Just let Love encompass you!
(an e-mail conversation between Kees Schreuders and Hans Laurentius)
Knowing that you are nothing is Wisdom
Knowing that you are everything is Love.
Kees: It is said that if you discover that a not-'someone' is nowhere to be found Love reveals itself. Would you like to expand on this?
Hans: One way of approaching this is to look at the ego as a mental structure based on fear, mistrust, doubt and more of that kind of thing. I consider the ego-I to be a refusal of, or defense against Love and Insight. In other words, the ego-I is the denial of reality. When this mechanism falls apart, the always-available Reality and her first 'radiations' comes directly into the field of experience. One of the emanations of Reality (or of the Self if you wish) is Love. Considering that the tendency to chase after the Self and its emanations falls away, these appear quickly and get the chance to become manifest, where previously the primarily I-directed items got all the attention. Some of the emanations or radiations are Love, Clarity, Silence, Relaxation, Openness and such. These were already always there, only they were not noticed, (any longer), because of the I-deformation that ate up the most energy and attention.
When it is seen, (really), that a someone does not exist, or to say it differently, when it is seen that the I is one of the constructions or manifestations that we witness, the center of gravity takes a radical shift. The identification falls away, in other words, the fear falls away and Love, Surrender, Trust, Joy and such arise in its place. And the most beautiful and marvelous thing is that there isn't 'someone' who has Trust, but that Trust itself is present.
The whole search for Love indicates that we have a suspicion that love is there, but the search itself keeps Love at a distance.
That is the paradox that there naturally is much discussion about, and the reason that I have said that the essence of the teaching is 'do nothing'. This simple statement generally needs a lot of explanation which would also make it clear that Love and Insight are twins. Nisargadatta says that very clearly, which explains why his statement that shows both sides as one movement is one of the most beautiful.
In short, the Real shows itself in various expressions as indicated above, as soon as (Self) denial falls away.
K: Is Love another word for surrender? Surrender can not be discussed and is nothing that you can either do or not, it is grace if it happens.
H: A consequence of what is said above is that Love and Surrender are emanations of being the Self. Even these emanations moreover are not the Self itself, but the direct working out of these on the body-mind by the falling away of denial, searching, striving, etc. Love and Surrender are not the same, but come, to say it that way, from the same source. Surrender is there the moment the resistance or the seeking are given up. Then 'one' surrenders. It can no longer be denied, it carries 'you', as it were, along. You can no longer resist, you give it up.
It is the same with Insight. Simply said, you cannot not see it any longer, thus it is seen. Insight is always there, but we are so busy seeking, fighting, discussing, etc. that it does not get the opportunity to penetrate. At a certain moment the mind gets tired of it, or the mind is so convinced that it becomes still; then the emanations can take over the whole thing to put it that way. The trick is then not to think that the emanation, or that one of them 'is it'. They are and remain experiences. What we are is entirely available to them, but has no preference for one or another. I have seen that people are enormously moved by Love and go into panic when this disappears. They thought that they had it forever and later thought that they had lost it again. A little investigation makes it abundantly clear that you (Consciousness itself) are still there and precedes every arising and disappearance of all experiences, including Love. It then also becomes clear that it is often so that people have certain preferences; Love rather than Emptiness, or Bliss rather than Strength and Stillness. These last preferences need to be seen also.
But, it is true, you cannot do Surrender and if it happens you can also not leave it. In reality everything is Love. Love brings you to the pathless path, Love brings you Insight, by means of Love everything you need to 'let go' arises, through Love you discover that You are That. That is why I often say, whatever happened at this spot, is in any case not Hans' merit: it just happened. Great Grace up to this very moment!
K: I still have to think of Krishna Menon's statement; 'Knowing an object does not prove its existence; it only proves the presence of Knowing.' You describe that as: 'love as an emanation of 'it', remains an object, but could not you then translate Love as Knowing? For the Knowing, it does not matter what it knows.
