"The Temple of Love," diptych by Andre van Zijl
"The Temple of Love," diptych by Andre van Zijl

Ahhh Love! How to know what it is? 

What kind of LOVE do we speak of when we use the word LOVE? Is it a feeling, a presence, a noun, a verb?

Can it be drawn out from its dark cave of unknowability by the deliberate poverty of the pure soul, and romanced into the bright glare of noon, for all to see? 

Or can we, poor creatures of unconscious habit and unrequited desire, recognize it, though it stands before us in plain sight, disguised by the familiar; everything wearing Its Face in its own uniqueness?

I have been asked to write of Love and to offer a way of answering the question: “How does love help us to practice the Process way of life?
The short answer is: “follow the lure”.
Life is lived from the inside out. Changing the internal landscape changes everything!

What kind of LOVE do we speak of? It most often appears that we can only know love when it touches us deeply, when it overtakes us in awe of a moment beyond the grief of time; when it cuts through the ephemera of our lives, and reveals the indescribable joy of union with the Ultimate in the most ordinary of moments. Even being lightly brushed by the transforming fire of love we can be taught something of its braille of the soul, and so learn to positively touch our own lives, and the lives we are in community with.

We can to learn through all the banal everyday betrayals of love, learn to go beyond the tit-for-tat retail concept of love, to discover a love that isn’t human, but wholly Divine, waiting patiently to be born through us, so that it can fully touch, embrace and enliven the world of infinite diversity we live in. It seems to me that we can only discover That by becoming Love itself, a state of absolute unconditionality quite beyond the ordinary consciousness of “normal” life as we know it.

O Beloved,
You appear as all that is here, now.
You reveal yourself through the mundane,
You clothe yourself in the ordinary,
yet, You! You, the fulfillment of all yearning, are right Here, right Now,
in all your glory, power, beauty, truth, and timeless, reasonless joy.
Your love showers all that appears, with an equal embrace that protects us
from seeing the ordinary as just ordinary.
Each succeeding moment becomes renewed opportunity to witness You
in and through all moments.
No matter how well disguised or hidden You are;
how far from the sorrow-drenched gaze of clay eyes,
and wooden hearts,
which only can see what is in front of them,
and not what is sustaining them,
that is both within, around and beyond them.
They mistake the limits of the ordinary as reality,
while the Real is always Here, and Now in its
ineffable completeness,
holding both ordinary and extraordinary equally,
as Itself, unchanging yet ever changing!

“Held in Your Hands, The Dance of Bliss,” Andre van Zijl
“Held in Your Hands, The Dance of Bliss,” Andre van Zijl

The opportunity to love more is granted us each time we lean into the growing edge of our capacities.
So, To Love more would be to create a sustainable food garden open to the local community, supported and engaged in by all thus served.
To Love more would be to create things of extraordinary beauty that will live on beyond us. To Love more would be to learn a practical skill we do not presently have.
To Love more would be to always offer our best into the relationships we are privileged to be part of. To love more would be to live graciously within a sustainable ecological footprint.
To Love more would be to be compelled to act for the common good rather than indulging in self-aggrandizement or self-protection.
To Love more would be to “want everybody to survive what is coming”.[1] and to give them the way to do that…

So, a question that (Love) demands answering in the words of author Barry Lopez is “In which Western nations does a determination to address the mental, spiritual, and physical health of children override indifference toward their fate?”[2] My prayer is may we learn to love more before it is too late for our species of creative possibility.

Notes

1, 2: See Horizon, by Barry Lopez (Vintage Books 2020).

Zimbabwean born, Andre van Zijl is an award-winning artist with work in over 30 museums worldwide, including the South African National Gallery. He is a spiritually inspired award-winning poet, published author, and non-dual philosophy teacher. He is also the founder and director of Van Zijl Art and Design Studios, and a co-founder and co-director of All Paths Divinity School.