Friday, July 13, 2012

Loving What Is II

Scott Bradley

Before I begin this discussion, I need to acknowledge that it is in part inspired by Byron Katie's Loving What Is, with which I remain enamored.

I only infrequently speak of love as having anything to do with Reality. My only attempt to address it here (LOVE), quickly became farcical. But perhaps this was because I was working from the wrong end; I took as my 'verse', "God is love", and addressed love as an attribute of Dao as incompatible with the fundamental understanding of Dao in Daoism. Dao is not love. But then, maybe it is — if love has a meaning beyond our experience.

If anyone human loves, however, then Dao loves — just as Dao hates when someone hates. Whatever happens is Dao. This is not because Dao makes them happen, or wishes them to happen, as if they were expressions of some essential 'character' of Dao, a concept entirely foreign to Daoism. Dao is what happens. More than this, if even this, we cannot say.

Humans do love. And we understand love as an integral part of not only the human experience, but as its highest expression. Needless to say, as an emotional experience, any attempt to sort out its 'proper' expression becomes incredibly complex, and I won't attempt to do so here. What I do wish to do, is allow it to apply to the Daoist vision.

"What is" is whatever happens, the presently unavoidable. Zhuangzi suggests we embrace and accept every bit of it, that we "follow along with the present this". He makes no reference to love, but surely this can be understood, at least in part, as "loving what is". It is a relationship of thankfulness and joy; this sounds like love to me.

Now I'd like to take it to the next level. When we love what is, that is, the particulars of Reality, we can also understand it as loving Dao, loving Reality. I chuckle at how uncomfortable saying this makes me feel. And since I am exposing my heresies here, I might as well admit that sometimes I feel downright worshipful of Dao. Or, I might say, I rejoice in Dao, which for me is the same thing.

There are qualifications which I wish to make regarding the apparently dualistic implications of relational mysticism, but space requires me to postpone those to a follow-up post. So I will conclude here with just the suggestion that Dao is absolutely and universally loveable. Happily, this, of course, means that I am too. And yeah, so, apparently, are you.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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