Love Unveiled: “… love {is the} primary force that powers our movement toward spiritual illumination and enlightenment …” ~ A. H. Almaas

love unveiled primary force enlightenment

Humanity is navigating the Coronavirus pandemic although, sadly, not as a unified “world-collective” – which is an opportunity missed so far. While the virus wreaks havoc, heroic efforts are – thankfully – underway to ensure our health and safety. These “heroes” are truly at the “frontlines” and helping them be safe, and well equipped, is of paramount importance … and in this spirit (and in the absence of a unified strategy in America), Go Fund Me needs to be commended for organizing various campaigns targeted towards the COVID-19 relief efforts. All of these campaigns are worthy of our attention … but for now we want to highlight TWO critical ones that we are supporting personally and also as Stillness Speaks (through donations):

We are all facing financial challenges but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then …

… please visit  Frontline Responders Fund’s Go Fund Me page … and help deliver crucial supplies to these frontline responders …

… and/or visit  America’s Food Fund Go Fund Me page and help feed the neighbors in need.

And, we again, express our deepest gratitude to a) the COVID-19 Frontline Responders (all the healthcare professionals – doctors, nurses, hospital/medical-services staff – firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers, and any/all the people involved in keeping the “system-at-large” functioning for ALL of us) … and b) Go Fund Me for organizing America’s Food Fund to feed the needy.

THANK YOU – our lives would not be possible without your dedication.

 

Since the COVID crisis began we’ve been focusing on qualities that bring humanity together, e.g. kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and more … today we turn our attention to love – one of the primary “human impulses” that is at the core of “coming together” … at the core of dissolving separation … and it’s an experience that is common yet unique, simple yet mysterious … suggesting a deeper reality waiting to be revealed …

So, what is love? … the commonly held views are that it is just an emotion or a feeling or a drive or just a behavior, all of which are primarily from a psychological perspective … but if we dig deeper into this universal phenomenon, it is easy to find a broad spectrum of claims that love’s underpinning, if not essence, is spiritual: as Saint Augustine says “He who is filled with love is filled with God himself” or Victor Hugo “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Indeed, both Augustine and Hugo are suggesting that love is synonymous with the Divine. Even the quest of finding – or more accurately realizing – our true nature – seems to bring us to love … and even a minimal research reveals this underlying theme:

“When I see I am nothing, that is Wisdom, and when I see I am everything, that is Love. And between those two, my life moves” ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

“If you want the moon, do not hide at night. If you want a rose, do not run from the thorns. If you want love, do not hide from yourself.” ~ Rumi

“Seeking God is seeking love.” ~ Mamta Sehgal

“The spiritual journey is the … unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love …  Love is … our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.” ~ Marianne Williamson

“The spiritual meaning of love is measured by what it can do. Love is meant to heal. Love is meant to renew. Love is meant to bring us closer to God.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

“… The path to love … is our spiritual destiny … love reflects God, eternal divine essence …” ~ Deepak Chopra

“In love lies the seed of our growth. The more we love, the closer we are to the spiritual experience.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Realized masters, poets, philosophers, scholars, spiritual teachers, and even an emperor … seem to share this perspective about love … a perspective that also spans centuries … and the above quotes represent only a tiny (nano?) fraction of the documented wisdom on this topic.

A. H. AlmaasA. H. Almaas – a pioneering spiritual teacher, who has integrated consciousness and spirituality into a comprehensive and dynamic spiritual path that continues to evolve – whose work, of many years, has resulted in a three volume book series that is “… all about love and its many faces on the spiritual journey …” … Each volume “.. will inquire deeply into the nature and experience of love …” The first volume, Love Unveiled: Discovering the Essence of the Awakened Heart, was recently published (March 2020) and “… is about love as an aspect of the presence of our true nature …”

Through excerpts of this newly released book, Almaas takes us on a deep dive into love and its many faces on the spiritual journey in a 4-part series. Part 1, this post, is the entire Introduction chapter of the book … in which Almaas briefly summarizes each of the three volumes … and then starts unpacking love – thus setting the stage for his subsequent explorations – while also sharing his six aims for Love Unveiled – the first volume.

