You sometimes describe the end of seeking as the experience of love or happiness but calling it that just sets up another seeking pattern, another idea, about what this is.
Love and happiness seem to come and go like everything else. For instance, when you are just about to be sick from car sickness or when your dog has just picked up a deadly snake…. thinking that love or happiness should be present in such moments just makes me want to change the current situation and want something else – in other words it is just more seeking.
I write this because the desire to love and be loved has been such a trap for me in the past.
Thanks for your email.
Perhaps I should just say what I mean when I use the words, love, peace or happiness.
Love, peace and happiness are simply the words I use to describe the taste of our true nature. They are non-objective in the sense that they do not have any objective qualities. As such they are not experiences of the mind or body.
Seeking and resistance veil our true nature, present Awareness, and therefore veil the love, peace and happiness that is inherent within it.
As a result of forgetting our true nature of present Awareness and imagining ourselves instead to be a separate entity, we set out into the world looking for love in relationships, peace in situations and happiness in objects.
This seeking is, by definition, uncomfortable – it is the activity of suffering which defines the separate entity.
When the relationship, situation or object is found, the seeking comes temporarily to an end and our true nature shines – that is, Presence tastes itself – for a brief moment (actually it is a timeless moment, because the mind is not present there).
That timeless moment is what is called peace, love or happiness. It is also known as beauty and understanding.
When the mind rises up again, it misinterprets this non-objective experience of love and attributes it to the relationship, situation or object.
It then sets out again in search of a new relationship, situation or object hoping to re-enact the experience of love, peace and happiness that it mistakenly believes was produced by them.
However, it is not the relationship, situation or object that produces the love, peace and happiness. It is the cessation of the seeking/resisting thought which enables the underlying love etc. to shine. That is, the cessation of seeking allows our true nature to know or taste itself as it is, unveiled by the activity of seeking/resistance.
Therefore, love, peace and happiness is not something that comes and goes any more than Awareness comes and goes. However, it is sometimes seemingly veiled.
So, it is inevitable that if we consider ourselves to be a separate entity, we will seek love and happiness. In fact, the separate entity is the search for love and happiness.
However, if we search for them as objects we tie ourselves to seeking in the realm of objects and activities ad infinitum. Sooner or later we have to see that what we long for is not to be found in the realm of objects.
It is simply the presence of our own being.
Allow your focus on objects, relationships, events etc. to go blurry – just let it relax. See that behind you, as it were, you, your own being, is present quietly shining. That is peace itself. That is the abode of love and happiness.
Don’t think of these things as experiences with objective qualities. They are transparent.
Even in the midst of difficult or unpleasant circumstances such as the ones you describe, this presence that you are is quietly shining in the background.
Become acquainted with it. It is what we most simply and intimately are. It is all we ever truly long for. It is that alone which is sought in all relationships.
That one is imperturbable and hence known as peace; it is free of the sense of lack and therefore known as happiness; it is free of the sense of distance or otherness and hence is known as love.
But most simply it is known as ‘I.’
Be that. Make friends with it. Live with it. Love it. Rest there.
Thanks Rupert for the reply,
I’m so grateful for your patience with these questions as I’m sure you’re very busy.
I still don’t think you’re understanding my question – When I talk of love I don’t mean love in the world – I don’t mean it as something you get from a lover or a beautiful sunrise. I’m talking about love that boundlessly arises inside – it may be sparked by seeing something beautiful or by words but it can just arise from nowhere – it comes with a feeling of feeling incredible presents and aliveness.
Sometimes I wake in the morning and just lay in bed with this boundless beautiful love inside of me, I walk in the forest crying at the beauty of it. I’ve had this since a child… it’s how I got on this path…when I first heard the heart sutra over ten years ago my hearted melted with that love and I was hooked… And my path started searching and seeking for this love (which is suffering) and here I am now, writing to you, knowing, although it’s a battle inside of me, that the searching for that love isn’t happiness and the love I’ve described isn’t happiness – it can arise in happiness but happiness is what is behind the love, gently sitting there watching – love too is in this world.
Although this is such a battle – as for years I believed it was that love and part of me still wants it to be… In fact I’m sitting here crying about this…in a way I can see how silly this questioning is – but it has to come out.
Maybe this time I’ve described it better but maybe I’ll still get the same answer, maybe you knew what I meant before…
The love you seek is not love – it is a state of the mind or body, however subtle. True love does not arise, it does not come and go, it cannot be found in the world, it cannot be found at one moment and lost at another.
Remember Shakespeare: “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds…”
Every appearance of the mind, body and world is constantly altering. What is it in you that does not alter?
That is love.
There is one ‘thing’ alone in your experience that does not alter. That is You, that is the love you seek.
You will never find it, because you are it. Therefore, seeking it is the denial of its presence. In seeking it, you compel it to seem as if hidden or lost.
It is You that does not alter, You, Awareness. You are that for which you long and your longing is this very presence of love coupled with a thin veil of belief that it is absent, that it is an object that can be lost and found.
In other words, the love you seek is present right here in your longing. Yet your longing for it as an object in the future, however subtle, veils its presence in you, as you.
“Lord, Thou art the love with which I love Thee.”
The same monk could equally have said, “Lord, Thou are the love with which I long for Thee.”
Let all directions towards which your longing flows, dissolve in this understanding, and the love that is at its heart will remain over.
Whatever is not present right now, is not worthy of the name love and is likewise not worthy of our desire.
Forget it. Whatever is not present now, even if it is one day found, will by definition one day disappear.
Why go for something temporary? It can never fulfill you. Let go of everything that can be let go of, everything – and anything that appears can be let go of – including all your, my and everyone else’s ideas about love.
In fact, as soon as we look for what is present…..it is gone. We cannot focus on or even think about what is truly present. We can only think about an object, about the past, about the future. In other words, we can only think of a thought.
The mind dies as it turns towards love like a moth in a flame.
Let the mind dissolve in the understanding that it simply cannot go to the place of love.
Let everything pass by.
Remember William Blake: “He who binds himself to a joy does the winged life destroy.”
The ‘winged life’ is love itself. It is apparently destroyed by our looking for it as an object, by ‘binding’ our self to an object, which means to the past or the future.
Let go, let go, let go.
Let your tears be the river into which everything you know is offered up, all your longing, everything.
Someone once asked Mother Meera if it was okay to offer everything to God or whether only ‘good things’ should be offered, and she replied: “A child offers its mother a snail, a stick or a stone; the mother doesn’t care what is offered; she is just happy to have been remembered.”
Offer everything. The love you seek is all that will remain behind.