Monday, September 18, 2006

A love that burns

Sunset through the trees, Christian Hill, Amherst, NH, August 2006, HP Photosmart R817, Exposure 1/200 sec @ f4.7, ISO 100, no flash © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Love is a powerful emotion. Indeed it is a powerful force. And very complicated, at least in our everyday lives. But really, very simple, right?

The love I’d like to consider — the one that can burn through layers upon layers of conditioning, of impoverishment, of heartache, and even through defeat — is unconditional love. Do any of us have the ability to offer such a powerful force?

It is the love that Jesus spoke of — offered even to your worst enemies, by your other cheek, because you realize that they are your best teacher, because this is your best weapon, and because you realize, deep in your heart of hearts, that you and your enemy are one. It is the compassion that Mother Theresa showed to the untouchables in the gutters of Calcutta.

And it makes me think of this poem, by the Sufi mystic Rumi:
O Love, O pure deep love, be here, be now, Be all;
worlds dissolved into your stainless endless radiance,
Frail living leaves burn with you brighter than cold stars:
Make me your servant, your breath, your core.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi


Anonymous said...

Now Love - there's a subject. What a power in our lives. Coming upon us unexpectedly, turning our lives over and over again. Takes us out of ourselves and makes us forget our selves like nothing else can. But what is Love? It is Gift and Mystery - like Life itself. And when Love focuses on someone, it is one of the strongest addictions we can have, and one of the most difficult to deal with.


"My Immortal"

I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
'Cause your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase


I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me
I've been alone all along


And if you want to hear this song check out:

Steven Crisp said...


Thanks for the comment, and yes, I can see that such love as you describe can be a tremendous force -- a powerful emotion -- exhilarating or debilitating, depending on the outcome.

But for the record, I was going for unconditional love -- you've described something else entirely. Unconditional love can include passion, but at the same time, dispassion for the outcome. Detachment, selfless caring for the other's well-being. What say you about that?

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess I did not communicate well because I was talking about unconditional love. When I fall for these women in my life (except for times when I am just playing around, or recreating), it is unconditional, and total. And that is why it is so painful when it ends; these endings usually leave me so totally spent, lost, betrayed, and wandering in an unknown land, and of course, wondering at the meaning of life, and at this mysterious Human Condition that we are enduring. If it was anything less than unconditional, then ou might say, ah! then it does not end, you still have it! Forever, and always in your Heart. And of course, I agree with that. That love is still there. But the object of my love is not longer beside me - and that is the hard part. Not seeing his or her face beside me anymore when I wake up.

Anonymous said...

Actually, regarding that last entry, I was drunk when I wrote that. Ok, I am still drunk, but I think I can be more clear this time. You say you wrote about something entiredly different than I did. That confuses me. I can't understand that comment. Are you confusing unconditional love with compassion? Love always has an object doesn't it? Are you talking about some kind of objectless love? I am pretty clear about the love I am pointing at. Been in and out of it enough times (and everytime is different). But now, I am getting confusing about what it is you are talking about, specially when you "entiredly something else" it throws me for a big loop.

I think many people do not understand what love is, or at least what is can be. Maybe we all make up our own versions of it.

By the Way, Did you listen to that song? Following the URL to it? Great one that I posted up above. Here is another favorite by Jackie Wilson.

Steven Crisp said...


No, I have not yet listened to your links. I will do that when I have a few free moments.

I certainly do not mean to debate with you. And words are such a terrible medium to communicate about such intense feelings.

But when I refer to unconditional love, it is such that you will not have such pain. Do you feel pain when the butterflies migrate south? Do you have pain when your enemy becomes your friend? Do you have pain when your child grows up and begins his own life?

Unconditional love in my mind does not cause pain. You are giving it freely (unconditinoally -- expecting, needing, wanting -- nothing in return. You are happy to give it. So then how can it cause you pain? It has already caused you happiness to give it away?

The love you describe -- to me anyways -- sounds like a different kind of love. One that expects, however gently, to receive love back. For example, you would think I might have unconditional love for my wife, right? How can I offer unconditional love to others, if not my wife?

Becuase I so much want her love in return. It would wound me to the core if she did not love me back.

And that is OK. That's what makes a marriage. Which brings children that we want to let go -- to see grow in their own ways. To evolve to their own future. Which is of course, life itself.

Thanks you for your comments. I will check out your links soon.

Anonymous said...

Ah so! Your description above of unconditional love as being painless because it needs nothing in return, is interesting. It sounds like a riskless way to love. And you were right - that is not the "unconditional love" that I was talking about.

Actually, the unconditional love that you are talking about seems to me almost like a "state of being."

To my way of thinking, what you are talking about is something that not all of us can experience, but only some very lucky beings among us who happen to be (for some reason or other, maybe genetics) blessed with a state of being so complete, fulfilling, and pleasurable (if not ecstatic).

A great question is: for the many people out there who have no knowledge of this way of being, or for those who know it, but are unable to sustain it - is it possible to enlighten them? Possible to help them reach to that state, and maintain it? Or is it just something that you have, or you don't have (for example, like physical beauty)?

Steven Crisp said...


I definitely don't think it is genetic -- except perhaps differently than you imply (that some few have it, and others cannot). If anything, I believe everyone of us is capable of expressing this type of love, and yes, as you say I would describe it something as a state of being.

As for how to come to this realization. Well, I believe the primary action would be to have the intention to be in this state. Once that notion is internalized, I believe it will drive one to invesitgate what path would work best for them to uncover this inherent potentialilty. I suspect the path is different for everyone. Hence all of our religions, our cultures, our squabbles, etc.

I believe the insights, truth, beauty, englightement, call it what you may, exists within. Perhaps that is the "genetic" seed that we all share. Personally, I believe our egos tend to mask this insight, and actually work activtely to oppose it. Why you ask? Beuase, I suspect, of our current state of evolution -- we still carry this baggage of "survival of the fittest", and the ego is our tool to help us to survive and reproduce.

Ultimately, one needs to transcend the ego, and recognize that our individuality is but an illusion. Once there, unconditional love is rather a natural state -- why would you not love another, if that is just a different manifestation of your true Self.

But again -- your path may be different. As Jesus' was -- as Buddha's was -- as Gandhi's was.

I hope this help you understand my thinking; and I hope it is helpful for you as well. Namaste.