I have always been something of a love-oholic. Meaning I have always wanted to understand, feel, and know love on its deepest level. It has been something of a preoccupation for most of my life.
I was born with a rather romantic heart that I started noticing in Kindergarten, when I fell in love with most of the boys in class. Thankfully I became more discriminating as I got older, and on an intellectual level I started questioning what love actually was. At one point in my late teens I decided love must not exist at all, because it didn't seem to me that humans were capable of unconditional love. I observed that people usually only loved others for certain reasons and then didn't if they did something "wrong". Maybe humans are only capable of attachment, I decided.
Despite my intellectualization of the whole business of love, I was still prone to falling in love deeply and intensely. A few years ago there started to emerge for me a spiritual dimension to love. Realizing a lot of my love relationships were ultimately unsatisfying and that there was something more I wanted, I understood that I was actually looking for an ultimate sort of love, and that I was looking for an ultimate sort of love in the wrong places. I realized that only a spiritual love will do for me.
One of my teachers tells me that everything I love, everything I long for and desire, is just a love for God. St. Augustine writes; “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” I recognize I have a very restless heart, and the Beloved is what it wants. Sometimes I feel it finds a momentary home in musical bliss, listening to my spiritual teacher in Satsang, feeling deeply connected during meditation, or feeling opened up by the light of another conscious person.
But honestly I have to say that my heart hasn't found home yet. While I have learned to love myself and care for myself (which continues to be a work in progress), and feel I have a fairly open heart for others, my heart just wants something greater, something more expansive, something cosmic that unites with me. I am not sure my intellect actually knows how to describe what my heart wants. It is like my heart is driven forward by a desire beyond my control. I would like to say I am getting closer, but I don't know. All I can do is blindly follow it.
This weekend I have been reading a book by A. H. Almaas, in which he talks about "rending the veils of love", or seeing through the veils that cover our true hearts. He writes that all experiences of earthly love can be ways of recognizing the veils that are still in the way of connecting with Divine Love. All of us have had conflicts when it comes to love with others. These conflicts show us where there are wounds that need to be recognized and healed, or else the wounds become a wall between us and love. In this way, everything and everyone we encounter can be a spiritual teacher who brings us closer to the Divine if we are willing and honest enough to be shown our barriers to Love.
"My body and my mind are in depression
because you are not with me.
How much I love you and want you in my house!
When I hear people describe me as your bride
I look sideways ashamed,
because I know that far inside us
we have never met.
Then what is this love of mine?
I don't really care about food,
I don't really care about sleep
I am restless indoors and outdoors.
The bride wants her lover
as much as a thirsty man wants water.
And how will I find someone
who will take a message to the Guest from me?
How restless Kabir is all the time!
How much he wants to see the Guest!"