The Divine to Man as the Sun to Earth

“For the senses the sun goes round the earth; that was for them the centre of existence and the motions of life are arranged on the basis of a misconception. The truth is the very opposite, but its discovery would have been of little use if there were not a science that makes the new conception the centre of a reasoned and ordered knowledge putting their right values on the perceptions of the senses. So also for the mental consciousness: God moves round the personal ego and all His works and ways are brought to the judgment of our egoistic sensations, emotions, and conceptions and there are given values and interpretations which, through a perversion and inversion of the truth of things, are yet useful and practically sufficient in a certain development of human life and progress. They are a rough practical systematisation of our experience of things valid so long as we dwell in a certain order of ideas and activities. But they do not represent the last and highest state of human life and knowledge . . . The truth is not that God moves round the ego as the centre of existence and can be judged by the ego and its view of the dualities, but that the Divine is itself the centre and that the experience of the individual only finds its own true truth when it is known in the terms of the universal and the transcendent.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine

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Evil as a Part of a Whole

“An omnipresent reality is the Brahman, not an omnipresent cause of persistent illusions . . . And if this Self, God, or Brahman is no helpless state, no bounded power, no limited personality, but the self-conscient All, there must be some good and inherent reason in it for the manifestation, . . . [there must be] some truth of being in all that is manifested. The discord and apparent evil of the world must in their sphere be admitted, but not accepted as our conquerors. The deepest instinct of humanity seeks always and seeks wisely wisdom as the last word of the universal manifestation, not an eternal mockery and illusion, . . . an ultimate victory and fulfillment, not the disappointed recoil of the soul from its great adventure . . . Brahman is indivisible in all things and whatever is willed in the world has been ultimately willed by the Brahman. It is only our relative consciousness, alarmed or baffled by the phenomena of evil, ignorance and pain in the cosmos, that seeks to deliver the Brahman from responsibility for Itself and its workings by erecting some opposite principle, Maya or Mara, conscious Devil or self-existent principle of evil. There is one Lord and Self and the many are only His representations and becomings.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine

What is Love?

I use generalized terms such as “god“, or “love” often in my written discourse, of which I have sometimes unconventional personal definitions. I generally feel that it is more useful to glean meaning from the context of a statement rather than picking apart individual words, but sometimes it is good to pause and step back and ask what, exactly, is meant by such over-used and yet broadly defined and abstract terms. And as it is nearing Valentine’s Day, I feel that it might be a suitable meditation to pontificate a bit on the word “love” and its possible deeper implications.

Love as defined by Merriam-Webster is (1): a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests.

Don’t those definitions all seem rather far off the mark? Mere “strong affection”, “attraction”, “sexual desire” . . . no, no, not quite. True love is something much deeper. And yes, of course, how could one ever put such love into a simple, clean, brisk definition?

I was going to attempt now to try my best to define it myself, but I suddenly realized that I’ve already got a whole stack of writing on the subject. At the risk of seeming self-indulgent, I think I’d rather just let what I’ve already written speak for itself, define itself as collected fragments, like pieces of a candy necklace, strung together now by one single word through time. So I’m going to present a series of quotes from 23 selected pieces, extending back from the last 7 years of my life:

In the midst of the fragmented shards of war, desperation, and complacency, love is the flower that can break through concrete and connect together alien worlds. (1)

Love is not a complacent plateau of stasis; only through constant struggle and transcendence does it grow. (2)

Love is the flow of divinity through the vessel of you. Love imbues anything and everything with new light. Love is the only reason life has to exist. (3)

To love is to realize the myth of your solitude. The beloved is within you, at all moments, even when you are not touching, even when you are not speaking. It is only through selfishness that your suffering is created. (4)

The potential in every person for love is boundless. (5)

Love [is] found in giving yourself, the love which always awaits just outside of the door you are so frightened of passing through. And when you pass through, you look into another’s eyes–you do not see a friend, an enemy, a lover, a sibling–you see yourself. And then you see that person for what they are:
Everything.
(6)

There is no love without suffering. (7)

Love, love is the only way to live.
It is the only way to die.
It is the only way to do anything worth something
in a world that is dying to live.
(8)

Wonder, and wonder, and frightening joy. (9)

