To Love Like God - My essay about the poem
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If you haven't read the poem “To Love Like God” in it's entirety, I'd suggest that you do that first. You can find it here. Once you have done that, we can go deeper into each stanza, starting with the first. Here it is:
I wanted the world to be different,
so I told the world it could stick it!
But the only thing stuck
was the me in my rut,
a face so long you couldn't miss it.
I start the poem by stating that when I don't get what I want and I emotionally reject an aspect of the world as it is, I might experience disappointment, frustration, or other emotional difficulties. If I constantly find fault with the world, I will constantly suffer.
And what determines the intensity of the suffering that I experience? Surprisingly, the degree that I suffer does not match the amount of the difference between what I want and what I have. The degree that I suffer matches how strongly I choose to emotionally reject the situation.
The following is an example of an extremely minor difference held as greatly important and strongly judged as not acceptable by me.
I remember when I was a little boy with a brand new bicycle. It was my pride and joy. But a little white plastic cap for the tip of the kickstand got lost after about two weeks. This cap was only meant to be used while the bicycle was on display in the store. Once the bike was sold, the cap was meant to be thrown away.
But I did not know that and I wanted my bike to always be perfect, just like it was when it was new! When the cap got lost, boy, that was it. In my eyes, I had a very serious and unsolvable problem and I cried for a while even though my bike still worked perfectly. I quickly got over it and never thought about it again except as an example of me choosing to create an emotionally difficult experience.
Perhaps that experience was unnecessary or perhaps the situation was actually created by me, my higher-self or God to offer me a lesson about attachment and judgment with an example that did not harm my body or even my bike.
In this example, we see that “wanting” is an emotionally charged desire. I like to use the word “prefer” for wanting something without the emotional charge. In other words, if I don't get what I want, I suffer; if I don't get what I prefer, I'm still pretty happy. The subject can be the same; it's the emotional charge that's gone.
This doesn't mean that you don't care about what's happening in the world. It means that you now know that you can choose to not let the conditions of the outer world disturb your inner peace. In this way, you can put your values of genuine caring and sharing into action without being subjected to disappointment based on the outer results.
In other words, this is not a lesson where you learn to be happy by simply not caring at all about anything. I am not suggesting that you adopt a cold, heartless attitude and respond to bad news about yourself or others with a detached retort such as, “So what? It doesn't matter. I don't care!“ When you hear Buddhists talk about detachment, they are talking about decoupling their inner peace from their outer conditions, not about becoming uninvolved in the world. You will naturally be inspired to passionately engage in life and this will unfold spontaneously.
An attitude of acceptance coupled with compassion and action allows us to fully participate in the world in a meaningful way while being free from the emotional pain brought about by binding likes and dislikes, which are just things that we insist on being a certain way.
Are there examples in your life where something used to bother you a lot but now when they happen, it's no big deal? Can you learn to emotionally accept more and more of the world exactly as it is?
And please ponder this: if something really should be different, wouldn't it actually be different?
Align the whole world to my wishes,
especially romantic kisses.
Only then will I choose
some delight, not to lose.
But this grand plan it often misses.
Now of course, many of us do experience periods of time when we are pretty happy and perhaps even ecstatic about our situation. Life is certainly not all suffering, even if we’re not enlightened. When we have things the way we want, we give ourselves permission to push the happiness button, which is on the inside. Take some time to think about this right now. Have you ever been happy without first choosing to be happy? I don’t think I have.
But often this is only “conditional happiness” since we choose it only when our worldly conditions are acceptable. Which means that this happiness also present us with a problem: How can we make it last? How can we hold on to it? If we don’t make the conditions last, our happiness also disappears. Our culture focuses heavily on romantic love and once we find it, we certainly want it to last so I use that as an example.
Yet we all know that everything will change, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but nevertheless all things do change. Parents see their little children, whom they want to hold in their arms forever, grow up and fly away into the world. How much courage does it take to love them fully when they are home while knowing that one day they'll be gone? What does it mean to fully love something and yet be perfectly okay emotionally when it goes away? Is this even possible? Well, for many people, “This grand plan, it often misses.”
In a new way, I found a new thought.
It truly shows what cannot be bought.
Acceptance is the key,
Only this brings the joy that is sought.
Notice that I point to thought as the origin of this new experience of emotional acceptance. When I examine my emotions closely, I notice that they do not arise out of nothing. First, I have a thought about something that I perceive in the world and then my thought and my perceptions mix with my existing beliefs, and this gives rise to my emotions. So it seems to me that I have tremendous power in the skillful use of my mind.
