Movie Clips Love Montage: “Who are You?”
The paradox, the yes and no of things is pervasive. It’s not just the transcendent that is intellectually elusive. The child asks, “What is a flower?” How can we answer? How deeply do I know what a flower is? Yet we try to answer.
What is a personality; what is the definition and the limit? We say it is vehicle, that it is a mask, that it’s on the surface of things. Then we say all is one, so the soul and personality are one. But there is time we say, and Saturn’s rule is the root of this separation. Yet we sense that time is an illusion, and for those who love, “time is not.” We find no clear dividing line between spirit and matter, between personality and soul, no place where personality ends and soul begins.
The mask we call personality is deceptive. If the mask speaks of the mask, how could it be other than deceptive? Yet, to the degree that it is integrated with soul, the mask is no longer deceptive. There is no mask in honesty, in wholeness, in unity—and unity is the essence of all. Yet, the most transcendent unified light still uses a form. And if a human form and human symbols are used, a degree of imperfection lingers, an element of deception.
Where then is personality, and where soul? Among actual humans, I do not know if I’ve ever met a personality. I’ve seen faces in degrees of radiance and faces transmuting pain. But in all this alchemy, no personalities like the mental construct. Today, I suggest there is no category of personality rapport and or soul rapport. It may be convenient to speak of them, but they are not what is before our eyes. The existence of personality is factual, but it is not true. Before our eye is an exquisite play of light and shade, a world of gradations in flowing colors and shapes. The persona and its provincial and cosmic matrix are worlds of dancing lights, bits of energy with star-like distance between the points of illusion. The soul is the indefinable light that holds these stars in place and feeds their life.
The shine of personality is attractive. But it is somewhat like a moon, shinning with borrowed light. Its real beauty is not in the form at all, but in the soul shinning through. Personality is love in disguise. Virtually everyone I meet in the normal course of life looks well attired to me. They do not speak the language of personality only, they speak also the language of the soul. They do not always know they speak it, even when they do it very well. We hear the voice behind the voice. They cannot hide it; it is the nature of things. I see where the gleam in the eye comes from, even though they have forgotten to explicitly mention it.
Being frequently submerged in the chaos of our lower emotional natures means we fall continually into an unhappy half-life of existence. Our semi-conscious thinking makes us subject to the surrounding chaos of life, and our semi-conscious love also deprives us of a happy outcome. So develops the path of our slow education through pain. This way stands in stark contrast to a path of actual love and wisdom. And even when we manage to get our head above water, in this age of intensified communication, we are easily pulled down again into the crush of world chaos.
How shall we endure the painful chaos of the world? The pains may spark inspiration and define the direction for our creative forces, but our work is with harmony. Essential optimism derives from attention to the spiritual depth, while pessimism or realism forces itself upon us in our attention to the chaos on the surface. Realism is educationally useful, but our main life focus is with optimism because thought creates. Education is good, and the work allotted to us defines the scope of it, but it would be debilitating to dwell indiscriminately on the horrors of the human scene.
Self-centered metaphysics is a contradiction in terms. It’s a curious and often unnoticed fact that most schools and teachings termed metaphysical, place the major emphasis on more or less mundane egocentric concerns: awaken your psychic powers, get money, exercise influence, find love and romance, achieve personal enlightenment easily and quickly, and so on. There is a wide spectrum of desire-appeal in these that ranges from the “metaphysics” of winning a lottery to subtler goals like general self-improvement and gaining knowledge.
Given the current nature of humans, such motivations and appeals are to be expected. But they are not about metaphysics but “physics,” that is, the physics of bodies and their desires. In the normal course of life, we do need metaphysics to awaken personal powers, get money, exercise influence, and find love. With the exception of the last—and depending on what level of “love” we mean—these normal human goals are achievable without the confusion of redefining them as a spiritual path. But in a curious way, selfish appeals and methods get wrapped up in various “spiritual” and “supernormal” packaging. The seduction of that is that we can go on living an ordinary life while while entertaining the ego satisfying illusion that we are on a special spiritual path.
Goals like self-improvement, gaining knowledge, or getting clear of personality limitations can began to shade up toward something spiritual since they can support a healthy and more integrated personality. And we need some measure of progressive normalcy before we can expect safe progress toward spiritual or supernormal. Our practical pursuits are useful training and develop faculties in us that are a fitting prelude to spiritual progress, and moving toward the future our earthly abilities lend themselves to use on higher turns of the spiral of life. But, as often happens, more or less egocentric concerns saturates the beginning, the middle, and the end of pseudo-metaphysical teachings.
