Love: brotherly and sisterly love: divine love and learning to love
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
There was a period in my life when I often said that I would refuse to come back to this world- that I would do everything within my power to finish with my karma and duties in this life, and be done with this plane for good. I refused to come back unless things changed drastically, because I had seen enough of mankind's sorrows, vanities, errors, petty pursuits, and worthless creations, and I had endured the misunderstandings, the incorrigible immaturity, the noise, pollution, desecration, false theories, pathos, and joyless joys. And, having seen society for what it was- a madhouse run by somnambulistic schoolchildren- there was nothing left to do but turn away with an accepting scorn, forget the world and its contortions, and sink back into myself, into the spirit, and the earth, and then fly away to another world, and let the mayhem continue on without me.
As I said, I was going to refuse to come back. But then, I thought, if I had to come back, I would be certain to return only as a trickster, like the great Cosmic Raven of the Pacific Northwest. And I would sunder mankind's world into ruins, and I would do it all with play and laughter.
Oh, the cataclysms would begin very subtly, with unnatural creations such as elevators and escalators suddenly becoming faulty, and so everyone who lived above the earth would have to haul their own flesh above it. But then the stairs would begin to crumble, slowly, ever slowly. No one would be hurt, not by me anyways. I am no murderer. But eventually all buildings higher than one floor would have to be abandoned, and these would begin disintegrating back into nothingness. Then the world's fuel supply would end abruptly. No more fuel. Nothing. Dams would begin to crack and then burst. No one would die. There would be plenty of time. Electricity would become impossible. Movement would be slowed to a governable pace. Mankind would have to return to the substratum of their own abilities, to the earth, and to prayer. And I would be laughing as the hordes roamed about in bewildered disbelief. I would screech with delight at the deluge of pitiful tears streaming down from mankind onto the wounded earth. And when it was done, and all was laid bare, and I had roared in ecstasy over humanity's gnashings, that is when I would swoop down like the great Thunderbird of old, and I would take humanity in my mighty talons, and for no better reason than the thrill and the joy, I would teach my new found fledglings how to rise up and fly.
But that is mere speculation. The reason I had desired to never return was somewhat complicated, but runs like this.
Firstly, there was a time in my life when nothing was easier than to fall in love, and falling is an apt expression. I have fallen in love so many times, with so many people- women and men alike- that often I did not even recognize that it was happening, for it was an aspect of my sympathetic nervous system, like my heart beating, or lungs breathing, it happened of its own accord, the moment my soul received another's true nature. And yet, secondly, and paradoxically, I had great distaste for society, and so I was falling love with individuals, and yet despising the herd. And for this reason have I loved who I did not judge, and judged who I did not love, for such dispositions within me are mutually exclusive. And as much as I have, with love, allowed others refuge in my spirit, so also have I driven them off with judgment, for that is all that is required to divide me from another; when judgment lies hidden behind the veils of the cornea, knowingly or not, then it is the winter of all souls caught within my separative gaze, and I hover at the apogee of the Antarctic heart, which may walk intimately amongst many others, but lives eternally without siblings, which is a fate worse than that suffered by the denizens of Dante's Inferno.
But then I realized that I disliked humanity mostly because I expected it to give me something, which was impossible, because that something I could only find myself, within myself. And so I lost a large part of my contempt for the crowd when I recognized that the masses could do nothing for me; that even if they gave their all they could not budge the ingot from its roost upon my back. And thus I began to be slightly amused by my fellow man, rather than slightly nauseated, knowing that we were now wholly independent of each other, and removed by a distance greater than the earth to the moon. A recognition which, although it gave me great loneliness at the time, also brought great peace, and a new sense of liberation, because now instead of thinking about how to fix the world, I was only responsible for fixing myself.
And so I realized that to condemn humanity was like criticizing a blind man for his inability to see. And who was I to pass judgment upon others anyway? Who indeed? I was nobody, claiming to have vision, which I didn't have, for in the last analysis I had only perspective. One perspective.
