So when you ask what love is, you may be too frightened to see the answer. It may mean complete upheaval; it may break up the family; you may discover that you do not love your wife or husband or children—do you?—you may have to shatter the house you have built, you may never go back to the temple.
But if you still want to find out, you will see that fear is not love, dependence is not love, jealousy is not love, possessiveness and domination are not love, responsibility and duty are not love, self-pity is not love, the agony of not being loved is not love, love is not the opposite of hate any more than humility is the opposite of vanity.
So if you eliminate all these, not by forcing them but by washing them away as the rain washes the dust of many days from a leaf, then perhaps you will come upon this strange flower, which man always hungers after.
If you have not got love—not just in little drops but in abundance—if you are not filled with it, the world will go to disaster. You know intellectually that the unity of mankind is essential and that love is the only way, but who is going to teach you how to love?
Will any authority, any method, any system, tell you how to love? If anyone tells you, it is not love. Can you say, “I will practice love. I will sit down day after day and think about it. I will practice being kind and gentle and force myself to pay attention to others?”
Do you mean that you can discipline yourself to love, exercise the will to love? When you exercise discipline and will to love, love goes out the window. By practicing some method or system of loving you may become extraordinarily clever or more kindly or get into a state of nonviolence, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with love.
In this torn desert world there is no love because pleasure and desire play the greatest roles, yet without love your daily life has no meaning. And you cannot have love if there is no beauty. Beauty is not something you see—not a beautiful tree, a beautiful picture, a beautiful building, or a beautiful woman. There is beauty only when your heart and mind know what love is.
Without love and that sense of beauty there is no virtue, and you know very well that, do what you will—improve society, feed the poor—you will only be creating more mischief, for without love there is only ugliness and poverty in your own heart and mind.
But when there is love and beauty, whatever you do is right, whatever you do is in order. If you know how to love, then you can do what you like because it will solve all other problems.
So we reach the point: Can the mind come upon love without discipline, without thought, without enforcement, without any book, any teacher or leader—come upon it as one comes upon a lovely sunset? It seems to me that one thing is absolutely necessary and that is passion without motive—passion that is not the result of some commitment or attachment, passion that is not lust. A man who does not know what passion is will never know love because love can only come into being when there is total self-abandonment.
A mind that is seeking is not a passionate mind and to come upon love without seeking it is the only way to find it—to come upon it unknowingly and not as the result of any effort or experience. Such a love, you will find, is not of time; such a love is both personal and impersonal, is both the one and the many.
Like a flower that has a perfume, you can smell it or pass it by. That flower is for everybody and for the one who takes the trouble to breath it deeply and to look at it with delight. Whether one is very near in the garden or very far away, it is the same to the flower because it is full of that perfume and, therefore, it is sharing with everybody.
Love is something that is new, fresh, alive. It has no yesterday and no tomorrow. It is beyond the turmoil of thought. It is only the innocent mind which knows what love is, and the innocent mind can live in the world, which is not innocent.
To find this extraordinary thing which man has sought endlessly through sacrifice, through worship, through relationship, through sex, through every form of pleasure and pain, is only possible when thought comes to understand itself and comes naturally to an end. Then love has no opposite, then love has no conflict.
You may ask, “If I find such love, what happens to my wife, my children, my family? They must have security.” When you put such a question you have never been outside the field of thought, the field of consciousness. When once you have been outside that field you will never ask such a question because then you will know what love is in which there is no thought and therefore, no time. You may read this mesmerized and enchanted, but actually to go beyond thought and time—which means going beyond sorrow—is to be aware that there is a different dimension called love.
But you don’t know how to come upon this extraordinary fount, so what do you do? If you don’t know what to do, you do nothing, don’t you? Absolutely nothing. Then inwardly you are completely silent. Do you understand what that means? It means you are not seeking, not wanting, not pursuing; there is no center at all. Then there is love.
~ from the book Freedom from the Known