Union: “… We need to realize that union with the Beloved is our ultimate value and priority. It is equivalent to enlightenment … from the perspective of the heart—of love—instead of awareness …” ~ A. H. Almaas
Sadly, fear, anxiety, hatred, divisiveness and similar issues are in our midst due to the continuing COVID crisis and the social unrest … while mitigating actions are being undertaken at various levels, we also have an opportunity to bring a balance by focusing on qualities that bring humanity together, e.g., kindness, compassion, enlightened relationship, forgiveness, cultivating prayers that help us touch love and bring it into our daily life …
So in this post (& series) we continue our deep dive into love – the “seed” for dissolving separation and hatred: “… our heart will not feel completely happy, delighted, fulfilled, contented, and rested until it meets with the true object of the heart, the true love of our soul’s heart … ” ~ A.H. Almaas
But … before we dig into this topic … we want to acknowledge and commend Go Fund Me for persistently organizing/promoting multiple campaigns to meet the current imperatives. All of these campaigns are worthy of our attention … but for now we want to highlight the ones dealing with COVID-19 relief and social reforms … we are supporting these personally and also as Stillness Speaks (through donations):
Financial challenges are being faced by most, if not all of us … but IF your situation allows you to donate and help then …
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And, we again, express our deepest gratitude to 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 to Go Fund Me for being instrumental in feeding the needy and supporting justice & equality.
THANK YOU – our lives would not be possible without your dedication.
So, back to the deep dive into love … this post is part 3 of a 4-part series that’s exploring “love and its many faces on the spiritual journey” through excerpts from A. H. Almaas‘ recently released (March 2020) book Love Unveiled: Discovering the Essence of the Awakened Heart that “… is about love as an aspect of the presence of our true nature …” …
… in part 1 we shared the entire Introduction where Almaas’ start unpacking love while sharing his six aims for this book (which is the first of a 3 volume series on love) … thus setting the stage for his subsequent explorations into love.
… in part 2, we looked at personal or appreciative love (the 1st of the three kinds – posited by Almaas – and the other two being merging or connecting and passionate or ecstatic love) … through excerpts from the chapter titled: The Soul’s Love Affair … where he said “… The soul is a living consciousness—it is not a thing—so it needs love as part of its food in order to grow, mature, and become what it can become …” and then delved into this personal love through unpacking a Rumi poem.
Through excerpts from the chapter titled: The Longing for Union … part 3 of this series briefly touches on the 2nd kind of love: merging love – that “… draws us nearer to our depth … toward actual union with the Beloved …” … Almass upacks Kabir’s “the one thing in the world that satisfies”… to explore why we are discontent, unhappy … “… what underlies all of our dissatisfactions …” … this excerpt poses many questions that serve as a framework for subsequent, deeper exploration of this 2nd kind of love …
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.
The Longing for Union
We have seen how love provides the energy and the motivation that draw us closer to our source. The pink or personal love, when recognized, awakens us to selfless appreciation for being as it manifests in specific individuals, animals, and objects in our life.
This love draws us nearer to our depth. As we continue our investigation of essential love, we follow that inner movement deeper as it takes us toward actual union with the Beloved. We will begin our exploration by revisiting a poem by Kabir:
When my friend is away from me, I am depressed;
nothing in the daylight delights me,
sleep at night gives no rest,
who can I tell about this?
The night is dark, and long . . . hours go by . . .
because I am alone, I sit up suddenly,
fear goes through me . . .
Kabir says: Listen, my friend
there is one thing in the world that satisfies,
and that is a meeting with the Guest.
What Kabir is saying is that if we wake up to our condition, we will recognize that what underlies all of our dissatisfactions is an original, ontological dissatisfaction. We are not in intimate connection with the Guest, the Beloved—the ultimate, final truth of who we are, what we are. So the night is dark and long. But the night is not just what we usually think of as the night; the night is our life before we have woken up. Hours go by . . . it is a long night because we are not with the Beloved.
Without that meeting with the Guest, without that intimate familiarity with the Beloved, we are fundamentally, ontologically, existentially alone. We are separated from our Beloved. We use the name “our Beloved” because our heart will not feel completely happy, delighted, fulfilled, contented, and rested until it meets with the true object of the heart, the true love of our soul’s heart. It is this principle, or this understanding, that we want to explore in some detail. We want to understand how to recognize and intimately live our life from the knowledge that we are not a product of this physical realm of sight and sound. Our union is with the Beloved, and that union is not something of this world.
We need to look into and work with the many implications of these statements. But to begin with, we need to appreciate the gravity and significance of this truth, because we need to see and understand our priorities. We need to realize that union with the Beloved is our ultimate value and priority. It is equivalent to enlightenment but seen from the perspective of the heart—of love—instead of awareness.
Of course, most of the time we don’t recognize the situation that we are in. We don’t realize the effect of not being in that union. We don’t understand that this is the reason why we are lonely. We don’t understand that this is why we are sad, that this is why we are suffering, that this is why we are dissatisfied. We explain our situation by giving all kinds of reasons, without recognizing that the most important—the central, primary—element is the absence of intimate union with what our heart loves more than anything or anyone, whether or not we know it consciously.
We make so many things more important without understanding what is most central to our well-being. What does it matter what we do in our life? What does it matter if I go here or go there? Or if I have this possession or I don’t have it? If I’m in this situation or that situation? Whether somebody likes me or doesn’t like me? Whether I have this job or engage in this activity or some other one? Whether I’m helping this person or not, or some other person? What does anything really matter if my heart is not happy with itself, if it is not in intimate union with the only thing that can make it totally happy?
We want to look deeply into this question of union with the Beloved, and also into what is at the heart of separation from the Beloved. We want to see into this intimacy with the Friend, this mystery, this beauty that is the food for the heart, the true food for our soul. Understanding this will explain why truth is something that feeds and delights us.
In the remaining chapter (and PART TWO) Almaas’ looks “… deeply into this question of union with the Beloved, and also into what is at the heart of separation from the Beloved …” … offering the reader an opportunity to understand “… why truth is something that feeds and delights us …”
~ A. H. Almaas
In the conclusion (part 4) – the Afterword Almaas offers a brief summation of the book … or the essence of his entire exploration …
May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate this pandemic.
All italicized text above is from Love Unveiled: Discovering the Essence of the Awakened Heart by A. H. Almaas © 2020 by A-Hameed Ali … 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.