Down the ages teachings come to us of unity and the way to it, even though we humans have not taken to it very well. Books of religions advocate brotherhood even while the would-be faithful violate it. Everywhere, the form of things dominates and eclipses spirit. The form attracts us and the mysteries behind remain largely beyond comprehension and application. So, the eclipse of spirit by matter is the rule, and the ways of light are lost in the shadowy labyrinths of human imagination. Yet behind the veils of human activities is the impelling force, the luminous quest for unity.
Are the many quests for unity branches of one tree? On the contradictory surface it would be impossible to affirm this, yet in principle the idea works–but only if we dig deep, ignoring the many overlays, the crazy human constructions seething with chaos. In the deep cosmic sense, we find signs of the original tree of knowledge, signs pointing the way toward harmony and unity.
“Only the kernel of every object nourishes;
Where is he who tears off the husks for you and me?”
— Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
At first glance, it may seem that love is uncertain and ephemeral, and that relations born from it do not last. But it is not love that is ephemeral, but the form of it under particular limitations of karma. True love exists in consciousness; is essentially spiritual and above circumstance. It is a faculty of the soul, and in fact the very nature of the deep self. Its binding power, its ability to harmoniously unite persons in a given instance may fail. But love as soul power remains, even where the limitations of persons thwart it. Behind the uncertainty of persons, behind the complex weaving of karma, the certain of love as the power of consciousness, shines continually.
The soul is immortal and its future is without limit. That is why real love brings with it a true intuition of the infinite. People pledge their love forever. Lovers, songwriters, and poets of each generation repeat similar lyrics. “I will love you till the end of time,” they say, “My love will never die.” The experience of love is instinctively linked to the feeling of “forever,” to a sense of moving beyond time. People speak of “immortal love.” The reason is clear–the consciousness of love gives the true sense of being without limits. If we look at the experience of love, we discover a most amazing thing–lovers pledge their love forever because a sense of “forever” is revealed by love. It is the nature of the soul. The writer Nathaniel Hawthorn put this clearly:
“We are but shadows: we are not endowed with real life, and all that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream–till the heart be touched. That touch creates us–then we begin to be–thereby we are inheritors of eternity.”
Art by Cornelia Knopp