Monday, January 02, 2006

"To Love" by Tariq Ramadan (Din Seeking the Deen)

To Love by Tariq Ramadan:

"Why, deep down, do we love? What is the source of love, its meaning, its object? Why do we experience the birth of love one day, and its death another? Why, deep inside us, does our love for our parents and our children endure? How do we love? Why, deep down, do we love?

Life teaches us to learn, to suffer injury, to get to our feet again, to mature. Life is revelation; and when our hearts and our intelligence turn toward His revelation, we can grasp something of the meaning, the mystery, and the meaning of this mystery. There are many ways to love: The Most Caring One offers us love through the very essence of our nature, and invites us to continue our search for the love of our fellow creatures, for Creation, for His love.

There are several ways to love: we can love ourselves out of egocentrism or egotism; out of self-obsession to the point of self-importance and arrogance. How natural a love...and how dangerous. To see the world through ourselves alone: to love ourselves as if we alone existed, and, at the core of this mysterious paradox, to love ourselves to the point of oblivion.

To love our mothers, our fathers, our husbands, our wives, our daughters, our sons and, our senses dulled by habit, learn nothing from our love for them except when accident or absence strike. To become indifferent in the face of familiar presences. Isn’t it a curious paradox? To be blinded by too much seeing. To lose meaning because we are overwhelmed, drowned, carried away by the endless repetition of daily life.

To observe our friends, our fellow human beings, our world, and to ask of our heart: why you? Why should you be loved? For your appearance? For your qualities? For your tastes? To love as we feel, because we so “genuinely” feel. The fire at first, the ashes when all is done... destroyed by betrayal, by flaws, by wounds inflicted. Love that blinds; separation in the glare of hindsight. Another paradox: the glowing coals that are the warmth of our loves, and the infinite burn of our suffering.

To learn to love. Such is the message of all spiritual disciplines. We may love to love ourselves, our neighbours, the universe; we may love to move beyond the self, our own and that of our neighbours; our own and that of the universe. In nearness to the Divine we learn that we must seek, initiate ourselves, tear asunder, give new form, break off and renew. To seek out the meaning of our loves; to initiate ourselves into the secrets of hope and not stop when proof of our qualities lies before us; to break down ego and appearance; to give form to the gazing eyes and all they ask for; to make new the light in the heart and in the eyes and, as when we fast, to learn to break the fast the better to begin again. To be two, with ourselves, with God, with you... a gift, a time of testing, a period of hardship, of hoping.

Near to you or without you. Why do we love? Why do we break apart? Why, indeed? On our journey, we must learn that His love like ours, that our encounters like our separations, are acts of initiation: we can love a parent, a being, his beauty, his qualities; we can love what is and, in the end, know only hurt and suffering. Over and above what exists, we can learn to love the horizon that unites us. To move beyond ourselves for His sake, to seek together the pathway that leads to His light... to love the meaning, the road travelled as much as we love the destination, and our fate. It is constant effort, this jihad of love. To lift up our eyes before us and learn to love, and with that love, find freedom. To move beyond ourselves, to free ourselves from the loves that bind and imprison us: those “ended” loves, sometimes idolatrous, sometimes misleading, and so near to our animal nature. An infinite task, one never to be completed; a task filled with sorrow, with hurt and tears. Here, on this earth, lies one truth: he who truly loves must learn to weep. Life. Love, and life.

Why, deep down, do we love? Some like to bind themselves in chains, others to set themselves free. A mystery. The Unique One calls out to us, summons us, tells us: “Go on! Love! Move forward, seek out, and pursue your quest. The love that will come to you is not at all what you are seeking. It is an illusion, a prison. The love you seek, the love that you must learn, opens wide to you the door of freedom: alone, by twos, by thousands, it teaches you to say: “It is Him I love” and, in the depths of your heart, feel yourself loved. And then, at that moment, we must lift up our eyes before us, nurture the freedom we have found, and bestow all the love we possess upon those close to us, to the universe, to humanity. As we move on beyond this life, or as we remain. Love and true Life.

To love, and learn to leave... "

Found via Din Seeking the Deen

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