Sunday, May 19, 2013

Love Is All

It was one of those evenings when, tasks satisfactorily completed, our conversation meandered through a plethora of topics. “I’ve been feeling recently,” my husband offered, “that love is the only thing that really matters. Everything else is irrelevant.” So began a delightful discussion of love, the meaning of life, the best way to use our limited time on Earth~~and optical illusions.
The Rubin Vase is a well~known illusion that demonstrates the distinction the brain makes between figure and ground as it processes visual stimuli. The eye naturally perceives the figure~~in this case, a vase~~but with practice can learn to shift focus. Two faces in profile then arise from what had previously been mere background.
Spiritual practice is a bit like that. We learn to shift our focus in order to attend more fully to that larger ground, while creating lives~~our unique vases~~that are in harmony with it. The word harmony comes from the Greek harmonia, meaning both “accord” and “framework”, and the verb harmozo, meaning “to fit together”. 
To live in harmony means, therefore, that we identify more completely with a framework of accord, in which all fits together with ease. Human actions which are in sync with that framework flourish. If, however, disharmony is the norm, the structure~~whether it be a political system, a family unit or a human body~~will weaken and fade away.
As we train ourselves to perceive that larger framework~~the ground that holds the vase~~we learn to love more purely. We come, too, to abide more fully in Love with a capital L, and to return to that ground more quickly when we stray.
In my work as a psychotherapist, I regularly see folks who seek a spiritual realignment, though they most often choose other words to describe their need. Often their disharmony is a legacy of the unhealed wounds of their parents. It may also be self~made, the result of having chosen to live at odds with their own values and greater knowing. 

And it can also be simply an expression of the human condition, as we are called individually and as a species to know more fully a larger Love, one that moves beyond and through the vases of our lives. Harmony of spirit is our birthright, and we can always return there. That greater field of Love that gave rise to us, that never went anywhere and continues to fuel our every breath, seems ever waiting to welcome us back, ever waiting for us to wake~up.

But it doesn’t really wait, not in any kind of passive way. It calls to us in each moment, in every spinning atom and twirling galaxy. It is we who grow in our ability to listen and to respond. It is we who awaken and decide to choose harmony again and again and again.
This was the result of my conversation with my husband. We both once more affirmed our commitment to a greater Love and to honor that commitment in all our actions. For, as my husband said, all else truly is irrelevant. 

So, this column ends with love streaming out to you, dear reader. Can you feel it? I hope so. I hope, too, that it reminds you of that larger Love that holds you always.


To have some fun with the Rubin vase and some renditions, click here.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't it the Beatles who sang "Love is all you need"? My love goes out to you.

Loanne Marie said...

Yes, it was. And ya know what? I had throughout the writing of this essay been planning to end it with the chorus from that song, "Love is all there is." Until, that is, I realized the words were "Love is all you need," as you said.

Thanks for reading, for writing and for sending out your love. Let's all be like little salt lamps, radiating our love all around.

monica wood said...

I feel that this past year has been, for me, a spiritual realignment. The sweetness of understanding my work and purpose. Love is indeed all we need--and if we really, truly know this to be true, then it spills into places where the word "love" seems a bit of a stranger: work, profession, meetings, all those things that fill up our days. But as Annie Dillard said, "How we spend our days is how we spend our lives." So it behooves us to love it all. Thank you, dearest Loanne. xoxo

Loanne Marie said...

Well put, Monica! You've released love from a narrow, tho deep, personal connection and allowed it to shine out in all that we do, all that we are in the world. It's seeming to me these days that there is a force of Love (which I capitalize here and in the essay to show its meta~nature) that exists within and beyond the details of our lives, usually without our awareness. Believing this to be so, I find it easier to experience it spilling everywhere~~just maybe, cuz it was already there to begin with.

Thanks again for reading and for writing!

Rockey said...

Hi Loanne,
Yes, it is all about Love.
I am not a near-death experiencer, but many people are and have shared their stories.
Typically these people leave their physical bodies and enter into a heavenly realm. Most of the travels involve white light, a tunnel, and sometimes, a sacred ‘sound’ (Om?).
Once in the spiritual realm, the experiencers know that they are once again, ‘home’. They are always happy to be there and do not want to return to Earth. For some it is a choice to come back to Earth (and their physically imperfect bodies and human conditions) and others are not given a choice, because it is not ‘their time’.
Basically, the experiencers share this common explanation of the spiritual realm:
1. We decided to come to Earth with the parents, peer group and associates we are born into/with.
2. This particular time in history was chosen by us, so that we would have the correct environment to work on the particular areas that are needed for our spiritual development.
3. There are ALWAYS guides, or spiritual masters, or angels who are available for us to call upon. When we reach out to our guides in prayer or meditation, our purpose for this lifetime will be revealed to us. The guides are ecstatic when we reach out to them; it is their purpose to help us in this (at times) very difficult journey.
4. All people here on Earth are very brilliant spiritual souls that are sometimes inhabiting broken bodies… the body we are given is exactly what we need for this particular learning experience.
5. LOVE is the ultimate lesson we are here to learn.
6. Once we learn LOVE, we may choose to return to the material world to help others.
Hope this helps at least one soul out there.

Loanne Marie said...

I, too, have read of these experiences, and it seems significant that they are so similar. Now some folks think this is just what happens in the brain as it dies and is brought back to life. For others, such reports are accepted factually. And for still others, some combination of the two fits, with the element of mystery and essential unknowability eliciting a wonder~filled sense of awe. Wherever you stand on this issue, though, it is clear that small "l" love is good for the human being (and other living things!), and that choosing to align with some sense of big "L" Love is in our best interests, for us personally, for the groups we engage with, for our species, and for all life on this lovely planet.

So, here's to love and to Love!!! Thank you so much for this, Rocky!

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Leia Marie