H: You are completely right, that is exactly why I say that Love (as an experience) is not the ultimate. The experience of love, universal love if you wish, is an emanation. Love itself is what we Are and thus not a feeling or experience. I find it excellent to call Consciousness, Knowing, Love, and I do that sometimes because as you say Knowing is completely without judgments and is totally available to whatever may become manifest. Knowing never says 'no', it does not exclude anything, that is why it is Love. We can thus say that the Love that becomes manifest is an emanation, but that in which it occurs- the Knowing as Krishna Menon calls it IS Love.
K: What is the difference or similarity between love (with a small l, the opposite of fear and hate) and Love (with a capital 'L' that has no opposite?
H: Well. The answer is contained in the question. One is dualistic and the other is not. One belongs to the I and the other to the Self. But nevertheless little 'l' love is essentially made of the same stuff, but it can be suppressed by emotions. When strong emotions come up, it goes out of our experience. The mistake that is made is that people always couple love to an object: a person, situation, group, etc. IN that way it is made small and personal and subject to the emotional-mental. But the love between people is also a reflection of Love. Consciousness is infinitely loving, it demands nothing, makes no conditions, judges nothing, excludes nothing, etc. People do that, and that is also OK with Consciousness or to say it better, it makes no difference to it. But people who imagine themselves to be somebody see others also as somebody. It can happen that the 'messenger' (or Guru if you wish) gets anger or love directed towards him because everything is made personal. One can experience such a deep Love around those who radiate it, and then fall in love with the form, because it is not seen that it is purely Love-in-action, and the so called body sitting there in front of you does not 'do' that, but that the body-mind is only an expression of that.
The manifestation of Love is something marvelous and can hardly be understood by the thinking mind. It is also not necessary by the way, just let Love encompass you.
K: How could it be that in our core we all know what the word Love means and hunger after it without ever being able to know or feel what it is?
H: If we could not know or feel what 'it' is, we could also not know it in the core. Don't you think? So this question is not correct. We indeed all know perfectly well what Love is. But in general we know love principally as bound to a subject, while in reality it is a spiritual dimension. The personal or object directed love is always contaminated with fear and longing. For instance loving someone contains the fear of losing them and because of that all relations degenerate into a kind of livestock trade and claiming, and not allowing each other to be free is more often the rule than the exception. Really loving someone implies for me also, and above all, sincerity and the inherent wish that the other can be totally themselves.
There is a natural strong relation between Love and Truth, which explains why I often use the words as one term: Love-Truth. Real Friendship or Love embraces non manipulation, or to say it positively: the spontaneous inclination to 'bring the other to themselves', if that seems necessary. That should happen by itself, not as a strategy, because then you get terrible situations as happens with all intentional attitudes. The wish that the other be themselves is a natural consequence of being 'yourSelf'. You then don't go along with the little ego-games of the other, you don't strengthen them, don't fight with them, but indicate where the opening is in the interaction. By being Love-Truth, you repeatedly bring the 'other' back to their original state. That is in reality what also happens during Satsang. Therefore Satsang is not something that I do, but something that I am (on the level of the visible active side).
Thus, we know Love thoroughly, but 'from the inside out' and we have come to believe that Love can not be a basis to live from. Then we cannot serve our own concerns, but we hardly know our own interests anymore.
And that is actually what we are! Love, Openness, Joy, Strength, in short Life itself. Those are our concerns. So, the strange situation is that as ego-I we hunger after love, but are also afraid of it, we know from somewhere that if Love 'triumphs' the I falls apart. We know perfectly well that if fear and longing are the guides Love can not become visible. And we know that where Love 'takes over' the ego can't survive. That is why we as ego-I can not know what it is; we can however come to know it as soon as the spirit is in it's natural state.
In other words, Love can not be known as an object of the I, that is why we don't trust it, whereas when Love has put the I aside there can be a tremendous surprise about why we did not trust it. There are as it were two dimensions. But once it is entirely in, a process will begin, even if it is to begin with from out of the ego, to get to know it. The longing for it will grow. And when Insight is achieved into the functioning of the imaginary, the breaches in the I-construct become steadily bigger and everything becomes more open, clearer.