 

All italicized text below is from Love Unveiled and is published here with the gracious permission from the publisher Shambhala Publications. Shambhala has also generously offered a free downloadable PDF of the Table of Contents (link is at the bottom of the post). You can purchase the book at Shambhala or Amazon.

Introduction

This book has been a long time coming. It is finally being published after beginning its journey thirteen years ago. As an important part of the teaching of the Diamond Approach, it complements Brilliancy: Essence of Intelligence, a work that is closely associated with the functioning of the mind. Love Unveiled is about the functioning of the heart, especially from the spiritual perspective, highlighting the importance of the heart both in life and on the spiritual path.

Three Books on Love

This book is the first of a three-part series, all about love and its many faces on the spiritual journey. Each of the volumes will inquire deeply into the nature and experience of love. We will explore the phenomenology of love as presence, as the true nature of our spiritual being. We will also look at the obstacles to experiencing and realizing this true selfless love and how to move through these obstacles, which are due to the impact of our histories, and the various ideas, concepts, beliefs, and positions that come with them.

love unveiled book coverThis first volume, Love Unveiled, is about love as an aspect of the presence of our true nature. Presence appears most fundamentally as consciousness conscious of itself, but it also has qualities of mind, heart, and will. The qualities of the heart include kindness, gratitude, fulfillment, and joy, but here we are focused on love: its phenomenology, its role in everyday life and relationships, and its place in spiritual practice and realization. For love is, after all, the expression of spirit that most profoundly connects our human life with our depth.

The second volume will be an exploration of universal or divine love. This is the boundless goodness of conscious presence, with its sweetness, generosity, and abundance. Here, love is everywhere and is everything. Everything is beautiful and lovable, and you are either an inseparable part of this ocean of love or the ocean of love itself. This more transcendent sense of love is what shines through the spiritual literature of realization. I discuss its phenomenology as the realms of luminous beauty, effulgent sweetness, and selfless giving, beyond ego and self. This is love experienced without separating boundaries. Or put another way, it is nondual true nature experienced as love. I point out the obstacles and the obscurations that make it difficult for human beings to awaken to true nature in this way. And I go further to discuss an example of how love appears in realizations beyond the nondual experience, revealing the true essence—and hence the amazing power—of love. In this example, we discover what gives love many of its inherent characteristics.

The third volume will focus on the Beloved. It is an exploration, in experiential and poetic terms, of how love is the magnetism between the individual soul and her Beloved, her divine essence, which is the very depth of being and reality. It goes through the stages of the path of love from longing for the Beloved to total union with this most beautiful and glorious of all beloveds. This true Beloved of the heart turns out to be the true nature and ground of the soul and everything else.

Love Unveiled

The book you find in your hands (or on your screen) has several aims. First, it attempts to show that even though human beings know and value love and the relationships that express it, what we commonly know as love is an approximation, a pale reflection of what love is on the spiritual level, the essential dimension of our experience and existence.

Second, it shows that what we call and experience as love has its counterpart in heaven, in the Platonic archetype of love—that is, pure love on the spiritual level. This means that love is an expression of our true nature. Our true nature is not only awareness and consciousness, which are nowadays taken to be the entirety of spirituality in many spiritual circles; in fact, true nature also includes many other categories of experience and realization. Important among these is love, which is stressed in the Sufi teachings in particular, notably in the poetry of Rumi, Kabir, and Hafiz, as well as in the bhakti paths of India.

love unveiled awareness consciousness almaas

Third, I attempt to demonstrate that love is important for any genuine spiritual path, for a path with no love is really not a spiritual path at all. Love Unveiled focuses on how important love is on the path of the Diamond Approach. In fact, it is the driving force and fuel for the spiritual practices on the path. It is also the universal energy behind the manifestation of all experience—for all is the manifestation of the divine, whether we see it as our true nature or as a divine realm transcending human beings. Some teachings, such as in Buddhism, emphasize compassion as the drive toward enlightenment, whereas others—the Kabbalah, for example—focus on will. Here, however, I identify love to be a primary force that powers our movement toward spiritual illumination and enlightenment.