Yet I have heard some people say that in order to awaken spiritually, you need to have your heart win its battle with your mind. But please consider this. Your mind holds ideas; your heart holds emotions. Your mind can hold true ideas or false ideas. Your heart can hold hatred and fear or love and peace. At the deepest level, only false ideas can prevent you from being at peace. There is no battle where your heart must triumph over your mind. Instead of a battle, think of it as the pursuit of truth and peace. Work towards tuning your mind into the truth and your heart into love and peace. Yet keep in mind that all of this is only done by the power and grace of God so just be open to that.
I now clearly see what I can do.
The gift of the now, it offers two!
Choose a smile or a frown.
Pick an up or a down.
Like magic it flows, matching my view.
I have heard Buddhist teachers speak about the end of suffering. But perhaps a better translation is the end of dissatisfaction, and this is achieved with the release of a harsh, judgmental attitude. In other words, physical pain and emotional sadness will always be a part of the human experience. That is just the way that it is and this is why I say that we are not really meant to be “happy all the time robots.”
Yet your attitude still holds tremendous power as to whether you will egocentrically “suffer” during these challenging moments. If you bring an attitude of rejection, you will indeed get caught up in a painful “negative” experience. But if instead you emotionally accept the situation exactly the way that it is, you may experience the emotional or physical pain while centered in a deeper sense of Divine Bliss. Yes, there is still the sensation of physical or emotional pain but you are dwelling in a deeper place. The pain is not seen as happening to you but instead, it is something that is witnessed by you and it seems less intense. There is no resistance to it. We will explore this idea more in Chapter 7 but for right now, I just want to plant it as a seed and move on.
But before we do that, let's quickly consider an example that is not really profound at all and yet often results in strong emotions. If someone cuts us off in traffic, our usual social conditioning almost demands angry thoughts, a hateful attitude and even a rude hand gesture. Similarly, this conditioning discourages us from emotionally accepting moments that are connected with injury, sickness, death or tragedy and tries to push us into judging these things as “bad” and emotionally unacceptable.
Do you really want to follow this social conditioning when it only leads to suffering?
Plant different seeds, take new action!
Don't be afraid, work with elation!
In the heart, what we sow,
we soon see in the flow,
automatic, divine reflection.
Here again I emphasize the idea that just because you emotionally accept everything about the present moment without a harsh, negative judgment doesn't mean that you should just sit still without actively and emotionally engaging in the flow of life. You can take a step in a new direction without hating what is currently happening, no matter what the present situation is.
Indeed, the very step of peacefully accepting the current outer conditions is what will create a more peaceful reflection in the outer world. The thoughts and emotions that we plant in our minds and hearts are the seeds that bring about the matching conditions in the outer world after the time of incubation passes. Yes, it takes time for all fruit to come forth.
But the subject of creation is a tricky one. Some teachers claim that you can be, do and have anything that you want without any limitations whatsoever. Others teach that you are limited only by your imagination, your thoughts and your discipline. While I do believe that most people would greatly benefit by learning what is called “conscious creation” rather than using the habitual, reactive “unconscious creation” seen all throughout society, I don't believe that you can always create exactly what you want in the outer world. Yet I do think that you can create a life full of awe, wonder, joy, love and peace.
When you are genuinely inspired to pursue something, it will indeed offer you a fulfilling experience, although how it unfolds in the physical world may be completely different from what you were first thinking. The core aspects of your desires, when allowed to flow freely into your life, will be brought into the world in a way that is a good match for your core beliefs.
Let's just take a few minutes to talk a bit more about conscious creation. The first step in conscious creation is to make a distinction between “inner creation” and “outer creation.”
Inner creation is the creation of your emotions, one of the most important aspects of your personal subjective experience of the immediate moment. The significance of this cannot be overstated since these are the actual experiences that make up your entire life!
Inner creation instantly creates any human emotion from pure agony to total ecstasy. Each and every human being can experience all of these emotions. And while we all can create these emotions consciously, most people unconsciously create them with habitual thoughts and reactions with the standard, predictable results of being happy when everything is just right and sad when “things are not pleasing,” a phrase which falsely places the source of your happiness in the objects of the world.
Outer creation is a process that unfolds through time. It's the attraction of people, things and events into your life. These are all outer conditions.
As I just mentioned, I don't believe that all outer conditions are available to everyone. In other words, we all have different menus, so to speak. One person may be able to become world famous and yet another person, seemly similar in every respect, may achieve only minor success, as measured by society, even though she or he works wisely and diligently with a positive attitude. Nevertheless, we all have numerous choices before us and thankfully, all of them will be in harmony with our personal growth. I say this because no one can really “make a mistake” and you are always right on time. What might appear to be a misstep or a misadventure is yet another perfectly valid way of learning about ourselves and life itself.
