Love is all that exists. Only love has existence. Only love has this quality of “is-ness” or “being-ness”. Therefore, only love can be said to exist.
The answers begs the question: then what is THIS I see, and how does it seem to exist at all?
That was the first question that arose for me this week. How is it even possible that I could not be aware of the truth that Love is all that exists. How is it possible to experience something that is not real, and meanwhile only barely experience a truth which is said to be completely and only real.
The answer I got is that both are real. The world is real and the infinite Love of God is also real. But they are choices. Do I want to experience something that has existence, or something that does NOT have existence? Both are real. The choice is real. But only one has the quality of existence. The other one is just “a projection of the mind”, which can be meaningful when we don’t want to exist as much (for the same reason why we choose distractions when unhappy – i.e., ice cream and television, instead of being present with the Self).
Dr. Hawkins also said that the basic human problem is we confuse content with context. In other words, we see content and we expect it to have the same qualities as context. So the mind projects this quality of “is-ness” onto a world which by definition has no “is-ness” at all.
We expect people, places and things (or thoughts and emotions) to have this quality of “is-ness”. To have real existence. We expect them to be infinitely loving, compassionate, powerful, and complete. We expect our bodies and minds to be physically healthy and infinitely capable, all of the time. And we expect the world to exist forever.
This world is likely to fail our expectations.
Sometimes, we try to escape. We escape, because there was something too difficult about the world. There was a failure. Or there was too much pain. Or thinking was too difficult. Or there was too much guilt. So we end up in an ashram. Or we find a quiet place and avoid human relationships. Perhaps we stagnate.
This is not always the case. But it begs the question: what could a “spiritualized” world offer any more than the world we leave? What do the ashrams or quiet meditation rooms really offer us, beyond respite and the comforts of community? Do we really transcend form that way, or do we also develop habits to escape it, by means of comfort, quietude, reduced human contact, and especially by means of some psychic or super-conscious experience?
But instead we are advised to say, “love is all that exists”. We are invited to embrace form with Infinite Love instead of disdain, or errors that result in the Void. We thought the answer was to find “is-ness” by avoiding content. We are instead asked to find “is-ness” everywhere, and only everywhere. And that is the beauty of the devotional places, retreat centers and communities who have emphasized devotion to Divinity as a primary motivation.
But there was once a famous Jewish leader who rebuked a teacher, saying, ‘if they are such a good [student], they don’t need an Yeshiva (jewish ashram). A Yeshiva is like a hospital.’ He was referring to his specific tradition of Jewish practice, which was to lead a integrated life of study, work, and family life, instead of (the now more popular tradition of) studying in a Yeshiva full-time. He was also explaining that sick people need special solutions. It’s not a coincidence that spiritual people are also seeking deep healing as well. He was not saying that ashrams are bad, but that it’s truly possible to address spiritual matters without changing the way we live.
As someone who chose to identify as a spiritual person in his early 20s, it’s important for me to admit that some of my interest in religion or spirituality started as an opportunity to avoid the world and a myriad of difficulties. The spiritual world offered something that seemed more comfortable and appealing at a time when the other option was more painful. While this may not have been my primary motivation, it has certainly shaped my psyche enough that it’s worth examining.
What has it been about the world that was too difficult, that I needed a spiritual “hospital” to address these special problems? How can I truly lay down these problems before the Lord, to surrender them completely, instead of seeking solace in form-based solutions which have no ultimate existence?
That question leads me to the next lesson…