Can love be cultivated?

Today I considered the question of what love is and our blocks to connecting with it. 

There is always talk of love, thousands of love songs, I love you, I love this type of food, I love this shirt, etc, but what does it all mean? Isn’t this type of love partial and limited? I may love this song today and a different song tomorrow, I may get fed up with chicken vindaloo and try something else. I may have been madly in love with you last month, but now you have turned away from me, and so my love for you is diminishing. Is this really what love is? 

This love is nothing more than an attachment to something or someone, which can vary with the passions or seasons. Or is love so strongly attached, it’s become a habit, something so central to me that I will hold to it beyond reason and resist any attempt to detach from it and then pride myself in my resolve? I question if any of these limited movements of love are worthy. It’s all so superficial. These are the superficial parts of me and therefore I am superficial, for I am not different from me.

In this superficial bubble of self, we are all caught, hand and foot. If we are at all honest with ourselves we are aware that all our love comes loaded with conditionality. So what is our responsibility to this situation? What is our action and response to facing the fact that love as we practise it is a shallow and dangerous activity. Why is it dangerous?

Look at the world we live in. There are groups against groups, religion against religion, faction against faction, people against people, all doing their best to solve problems, and in the partial solving creating greater and greater chaos in the name of progress, freedom, equality and love. So this is not love. This is just a word, a label used for convenience of something we imagine love may be like, and maybe we have yet to discover what the perfume of love actually is. 

So as therapists, as leaders, as trainers, how do we respond to this chaos? Should our response in dealing with our clients, our teams, our delegates, be different and outside of the chaos, or are we part of the same chaos and superficiality? Because we are, all of us. None of us is exempt from the fact that that chaos is us. 

I am chaos, the self is chaos. One competing thought arguing with another thought. One decision challenged by yet another. Numerous ideals being created and overturned only to be recreated the next day. Beliefs of all kinds, historical and current, how they change to suit the mood and win my arguments. And I am all that. Can we face that very hard fact, that any response from chaos is bound to produce a positive and negative effect? We may nudge the positive in a desired direction and be satisfied with that, but at the same time we will create negative reactions. No action sourced from chaos, which is ourselves, will bring love, only deliver greater fragmentation within ourselves, others and society.

So having stated all this, what is our reaction to it? Do we say, well that’s all there is and we have to do something as we wander through life? I believed I was above all this mess, that I was different to it, but now I realise, if I am at all honest, that I am it, I am that chaos. So seeing all this, how do I engage with my clients? I can’t let my team down as they are looking to me to deliver for them.

Or alternatively, do I take the view that I am different to what is, and this guy is taking rot? If so, then I can stand above and beyond the chaos and from an outside position offer a system, a piece of training, skills, which will heal, bring order and cultivating love. Where do you stand? Has being outside the problem solved anything?

So this brings me to the question of why, as a species, we have failed utterly to solve our many problems both global and personal? We have had thousands of years and produced brilliant minds, people of vision, people of ability with wonderful systems and ideals. And yet at this moment, look at the world that we have created, the disease, the corruption, the greed, the dissatisfaction, the anger, the poverty, the violence.

If we face the truth, we know that our therapists and trainers deliver practices that yield so little results, only occasional short term fixes, and many inevitable relapses. This is also seen in politics, in religions, in the dynamics within countries. For every positive, a negative is produced that becomes the challenge for the next in line to solve. In the meantime, life continues to move ever onwards and we are always running to catch up, which is a fact.

So is there an action, a response different to all this that I can make as a human being? Can we jump out of the endless, chain of pettiness and shallowness which is our life, our country, our world? Or is this it and we have to make the best of it? What do you say? Can the response as a trainer, a therapist, a leader be something different and break the chain? Otherwise we are caught in the nightmare of our self-consciousness and must inevitably content ourselves with tinkering and self delusion.

Are we not responsible for this mess, and therefore responsible for acting as custodians in the field of the conscious to get out of it, should not our therapists and trainers be vanguards in going beyond the limitations of the self rather than constantly ploughing within a dead field? The self is such a field. It is an illusion, created by your thought. It is a bubble of consciousness and we cannot see as if outside of it, because the seer is part of it. A daydream where the dreamer and the dream are one. Continue to dream, which is a mechanical activity, and source of corruption if you would so will it and you continue to breed chaos.

However, seeing the fact that the dreamer is the dream, and realising that any action taken by the dreamer is a movement of illusion, and staying with the dream, will bring an end to the limited constant movement in mechanical activity, which has continually produced chaos? The attention to the dream is non-action, it’s the attention of intelligence. Clear the space, and when the mechanical activity of thought ceases, you will discover the perfume of love.