Recently I was listening to an interview with a woman who shared the life-changing experience of barely surviving a horrific auto accident. The interviewer asked, “What is your most important take-away from this experience?” The woman responded, “That we learn to love one another.” She said this because she had just described the experience of having momentarily left her body and found herself in an incredible, all-engulfing atmosphere of absolute, unconditional love. It was obvious from her level of passion and humility that she had truly touched a level of love that transcended her ability to describe.
What struck me about her advice of learning to love one another is the fact that she was suggesting that her audience do something she herself had not done. What do I mean by this? I mean she had not learned to love. Her experience transcended all normal learning processes. We can’t learn to love. We can learn to be kind and mindful of the needs of others, but the level of love she was describing is not a thing we do. It’s what we are. It’s an experience of the soul totally unencumbered by normal human wants and needs. A genuine exposure to love gives us a view of our life and all the people from the 30,000 foot vantage point. We don’t love people because they do something to earn it or because we’re trying to be better people. We love because we are love.
I realize this woman was trying to give back something of the gift of experience she received. She had worked out a 3-step plan of ideas that others could intellectually grasp and even implement as a technique that might bring a more loving awareness into their daily life. There are many such proposals laid out in books and lectures that are intended to do the same. But none of it really works, not at the level she was speaking from. Why? Because such techniques do not take us to the place of actual experience that transforms our entire understanding. If we’re trying to love, we’re not coming anywhere close to the experience this woman was trying to convey.
I can describe the experience of an electric shock, so vividly, perhaps, that you can almost feel it. But the actual experience transcends all descriptions. A shock is instant knowledge that bypasses the intellect. In our attempts to describe the experience we must resort to the intellect. Others can read or hear it and say, “I felt like I was shocked too.” But you’re not there unless you too grab those two bare wires.
Using electric shocks to describe the experience of love is probably not the best use of imagery. But you get the point. It’s like believing we can find God in a church or find the living Word of God reading scripture. The church may teach you about God and the scripture can inspire you to open yourself to that live-wire of Spirit that is your soul, but if you stop with the description and even the inspiration it stirs, you’ve settled for technique over actual transforming experience.
I maintain the position that we did not come here to advance our soul through learning how to do things like being more loving. Trying to love is a distraction, as it assumes we, as spiritual beings, are incomplete and must learn things that will complete us. Remembering who and what we are is not the same thing as learning what someone suggests is right for us. The closer you get to a pure experience of your soul, the more you will feel as if you have come home. You and I already have what we’re looking for. We have it because we are it.
Of course we want to be more loving. But we find we are most loving when we are most free. When Jesus said the truth will make you free, I believe he was saying when you know the truth of who you are at the spiritual level, you find the freedom you long for. You’ve come home. You no longer try to be more loving. You love because you can’t help yourself.
2 thoughts on “Learning to Love?”
I don’t believe we can make ourselves more loving by following instructions. Trying to love other people (especially those I don’t particularly like) makes me feel phony. In church workshops, we often say, “I behold the Christ in you” to the person next to us. I do not like doing this, so I don’t attend workshops. It is part of the “formula” to interact this way so that the leader does not have to do it personally with each person attending, but it always makes me feel dishonest.
My sentiments exactly. The same with all the hugging.