Universal love “… is not just a sentiment. It cannot be manifested merely by a shift in mental disposition. It can only come from inner cleaning, an inner awakening …” ~ Radhanath Swami
“… Your vision will become clear only when you look inside your heart. Without, everything seems discordant; only within does it coalesce into unity. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside, awakes …” ~ Carl Jung
In this series we are exploring Francis Lucille’s work primarily through his book Eternity Now … and also through his teachings from other sources (e.g., his retreats, or posts from the old Stillness Speaks archives).
… the 1st part provided a summary of what Francis calls the “presence of this witnessing background” … it includes Francis’ remarks on Present Moment and the entire Foreword from Eternity Now … which offers a framework for the teachings in the book …
… this 2nd part is about Francis’ view on Love (or rather “universal” love) PLUS his awakening “story” – as expressed by himself … this part 2 along with part 1 offers a foundation to understanding his teachings … and for subsequent posts …
This post is an edited migration of a post from the old Stillness Speaks (pre June 2016 “REDO”) archives. All text below (except for the blockquotes) is from Francis … and is published here with his permission. The awakening subsection heading was added only for this post and is based on a chapter, re awakening, in Eternity Now.
What is love?
The word ‘love’ refers to a lived experience. It is a paradoxical experience because even though we have all experienced the reality of it, it appears to escape every attempt to grasp it, to describe it or to repeat it.
The tender delight we had in our childhood when we looked at a beautiful colored illustration, the soft emotion when we think about a loved one, the impulse that moves us to encourage a stranger in deep sorrow and to help when in danger, the repulsion that grips us when cruelty is committed against oppressed innocence.
All these circumstances among many others point to a common experience that cannot be described or defined.
If we want to go deeper into the discovery of this central experience it seems that our investigation evaporates due to a lack of objective support. If we do not have the words to express it and there are no images to describe it, it is because there are no perceptions or sensations to experience it objectively.
Nevertheless we do have this experience.
That is the paradox: it is unmistakably present. It has the same undeniable and ethereal character as conscious presence. We know this experience in the same way we know that we are conscious.
If we try to describe the trajectory up to the very last moment where it crosses over into the inexpressible, it seems as if the ‘I’ feeling dissolves, perhaps only temporarily, into a more spacious reality, infinite, a blessed peace that brings an end to all the emotional or intellectual agitation.
We are not strangers to this new dimension. It is not the discovery of a spiritual America. It is immediately recognized as absolute intimacy and tenderness. It is the center of our self and the world, simultaneously.
This presence is love.
Is there some particular condition before this quality of authentic love and compassion is revealed?
The condition is the temporary or permanent disappearance of the idea of a separate ‘I’. This disappearance can never be the result of an action done by this ‘I’.
Love flies on its own wings and knows no laws. It is the emergence of grace that wrests us from the hypnosis of separation. Liberation arises out of freedom itself.
But you should not conclude from this that every act and practice intended to establish us as love is useless. Such a decision would confine us to intellectual dullness. The longing for love comes from love itself, not from the separate ego. On the contrary, we have to surrender to everything that takes us to love. In this surrender we discover true life, the inner peace that we have always sought.
Can love exist without an object?
Love exists only without an object. Love is the love of the objectless by the objectless. An object puts clothes on love, and dressed veils it.
What we love in a person is neither the physical body nor the thoughts. It is the conscious presence that we have in common with him or her, the self, the objectless.
The veil can exercise a temporary power of attraction, but only the true self that remains in the background can bring us what we seek. We don’t love the other, we love the love in the other.
This does not mean that we have to turn away from the other to turn towards God, the objectless, but rather that we see the other as an expression of love.
Relations with our partner, son or daughter, a stranger, a foreigner then take on another dimension. Daily life becomes a field of experience that is forever new. If we approach the other as potential divine consciousness, we force God to remove the mask, which he does with a miracle; and the miracle is the smile of God.
Awakening … to Immortal Splendor
“… The path of awakening is not about becoming who you are. Rather it is about unbecoming who you are not. …” ~ Albert Schweitzer
In one of Francis’ satsangs (from the early 2000s), an attendee asked the question “How did you discover your real nature?” … below is his answer
You are asking about the specifics in my case. Before I give you the details, I have to forewarn you that this is not a “one size fits all” path to the truth. The way to the discovery of our true nature varies from one seeker to another. It may be a sudden and dramatic experience or a subtle, seemingly gradual path. The touchstone, in all cases, is the peace and understanding that prevails at the end of the road.
