Holding a book in my hands, the author beckons me, “Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known.” Yes! I muse and settle in for a journey with the 300-page book. The line on the back cover, “Love is a state of being” garnered my full attention.
I read on, “This lover doesn’t need anything from you . . . only wants your complete fulfilment.” Two paragraphs later, I’m introduced to the lover, “It’s the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything.”
Whoa, can we back up a second? The “someone” on the first page just became an “it.” Then onto the next sentence, “When you tune into that flow [love] you will feel it in your own heart… ” Well, now I have love as a vague flow and a lover that is an it.
Maybe the author needed a better editor, I think, but I brave my way forward. After several chapters, I set the book down disappointed.
When did our experience of love and loving manifest as an amorphous mass?
Have we ever loved a nondescript, indeterminate, shapeless something/nothing? Can we talk or share our heart with dark matter? How might we sculpt subatomic texture so we can embrace it? Will the unnamed flow receive our gifts and send a thank you note?
To confirm, I’m not asking more from the author ought to be expected, I turn to the dictionary: “Love; a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.”
This reassures me. Love is what I thought it was: an exchange between two people.
When love is used colloquially in a statement like, “I love sunsets,” we use love loosely—imprecisely—to mean a liking. We’re not talking about the nuanced relationship we can experience with another person.
Even love of oneself, though genuine love, is not a full expression of love. What give and take of thoughts, emotions, and gifts take place with oneself? The exchange is one-sided and thus limited.
The full face of love involves two sentient beings.
A “state of being” refers to a condition of the self that exists eternally. Such a state isn’t modified by time or space, what to speak of lesser influences like moods or shifts of opinion. When we go inward we can make contact with the eternal self, whose nature is described by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (2.16):
Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.
The self, or the soul, is a unit of consciousness, a spiritual substance, comprised of Being (sat), Knowing (chit), and Loving (ananda). In short, the self exists, knows, and loves. In her original condition—in her eternal state of being—she is a knowing, joyful lover. That original state is called Wise-Love.
Since we are not experiencing Wise-Love as a state of being now, how can we achieve it? The Bhakti texts describe that when the self connects with her Source, the Supreme Person (from where she garners her characteristics of Being, Knowing, and Loving) in love and service, she can wake from her current dream that she is the male or female mind-body instrument she is currently inhabiting.
Waking from the dream of the false ego to the real self, she finds herself in perpetual Wise-Love as a state of being. Pure love flows ever-fresh and ceaselessly toward other souls and her Significant Other. In that illumined dance of love she can hold her beloved, infinite gorgeousness itself.
Sip a little more: