“Societies never know it, but the war of an artist with his society is a lover’s war, and he does, at his best, what lover’s do, which is to reveal the beloved to himself and, with that revelation, make freedom real.” ~ James Baldwin
Love is the ultimate alchemy, the supreme transmutation, the essential transformative power. Falling in love with anything less than everything is just love. However, falling in love with everything, with all of life –the ups and the downs, the tragic and the magic, the hunger and the angst– this is falling in love, in infinite love, what some might call unconditional love.
As Stephen Levine said, “True love has no object. Many speak of their unconditional love for another. Unconditional love is the experience of being. You cannot unconditionally love someone. You can only be unconditional love. It is not a dualistic emotion. It is a sense of oneness with all that is. The experience of love arises when we surrender our separateness into the universal. It is a feeling of unity. You don’t love another, you are another.”
Being in love in this way is falling in love with life itself, with the whole of the cosmos. It’s an Agape love that transcends all religions, all ideologies, all politics, and goes beyond good and evil. No single thing can contain it. It is in all things, otherwise it is extinguished. Those who are truly in love, are in love with love itself.
There is no container that can fill it. No single person, nor even group of persons, can own it. There is no particular experience that it can be pigeonholed into. Truly being in love with life means being in love with existence itself: the filth and the beauty, the sacred and the profane, the comfort and the discomfort. Like the old African proverb states: “One who loves you, loves you with your dirt.”
This is the kind of love that revolutions are born out of. It’s not only a revolutionary force to be reckoned with, but an evolutionary force as well. It’s revolutionary precisely because it cannot be contained. It shatters all paradigms. It stretches all comfort zones. It pushes all envelopes. It flattens all boxes.
It must, otherwise it would not exist. But it does exist. It can be seen in those who have truly fallen in love with life, in the hearts of those who have become love. No authority can contend with it. No amount of power can crush it. No flimsy, man-made laws can imprison it. It is free from all limits, and so it is seen as a threat to all who seek to limit it.
Love shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s ability to let it be free. Those who are truly in love, naturally create freedom. Because they love themselves, they are compelled to be free. Because they love others, they are compelled to free others. Being in love gives one the strength and the courage to love others.
As Lao Tzu said, “Being deeply loved gives you strength; while loving deeply gives you courage.” The individual in love is not creating anarchy, they are creating art. Anarchy is merely a side effect of their art. They’re not creating revolution, they are creating love. Revolution is merely a side effect of their love.
This type of love poses a threat to the status quo, because the status quo wishes to maintain its status. Being in love without boundaries is feared by those who cannot transform their boundaries into horizons. Those who cling to comfort, hold tight to security, and kowtow to authority, cannot stomach so fierce a love as this.
For this love contains the two things they fear the most: courage and wisdom. Those under the spell of the state, or any power construct for that matter, will find this type of love abrasive, dangerous, and irresponsible. But true love is not meant to be morally responsible, it’s amorally irresponsible, rebellious and scornful of cowardice. It’s Meta-moral. Indeed, those in love serve one master alone: love itself.
Ask yourself this: Do you wish to live out a harried life of nine-to-five slavery, giving up your days to heartless corporations that don’t give a damn about anything except making money, or do you wish to live a happy life of passion and compassion, in love with life and doing what you love, despite plutocracy and tyranny? Swallow the bitter pill of that question. Quit rationalizing exploitation. Do not deafen yourself to those who would make you their victim. Realize with real eyes real lies.
Like Terrance O’Connor said, “When I act out of realization, I act not out of guilt but out of self-love, a love that includes family, which includes the planet. When I look, I see. When I educate myself I break through my denial and see that humankind is facing an absolutely unprecedented crisis. When I act from this knowledge, I act not out of obligation or idealism, but because I live in a straw house and I smell smoke. I realize the truth: that, in Krishnamurti’s words, “You are the world, and the world is on fire.””
Those who are in love are the personification of fire. The individual in love can survive anything, because the fire inside them burns brighter than the fire around them. The courage in their heart is a howl born of reinforced love. This fire is the love burning behind the third eye.
This is what Rumi meant when he said, “Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there.” Falling in love compels individuals toward heroism. It burns the line drawn between morality and immorality. Amorality is the ashes left behind, from which the liberated Phoenix of their passion arises.
We are seized by our own freedom. What we do with this freedom is the greatest responsibility of all. Do we fall in love or do we falter in fear? If, as Naseem Nicholas Taleb said, “A man without a heroic bent starts dying after the age of thirty” then it behooves us to discover a heroic bent. And the best way to do so, is to fall fiercely in love with life. This will probably mean breaking away from the status quo, stretching comfort zones, and courageously diving into adventure.
Being in love in such a way is subversive precisely because it poses a threat to the established order of the unhealthy and unsustainable culture. Because this love is healthy and sustainable, people are free to connect to each other in a meaningful way. They are compelled to push their comfort zones and risk being honest and vulnerable together.
As Carol Pearson said, “No matter how much people want to feel loved, appreciated, and a part of things, there will be a loneliness deep in their souls until they make a commitment to themselves, a commitment that is so total that they will give up community and love, if necessary, to be fully who they are.” And by doing so, they discover true community and love, because they learn to love people without hope, without an agenda, and without expectation. Like Walter Benjamin said, “The only way of loving a person is to love them without hope.”
But being fiercely in love is not for the faint of heart. Such a path is ripe with dangers and demons galore. There will be those who will try to contain your fire.
There will be those who will claim to be an authority and attempt to extinguish your flame. There will be those who will be consumed by your flames, like moths. But you must continue to burn. Burn brighter.
You must allow the fierce flames of being in love to burn what it needs to burn. Allow the beacon of your love to shine through dark times. Other people have a choice: fall in love and become the sacred fire, or remain moths. If they choose to be the fire as well, all is good, for fire plus fire begets more fire. And if they choose to remain moths, it is still good, because you are fire, and fire only knows how to be fire. So let your love burn.
Burn until all unsustainable infrastructures crumble into sustainable ashes. Burn the boring rituals of daily grinds. Burn the too-precious productivity, the bottom-line, and the socialized etiquette. Burn the marketing strategies that depend upon apathy and insecurity to sell products.
Burn the monetary-based economy to ashes, so that the Phoenix of eco-centric, resource-based economy can rise. Burn all man-made laws with the cosmic law of your love. Burn, and then keep burning. Burn until all the pitiful moths are transformed into mighty flames.
Burn God if you must. Love cannot be lorded over. Love is not subject to this or that so called dogma, doctrine, or deity. Love burns even holy constructs, because love is the only holy construct. So burn through the screwtape of religion. Like Jorge Luis Borges profoundly said, “To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god.”
Which is all the more reason for your revolutionary love to exist, to reveal infinity to itself, to show the human condition its own vulnerable fallibility, to expose the lies that circle entrenched power, to disclose truth to those who are hypnotized by corrupt power, to lay bare what true power really is: the ability to fall in love, and stay there.