Although a first glimpse of reality is an event of cosmic proportions, it may remain unnoticed at first and work its way in the background of the mind until the egoistic structure collapses, just as a building severely damaged by an earthquake remains standing for some time and collapses a few months later, gradually or suddenly. This effect is due to the fact that the glimpse does not belong to the mind. The mind, which until now was the slave of the ego, becomes the servant and lover of the eternal splendor that illuminates thoughts and perceptions. As a slave of the ego, the mind was the warden of the jail of time, space, and causation; as a servant of the highest intelligence and a lover of the supreme beauty, it becomes the instrument of our liberation.
The glimpse that ignited my interest for the truth occurred while I was reading a book by J. Krishnamurti. It was the point of departure of an intense quest which became the central and exclusive focus in my life. I read Krishnamurti’s books again and again, along with the main texts of Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism. I made important changes in my life in order to live in accordance with my spiritual understanding. I renounced what many people would call an excellent career, because it implied my involvement as a scientist with the design and development of sophisticated weapons for the French military.
Two years after the first glimpse, I had achieved a good intellectual understanding of the non-dual perspective, although a few questions still remained unanswered. I knew from experience that any attempt to fulfill my desires was doomed to failure. It had become clear to me that I was consciousness, rather than my body or my mind. This knowledge was not a purely intellectual one, a mere concept, but seemed to somehow originate from experience, a particular kind of experience devoid of any objectivity. I had experienced, on several occasions, states in which perceptions were surrounded and permeated by bliss, light, and silence. The physical objects seemed more remote from me, more unreal, as if reality had moved away from them and shifted toward that light and that silence which was at the center of the stage. Along with it came the feeling that everything was all right, just as it should be, and, as a matter of fact, just as it had always been. However, I still believed that awareness was subject to the same limitations as the mind, that it was of a personal, rather than universal nature.
Sometimes, I had a foretaste of its limitlessness, usually while reading Ch’an or Advaitic texts or while thinking deeply about the non-dual perspective. Due to my upbringing by materialistic and anti-religious parents and to my training in mathematics and physics, I was both reluctant to adopt any religious belief and suspicious of any non-logically or non-scientifically validated hypothesis. An unlimited, universal awareness seemed to me to be such a belief or hypothesis, but I was open to explore this possibility. The perfume of this limitlessness had, in fact, been the determining factor that sustained my search for the truth. Two years after the first glimpse, this possibility had taken a center-stage position.
That is when the radical change, the “Copernican shift,” happened. This event, or, more precisely, this non-event, stands alone, uncaused. The certainty that flows from it has an absolute strength, a strength independent from any event, object, or person. It can only be compared to our immediate certainty to be conscious.
I was sitting in silence, meditating in my living room with two friends. It was too early to fix dinner, our next activity. Having nothing to do, expecting nothing, I was available. My mind was free of dynamism, my body relaxed and sensitive, although I could feel some discomfort in my back and in my neck.
After some time, one of my friends unexpectedly began to chant a traditional incantation in Sanskrit, the Gayatri Mantra. The sacred syllables entered mysteriously in resonance with my silent presence which seemed to become intensely alive. I felt a deep longing in me, but at the same time a resistance was preventing me from living the current situation to the fullest, from responding with all my being to this invitation from the now, and from merging with it. As the attraction toward the beauty heralded by the chant increased, so did the resistance, revealing itself as a growing fear that transformed into an intense terror.
At this point, I felt that my death was imminent, and that this horrendous event would surely be triggered by any further letting go on my behalf, by any further welcoming of that beauty. I had reached a crucial point in my life. As a result of my spiritual search, the world and its objects had lost their attraction. I didn’t really expect anything substantial from them. I was exclusively in love with the absolute, and this love gave me the boldness to jump into the great void of death, to die for the sake of that beauty, now so close, that beauty which was calling me beyond the Sanskrit words.
As a result of this abandon, the intense terror which had been holding me instantaneously released its grip and changed into a flow of bodily sensations and thoughts which rapidly converged toward a single thought, the I-thought, just as the roots and the branches of a tree converge toward its single trunk. In an almost simultaneous apperception, the personal entity with which I was identifying revealed itself in its totality. I saw its superstructure, the thoughts originating from the I-concept and its infrastructure, the traces of my fears and desires at the physical level. Now the entire tree was contemplated by an impersonal eye, and both the superstructure of thoughts and the infrastructure of bodily sensations rapidly dissolved, leaving the I-thought alone in the field of consciousness. For a few moments, this pure I-thought vacillated like the flame of an oil lamp running out of fuel, until it suddenly vanished in the eternal splendor of being.
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“… Awakening is not changing who you are, but discarding who you are not. …” ~ Deepak Chopra
Like other, similar series (e.g., Rupert Spira’s views on our True Nature), this series is meant to just whet your appetite – give you a sense of Francis’ teachings … and if it draws you then we invite you to undertake a deeper exploration by purchasing his book Eternity Now.