Enlightenment - In Sorrow and in Joy

Ahimsananda's picture

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At the end of St. Therese of Lisieux's autobiography; The Story of a Soul, is this description of her passing:

"At a few moments past seven when she knew the end had come, she said calmly, 'I do not wish to suffer less. Oh how I love Him! My God, I love thee'. Gazing beyond the statue of Mary beside her bed, her eyes alight with a supernatural joy, she died."

This may be a somewhat dramatized version of the actual happening, but it conveys what was intended; Being in Love. Dying in Love.

Why do we seek? Or, perhaps a better question, what compels us to seek? For to go after an illusive "quarry" like enlightenment requires a compulsion. But can it be a quarry? When what we seek is ultimately, intimately ourselves, and the path we follow, this can not be a quarry, but fascination itself.

I have said many times that my spiritual "search" began when I was a very small child and I realized that if God was who "they" said he was; he warranted my undivided attention. This is what Therese expressed on her death bed, "Oh how I love Him". This is not some wish for relief, in fact she said; "I do not wish to suffer less". Therese simply wanted to love her God. She did not even ask for peace of mind. She wanted nothing but to love. This is what the Christ referred to as the Pearl of Great Price.

The Pearl of Great Price is not an object of desire, or even a wish for peace, but a burning to be in love. This burning is the "earnestness" spoken of by Nisargadatta Maharaj. It is a burning for enlightenment. It is not a burning for the fruits of enlightenment, like bliss or peace of mind, but a burning for love itself . It is this burning that leads to awakening, because it is awakening. This is why I talk of "movement" and "unfolding" Creative love "beckons", "compels" and "fulfills". All as one "movement", Love calls us to seek, and sustains us on the way to ultimate fulfillment in understanding. This may appear to "happen" all at once, or appear over time. The appearance is secondary to the ultimate fulfillment of the "movement". The important part is in the devotion.

The devotion needs to be there right at the beginning. If we start out with a desire for something, be it wealth, happiness, or simple peace of mind, we will not be able to be open to the devotion (read Love) necessary for our task. This is what sacrifice and surrender are all about. We need to be able to say with Therese, "I do not wish to suffer less." Our hearts, minds and souls need to be on the Pearl of Great Price, which is love itself. Being in Love. Dying in Love.

This is the heart of earnestness; to love without desire, or want for the simplest thing, but to love. It is only through this "agape" kind of love that sufficient earnestness can be "lived". It comes around to the "circle of love" that I so often talk about. Love, in it's "creative self-indulgence", calls us to seek, sustains our search, and leads us to fulfillment in itself.
The "seeking", and the "sustenance" are part and parcel of the "fulfillment" which is inherent in the whole "flow". Our purpose in this is to not only cooperate with it (surrender), but to actively, whole-heartedly, Love it, in sorrow or in joy.