Ramana said once that the sadhana does not bring enlightenment about, but brings an end to ignorance; and then the Self does the rest. I find that beautiful, and that is the way it is. You can be ready to come to insight, to be touched, but 'you receive' the being touched and the insight. Then the process of working through comes into action by itself. Because Realization is not a process, but the thorough falling apart of the ego-inclinations.
To make it clearer: I call the ego the malformation of your original character that is your basic 'programming'. This becomes malformed through all kind of happenings and ideas so that the original character that in reality is originally the vehicle of, or is directed by Love-Truth, becomes veiled. Realization brings a process into motion by means of which the body-mind again becomes the vehicle of the true. I call that in this place 'becoming more and more empty of Hans'. As long as he lives there will always remain a touch of Hans-ness, as a personal flavor of the expression of THAT, but the malformation falls away. The depth of the Realization and other factors determine that this process goes faster or slower, thoroughly or less thoroughly. The more the working through has taken place, the more the embodiment of Truth (or Love) there is. Ramana is thus Love, pure Love, plus a taste because of which we call him Ramana.
K: Is Love a difficult subject? Can it actually be spoken about? Why is it such a Bhakti subject? Many Jnani-spiritual masters speak about their own Masters with Love.
H: It is clear that there is no problem in speaking about it. For me, as I said, Love and Truth one. It is therefore a theme that comes back again and again in the Satsangs. That is because during the Darshans, or moment of stillness during the Satsang this quality is very strongly noticeable. It is the Love that makes it possible for the words, the Knowing, to come inside. It is the still inaudible quality that opens people, makes them receptive and makes them radiate. The words themselves are meaningless if that energy is not there. That is why both Love and Clarity or Insight have to be there, if real Satsang is to happen.
Love alone is fine, but does not clarify. Clarity itself is also fine, but does not go deep, it does not really touch you. Love and Wisdom are thus for me like my two legs, they are both needed for walking, and one is no more important than the other. They belong together. So, for me it is not a Bhakti subject, it can be spoken about with Clarity. But, as I said, if it can not be felt, transmitted as it were, it is only blah blah.
Naturally the Jnanis speak about their Guru with much love, because Love is the basis of the functioning of the so called teacher/disciple relationship. The actual spiritual master is Love-in- action. In the beginning the disciple or seeker is only busy in gathering knowledge, but if it goes well he understands quickly that it is not about intellectual knowledge, but about something much deeper. Then, if he opens himself, he will feel that the Guru approaches him from enormous compassion, a compassion that is probably not understandable, but is definitely noticeable. That can move one deeply. Finally it seen that Love and Insight only appear to be differing paths for the seeker, but that is really not the case.
K: If I understand you correctly I could summarize what you said as: what we are is not recognizable by the senses or the mind, has no distinguishing characteristics or properties, goes before and beyond; still we re-cognize it. By what means then or how, does the question immediately arise in our minds?
Love (as one of the emanations of the Self) is actually the messenger ('the invitation' is perhaps even a more beautiful word) that indicates to us that we could solidly re-cognize the rarity, the subtlety of the Being or something like that without the mind or the senses. But, that mind has a tendency to try to find the root of it in the world of experience (where else could it seek?), of something that is purely spontaneous and without cause. Love is it's own cause and so it refutes every cause and effect argument. Love shows the mystery of life. Is what remains is wonder?
H: Yes, love as an experience thus points to Love itself, that can not be known by the thinking and feeling systems. It is, you could say, Love that knows itself: Consciousness becomes conscious of Itself. Self-realization is not of the person, but 'of' the Self and shows itself by means of radiance at the body-mind level. The radiation is for that matter completely spontaneous and simply takes the 'system' in which to begin with the I-movement played the leading note over. What we actually are, Love thus, expresses itself more and more easily via the body-mind system. So we as people are more and more emptied of the imaginary and more and more the embodiment of the Real.
January 2002 Hans Laurentius