It's somewhat like a farmer. He may choose to plant several crops and put forth all the appropriate effort but the farmer has no guarantee that anything will grow at all. Normally, most of his crops do grow. In addition to the crops, he may also get some weeds or other unexpected plants. On rare occasion, a severe drought may stifle the crops completely leaving nothing but dirt. And if the farmer does not plant any crops, he might face only the weeds whose seeds the wind has delivered.
As I mentioned before, your thoughts and perceptions mix with your core beliefs to create your emotions in the moment, and this plus your actions attract the conditions of the outer world as time unfolds. The outer reflects the inner and it all begins with a thought. When you are aware of the process, you can consciously choose. When you are unaware of the process, you just react habitually, usually following the dictates of society.
So I encourage people to consciously work on building a better life. Yes, follow your passion and plant some fresh seeds! But don't harshly blame yourself if it does not turn out the way you had envisioned. Just accept it as “what is” and move forward. No one can know exactly what the future will bring. And remember, God may have a wonderful surprise for you at any moment! What would life be like without surprises?
Though I do love the world as it is,
I fancy more caring and kindness.
Everyday a new start,
peace and love in my heart,
here and now sweet heaven arises.
More than anything else, I would like to bring forth more peace, caring and kindness. With every new moment, I have the opportunity to place peace and love into my heart and then nurture these seeds through time.
If I hold an emotionally charged judgment in the form of frustration, anger or hatred regarding the current conditions of the world, those emotional seeds will, in time, bring forth new corresponding disharmonious outer expressions such as tension between other people and perhaps even violence or war.
Since I may also emotionally reject the new outer conditions that arise, I may find myself stuck in a circle of unconscious creation, a circle of disharmony. This is basically what is happening all throughout the world today in every aspect of society.
Consider the social tension about war. Often, some people support a particular war while other people speak out against it. If you could look into the hearts and minds of all these people, what would you find? I suspect that you might find plenty of anger and judgment, and perhaps even hatred and fear in both groups. The peace demonstrators may hate the war and the generals while the generals may hate both the enemy and the demonstrators. And both groups may fear a horrific outcome if they don't get their own way. But all this judgment, anger, hatred and fear will not bring us peace; it just attracts dramatic outer conditions that match the turmoil felt within.
In order to reap a peaceful future, seeds of peace need to be planted in the present. A world without war is built by people with peace in their hearts.
It is important to note that the circle of unconscious creation is a private, personal experience under the direct control of each individual. Yes, there are also dynamic energetic connections between people but you are never a victim. The important point is that each individual has control over their own thoughts, and the most important of these are the ones that form their core beliefs. These thoughts and beliefs play a key role in the creation of your immediate emotional response, and all of that together is reflected in the outer conditions that appear as time unfolds.
Yes, we reap what we sow yet we can make a shift towards personal peace by consciously choosing harmony and kindness and by letting go of judgment. This, in time, will bring forth new peaceful outer conditions. Try it yourself and see what arises!
Yet sometimes very difficult situations arise, such as the passing of a loved one. The idea is to respond to what arises in a natural, genuine way as free from judgmental thought as possible. In other words, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think that the goal is to be happy all the time; I think that the “goalless goal” is to be natural and fully alive in the moment!
Animals experience fear in a natural and genuine way but only at the appropriate time. They also experience joy and sadness. Similarly, we can experience these emotions as part of the natural flow of life without being chained to the pains of the past or in constant fear of what the future may bring.
When you find yourself feeling deep sorrow, don't be afraid of it or judge it, dive into it head first! Be fully alive! You may surprise yourself by discovering that while it can be a very uncomfortable emotion, after it passes, your true essence, your awareness, is not damaged at all.
Life is a package deal. Birth eventually leads to death.
Be alive with such fullness that even if the emotion is deep sorrow, as this emotion courses through your being resonating with every cell, there is still an underlying healthy sense of tremendous vitality that comes from your fearless thrusting of yourself into the moment with the thought, “I am alive!! I am a human being with the power to feel all human emotions and these emotions will never harm my true self!”
There is no such thing as “badness.” It is just a thought about something. Is it really bad to be sad? Is the quality of badness in the essence of sadness?
It is the constant running around in such a way so as to avoid what we normally call “bad” and seek out what we call “good” that brings us an unnatural life.
Unawakened people focus on getting everything they want. Mystics know that they can safely experience and embrace whatever shows up!
