(Originally published April 19, 2006)
We wonder sometimes if God loves us. “How could a loving God do something like this to us?” as we survey the wreckage of our wounded, suffering lives and the myriad diseased calamities of human existence. And you wonder — if in fact it is all love — why there is so much of this other stuff: all the seeming non-love aspects of life: the pain and suffering, the anger and rage, and the boredom (which I suspect is the true opposite of “love, as opposed to “hatred” — the fascination of love is the antithesis of boredom).
Again, I always come back to the hide-and-seek aspect of Hindu mythology: God, splitting Himself into pieces, slicing His body up into a zillion so-called separate beings, cutting Himself off from Himself, from His eternal throbbing Cosmic Love. So that He could play the game of mortal existence — of being you and me — and of seeking and ultimately finding Himself again. In essence, putting a veil over His love. All the non-loving aspects of this life — the seemingly impure and imperfect things — are merely the veil that God placed over His gold. And the little beams of love we pick up now and again, are like the clues left at the scene of the crime, to keep us moving in the right direction.
I’m sure the next life, our ultimate destination and destiny, is nothing less than the eternal throbbing of 100% pure love. Now and forever. But in the meantime…
“Love is an angel disguised as lust,” went the Patti Smith/Bruce Springsteen song (and somehow, I suspect that line was more Patti’s than Bruce’s). Something about that line always said a lot to me. As if, under the fumblings of my spastic attempts at Romantic Love, was something deeper. This all-encompassing love. You can write off Romantic Love as “just sex.” And most of human love is just “buying-and-selling.” And the kind of love we seek from the applause-of-the-crowd is usually just the flip side of our preening, insecure egos (“Geez, maybe somebody will read this brilliant blog and love me!”). And yet, even there, with all those “shallow” forms of love, Show Biz Love (“They LOVE me!” squeals Sally Fields as she clutches her Academy Award), there’s this deeper thing, just beneath the surface.
Like, I was thinking how I ran into this woman-from-my-past last summer. She was The First Love of My Life 30 long years ago. That bit. Now, she was a middle-aged housewife. To her, at the time (1978) I was just another-face-in-the-crowd that passed by her for a couple days and then was mostly forgotten. And yet to me, she was this Goddess, this Angel, this Vision of this Pure Thing. And yes, there’s the whole bullshit of putting a person on a “pedastool”, turning them into an idol in your imagination (as opposed to the actual love-less reality). And it’s all false on that level. Just like it was also “just sex” — this beautiful 19-year-old sex goddess that she was, sticking her fat, ripe ass in my virgin face. (Now THAT’S love for you, baby) (Let’s make so-called love!). And there was the “ego love” of the “trophy girlfriend.” (“If only I could win this sought-after person, that would prove I was a Great Man after all!”)
And yet, in spite of all the banalities, falsehoods, and shallowness that is Romantic Love (i.e. “lust”), when I ran into Her on a street corner nearly 30 years later, there were still all these “feelings” lurking just beneath the surface. Feelings that could never be dismissed as “just sex.” For there’s the all-encompassing aspect of Love — with a capital L. And these minor loves, these spastic, all-too-human loves — with a small l — are like a tone hit on a tinny toy piano. And yet, just behind the tone is a complete symphony, and the song of the angels sweetly singing. . . .