Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Circle of Love!

This posting may take a while to unpackage as it is felt to be a summary of where I've been coming from and going to during the past few years. I will attempt to make the picture clear. But as in the picture to the left one can see that all of creation is so connected but very hard to always understand the innerconnectedness. Yes, I know that the proper word here would be interconnectedness, but I'm attempting to recognize that the inter is actually very inner! In just viewing the "Passion" flower we can see different interpretations of its parts as a portion of the Christ mystery but the best interpretation is to just wonder at the beauty of the total picture.

Peace, Blessing, and Wholeness to you All! The Ol Man who is this Roberto Vincente sometimes can be pretty errant in his ways. I am very thankful for second chances, third, fourth..... It seems that in the final analysis the Beatles may have really had the answer when they sang that "Love is all you need". I believe that, but it gets a little messy when you start throwing semantics into the equation. We have the different forms of Love. If you define God as Love, as John the apostle did, and don't allow the ego to hijack the simplicity of unconditional Love, then the community of the world could do just fine. The problem is that when our human ego starts redefining Love then we have the same problem we've ended up with by redefining God, to fit Our image, not the other way round as was intended. It seems to me that as a species we do need to differentiate different forms of Love for social interaction but it is very important to subjugate any of them to the litmus test of the Love of God, focusing on peace and respect for all. In various approaches I feel that the posts contained herein touch on this underlying theme. So as the previous post, a resource list, may guide one to much love of wise teachers I am prayerful the end result of this post will be to outline some of these aspects of Love as represented in my somewhat scattered approach.

Most of connectedness can be seen as a relationship between the ego and love. Not really a battle between them but more of a realization and balance of and between the two, or two hundred. When I speak of love I would like to note a variable. I choose to use the upper case L to denote Agape Love and lower case l to denote the more rudimentary, evolving, human forms of love.

Writing about love is just about as silly an original concept as one can imagine. What thinker, songwriter, philosopher, or advertising mogul hasn't done so. Love, or one persons concept of it, is what gives our world texture and excitement. One can find all manner of definitions of Love in any given culture. Much of our life force is spent finding, defining, defending, hiding from or expressing it. Love can be found in the science of life as well as the mind, emotion, and soul of life. So why am I even delving into such an area which has been so heavily studied, sung about,analyzed and promulgated? I'm not writing anything new and I'm not sure I'm even writing this to anyone but myself. Primarily I am of the prayer this post will help me to better understand Love, and its relationship to this Emergent movement.

Richard writes of a transcendence, rebirth, transformation, from one phase of life to another as a result of "Great Sorrow" or "Great Love", when your ego loses control of your destiny. And many times the great sorrow is experienced as a result of the loss of the great love. So Love is not just a state to which we aspire, or sometimes run from, but also the verb or action by which our movement occurs.

God, is also defined by some as Love. The mystery of God is seen as more than a noun as well. That is part of the mystery or the paradox of God. God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Jah is the creator of all, within all, the goal of all, and as well the life of all. Some call this the life and breath of God. Some call the mystery the Trinity.

The best word or clarification of the word Love I've experienced is Agape Love. Agape is defined as unconditional Love. This form I would define as being the best description of the Love which is God. There are many other words or descriptions of love which we use. As I see it these would be partial expressions or practices of the total, unlimited, unconditional Love which is God. Rob Bells book "Love Wins" essentially describes just how expansive this concept of Love is, how inevitable it is, and how hard it is to practice as humans. Agape would be the apex to strive for in each of these other, more human forms. Hence "Transformation" .

One form of love which arguably would not be love at all but the antithesis of Love is something called "conditional" love. "I will love you if you do....". In many situations we, in our human weakness, will tend to practice this form of (un) love. Good effective parents in loving their children will practice "tough" love. They will attempt to teach by attaching conditions, rewards, or punishment, to behaviors. These are usually necessary for young people to learn a socially accepted path within a culture. Such socialization techniques are just that and should not be confused with whether or not a parent loves their child. It is in withholding love, to achieve a desired behavior or result, where most self esteem issues yield a very dysfunctional human adult.
So Love which overshadows any "necessary" social and cultural mores is a goal of God Like institutions, which is what our institutions should strive toward. The defense of a humans basic rights will be a sign of such an institution.
The degree to which more carbon based forms of love strive toward the Agape God Love apex is a measure of that forms validity and authentication. Just as Jesus is my model and mentor, so Agape Love is my model for other expressions of this driving force of life. To not belabor this topic, as one could read for years if desired I just wish to briefly list what seems to be some of these other expressions of love. The Greeks seem to have given us most of the descriptions in the western world but other languages would be as valid, maybe more so as being less complicated.
In addition to (unconditional) (Agape) Love and Parental (Storge) love we have no less than five other subclassifications. The most difficult to understand and navigate within would be Sexual (Eros) love. This would be the one leading from passion to conjugal relationship. This is also the one which most directly challenges another form, Self (Narcissistic) love. Since one definition of love is "a desire for another to do well" then it will be very hard for a Narcissist to really love another and hence to be in a couple relationship. Narcissistic love is to conjugal love as Conditional love is to Agape Love. I feel the need to state here that Self-Esteem (necessary and inevitable when you realize You are a creation of God) is not the same as Self-love (to the exclusion of others) (Narcissism).
A subset of Parental (Storge) love would be Brotherly or Familial (Philia) love. Brotherly love would be the cement binding together a community or culture. This can lead to the cultural ego set which could be very dualistic and tribal which tends to remove a culture from the path toward Agape. Realizing we are essentially All related in the same creation would amount to being the re bar necessary to the cement of the Kingdom of God.
The last two forms I want to note are "minor" or microcosims of Agape Love. In a way they are easier to accomplish as they usually don't require as much release of ego as the other forms. Friendship (Platonic) love and Hospitality (Xenia) love would be these "baby steps" type of love.
I've certainly not exhausted this subject, and I certainly have not practiced these forms to the Glory of God. Maybe writing this down will help me do better. Keeping my eye on the goal!
Pax Christi! Agape! Aloha! Roberto Vincente