We search for happiness, and real happiness is spiritual sunlight. When approaching the spiritual, any desire emphasizing our egocentric concerns dims the light, and acts as a barrier separating us from the goal. We achieve happiness not by grabbing for it, but as a byproduct of love, a radiant sun-like disposition and motivation. For spiritual things, we achieve is by radiance. But the ego in us is not radiant, not giving. It is like a grasping hand, whereas the higher symbol is an open hand. Spiritual receptivity is like this open hand held out to the sun. If we try to grab the light, our hand closes on darkness.
We do not want to confuse superficial emotions or sentiments with love and wisdom. Based on various emotions and sentiments we can act foolishly, but actual love is never foolish. Love can powerfully affect the emotions, but it is not an emotion—it is the transcendent light and power behind our best decisions. What I mean here by “love” is love-wisdom, a spiritual energy at the heart of everything. This heart is not sentimental, but fiery and wise.
It may satisfy our sentiments to always act sweetly, in ways that make our loved ones and us comfortable, or in ways that accede to someone’s desires. But this may or may not correspond to love and wisdom. A decision based on sentiment, or imagined love, may just as likely bring eventual harm as help. For instance, although pseudo-love or sentiment may move us to give everything asked for, regardless of long-term effects, wisdom knows better. And wisdom knows when to be disagreeable, and when to use a “yes” or “no.” In love and wisdom we find a far-seeing vision that senses the right type and measure of giving.
If we look carefully we may discover that what we sometimes call “love” is not love at all. Instead, we have a desire for love and a desire to love. And we are willing to do all kinds of things to get others to see us as desirable and attractive. We love the image and the ideal of love, even when we are not quite sure what it all means. But this psychology is human rather than transcendental and is based on desire and sentiment rooted in self-interest. If we are honest with ourselves, we may discover that much of what we called “love” is really our self-interested desires in disguise.
We see a good example of how emotion can work if we consider the semantics of a “broken heart.” What breaks is not love or the heart, but our persistent and intense desire. We want what we cannot have and cling to desire in the face of frustration until it ruins our emotional life. But such pain is at a self-centered emotional level and not the level of the soul or love. Our so-called broken heart is caused by our desire. Love is the cure and not the cause of a broken heart, and when we really love, and love more truly and broadly, our broken heart is healed.
It’s often been suggested that we should “love our self.” What does this mean? If by “love your self” is meant “self-respect” or “self-esteem,” then it sounds healthy. And if we’ve been filled with self-hatred it may seem reasonable to try escape by replacing self-hate with self-love. But in this we may find ourselves on the horns of a dualistic dilemma, a tricky reasoning where the mantra “love yourself” may become a philosophical justification for selfishness and egotism that is contrary to love.
What of “self-esteem?” Implicit in this psychology-word are aspects of ego or self. But mystic experience affirms there is only one real Self–so what is this part of self that holds esteem for another part? What is the division? What’s happening when we say we have self-esteem or that we feel good about ourselves? Perhaps when what we are doing at a behavioral level–physical, emotional, and mental–is more or less aligned with soul, then we receive an inner validation, a sense of harmony, a right creative tension. In this sense, self-esteem may be a reflect growth toward integration and self-awareness.
Yet consider the paradox. The thought of loving ourselves seems to imply there is one thing called “self” and another separate thing called “love,” and that we can direct one toward the other. By this thought it seems we cut ourselves in half, and in trying hard to “love our self” we might very well fail to rise above our current egotistic concerns—those very concerns which, when we are obsessed with them, shut out the light of love.
Perhaps the thought of loving our self may be born of a natural and understandable desire for self-improvement, or a desire to compensate for self-hate, or to feel better about ourselves. These are normal human tendencies, yet all are personal desires and not love, that is, they are acquisitive and not radiant. They may give some improvement or relief, but not transformation. Love is transformative, radiant, and unitary, leading us beyond the normal toward the supernormal.
Love doesn’t divide–it unites. I’m thinking that, to the degree that real love is present in consciousness, we don’t experience a division between “self” on the one hand and “love” on the other. In love there is simply one central shining reality, one positive consciousness, the consciousness of love. In that unified state we are in love, of love, and we are love. And when filled with love, we no longer need to prop ourselves up by an effort at self-love. Simply to love is enough. In the mystic sense, we need not think about loving our self. We need only think about the nature of love, it’s goals, and purposes and how to manifest these in our lives and in the world. We need only think of how we may most wisely express this energy, the light of our essential nature. The affirmation of the heart is not “I love myself,” but “I am love.” This identification is powerful that opens the gates. It is enough to recognize that we are the power. It is enough to simply be what we are.