Love is the life you already have. What does this mean? If you are reading this then you are human. You already have the precious gift of having been born as a human being. You might have been many other kinds of being. You might not have been animate at all – a rock perhaps - or you might have been an earthworm, or a bird looking for earthworms to eat. You might have been a fish. In fact, you are a human being: this is the life you already have and, in being human, you have an exceedingly rare opportunity. If you had been born as a crab you would probably have much less opportunity. Humans can be the most destructive of species, yet they also have great possibilities. We have the opportunity to be aware of spiritual grace and to wake up to a love that is more than just ordinary attachment. We have intelligent life. Life is a dynamic thing. It is not static. Life is active and vital. Life is not a story, life is the creator of stories. Life is the ever unfolding and ever renewing principle of our being, replicating and changing. It is the basis of all good things. It can also be the basis of many bad things. It can be the basis of greed, of hate, of delusion. It is, therefore, important to choose - to choose that this life, that you already have, be the love that it already is. What is that?
Love is the prayer that all beings be happy and receive what is best for them. Let me here talk about the Spirit and about what is sacred and how to be at home in the sacred and about how a spiritual home exists and can grow and be enhanced and appreciated. Praying for such a home for people is love. The spiritual way – the Way - is not really step-by-step; it is really an altogether-at-once thing, but it is in the nature of words that sometimes we have to describe things step by step. We have to build up a picture by stages, or establish one idea before we can build another upon it. At other times we simply look, as it were, through a series of different windows so as to try to get a rounded sense of the sacred life. Although having a community of fellow practitioners is immensely valuable and, therefore, it is valuable to have faith groups, it is important to also see the universal aspect and not become sectarian.
I have always practised within particular spiritual traditions, but what I am writing about here is not the exclusive property of one religion or denomination. At a personal level it is the faith that I was born with before I encountered particular religions. You may be the same. At the collective level, it is the heritage of humanity and the product of the whole spiritual tradition of humankind insofar as each of us has received it.
To me it is confirmatory that this personal and this collective level meet. Each gives me a language for the other. There is love - which is personal - and there is Love - which is universal. I find that, although I may be in conflict on many specific points with the doctrines of particular creeds, nonetheless, basically, the mystical experiences of many cultures concur. For this I feel gratitude. I realise that it comes out of recognition of our existential situation as one in which what is sacred is already all around us, in us and before us, waiting to be celebrated. It has already happened, is happening and will go on happening. Love is the foundation of life.
For Part Two