Love in action
Do we know what love means? Have we questioned our assumptions of love? Have we observed what we do in daily life, and see if there is love in action? After all, life is action. It is a series of action, of doing, and if love is to be expressed in any way, it can only be through our action. We talk, argue, struggle, have sex, work, and so on. We dream about the tomorrow. We live according to the tomorrow. Of what I will accomplish; what I will gain; where I will finally arrive. It could be a dream job, a rare opportunity, an accomplishment in some religion, a person I love, or some material possessions I wish to have. In all our myriad patterns of action, is there love? And what is love anyways?
One wonders if love is an important aspect of life. Whether love is necessary. If it is necessary, then we must inquire into its nature, to see love as it is, because if we are mistaken, we might be causing havoc and pain in the name of love. But is love necessary? If we don't think it is necessary, then what happens to our action, which is our life? Does that mean that we stop caring? That we become callous, cold, indifferent to suffering? Does the disregard of love mean that our action is mindless, cruel, without thoughtfulness? Does disregarding love means we can do whatever we like? Does it mean we can be selfish? That my sorrow, my existence, my ambition, my expectations are of the utmost importance? And if we look at the world, the society, the corruption, the abuse of power, the rape and murder, the cruel opinions which result in war in religion or nationalism, then do we see that our lack of care, of gentleness have created this corrupted society? Do we then see that love is quite necessary for life to be joyous, happy, sane? Without love, or the intention to care, what do we have left? Then we are faced with a society, as we are now, where it is human against human, group against group, nation against nation. In our strife, our struggle, where do we find solace? Where do we find that serenity which only love can bring? Then we turn to the family, the group, for a sense of belonging, of collectiveness, and think that only in this intimacy of the group, of the family, can we ever taste love.
But is that so? What is love? Is love belonging? Then we must ask, what is entailed in belonging? Mustn't we belong to a group? It could be a nation, a religion, or a family, but when we belong, don't we fracture the world? Then our life is the group and the non-group. Then there arises the me and the you, the we and the they. And in this strife, which is happening right through the world, in the ways of religious extremism, nationalism, murders and sadism, which we see in the news and see around us daily, can we, in this struggle, love? Then love to us has a condition, doesn't it? Then it is to only love those who belong with me. But is there any other kind of love? I certainly cannot love everybody, can I? But does love have a condition? When love has a condition, then love depends on that condition. When the group no longer accepts me, then where is that love? We are exposed to this throughout history, that the love which is supposed to be there vanish all of a sudden when I do not fit the requirement. Why do we have conditions for love? Is condition necessary for love? When it is necessary, then love becomes something that can be traded, doesn't it? Because, in order to receive love myself, I then must fulfill a certain condition of the group. So love becomes a bargain. I give certain things, be it emotional support, money, or my faith, and in return I can receive love. This has been our pattern in life. Either it is the intimate relationships of lovers, or of family, or of a community, a nation, a religion, and so on, we assume that love is give and take, that love is a trade, is something to be exchanged. Then we must ask, how is love different from money, from material possessions like a chair, or from labor and work? If love can be exchanged like a thing, then how real is that love?
So, does love have a condition? If it does then love is a trade, then love is the same as a piece of furniture or money. But is love a material thing? Is love something that can be possessed, traded, given? We have assumed it to be so, but with our assumption of love, what have we accomplished? Isn't our assumption of love the source of human suffering? I love my husband and you killed mine, so I shall take revenge against you. You have plundered my land, therefore I will get even, either through money or blood. I worship my belief, and you worship yours, and when we disagree, with all our past trauma, history, we shall have war. We think that if we love then we must take revenge against those who threaten our love. Is that love? Is love war? Is love an eye for an eye? Is love this primitive justice? Can love be measured? Because, when we take revenge, aren't we measuring? We measure our love, and we want to measure how much we can take away from you to make you feel the same loss, the same pain. Isn't this sadistic? Isn't this the very pattern of our action in daily life? Are we going out there to cause pain or to love? If we are serious about love, about what it means and how it can actually flower, then we must be very clear about what we mean by love. It seems that we are only causing pain in the name of love. Is love pain? Is love punitive? Or is love that which brings about the quality of peace, warmth, joy, a sense of being completely safe? To divide human beings has become the soil for struggle and war. And with this division, no one can be safe, and therefore peace becomes an illusion. So when we are serious about love, mustn't we inquire into how can there be no division in action, so that what we do is not antagonistic, is not friend against enemy, is not you against me?
And this asks for a tremendous sacrifice on the human being, doesn't it? Because it means that the human being must let go of its contempt, its judgement, its divisive activity. Love means that the human being must give up its antagonism, its history of trauma and hurt, its motive for revenge. It means the human being sees humanity as a whole, sees the earth wholly, sees life totally, without the higher or the lower, the good or the evil, the moral or immoral. Love means to go beyond our dualistic thinking, our dualistic way of life. Can we do that? Can we bring about action which is non-judgemental? Can we live without a sense of aggression, violence, hatred? Can we live with understanding, and that understanding has no condition? Which means we understand each and every human being, which means we see the human being in its very core. Therefore, love can never be stupid, because it sees the human being; it sees the primordial motivation of all; it sees the very root of human struggle and suffering. Therefore, to love is to see the entire human history of strife and war in oneself. To understand oneself, one's conflict and sorrow, is to understand this book of all humanity. Love is a tremendous thing, and can there be love in action?
That is why it is extraordinarily important to be aware of oneself, to watch one's actions and thoughts without judgement and prejudice, and in so doing, understand oneself. Through this self-understanding, one sees the absolute common humanity in all of us. Without the burden of the past, which is our judgement, our conclusions and ideas and theories, we then are free, free to look at ourselves honestly and simply, and then love naturally flows. That which is pain is the pain of humankind. That which is sorrow and suffering is the root of all of our existence. When we see that, then our action is not according to a specific group, nation, family, lover and so on, but flows from the very understanding of human sorrow.
So, what is this common humanity? What is this primordial motivation or desire? This is a not a thing to be theorized, put into words. When we are aware, then we see this desire acting out in each moment, then we see this common humanity, which is our human consciousness, acting itself out throughout history. We have given it many names. Selfishness, violence, war, survival, desire for power, and so on. But the name is not important. The name is empty without the actual. What is actual can be seen in our daily life. When we so observe our life, our action without prejudice, that very observation is already the beginning of love. And in that observation, is the actual, the desire which propels us to kill and plunder, to hurt and dismember, to be cruel and seek power. It is right here for us to see. The entire human movement is right in front of us, will we be attentive to it?
Without love, there cannot be peace and serenity. Without love, human security is but an illusion made up by armies and guns. Without love, life is only competition, loss, the endless strife. Without love, killing is entertainment, competition is sacred, and power is necessary. Love dissolves all that yearning in oneself. Love is complete and total. It is not give or take, and in that very stillness, it is capable of miracles, of the emptying of hatred and violence. In that very stillness, love contains all movement, so all movement can flow inexhaustibly from love.