Embrace the whole of life and you will embrace the whole of God!
God and creation are one, not two!
Like water and ice, they differ to you.
Diverse forms, nothing more,
all the same at their core.
All things divine, though hidden from view!
One of my favorite topics is the idea that God and creation are both the same reality and this is the core of the nondual tradition. Fundamentally, God is truly without any form whatsoever and yet through the mysterious process of creation - which is happening continuously - the Formless gives birth to that which does indeed appear to have form. One analogy that I use is liquid water and solid ice. If you did not know the truth, you might be certain that liquid water and solid ice have nothing in common at all. Yet these wildly different things share the exact same essence.
Is this what's going on with God and creation? The mystic says, “Yes!” And the implications are mind-blowing!
With this mystical understanding, you will perceive every act as a divine act, every thought as a divine thought, every emotion as a divine emotion and every thing as the divine in physical form.
You are not simply connected to God; every aspect of your being is divine!
God is not just deep within you at a special place; you are divine at every level!
Can it be true, though hidden from you?
God's magic trick, to show up as you!
Both the good and the bad,
all the glad and the sad,
one Grand Spirit enlivens the crew!
I remember reading Dr. Seuss to my nieces and this entire poem is meant to have a playful, bouncy Dr. Seuss rhythm to it. While the poem is meant to be fun and childlike, it also asks some very deep questions such as, “Can it be true, though hidden from you? God's magic trick, to show up as you!”
The line, “One Grand Spirit enlivens the crew!” expresses the mystical idea that there is only One Spirit, only One Awareness, that of the eternal divine essence, which animates all of life. ItÕs like there are billions of hand puppets on earth, all apparently different people, animals and plants. When we see beyond the illusion of separateness to the full picture of what is really taking place, we see that there is only one puppet master with billions of hands animating it all! What a miracle! What a mystery!
Ninth and Tenth Stanza
Give the embrace, no matter the face.
At home and afar, yes, everyplace.
Rock and dirt, tree and vine,
she and he, all divine!
What is not God, I could find no trace.
Each part of God, like drops in the sea,
connected to all, what mystery!
A genuine embrace
of the whole human race.
The power to make new history!
Once the mystic sees the whole world as the eternal divine essence in physical form, everything becomes precious and sacred. Deep compassion for all people, animals and even plants springs forth automatically. When you look at the world through the eyes of a mystic and see everything as divine, you will love it all automatically. This is the treasure awaiting all those who embrace the mystic's view.
Yet before we realize the mystic's view, while we are still tricked by the illusion of multiplicity, we really can see that we all share fundamental human experiences and that we are all connected to one another like a big family. If we turn that connection into a genuine embrace, we will create lasting peace.
I know that most consider it odd,
the mystic's view, its picture broad.
This fresh view, could it be?
With new eyes, now I see!
To love it all is to love like God!
Why should you love the entire world, each and every person on it and everything they do? Again, if you get to the point where you see everything as God and everything that happens as the unfolding of the Divine Will, itÕs easy.
Is there something that you can think about that might help you be open to this profound understanding? What if you are not yet able to see or feel God in everything? Consider the following.
If God did not want something to exist, it would not exist. If God were truly against something happening, it would not happen. For whatever reason, God allows everything that comes forth.
Take some time to really ponder this perspective. It leads into a pretty big question: Does God really love it all? Does God love each and every person? Does God joyfully accept each and every event? Birth and death? Every experience there is? Ecstasy and agony? Is it possible that God truly loves all of creation?
While those questions may seem pretty important, the really important questions are the ones that you ask about yourself.
Will you love it all? Will you love it all, simply because you can? Do you dare give it a try? What would happen to you if you did? Who would you become if you really did love it all?
And you can answer these questions but only by giving it a try and watching what happens. The joyful liberation that comes from the state of unconditional acceptance is not just a theory; it is proven by personal experience, which only you can give to yourself. And that experience will bring wisdom that can never be forgotten or taken away.
Do you have the courage? Will you do it? Will you love like God?
The End - Thanks for reading!
Both the poem and the essay about the poem were written in the fall of 2007. The poem has had only one slight change made to it yet the essay has been refined a bit over the years. While this is not in my book, it certainly touches on the main subjects covered by it. Here is more about the book:
Living the Paradox of Enlightenment.
If you enjoyed this essay, then you might like some of my other work:
• My main website is here.
• All my spiritual essays are here.
In truth, I honor your divine nature, Thomas Razzeto
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Copyright 2007 Thomas Razzeto - All rights reserved.