Sunday, June 15, 2014

And The Love

And the love we all need
Was running hard to be free
It got caught up in the forest
By the branches on the trees

- Low, To Our Knees

* * *

We need love, you and I. We need love to secure us, anchor us in the world. Love, more than gravity keeps us here. We hunger for it. We lie and cheat as well as sacrifice and respect it. We believe it lies ahead. We believe it lies in the past. We believe it is given to us by another. We believe God bestows it, is the font of the love we all need. We distort it to suit other needs. We let it slip through our hands because we cannot recognize it. Yet, we all need it and give names to such things as we believe contain it: marriage, father, mother, child, religion, God, lover.

Rumi danced dervishes crying out to his Beloved:

The day your love touches me
I'll become so mad that lunatics will run away

And we adore the names of our beloveds. And we abuse our beloveds with the weight of our hunger. And everywhere love takes on the shapes we design to contain it, to define it, to hold it still long enough to enter it and it fucks us every time - not love, but our foolish need to control it.

* * *

By the creatures of the daylight
And the beasts of the night
Then the mountains and the rivers
Took their toll on its lead

* * *

We are born knowing nothing, or so it seems. Yet that is not true, is it? We know to turn our face towards the sound of a voice, to cry when we are hungry, to delight in the faces we see, to learn to crawl and stand and move, to seek our kind and be secure there. We are sunflowers following the sun, or so it seems. Yet, that is not true, is it?  We do learn. Experience is added to our natures in mica thin layers of repetition, experiment, discovery and so we learn desire, a desire for outcomes and rewards. And we give names to such things we believe contain our desire, our reward: work, commerce, marriage, mortgage, matriculation, status.

We grow into old age chasing down desires we have given no thought to other than they are to be pursued. We drink deep draughts of this wine believing all that can be done has been done and never do we notice the ways we have tortured the idea of love to suit ourselves, to suit our outcomes and rewards. We don't listen to the voice that sings, "The only way to hold onto this love is with an open hand."

We need love, you and I. And we live in fear of it - the sense it is larger, more mysterious, more unknowable than we have let on. This why we try to bend it to our will, why betrayal comes easily, why we are crushed by the absence of it, or at least the absence of the form we want to contain it in.

But love, can you catch water in a net?

* * *

It went stumbling down a hillside
Where it landed on its knees
On its knees, on its knees
On its knees

* * *

Our hunger to live a life not of our own choosing, chasing after rewards and status and finite accomplishment fucks us, fucks us good and hard. Faced with the twins of freedom and responsibility we abdicate the former and refuse the later. There are forms in place and we grind ourselves down to fit in, to be in accord with the currents of our brief time. This is why we destroy rainforests as easily as we destroy our marriages, why we accept ignorance and ostracize anything that challenges that ignorance, why we are happy with weekends instead of demanding our entire lives. When you cage an animal it is no longer as it was. Breed them in captivity and they are mere costumes of flesh.

Are you not an animal? What is the name of the cage that holds you?

* * *

And the love we all need
Once relented from its speed
We adored it and abused it
'Til it brought us to our knees

To our knees, to our knees
To our knees 

* * *

That which you need, the love we all need, cannot be pursued, cannot be contained, cannot be made to heel. Your adoration of it perverts it. Your need to dress it up in your tribe's colors abuses it. By naming it you limit your understanding of it and that is where all hell breaks loose: war, sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, the stump of bigotry, the blind eye of acquiescence, deforestation, warming oceans, income disparity, civic corruption, domestic abuse, battered wives, battered children.

Do I overstate it? No, I don't. The love we have named has brought us to our knees. It is time to stand up. It is time to wake up. It is time. It always has been.  And the love you need is in your hands right now. Quit arguing about its shape. Quit trying to tame it. Move with it. It is neither God, nor lover. It cannot be named, and has a hundred thousand hundred thousand names.

It is you, love.

Why else do you turn your face to the sun, to a song, a voice? It is you recognizing in each the wild creativity of love; it is you recognizing yourself in the other and that recognition is the unbound, elemental, creative force that cannot be tamed, only participated in: god and pilgrim as one, the prodigal coming home, you, you, you...

* * *



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