When I was eighteen years old, I got into a debate with an Israeli philosopher named Martin Ben Moreh. He had just finished a lecture, about humanity's age-long search for meaning. I climbed onto the stage as people were shuffling out, surrounded by a few other die-hards, and tried to show off my reasoning skills. I was arguing that all of my manners and incentives to do good things were imposed on me by society and upbringing; he argued that human beings are essentially, naturally, good.
What can I say… He was right. I know today that he was right. Underneath all of our physical wants, and our social conditionings, our hearts all want the exact same thing. What fascinates me now is: What brought me to see that?
Do you not want to be loved? Can you not say that about yourself? And do you think that there is anyone on this planet who does not want it as much as you do? I taught meditation in a jail for four years. I had heart-to-heart talks with thieves, drug dealers, murderers, and rapists. They all wanted desperately to be loved. They talked about it with visible craving, only behind closed doors.
It’s not that everything that people do should automatically be regarded as an act of love. If someone hurts you, then they’ve hurt you. That is not an act of love. But underneath that act, the person who hurt you wants love just as much as you do.
And yes, you can assume that that golden thread connects the two of you beyond actions and words. I call it “angels’ love”. It is always there, beneath the surface, shining when it is allowed to shine; and when it is not allowed to shine, it never stops whispering: “Remember me.” It is from that whispering that a lot of our cravings arise. But there is also an unconquerable strength just in knowing that that love is always there - in the open, or under the surface.
Maybe it sounds naive… but bear with me for at least a few more lines.
Let’s be frank: Angels’ love is of no value until you discover it for yourself. How is that done? Who knows… It must be a personal journey. I can only share that I found it by tackling my own hell, my own obstacles to love: My own doubts, my own pain, my own anger. I still have plenty of work to do. But angels’ love was one of the things I discovered along the way. And there is tremendous power in it.
In a world where it is so hard to see love through the forests of pain, angels’ love is the silence underneath the noise, that can never be undone. It is a golden thread that connects us all - even if we do not know it, even if we deny it, even if we don’t have any recollection of ever feeling it at all. We all have beating hearts, and our hearts all speak the same language. For as long as we are alive, we want to be loved. I always know that even in the most heated argument, the person I am arguing with ultimately wants to be loved, and in the words I like to use: Their angel wants what is best for my angel, and vice versa. The rest is details, footnotes, things to be resolved. But even if they are never resolved in this lifetime, I know that our angels only want what is best for each other.
It is like Rumi’s ageless poem:
“Out beyond ideas of right and wrong,
There is a field;
I’ll meet you there.”
I sometimes wonder if, after all is said and done, I will someday meet with the angels of everyone who has ever disagreed with me - all the bullies, the rogues and the politicians, the parking spot rivals, the star-crossed lovers, the ones who charged at me and the ones who stood by and said nothing, the ones whose attention I was so yearning for, and the ones I never wanted to have anything to do with… and we will all sit together in Rumi’s field, and reminisce about how foolish we were. That will be the day, maybe my favorite day.
I do see that we are all fools in love. Even those of us who don’t think so. And when you find the love inside you - when you feel it for yourself, in a way that no one can take it away - you realize then two magical things: One is that you are in every way an angel - albeit, perhaps, a confused one on some occasions. But in your essence, you are made of love. And the second thing you realize is that everyone else… is exactly the same as you are.
Wishing everyone much love, and that we shall all truly see each other someday, in Rumi’s field. I’ll bring my clarinet.
Photo by Darwis Alwan, Pexels.com