On the Life of Higher Love
All human beings are born with an innate need to love and to be loved. Love is one of the two most precious urges of human nature— the other being the urge to know.
Love means expansion. We do not like to have our experience confined to a fraction of the finite world. Nor are we really at home with our own finite personality as it is. Planted in our nature is the need to expand, and once we have learned how to love wisely, we can bring about this expansion of consciousness, because wise love entails the forgetfulness of our narrow self-interest. Metaphorically speaking, the feet of love are on the ground, but its head stretches into the blue of infinity.
Why is it that human beings are pressed by this urge to love, to expand, to go beyond themselves? What is the source of this powerful drive of human nature? The source of love is an impulse or intuition that emanates from the centre of our being, just as gravity pulls us to the centre of the earth. At the centre of our being is the supreme reality, our immortal Self, and it is one with all. Ultimately, it is the all, being the substantial reality behind the fleeting appearances, the infinite existence underlying the finite forms. Love ever seeks unity, and yet this unbroken unity is the ultimate fact of our true nature, which is a non-dual eternal identity. Our urge to love is a manifestation of the urge for self-realization. Every seeker, indeed every lover, is destined to realize that the goal of our quest is our own immediate consciousness and being.
If this is so, then why is this pure and perfect love apparently denied to us? The eternal perfection of man’s true Self remains unsuspected as long as our mind is ruled by desires for the things of the world. When we are turned outwards in this way, our mind is unaware of our spiritual essence. A particular set of assumptions and values takes hold of us. Following the way of the majority, we neglect the enquiry into the deeper meaning of life.
A new light will dawn when we become meditative and start asking such questions as: ‘What am I? What is the purpose of life? What is this world, which seems to be so real and solid, yet is changing every moment and has no real stability?’ It is then that we can detect the great clue which will unfold the mystery of life to us in the deepest sense, and, at the same time, reveal the true source and meaning of love.
‘The world gave you false clues,’ wrote Maulana Rumi. ‘You took no notice of the Clue, but went to that which is without a clue.’ The clue is that everything in the world is passing and that the enduring principle is to be discovered within us.
To undertake this inner enquiry, we need to appreciate the range and limitations of our instrument of experience, the mind. We must study how that range can be expanded and also how those limitations can be dissolved in the light of higher knowledge. Our mind at present may seem to be as slippery and ungraspable as a drop of mercury, or as restless as the wind, except perhaps when it is dealing with the concrete affairs of this material world. But this is only one phase of the mind’s nature. The inner essence of the mind, the constant light and being within which it functions, is the true Self, immortal and transcendent. There is a higher way of life, based on spiritual practices and values, that leads to the realization of our identity with our spiritual Self and our complete freedom from the limitations of the mind.
Little by little, the human mind can be transformed. Its weight of material preoccupations can be lightened, once we realize that we ourselves are the managers of our mental intake. We should not feel that our mind lives a life of its own and that there is little we can do about it. If we have determination and perseverance, we can transform our mind according to the highest spiritual way of life. We have the power to lead it to peace and the revelation of the spiritual light as the true nature of everything. In the deepest sense, our goal is ever achieved and realizable at any moment, as long as we are fully prepared. Yoga is one of the great paths that prepares us for this revelation.
The spiritual power at the centre of our being is comparable to an inner sun, and is the true source of light and love. This divine Self is one with the supreme Self of the universe. At this level of our being, our divine ground, the limits of mind and matter have no relevance. Spirit transcends all limitations. As such, it is one and the same in all. Our worldly experience is one of almost infinite variety, but the spiritual vision is one of underlying unity, of oneness.
The highest expression of love is to feel at one with the object of our love. Our innermost Self is the supreme principle of love because it is the imperishable reality in all. The immediate realization, ‘My Self is the Self of all’, is the ultimate expression of love, as well as of knowledge.
This is an extract from The Life of Higher Love in Awakening to Self-Knowledge