In fact it was my judgment against others which created much of my pain to begin with. And I had to accept that my reality was a limited reality among all others which compose the whole, and that if I accepted others' lives, humbly accepted them, then I would begin to see my own limitations and uniqueness in an even more profound degree. For an orchestra is composed of many different instruments, and each must play their own tune if the music is to be complete. And it is the bricks which build the castle, not the castle which builds the bricks. And we ...we are but intentional partitions in the sidewalk, making the Way divided ...and complete.
And so, despite the perils of love, eventually I had to bravely re-open my heart, and learn again to see my brother in every man, and my sister in every woman, and so to love each person as I have loved these two.
This learning, it seems to me, is the quintessential rite of passage of the heart, for once we have loved, then we have lost ourselves into the whole, and then there is neither love, nor hate, nor struggle, there is only Life.
I am reminded here of a drunken street fellow I met in Honolulu one winter. He was panhandling outside of a store, and beside him was his older buddy who was in a wheelchair. I had come to the tortured tangle of the city only to purchase a flight to another island, and was trying to make a quick escape, but the hobo hounded me, and, after brushing him off at first, he and I fell into a gentle parlance while I was waiting for my bus to the airport. After a few minutes the bus was in our view and slowing down to stop and pick me up. I was about to part from the outcasts, so I bade them farewell, somewhat perfunctorily, saying "Take care of yourselves", to which one of them responded "We are not selves any more." This made me stop, and turn back and inquire "Then what are you?" to which he rejoined "Brothers and sisters."
Brothers and sisters. They had made it. They had realized that no one can separate their self from the suffering of the world, because separation is the suffering of the world. They had become members of the whole human family, had lost all desire or need to have more than any other, or to be greater than another, or to control, or impede someone else, and had descended, willingly or not, into the substratum of the common soul where all people are siblings. For in the end there is only one rule, one admonishment, one caveat in order to be considered fully human, and that is, of course, the golden rule of love.
I realized then the necessity of this earthly siblinghood- which Christ had understood so well- and how it is essential that we must see our brother in every man, and our sister in every woman. For the life of siblinghood is the love of all. And so to truly live- to be Life- is, in the end ...to be the miracle of love itself.
And this miracle is only possible because all life is one life; because we are all one flowing, evolving soul. One soul. All of us; we are dreamed of inside the same Dream, and until the timeless tide ebbs again in our favor, we are fragmented, yet we are One.
Anyone who sees this completely will never hate again, but only love. Indeed, anyone who has love inside of them has few lessons more to learn in life- for they are Life itself.
Love is the absence of separation, and is beyond 'other'. To go beyond other is to go beyond 'me', to unite the opposites of inside and out. Love is that bond which redeems the flesh, for it shatters the vessel of separation, and lets the spirit flow through all.
And so to bring Heaven down to Earth requires abiding by the one law of Heaven, which is Love. Though this is not an imposed law, per se, because Love, by its very nature, is Heaven, and therefore those who love are in Heaven, and those who do not, are not.
And yet to come to this Love is both the hardest, and the easiest thing in the world, for to be love is only possible by being ...ourselves. For by being our true selves, with no lie, cunning, denial, separation, nor guilt within us, then nothing is left to prevent the love called God from descending into and becoming us. Nothing.
And for this reason it is possible to leave this plane only after we have loved all humanity, for in the living moment of love we cross over from the death called separation into the life of Living Oneness.
And so, if one day you have come, as we all must come, to weep scalding tears for the loneliness and misery of the whole world- if you can take the entire suffering and lostness of mankind into you, and if you can hold it, comfort it, and then release it- then the trial of the heart is over, and you can go on your own way. Once you have added your link into the chain which holds Heaven and Earth together, then you are free to go.
For when you are finished with the rest of it, you suddenly realize what love is, and how and why it is the only thing that matters, and the only thing that is real, and the only thing that will save you. And so you stop caring for anything else, and you begin to love, and your walls come down.
And you are saved.
"Go, love without the help of anything on earth."
(excerpted from Roots and Wings: adventures of a spirit on earth, by Jack Haas)