Chapter 6: Love and Happiness
There is a parable about a lump of salt who went to visit the sea. It met the sea and it came to know the sea, but it did not return. To know the sea it became the sea itself. The only way it could know the sea was by becoming the sea. The only way a man can know God is by becoming God.
A friend of mine was very unhappy. When I saw him weeping I led him outside and said; “Look at the stars!” At first the tears kept welling up in his eyes, sparkling like the stars themselves, but his misery soon subsided.
“How is it,” he asked me, “that my heart threw off its burden when I looked at the stars? How is it my misery vanished when I looked at the sky?”
“It is misery to be removed from God,” I replied. “It is sorrow to be alienated from nature. It is anguish to be separated from the soul.” That same evening someone asked me, “What is the greatest pleasure in the world?”
I answered, “To be in the world and yet not of the world. The only way to guarantee happiness in your life is to have your feet firmly planted on the earth and your heart firmly planted in God.”
Don’t we eventually get tired of our pleasures? And doesn’t a pleasure we are tired of become a bore, a pain? But have you ever noticed a man tiring of those pleasure he gives to other people? No, such a thing has never happened. Let me tell you a secret; only the pleasure we give to others becomes bliss. And there is no end to bliss. Bliss is the nectar of life. It is eternal, endless.
I remember the days when my mind was in darkness, when nothing was clear inside me at all. One thing in particular I recall about those days was that I did not feel love for anyone, I did not even love myself.
But when I came to the experience of meditation, I felt as though a million dormant springs of love had suddenly begun to bubble up in me. This love was not focused, not directed to anyone in particular, it was just a flow, fluid and forceful. It flowed from me as light streams from a lamp, as fragrance pours from flowers. In the wonderful moment of my awakening I realized that love was the real manifestation of my nature, of man’s nature.
Love has no direction; it is not aimed at anyone. Love is a manifestation of the soul, of one’s self.
Before this experience happened to me I believed love meant being attached to someone. Now I realize that love and attachment are two completely different things. Attachment is the absence of love. Attachment is the opposite of hatred, and hatred it can easily become. They are a pair, attachment and hatred. They are mutually interchangeable.