God is Love
Love is another quality frequently ascribed to God. This love is not to be confused with what generally passes for love in our world, which, more often than not, has its origins in the same materialist mindset that runs many other areas of our lives. We believe that if only other people would think or behave as we want them to, we would be happy. When they don’t, we may find ourselves feeling upset, angry, frustrated, or some other less-than-loving emotion. When we meet someone who we think will satisfy our deeper needs–someone, that is, who matches our image of the perfect person–our hearts are filled with warm feelings towards them. We say we love them.
Such love is conditional. We love a person for their appearance, their manner, their intellect, their body, their talents, their smell, their dress, their habits, their beliefs and values. We love someone whom we feel is special; someone who matches our expectations, someone who will satisfy our deeper needs, someone who will make our life complete.
Such love is also fragile. If the other person gains weight, develops some annoying habit, or does not care for us as we think they should, our judgments can flip from positive to negative, and the love vanish as quickly as it came.
The love of which the mystics speak is a very different form of love. It is an unconditional love, a love that does not depend on another’s attributes or actions. It is not based on our wants, needs, hopes, fears, or any other manifestation of the ego’s thought system. Unconditional love is the love that springs forth when the mind has fallen silent, and for once we are free from fear, evaluation and judgment.
|When love and hate are both absent,
Everything becomes clear and undisguised
– Sosan, The Third Zen Patriarch
Like the peace we seek, this unconditional love is always there at our core. It is not something we have to create; it is part of our inner essence. Pure consciousness–consciousness not conditioned by the needs and concerns of an individual self–is pure love. I, in my true essence, am love.