Wendell Krossa on Love
Why refer to love as primary or fundamental? There are so many other elements to being human as Herb noted. Why focus on the importance and primacy of love?
There are two basic elements to the old narratives constructed by the ancients that have formed a dark background to people’s perceptions the fundamental nature of reality and life. One of these basic elements of the mythical/religious narratives was that there was something threatening, punishing, harmful, and angry behind all natural reality/life. This threatening reality (God/gods) needed to be placated or appeased and this was a never-ending endeavour motivated too often by guilt and fear. Tied directly to this was the belief that people were corrupted, nasty creatures- evil, and even demonic. These two beliefs formed a general background environment to a lot of other belief (the salvation systems of religions are founded around these two core beliefs). And this was true of Eastern traditions also as Eliade noted in History of Religious Ideas. I think it is important to grasp the darkening impact these elements have on human consciousness.
Some people long ago tried to counter this with new insights that there were also humane features in the gods (e.g. kindness in the pharaohs). It could be argued that the real breakthrough came with the Palestinian sage Jesus and his insights on a good and generous Father behind creation, though Armstrong has noted that similar breakthroughs were also made in the Axial Age (700 to 500 BCE) regarding loving kindness (this theme emerged in all the major religious traditions).
Here is my concern and interest. What has been the impact of these beliefs on human consciousness over the millennia? This may explain something of my own personal emphasis on the centrality and primacy of love, especially the element ‘unconditional’. This element liberates utterly from all the burdensome obligations of religion, from the demands for appeasement, propitiation, or payback. Unconditional as taught by Jesus undermines all religious obligation and darkness.
Just by way of example, regarding the impact on human consciousness: Some years back, I shared some very terrifying experiences I had (that was around the time Bob shared his strange hotel experience). There is a lot of research on these darker experiences and they have been referred to by some as possibly related to the ‘entity experience’ which has a long history- the sense of being possessed and pulled down to somewhere dark and terrifying. Others try to explain this in terms of the brain mechanism which leads to a letting go of the body as you fall asleep and this can give a sense of falling. This one never resonated as a full explanation to what I experienced.
My experience was not a dream. It was very real and intense for the several times that I went through it, notably only during the years of my religious adherence. My original religious interpretation of that experience was that it was demonic. This was how my religion taught me to view such things. I have tried to understand it more over the years and what it might have possibly been about. I think the NDE researchers may have come up with some more plausible explanations as they have tried to understand some of the darker NDEs (hellish ones). They have explained these in terms of religious beliefs (hell) and suppressed fears and what not. Things that we as people cannot handle so we suppress them somewhere in the back of our minds.
Part of this darker impact on consciousness arises from the fact that I had been taught a God in Christianity that was quite frightening. That religious God had become in a very real sense, the ultimate monster, a threatening, all-pervading darkness, even a terror at times. One who sent people to hell. Maybe I had to go right to the gates of hell to experience first- hand the full darkness and terror of that belief system. Only then would “Don’t be afraid, don’t be anxious” or something like unconditional love come through in its full liberating meaning (something valued only can be appreciated in contrast with its opposite). I also wonder now if those dark terror experiences were something like an epitome experience- a condensation of all the dark things shoved back in some repressed manner- of all that I had been taught about divine anger, hell, demons, punishment, human unworthiness, and all the rest.
And yes, the qualifier- there was also love taught in the Christian tradition that I was part of but it was so often mixed in with the other darkening stuff that it resulted in confusion and distortion of basic categories of meaning (e.g. unconditional love but this was highly conditioned with such things as don’t fellowship with unbelievers, unless they convert, and prerequisite payment to an offended deity).
So this theme of unconditional love has resonated as something essential to me and it has led me to change entirely my views of the great creating Reality behind all else .and to change entirely my views of what we are as human persons. I have come to understand that there is no darkness in God, the great creating and sustaining Spirit or Source or Consciousness in all things. There is no threat, nothing to fear in this Ultimate Reality. God is indeed Love and Light. Just as important, we also beings of light and love, pure and perfect in our essential nature, in what others call our real selves.
As Armstrong and Schwartz note, anything in us that is less than human comes from an old animal inheritance in our brain and it is not from our true self or person. This is an important and helpful distinction.
To re-affirm this point that the Source behind all reality is love and the essential human self is similarly love and light, let me quote these sections below from Ken Ring’s ‘Lessons From the Light’. This first part is the experience of Peggy Holladay (there is a lot more in the context from which these quotes are pulled).
“I can remember not knowing where I was while I was floating until I saw a small but bright light…as everyone says who has ever seen this light, it looks like the brightest blue-white light in your imagination- multiplied by 10,000…I clearly and instantly knew the light was not just a Light but was ALIVE! It had personality and was intelligence beyond comprehension….I knew the light was a being, and I also knew the light being was God and was genderless…”
(Peggy then began to experience the energy of the light) “I knew completely and without any shadow of a doubt that it was the strongest force in existence. It was the energy of Pure Love….It showed me the world is an illusion…there are invisible things that are far, far more real…the mind was paramount…time was also an illusion….”