Amar una otra persona
es amar sí mismo,
es amar el viento, el cielo, los nubes,
es amar la tierra, la luna, la luz.
(10)

Love in its deepest incarnations necesitates a form of death, a scraping of the insides to mold out a hollowness that could cradle divinity. (11)

Amor esta afuera todo, esta dentro de todo, esta incontenible, movimiento a través de todo, afuera palabras, se bastado solo con manos, con contacto de cascaras–palabras se amoldado de bocas sino allende de sonidos. Amor es un creacion de la luz buscando sí mismo. (12)

Love is like an ocean, somehow keeping you afloat in the midst of continuous swelling and ebbing change. Like an ocean, it accepts everything, the only rejection coming from the mind that fears the heart that is opening to suffering like a flower. (13)

Amor es el crecimiento mas profundo de la vida. Nuestras mentes y nuestros cuerpos son huesos huecos por el incontenible de la medula de la divinidad. (14)

True love is always worth the sacrifice of long periods of lonely suffering. Even if it might mean a lifetime of sadness. There is never a reason to hold back when love is near. We must give all, we must give everything for something that can never be possessed. (15)

. . . in love there is no control, & there is no turning back – but it places you in the center of the world. (16)

Rumi wrote that “the life of lovers is in death.” Because in order to gain everything that you desire you must lose everything that you possess. (17)

We love, we love, we love, and we understand, finally, that each and every love is the ultimate purpose for which we have been placed into our bodies. (18)

What brings me higher–when my heart is widened with new, unforeseen love–also breaks me open to a new realm of emptiness, a deeper, rawer despair. (19)

Love shows you the way into this place where no one can enter. You leave yourself behind. You leave it all behind. Everything. Everything. Everything. (20)

Love is the verification of everything that you have become. Love is the refutation of everything you have been. Love is here. Love is now. (21)

It was a rollercoaster, it was a movie, it was a cup washing over the rim into aether, it was ink sloshing into indecipherable patterns, it was beautiful, it was horrendous, it was shocking and powerful and new. (22)

Love is letting go. Love is letting it all go. (23)

 

Affirmation of Divinity Within Mundanity

“The affirmation of a divine life upon earth and an immortal sense in mortal existence can have no base unless we recognize not only eternal Spirit as the inhabitant of this bodily mansion, the wearer of this mutable robe, but accept Matter of which it is made, as a fit and noble material out of which He weaves constantly His garbs, builds recurrently the unending series of His mansions.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine

Are You A Hypocrite Environmentalist?

“If we do not get our cities, homes, and gardens in order, so that they feed and shelter us, we must lay waste to all other natural systems. Thus, truly responsible conservationists have gardens which support their food needs, and are working to reduce their own energy needs to a modest consumption, or to that which can be supplied by a local wind, water, forest, or solar power resources. We can work on providing biomass for our essential energy needs on a household and regional scale.

It is a hypocrisy to pretend to save forests, yet to buy daily newspapers and packaged food; to preserve native plants, yet rely on agrochemical production for food; and to adopt a diet which calls for broadscale food production.”

Bill Mollison, Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual

Subtle Degrees

subtle degrees
of domination and servitude
are what you know as love

but love is different
it arrives complete
just there
like the moon in the window

like the sun
of neither east nor west
nor of anyplace

when that sun arrives
east and west arrive

desire only that
of which you have no hope
seek only that
of which you have no clue

love is the sea of not being
and there intellect drowns

this is not the Oxus River
or some little creek
this is the shoreless sea;
here swimming ends
always in drowning

a journey to the sea
is horses and fodder and contrivance
but at land’s end
the footsteps vanish

you lift up your robe
so as not to wet the hem;
come! drown in this sea
a thousand times

the moon passes over
the ocean of nonbeing

droplets of spray tear loose
and fall back on the cresting waves

a million galaxies
are a little scum
on that shoreless sea

Rumi

Millennial Life

” . . .in this new millennial life of instant and ubiquitous connection, you don’t in fact communicate so much as leave messages for one another, these odd improvisational performances, often sorry bits and samplings of ourselves that can’t help but seem out of context. And then when you do finally reach someone, everyone’s so out of practice or too hopeful or else embittered that you wonder if it would be better not to attempt contact at all.”
–Chang-Rae Lee Aloft