the subject which may seem impossible given the tone of my blog. But yeah, I do other things other than rant and spit. Love interests me not only on an emotional and physical level but also on a spiritual one. In fact, it’s the spiritual aspects that interest me most of all. From all my experience, I’ve learned that the spiritual part of love endures beyond everything else.
I think too many fairy tales, books and movies among other things have completely fubared my notion of love and what it means. It’s only now that I’m coming out the sappy, shallow illusion that I too readily swallowed in my younger days. They taught me that love was conditional, dependent upon the actions of the object of the emotion. Love created a debt and if the debt wasn’t paid, too bad. I’m not just talking about romantic love, but also love between family and friends.
It was very confusing to me as a child, because I’d always been told that love was unconditional, independent of everything else. “For God so loved the world…” Yet even there, it seemed conditional on our returning that love in the form of obedience and worship. I was told that if I sinned enough or refused to worship God a certain way, I’d be doomed to burn in a pit of molten lava for eternity.
Then it was explained to me that it was like parental love. If we disobeyed our parents, we were punished. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” The punishment was to teach us a lesson. Okay, I can accept that, though I didn’t much like having my ass tanned by that belt. And no, I didn’t think of it as abuse even though I don’t spank my kids. It was just the default punishment back then. I prefer the non-violent alternatives for my own children. I get better results. But I digress.
So why didn’t God just kick our asses here on earth to teach us a lesson? What lesson am I learning roasting in hell for an eternity other than it’s damn HOT? To confuse little Sume even more, I was told that no one loved me, could ever love me as much as God. The only way I could resolve this as a child was to think the greater the love, the greater the punishment. The more someone loved you, the more unforgiving they were when you fell short.
Is it any wonder I learned to love or how to be loved at all? Why would I ever want anything to do with it at all? Fortunately, it’s part of what makes us human and something we don’t thrive very well without. We seek it out because something in us needs to give it as well as receive it. It’s part of what connects us to one another.
So what does all this have to do with the quote? If I take it down to a purely human level, what it says to me is that spiritual love in its purest form is independent of everything else. It can cross time, distance and difficulty in tact. It just is and will remain so.
On an emotional level, love for my parents has faced some serious challenges. I don’t hate them for their mistakes nor do I feel I owe them love for all the things they’ve done for me. I appreciate everything, but it’s not why I love them. We are connected by something much deeper which allows it to survive all the battering. It’s a connection that binds me just as strongly to them as it does my Vietnamese mother. I can’t explain the how or why. It’s just something that I know.
I can say without any doubt that I love my Vietnamese mother. Emotionally yes, I want to see and touch her. I may be freaked out initially if I ever found her and she turned out differently than I’d expected. It doesn’t change my deep spiritual connection to her. Nothing can touch that.
When I seek to find peace within myself, that is where I’m learning to look. The inner wars and the outside battles are all there, but my deep sense of connection to the universe is what saves me in the end. It’s there that I know I’ll find love in its truest form and for a moment, everything else falls away.