Fourth, we learn that love is one way we experience our true nature, but it is not only a particular way our being expresses itself in awakening and realization—it is a presence, a pure presence that is sweet and heart fulfilling. It is a primary food for the human soul, and it is just as pure and as primordial as pure consciousness or awareness. In fact, human beings want and need love before they can even think of awareness or consciousness. To love and be loved is a necessity for each human being. We cannot live without it; if we do, our life will become two-dimensional and unfulfilling.

It should be noted that I am not only providing a teaching about love and discussing its importance. This book is a transmission of the quality itself, through the discussion of the phenomenological characteristics of love as it is experienced. My fifth aim therefore is to introduce love in ways that are rarely found in spiritual literature or teachings. Most spiritual literature discusses the effect of love on our human consciousness—what I refer to as the individual soul. I am also speaking of love as authentic spiritual presence that is conscious of itself, its own beingness and its quality of generous sweetness and appreciation. I describe how love arises and its experiential characteristics. And I describe how experiencing the presence of love is different from experiencing the presence of consciousness, as well as the role that love plays in conscious human life, and in awakening and realization on any path.

love unveiled presence

The sixth aim is to make clear how love is not experienced in one monolithic way. Essential love has several varieties—different qualities that have different phenomenologies and different functions. Each quality has its function on the path, in our spiritual practice, and also in the fulfillment of our everyday human life. Through directly experiencing these various qualities, we experience the richness of our heart. We recognize that true nature is not only true mind but also true heart.

An important challenge on any spiritual path is working through and penetrating the various obstacles to awakening. Love Unveiled therefore explores the barriers that tend to block our experience of awakening to—and discovering ourselves to be—love in each of its various forms. Experiential exercises throughout the book focus on each quality or dimension of love, in order to help you experience the presence of love and work through the obstacles and misunderstandings in the way of its realization.

Love Unveiled introduces the teaching on those qualities of love that are most relevant to human beings and their lives and relationships. I explore how the qualities of love are the spiritual origins or essential archetypes of the kinds of love most people usually experience and appreciate. First there is appreciative love—the true liking of somebody or something. A second quality is merging or connecting love, which melts our separateness. Lastly, there is passionate, ecstatic love, consuming us from inside. Each reveals in its own way the beauty and exquisiteness of our spiritual heart, which is the heart of reality, or the heart of the divine.

~ A. H. Almaas

 

Stay tuned for … the next part … where Almaas will delve into the first of the three kinds of love – appreciative love – through an excerpt from Part One: Chapter 1 – The Soul’s Love Affair 

And, may you remain safe and healthy as you navigate this global crisis.

 

All italicized text above is from Love Unveiled: Discovering the Essence of the Awakened Heart  by A. H. Almaas … and is published here with the publisher Shambhala Publications’ generous and gracious permission. Click here for the free, downloadable PDF of the Table of Contents.

 

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj quote from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I am only the Self.
Rumi & Mamta Sehgal quotes: Rooh-e-Rumi : Seeking God is Seeking Love by Mamta Sehgal.
Marianne Williamson quote: A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” by Marianne Williamson.
Marcus Aurelius quote: WisdomQuotes: 510 Marcus Aurelius Quotes.
Deepak Chopra quote: The Path to Love: Spiritual Strategies for Healing by Deepak Chopra.
Paul Coelho quote: Paul Caelho Blog.
Images (edited & Logo added): 1 & Featured) Composite of a) Man on spiritual journey by rolffimages, and b) Abstract plant icon with heart element by tatus, 2) Almaas image, 3) Cover page for Almaas’ book, 4) Picturesque sunrise over a rocky beach by diliananikolovan, 5) Buttermere Lonesome Tree United Kingdom by weissdergeier. All except 2 & 3 are purchased from depositphotos, and are for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post). 2 & 3 provided by Shambhala Publications with permission to be used on our website and other digital assets.
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