(Ring interjects- but of all the things Peggy took in, in this state of tremendously expanded consciousness, the most meaningful had to do with the all-pervading and primary nature of love in the universe) “…I continued to see other amazing truths…one was when the light told me everything was Love, and I mean everything. I had always felt love was, as just a human emotion people felt from time to time, never in my wildest dreams thinking it was literally EVERYTHING!…I was shown how much all people are loved. It was overwhelmingly evident that the light loved everyone equally without any conditions. I really want to stress this because it made me so happy to know we didn’t have to believe or do certain things to be loved. We already were and are no matter what ! The light was extremely concerned and loving toward all people. I wanted to cry I felt so deeply for people…If they could only know how much they’re loved, maybe they wouldn’t feel so scared or lonely anymore….”
(Ring interjects again- then as if to drive home the incomprehensible immensity of this love Peggy received and infusion of the light’s energy) “…I vividly recall the part where the light did what felt like switch on a current of pure, undiluted, concentrated, unconditional LOVE. This love I experienced in the light was so powerful it can’t be compared to earthly love, even though earthly love is a much milder version. It’s like knowing the very best love you feel on earth is diluted to about one part per million of the real thing. As this stream of pure love went through me, I felt as if the light was saying simultaneously, ‘I love you completely and entirely as you are, because you are’…it was like being bathed in energy particles of pure love…I knew there was nothing wrong with me in any way. NOTHING! I was PERFECTION. I wasn’t just with the light. I became the light…”
(Ring- Peggy feels she took home an important lesson about the healing power of unconditional love) “…upon feeling even one moment of this pure energy, any human being alive would fall to his or her knees and deeply sob with unbridled and uninhibited joy at the perfection of the universe….one thing I learned was that we are all here to do an ‘assignment of love’”.
Ring adds this- “The individual realizes the perfection of the universe and that this is the realm of pure, unconditional love and acceptance, a primordial womb of light blazing with beauty and glory beyond measure, where all knowledge is revealed and where one becomes aware with a sense of incontrovertible certitude, that this is our true and eternal home…and the primacy of expressing empathic love and concern for others”.
He later sums up with these comments- “Of all the teachings in the world, the greatest is love. And of all the lessons of the NDE, none is greater than the importance, indeed the primacy of love. What the NDE teaches about love is that everything is love and is made of love and comes from love…We, too, are conceived in and by love. Love, therefore, is our true nature. Why do so many of us fail to experience this love in our lives and even come to feel so unloving toward ourselves at times? Why do we have such difficulty connecting to this molten core of love or even believing that it exists within us? What keeps us so estranged from the essence of what we are?…we have forgotten our true home…our connection to the Source…we need to be restored into the arms of Love…since Love is the essential truth of the NDE, it can set us free”.
And this from another person’s experience (Nancy)- “I became aware of a light- it was warm, it was radiant, it was peaceful, it was accepting, it was forgiving, it was completely nonjudgmental and it gave me a sense of total security the likes of which I had never known. I loved it. It was perfection, it was total, unconditional love. It was anything and everything you would wish for on earth”.
Ring again- “NDEers do not lose sight of their shortcomings…but despite them, they know that as persons they are loved infinitely by the Light and they are ultimately okay as they are and always have been…bathed in this all-accepting love…they learn with undeniable certainty that whatever harsh judgments you have imposed upon yourself for your perceived failings and inadequacies, these harsh judgments are not shared by the Light. What a liberation from the tyranny of your own judgmental self…the lesson of self-acceptance confers a tremendous liberation upon the individual in that he or she is now able to begin to shed the judgmental self that when stripped away also reveals one’s underlying essential being…’I found a central core within me, a spirit’…”
Further in relation to this lady’s experience- “(She experienced) deliverance from the bondage of other’s opinions about and expectations of her…free to be herself…once the old self begins to unravel the threads woven by a lifelong history of judgmental conditioning, the natural core self of the individual is free at last to emerge…The light of one’s own true nature, like the sun shining on the plants of the earth, brings forth what was primed to develop but only lacked the catalyzing stimulus. In short, the absolute and unconditional love of the Light reveals the essence of the individual’s true self…”.
These excerpts speak to these two fundamental dark themes of the old narrative- that God is a threatening, judging reality to be feared because we are sinful, defiled creatures deserving of punishment. They present an entirely different view of these two consciousnesses- the divine and the human. And this is about an entirely new and radically different narrative of reality and life.
So this is why I make a case for the centrality and primacy of unconditional love. Something I know so little of but wish to experience so much more of. Love is about the essence of reality, the essence of what we really are in our true selves. It is what life is all about and why it all exists. Love answers the most profound questions and the most profound impulses for meaning. It responds to the deepest of human desires and longings. It is at the heart of a grand narrative of reality and life. It drives out all darkness from the great Ultimate Reality that creates and sustains all visible reality. And it drives out all darkness from the essential human self.
A further note- Schwartz notes the five basic things: the qualities and gifts that all human beings seek from others. They are attention (genuine interest), acceptance (genuinely embraced), affection, appreciation (encouragement and gratitude), and allowing (safety to be yourself and express all you feel). Love answers all these basic human needs and longings.
Biblical literature and other past literature of many forms tried to come to grips with some of this but did not provide the graphic detail that modern NDErs are providing. We miss something helpful in not paying attention to all this fresh input from so many people all around us.